Managing Diversity in the Workplace: Building an Inclusive Organizational Culture

Best practices for managing diversity in the workplace to promote innovation, productivity, performance and profits. Tips for engaging a diverse workforce.

7

min read

Diversity in the workplace is increasingly becoming a top priority for all organizational leaders. Initially, workplace diversity was merely a tick in the box with a narrow focus on just hiring professionals from different age, geographical and gender groups. The conversation has now matured significantly, with expansion not only in the scope of what diversity in the workplace entails, but also how it pans out. Let’s dive deep into the various aspects of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Table of Contents

Understanding diversity in the workplace

In the simplest terms, workplace diversity can be understood as a workplace which gives equal voice, recognition, representation and value to individuals of different backgrounds ranging from gender, race, culture, ethnicity to sexual orientation, religion and much more. More importantly, diversity in the workplace must not only take into consideration overt differences in looks and appearances, but also the covert ones, like differences in thoughts, opinions, perspectives, experiences, etc. At the same time, diversity and inclusion in the workplace is no longer limited to hiring diverse groups, but also ensuring their equal participation in all organizational processes and decision making. 

Types of diversity in the workplace

As the understanding of diversity in the workplace has been expanding, so has the types of diverse groups which are being given equal recognition. There is no global benchmark on which types for diversity an organization has to take into account, as the backgrounds of individuals vary significantly. Here is a quick list of types of diversity that organizations consider significant today:

  • Gender
  • Culture
  • Race
  • Age
  • Socio-economic background
  • Ethnicity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Geographical background
  • Disabilities
  • Education
  • Language

This list can go on based on the unique experiences of each organization. More often than not, gender diversity in the workplace, age, geography is common to all organizations irrespective of their location and industry focus. Other forms like cultural diversity in the workplace or diversity of religion, socio-economic background, etc. are more common to developing countries like India. On the other hand, diversity of race, ethnicity, etc. are more found in organizations headquartered in western countries. 

Benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Increasingly, organizations are viewing diversity and inclusion in the workplace as a business case bringing along multiple benefits for both the employees as well as the employers. Some of the top benefits of workplace diversity include:

1. Innovation

Diversity brings along different ideas, perspectives and experiences which enables organizations to innovate and think out of the box. According to a 2018 study by Harvard Business Review, companies with higher than average diversity had 19% higher innovation revenues. Therefore, diverse thoughts can lead to new revenue streams with enterprise-wide innovation.

2. Market expansion

Workplace diversity also promotes competitive advantage for organizations as they are able to cater to diverse customer needs and expectations. According to research, around 70% of diverse companies are better positioned to capture new markets. Diversity ensures that your employees understand diverse markets and are able to make inroads into them.

3. Profits

Focus on workplace diversity positively impacts the bottom line of an organization as well. According to a McKinsey study, companies in the top quartile of gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns that were above their national industry median. Additionally, a diverse team can boost productivity by 35%. Invariably, increased productivity indicates greater profits.  

4. Talent pool

Organizations that value diversity witness twin benefits when it comes to onboarding human resources. Firstly, they have access to a much larger talent pool when they are not targeting a homogeneous group of individuals. Secondly, professionals themselves believe an organization’s focus on diversity and inclusion is an important attribute when they are looking out for opportunities. According to Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers said that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. 

Creating a business case for diversity in the workplace: Going beyond the numbers

In addition to showcasing how a focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace could yield greater productivity, innovation and other business performance indicators, it is important to scratch beyond the surface. Here are a few practices that organizations leading the diversity and inclusion dialogue have put to play to create leadership as well as employee buy-in:

1. Identify their pain points

Organizations can converse with leaders and employees on a deeper level and understand their pain points and any instances of stereotyping, discrimination, etc. they may have faced. It may not only be limited to their professional life, but can span across. Exclusion and discrimination at times takes such subtle forms that individuals don’t even realize it is happening to them. However, when they are made aware about the same, they become advocates of inclusion. In such a situation, those in positions of power and influence tend to make a difference and get inclined towards managing diversity in the workplace.  

2. Communicate employee pulse

Unless leaders acknowledge that there is a problem and need for diversity and inclusion, getting the needle moving towards building a business case is very difficult. Therefore, it is extremely crucial to let the leaders know the pulse of the organization as a whole. Organizations must gauge how their employees value diversity and their inclination towards working for an inclusive organization. When leaders are presented with evidence from their own organization, they are bound to see the business case for D&I.


3. Negative reinforcement

It is also important to showcase the negative impact of not focusing on such efforts will create a sense of urgency and importance. Simply talking about how lack of D&I results in employee turnover and the cost of each employee turnover will be a good starting point. When leaders do a cost-benefit analysis, the cost saved on replacement of employees will outweigh the cost of D&I initiatives, creating a clear business case.  

4. Identify business challenges

Business challenges due to a lack of focus on diversity and inclusion can serve as a clear business case. For instance, if all other organizations in an industry are focusing on D&I, the organization not considering it as a business case might face reputational risks in the market. Therefore, it is very important to identify business challenges which either arise due to absence of workplace diversity efforts or which can have a potential solution with such efforts. 

How to measure the level of workplace diversity?

Before jumping on to how to manage diversity in the workplace and promote it, organizations must focus on measuring and tracking a few key metrics. Unless organizations have a baseline on the challenges to diversity along with the diversity of inclusion goals, their efforts and investments will not entail 100% success. The following metrics can help organizations identify gaps, prioritize initiatives and set targets to achieve their diversity goals:

1. Recruitment

The first metric to measure is the first step of the employee lifecycle. On the one hand, organizations must measure if their final recruitment process has a fair mix of diverse individuals, balanced with the application mix. For instance, if 40% of women applied, look at the mix of men and women who have actually been hired to check if it has a fair representation of women. Additionally, focus on identifying reasons for weakness of applicant diversity. For instance, if applications from a particular group are virtually missing, organizations need to revisit the job description and other parameters to rectify their recruitment strategies and processes.

2. Retention

Next in line, organizations must also evaluate their performance in retaining workplace diversity. At regular intervals, 5 years, 10 years and so on, organizations must measure their diversity mix and compare it with the previous levels to understand if the level of diversity is increasing or decreasing. 

3. Promotion

Organizations need to also track the promotions they make and compare the ones awarded to members of diverse groups vis-a-vis others. For instance, if the representation of women at the entry level is 30%, a similar proportion must be witnessed years later at the top management. If the situation is any different, then organizations need to revisit their development efforts, promotion parameters and retention strategies. 

4. Pay and benefits

This parameter to measure workplace diversity doesn’t need much explanation. Those at the same level, performing the same role with similar skills and competencies must receive similar compensation and benefits. Organizations that fair well on this metric are usually more diverse and inclusive.

In addition, metrics like representation across departments, participation in events, development opportunities, etc. are also important to gauge the true level of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

Organizations can leverage a variety of tools to measure and track these metrics and subsequently, set goals, conceptualize strategies and improve their performance. Employee inclusion surveys are an effective way to gauge employee opinion on diversity at the workplace, especially to understand their take on fairness of promotions, recognition, participation, etc. Focus group discussion with employees representing diverse groups to understand their pulse and pain points can also be highly effective. Finally, unconscious bias tests like the Implicit Association Test by Harvard can help organizations understand their position in the diversity and inclusion spectrum. 

How to promote diversity in the workplace? 

The following section will focus on how to manage diversity in the workplace and promote the same. Open communication, transparency, treating everyone with equality and personally are a few established practices, there are others equally effective, but sometimes overlooked. Based on industry benchmarks, we have curated a list of the best practices for leaders striving to promote workplace diversity: 


1. Get hiring right

Hire talent from diverse backgrounds starting with application sourcing. The job description must be inclusive and shouldn’t even subtly indicate preference for one group over another. Additionally, the criteria for selection must be objective. Many organizations emphasize on a cultural fit when it comes to hiring, the meaning of which is mostly subjective. Generally, cultural fit refers to a homogeneous group of people Therefore, the parameters for selection must be objective and comparable, supported by a diverse interview panel. Finally, organizations should limit the notion of referral hiring, where existing employees refer individuals from their networks for the role. While this is an easy way to access reliable talent, however, more often than not, this limits diversity. 

2. Policies and practices

Organizations must have a zero tolerance policy towards any form of discrimination, bullying etc. on any attribute, including diversity. Such policies must be effectively communicated with strategic practices for strong implementation. For instance, there must be a clear and easy process for grievance sharing and redressal, strict action against the perpetrator, if found guilty, etc. At the same time, supporting diverse groups by infrastructural and other efforts is also important. For instance, having feeding spaces for new mothers, promoting braille signage or ramps for those with physical disabilities can promote diverse representation. 

3. Training and mentoring

Promoting sensitization training programs, mentoring initiatives and other such efforts are likely to reduce unconscious bias and other obstacles in the way of workplace diversity. Not only will such programs help everyone value the perspectives and contributions of others, it will also inspire confidence in diverse groups to come up the curve in all parameters. Communicating in a sensitive manner, showcasing empathy, etc. are all by products of such efforts. 

4. Promote executive diversity

It is important to have diverse representation from top to bottom. Unless diverse groups see diversity at the C-suite level, they will always doubt their capabilities to rise in a particular organization. Therefore, workplace diversity must focus on creating diverse role models in leadership and executive positions with influence and decision making capabilities. 

Managing a diverse team remotely: Top 6 strategies

With a quick transition to remote work as a result of the pandemic has pushed organizations to reinvent their strategies on how to manage diversity in the workplace for a remote team. Here are the top six strategies that most forward looking organizations are adopting:

1. Facilitate team communication, preferably with video

Facilitate communication and collaboration between diverse team members by assigning group tasks and projects. Ensure that team members have access to tools like Slack, Trello, etc. for effective collaboration. In addition, virtual coffee breaks with video interaction between different employees can be a great tool.

2. Be mindful

Managing workplace diversity remotely requires business leaders and managers to be mindful and don a blanket of empathy. It is very important to understand the different set of challenges that each employee is facing given the remote scenario and personalizing the approach to team management. A cookie cutter approach of expecting everyone to work at the same time and deliver the same output together might be an overstretch. 

3. Create virtual Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Transitioning to a virtual ERGs is the need of the hour. There are several ways to go about this. For one, organizations could simply take their existing ERGs online. At the same time, there is sufficient opportunity for organizations to lead the way for newer and smaller ERGs which were previously shunned off because of capacity constraints. With the flexibility to join sessions from home, such ERGs will see an increase in participation from both those who identify with the cause, but are shy of participating in person and allies too. 

4. Virtual team building activities

Virtual team building activities which require team participation could be leveraged by pairing up diverse minds. Finally, organizations need to step up their tech game with the right tools like Zoom to conduct virtual sessions and meetups.

5. Encourage digital training

Managing a diverse team remotely requires significant training to deal with individual and collective biases. As the workforce is going remote, organizations need to move such training to digital platforms. It might be a good idea to experiment with HR tech tools that help employees in the identification of bias and offer best practices to combat the same. Such tools can be calibrated to match the personal pace of each employee. At the same time, they can ensure complete anonymity and help employees navigate their way out of different biases. 

6. Lead by example

Team leaders need to keep their bias and comfort at bay when dealing with team members remotely. Firstly, leaders must ensure an open door policy to inspire confidence in different team members to approach them for anything without hesitation. Secondly, they should not fall back on certain favorite employees just because it is easier to collaborate with them remotely. It is important to give each team member the same treatment even when they are working from home. 

Challenges to managing diversity in the workplace

Most organizations today acknowledge the importance of diversity in the workplace. Additionally, they possess the right resources and make sizable investments towards diversity and inclusion initiatives However, not all efforts reap success. Here are the top reasons why workplace initiatives fail in organizations: 

1. Lack of Leadership Buy-In

Whenever an advocate of workplace diversity brings up the topic, there is little conversation on the way forward. Either it is outrightly dismissed, or the charge is given to an HR professional to deliberate on the next steps. Invariably, the lack of leadership involvement prevents the development of a culture that sees value in diversity and inclusion, causing such initiatives to fail. 

Mitigating the challenge: It is worth the effort to illustrate to the senior stakeholders the ROI of diversity and inclusion programs. This doesn’t simply mean quoting data points from industry reports. Rather, it involves projecting the impact of such programs with specific benefits to the organization’s priorities. 

2. Employee Resistance

Lack of leadership buy-in tends to percolate down to employee resistance. When employees feel that their leadership is not serious about a particular line of action, their commitment to the same also decreases. Especially employees that do not come under the diversity gamete see diversity training more as a mandate than something they look forward to.

Mitigating the challenge: It might be a good idea to not force everyone to attend each diversity training. While some sessions can be held organization wide which are generic in nature, others can have a sign up system. The freedom of choice is likely to boost participation and prevent such initiatives from failure. 

3. Tick in the Box Approach

For many organizations, managing diversity in the workplace comes from FoMo or the fear of missing out or just because that’s the latest trend. In such a situation, diversity & inclusion initiatives become more of a tick in the box, as opposed to genuine effort. This rarely has any real impact because it fails to deal with the unconscious bias and the whole sensitization and inclusion process, subsequently failing the strategy at large.

Mitigating the challenge: Organizations must focus on crafting a winning strategy which does not end on information dissemination, but actually focuses on behavioural changes with subtle nudges and consecutive sessions to bring about a cultural transformation.

4. Lack of Consistency

Conventionally for many organizations, diversity & inclusion initiatives were a result of an incident or an issue with a lack of a consistent approach to managing the diversity in the workplace. Efforts on a case to case basis lack authenticity and impact. 

Mitigating the challenge: It is best to have a consistent strategy to roll out the diversity and inclusion efforts instead of simply waiting for the next issue to fire up. Integrate diversity initiatives into the daily course of work and engagement activities, rather than making it yet another KRA for the employees, may be a good approach.

5. Poor Grievance Processes

The lack of an effective grievance process renders a situation where someone who is uncomfortable is unable to share the challenges they are facing. This will invariably mess with their mental wellbeing and in turn affect performance and engagement at work, leading to a failure of the initiatives.

Mitigating the challenge: Setting up an effective and robust process to manage grievances must be an integral part of any organization’s diversity strategy. Ensuring that the complainant is kept anonymous to prevent any form of domination or bullying along with a legally vetted process which ensures confidentiality will promote confidence within employees to share their grievances.

Building blocks for diversity and inclusion in the workplace

The foundation of diversity and inclusion in the workplace starts with a firm acknowledgement of the need for the same and a strategic plan of action. There is no doubt about the fact that successfully managing workplace diversity is the route to a positive employee experience. When each employee feels valued and receives a fair treatment, the engagement quotient is bound to soar high. Thus, organizations need to step up their efforts and manage a diverse team to reap benefits of innovation, belongingness and engagement. Here, organizations can leverage collaboration with platforms like SuperBeings to gauge employee pulse on diversity efforts. Such platforms can bring in consciousness and sensitivity at all levels with data-driven, real-time solutions based on industry practices to promote and manage diversity in the workplace.  

Suggested reading:

An Overlooked Path to Diversity and Inclusion: Active Listening

Decoding Employee Engagement with Inclusion and Diversity

Make your organisation a diverse workplace for your employees. Book a demo today to streamline your organisation's people management process.

Garima Shukla

Marketing, SuperBeings

Hello world! I am Garima and I research and write on everything we are doing to make the world of work a better place at SuperBeings

Latest posts

Performance
-
x
min read

How to write 360 feedback questions: 50+ examples and free template

If you are trying to design a continuous and comprehensive performance management system, you would know the importance of conducting a 360 degree feedback. However, to make this exercise most effective, you need to go beyond simply involving everyone in the process to getting the process right — most importantly asking the right feedback questions to each stakeholder. This article will focus on how to write 360 feedback questions that create maximum organizational impact. 

What to include in your 360 feedback questions?

Let us quickly start by understanding what you must include in your 360 feedback questions to make it more effective.

  1. Focus on performance related as well as personality oriented questions 
  2. Ensure they do not send the person answering the question on a wild goose chase, make them relevant
  3. Eliminate any form of bias that might come along the way
  4. Cover different aspects of employee’s contribution and commitment to the organization
  5. Focus on aspects of how the employees see themselves, how their managers, peers as well as others see them

Read: How and when to conduct 360 degree feedback

How to write excellent 360 degree feedback questions? 

Without wasting any time, let’s dive into the 10 tips that can help you in writing excellent and effective 360 feedback questions.

1. Keep the questions simple

Keep the language easy to understand and avoid using technical jargon. Make sure everyone is able to gauge the same meaning of the question and the focus is not lost in translation.

2. Build on them throughout the year

Keep adding the questions list for your next 360 degree feedback to your records throughout the year. 

Since 360 feedback should focus on all aspects of an employee, if you add questions at different times, they will be more relevant

3. Frame the questions in a bias free manner

Ensure that the questions don’t have an inherent bias or don’t push or influence the respondent to answer in a specific manner. Make sure that the questions can have varied options as answers and not a singular focus because that’s what you want as a result. Furthermore, the questions should not create a bias in the mind of the reader of any kind. 

4. Be specific

Focus on one specific attribute or competency for each question. Don’t try to include everything in a single question to keep the number of 360 feedback questions low. You will end up receiving responses for only a part of the question and it will confuse the respondent too. For instance, if you want to talk about collaboration, do not couple it with factors like leadership skills or problem solving. 

5. Identify competencies that matter

Before you start framing the questions, identify the key competencies that are most important for your organization as well as the role. Competencies could include communication, innovation, strategic thinking, etc. 

6. Check the relevance of the questions to the role and organization

Make sure that as a whole, all the questions cover all aspects you want to gauge the employee on from an organizational and functional role perspective. However, don’t overstuff too many competencies, keep them relevant to the employee in question. For instance, a person in sales may not need a question on technology knowledge as a part of 360 feedback questions. 

7. Be clear on the objective of each question

In addition to being specific, be clear on what you wish to gauge or understand with every question you ask. For instance, a question on whether or not the employee pays heed to the opinion of others can help understand the level of active listening and a spirit of inclusion. 

8. Choose the right type of questions

You need to have a fair balance between open ended and close ended questions. 

  • The close-ended 360 feedback questions will help you gauge the pulse of the organization as a whole, analyze trends and have clear data points to focus on. 
  • The open ended questions will enable you to get a context and understanding behind the trends and get deep down insights to taking strategic action. 

9. Make the process easy

A very long or complicated process is likely to reduce participation and defeat the purpose. Therefore, keep the count of 360 feedback questions to a maximum of 30-40 and make it very easy to participate and complete the same. Preferably, disseminate it through your existing communication/ collaboration tools. 

10. Ensure evaluation is simple

Finally, make sure that the questions are framed in a way that is simple to evaluate. Too complex evaluations might take too much time and delay the action and execution, leading to reduced faith and impact on 360 degree feedback. 

Best 360 feedback questions for different contexts: 50+ examples

To ensure that your questions are relevant and specific, you can start with writing 360 feedback questions for different situations and contexts. Put simply, in this section, we will focus on what you should be asking and when. It will also help you in picking the right questions for the right employees, instead of bombarding everyone with the same questions.

8 questions to measure manager effectiveness

These questions will help you understand what your team members think about the overall management at your organization and the effectiveness of specific team leadership.
  1. What are some areas of improvement for your manager?
  2. Do you receive adequate mentorship from your manager?
  3. Does the manager treat all employees fairly and with respect?
  4. Is the manager able to encourage and motivate the team effectively?
  5. Is your manager able to address challenges and problems you come across?
  6. Does the manager provide a clear understanding of what needs to be done and why?
  7. Does your manager provide you with the resources needed to accomplish the tasks delegated?
  8. Does your manager create a safe and inclusive environment to work? Elaborate with some instances.

8 questions to understand how well your employees are communicating

These questions can help you understand the level of communication efficiency in your organization to ensure there is no gap between intention and execution.

  1. How well does the employee listen to the task/work?
  2. Does the employee welcome conversation and discussion?
  3. Does the employee share his/her ideas with a larger group?
  4. Is the employee open to opinions/ suggestions made by others?
  5. How well is the employee able to communicate with the coworkers?
  6. Is the employee comfortable in giving presentations/ demonstrations?
  7. Is the employee able to communicate clearly with customers? Illustrate with a few instances.
  8. Do you think the employee understands your instructions and clarifies in case of confusion?

8 questions to identify potential leaders

Use these questions to identify and nurture employees that show leadership potential to build an effective succession pipeline.

  1. Do you think the employee can make critical decisions?
  2. How well is the employee able to perform under pressure?
  3. Does the employee take ownership and initiative of projects?
  4. Is the employee able to mentor and guide others in the team?
  5. Are you able to rely on the employee in case of an emergency?
  6. Does the employee take leadership in projects? Elaborate with an example.
  7. Is the employee able to address challenges and problems for other team members?
  8. Does the employee invest time and energy into picking up leadership and other skills?

8 questions to measure the level of motivation and commitment

These questions can help you understand how committed your employees are towards the organization, which will impact their level of engagement and quality of work. 

  1. Do you think the employee is giving their 100%?
  2. Does the employee motivate others in the team?
  3. Does the employee voluntarily ask for more work?
  4. Does the employee show motivation towards his/her work?
  5. How do you gauge the level of motivation for the employee?
  6. Has the employee been vocal about what he/she feels most motivated about?
  7. Does the employee go out of the way to finish their work/ help others? Give an example.
  8. Is the employee’s level of motivation consistent or does it vary based on different factors like nature of tasks, time of the year, etc.? Elaborate.

8 questions to understand the level of problem solving capabilities

You can leverage these questions when you wish to understand which employees are quick to think on their feet and will be able to address problems/ challenges that might come their way. 

  1. Is the employee able to recognize and evaluate a problem?
  2. Is the employee open to asking for help when a problem arises?
  3. Is the employee confident about navigating a problem independently?
  4. How open is the employee to different suggestions to problem solving?
  5. Does the employee offer solutions when you face a problem as a group?
  6. Does the employee take ownership of executing solutions to the problems?
  7. Has the employee been able to come up with solutions that have been implemented effectively?
  8. How innovatively or creatively is the employee able to come up with solutions? Share a few examples.

8 questions to know how well your organization and employees are aligned

These questions can help you gauge the level of alignment between what your organization stands for and the core values/ beliefs of your employees. 

  1. Does the employee’s behavior reflect company values?
  2. Does the employee understand the organizational goals?
  3. Is the employee aware about the core values of the company?
  4. Is the employee passionate about what the organization does?
  5. Is the employee open to aligning his/her goals with organizational goals?
  6. Does the employee make an effort to contribute beyond their annual KPIs?
  7. Is there an alignment between the company and employee goals? Elaborate.
  8. Does the employee understand the rationale and purpose behind each value?

Read: Strategic goal alignment: How to align team and organizational goals

8 questions to measure the interpersonal skills

Focus on these questions when you want to understand how well your employees are able to connect with their peers and other stakeholders.

  1. Is the employee easy to collaborate with?
  2. Is the employee a team player? Elaborate.
  3. Does the employee foster a culture of inclusion?
  4. How well is the employee able to connect with others?
  5. Is the employee willing to make extra efforts to help others out?
  6. Does the employee believe in open discussion with the entire team?
  7. Does the employee show empathy and compassion for team members?
  8. How often does the employee have conflict with others? How does he/she resolve the same?

8 questions to gauge the efficiency of your team members   

These final set of questions can help you gauge how efficiently the employees are able to get work done. This points to the presence of the right skills to utilize resources in the best way possible.

  1. How efficient is the employee? Give examples
  2. Does the employee utilize resources efficiently?
  3. Is the employee able to finish his/her work on time?
  4. Is the efficiency of the employee consistent over time?
  5. Does the employee meet the expected quality of work?
  6. Is the employee able to augment efficiency for all tasks?
  7. Has the employee shown any improvement in processes?
  8. Has the employee been able to facilitate efficiency across the team?

Free template for 360 feedback questions

To keep the entire survey with 360 degree feedback questions interesting and engaging, you can experiment with different question formats and templates. While some of your questions can have simple Yes/No answers, some can have multiple choices along with room for providing open ended answers as well. Here is an easy to follow template you can leverage.

  • Pick a key competency
  • Identify attributes for the competency
  • Create a spectrum of responses
  • Supplement it with open ended questions

Example of 360 feedback questions template

Key competency: Strategic decision making

Top line: The employee/ subject name is able to

Attributes: 

  1. Make decisions under pressure
  2. Consider all possible outcomes and scenarios
  3. Bring everyone onboard and facilitate collaborative decision making

Spectrum

  1. Strongly agree
  2. Agree
  3. Neither agree or disagree
  4. Disagree
  5. Strongly disagree

Open ended questions

  1. Share a few instances where the employee has been able to make strategic decisions for the organization
  2. What are key areas to improve for the employee as a strategic decision maker?

How to ensure validity and reliability of a 360 degree feedback report?

Once you roll out the survey with your 360 feedback questions and receive the answers, you need to analyze the responses to come up with a final report and plan of action. However, any response analysis is subject to biases and other factors which might put the validity and reliability of the report into question. Fortunately, you can leverage these following practices to eliminate such instances:

  • Create a team of at least 8-10 reviewers from diverse backgrounds, teams and experiences
  • Have a clear and uniform process of analysis based on a fair understanding of different meanings
  • Cross analyze responses among different reviewers to ensure a consistency of understanding
  • Create the report and take it back to a small group of employees to gauge whether or not they align and agree with the results and next steps
  • Encourage greater discussion on open ended questions

360 degree feedback FAQs: Common concerns for managers answered

Before concluding this article, we would like to discuss the top 8 questions that most managers have when it comes to 360 degree feedback, highlighting concerns they may be having.

1. How to encourage team members to rate their peers?

Highlight how the performance and feedback on the performance of others is likely to have an impact on their performance too. Make them believe they can be an integral part of the growth journey for their team members.

2. How to ensure accurate ratings and feedback?

Make the feedback anonymous to prevent sugar coating. At the same time, do not rely upon a single review as the ultimate feedback for any employee. Analyze at least 2-3 feedback responses for each employee to get the real picture. 

3. How to make the process time effective?

Leverage technology platforms to roll out the surveys and collect responses. Furthermore, you can rely on the NLP sentiment analysis to gauge insights from open ended questions in addition to trend generation based on quantitative questions. 

Check out how SuperBeings can help you conduct seamless 360 degree feedback. Book a free demo today

4. How to increase participation?

Highlight the positive impact of participation as a whole. Make it an interesting part of the employee lifecycle. Provide employees designated time within their work schedule to provide feedback. Do not make it an added burden. Additionally, keep the process simple with not a lot of questions at once. 

5. Should the 360 feedback process be anonymous?

Depending on the nature of the organization you can decide on the level of anonymity. Facilitate anonymity will help you fetch greater and more authentic responses. However, sometimes, you might struggle with context in this case. Therefore, you should adopt an approach of flexible/ partial anonymity.

6. How to secure leadership commitment?

Create a business case for 360 degree feedback. Illustrate how it can lead to a better employee experience, strategic learning and development, greater employee retention and other aspects which can lead to better performance and productivity. 

7. How to prevent biased responses?

Ensure that your questions are neutral and don’t lead to a specific sentiment or response. For instance, if you want to gauge punctuality for an employee, don’t use statements like do you think the employee is always late to work, rather focus on how would you rate the punctuality and sense of time for the employee?

8. How to prevent recency bias?

Try to conduct 360 feedback on a regular basis and not wait for the end of the year to ask all the questions. Maintain a cadence to gauge responses. 

Wrapping Up

As we end this discussion, it is clear that if you want to write 360 feedback questions in an effective way — you need to adopt an all encompassing approach, taking into account the different aspects of employee attributes, performance, personality and behavior. 

It is, therefore, ideal to leverage platforms like SuperBeings to help you roll out, gather and analyze the responses using NLP and automation for best results. You can leverage our best practices to not only get the questions right but to also enable your managers to facilitate employee development at the end of the process. 

If interested, feel free to book a demo today. No initial commitment required.

Suggested Reading

How and when to conduct 360 degree feedback

Continuous feedback in the workplace: The quick guide

150+ performance review phrases

Performance
-
x
min read

100+ Most Useful Self Appraisal Comments for Your Next Performance Review

In the recent years, there has been a lot of attention that is being given to employee feedback, performance reviews and evaluation as a part of the whole performance management system

While a major focus has been to prepare managers to give feedback in a constructive and effective manner, paying attention to employee self evaluation is equally important. Knowing what self appraisal comments to use can play a major role in helping employees to effectively reflect and evaluate their performance and convey it effectively to the rest of the team. 

Purpose of self appraisal

The purposes of employee evaluation and performance review in general have been talked about time and again. However, self appraisal takes the process of evaluation at a very personal and individual level, leading to a more pronounced understanding of an employee’s performance. Some of the top benefits of employee self assessment include:

  • Getting a true reflection of the contribution an employee perceives he/she has made to the organization
  • Ensuring that the employee formally makes an effort to evaluate their developmental areas
  • Facilitating self awareness for employees to ensure they are able to see the true picture
  • Helping the employees navigate their next steps in the professional journey

Read: Employee self assessment: How to write a great one 

Benefits of self appraisal for the team and manager

In the section above, we have talked about the purpose or the need of self evaluation mostly from the perspective of the employee. However, self appraisal, when done correctly, has equally compelling benefits for the team as well as managers. A quick snapshot is captured below:

1. Higher engagement

With self appraisal, employees become active participants in their review and appraisal process, rather than simply being passive recipients. Consequently, they feel valued, motivated and the level of engagement increases. Furthermore, with greater engagement, levels of commitment, retention and productivity go up. 

2. Greater alignment

When employees take a step back to reflect on their performance with self appraisal, they become more receptive to diverse ideas. Put simply, in the absence of self reflection, they will have a hard time gauging where they need to improve. Consequently, they will be defensive when a manager or the team gives them feedback on the same. However, self evaluation will help them accept the gaps and be open to learning and growing. 

3. Development of a problem solving mindset

When employees reflect on their performance and identify the development areas, they will don a problem solving hat on to accelerate their professional journey. Through the course of time, this problem solving attribute will become a part of their skill set which will benefit the team and the manager greatly. 

4. Higher accountability

As a result of greater alignment due to self reflection on the strengths and areas of development, teams will see a greater sense of accountability to bridge the gaps identified. Under conventional circumstances, performance improvement might be seen as just a tick in the box by employees. However, after self appraisal, employees truly acknowledge and accept the need to bridge those gaps and take greater ownership and accountability. 

100+ self appraisal comments 

Now that you have an understanding of why self appraisal matters, let’s quickly look at how to make it most effective. If you are experimenting with self evaluation for the first time, it can be an overwhelming activity for your employees. It is human nature to feel uneasy when you’re expected to evaluate your own performance. However, if you provide your employees with some comments they can use for self evaluation as a starting point, you can make the journey easier for them. 

Put simply, self appraisal comments are common statements that can be customized by your employees during the self evaluation process, especially, if they find themselves at a loss of words to describe their performance

These phrases are available for both strengths and areas of development to help employees paint a realistic picture of their performance. Here are the top 100 self appraisal phrases that you can use for different performance parameters.

1. Communication phrases

Use these self phrases to reflect on your clarity of communication, willingness to listen to others, etc. 

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I am able to clearly share my ideas and opinions with the team 
  2. I keep my team members duly informed about my work and progress
  3. I ensure that I respond to all emails in a timely and professional manner
  4. I actively listen to and comprehend what others have to say
  5. I excel at storytelling and presenting my ideas in front of a large audience

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. I find it difficult to get the right words to express my views
  2. I am able to write down my thoughts well, but struggle to communicate them verbally
  3. I hesitate in communicating my ideas to the top leadership
  4. I get overwhelmed when I have to present to a large group
  5. I need to work more on my email writing skills

2. Reliability phrases

These self evaluation phrases reflect how reliable or dependable you are for your team members, especially under special circumstances.

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I diligently follow up on the work allotted to me
  2. I have been able to meet 80% of the deadlines and have proactively informed about delays with the reason for all other times
  3. I promptly respond to emails 
  4. I have an organized to-do list to ensure no work falls through the cracks
  5. I ensure high quality of work consistently

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. I struggle to meet the deadlines more than 60% of the times
  2. I find it hard to deal with multiple tasks at once
  3. I get overwhelmed when the entire project depends upon me
  4. My goal is to deliver at least 70% of the projects on time
  5. I seek to be more proactive in communicating any delays to the leadership team

3. Ownership and initiative phrases

Using these self appraisal phrases can help indicate how invested or engaged you are in taking ownership of work without being asked to at times. 

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I like to participate in activities beyond my KRAs
  2. I have taken ownership of at least 40% new projects allocated to our team
  3. I am the first person in the team to raise my hand for something new
  4. I enjoy spending 15-20% of my time on projects that I manage end to end
  5. I took the ownership of the biggest client last quarter and the sales went up by 10%

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. I often shy away from taking responsibility and ownership of any project
  2. I restrain myself to being a contributor than taking ownership and managing projects
  3. I intend to take ownership of at least 1 new project in the next quarter
  4. I find it difficult to take part in activities beyond my defined work
  5. I intend to seek support from my manager to help me in getting over the phobia of underperforming when given the ownership 

Similar Read: 150+ performance review phrases for managers 

4. Attendance phrases

The following self appraisal comments are important to help review your performance on the basis of how punctual and attentive you are.

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I always arrive office on time
  2. I attend all meetings and inform in advance in case I am not able to attend any
  3. I respect other people’s time and ensure that all my meetings start and end on time
  4. I plan my time off in advance and inform my team members about the same
  5. I do not take unnecessary breaks during office hours

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. I seek to be on work every time, and bridge the occasional gap that exists right now
  2. I intend to plan all my vacation days in advance
  3. I will ensure that I plan my meetings in advance with a clear agenda to ensure they don’t last longer than intended
  4. I sometimes get carried away during breaks, I will ensure that I adhere to the break schedules
  5. I will account for different factors and leave house early to reach office on time

5. Teamwork phrases

Use these self evaluation phrases when you want to highlight your strengths/ areas of improvement of working with the team, your collaboration skills, etc.

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I go out of the way to ensure that my team members are able to deliver their best
  2. I actively seek inputs from all team members on every project
  3. I actively participate in brainstorming sessions and team discussions
  4. I encourage other team members to share their perspectives
  5. I get along with almost everyone in the team

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. I find it a little difficult to mix up with all the team members
  2. I will work on my confidence to share my ideas with the team
  3. Occasionally, I tend to overlook the ideas shared by others, which I will work towards
  4. I will focus on delegating work correctly to ensure maximum impact
  5. I will attend most of the team meetings and participate actively

6. Creativity phrases

Creativity self appraisal comments can help you in reflecting on how effectively you are able to come up with novel and innovative solutions to challenges and new ideas to augment the impact and value created.

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I am able to pivot my priorities and come up with new ideas based on changes in a project requirement
  2. I like to experiment with new ways of addressing a problem 
  3. In the last quarter, I came up with a new marketing solution that increased our organic traffic by 15%
  4. I am able to think out of the box even in pressure situations
  5. While I rely on standard processes, I am not afraid of taking the risk to try something unique that can lead to better results

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Occasionally, I find it difficult to break free from the established process for any task
  2. I feel that at times, I restrain my creativity in the face of practicality
  3. In the next quarter, I will focus on accepting new ideas and ways of work
  4. Sometimes I make the situation more complex by adding too much creativity, when only a simple solution is needed
  5. I tend to shy away from sharing my innovative solutions, preventing higher impact

7. Attention to detail phrases

The following phrase can create a picture of your quality of work and how much attention you pay while undertaking a particular task during your self reflection process. 

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I check all my work at least 3 times before submitting
  2. I have a detailed to do list to ensure nothing falls through the cracks
  3. Most of the work I deliver has negligible errors
  4. I am extremely patient with each project I work on to deliver the best
  5. I ensure delivering consistent quality of work in at least 90% of the projects

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. When I am working on multiple projects, I tend to miss out on attention to detail
  2. Occasionally, when I am in a hurry, I tend to overlook minor errors
  3. I miss proofreading my work at times
  4. I find it hard to prioritize work, leading to some inaccuracies at times
  5. I aspire to become more organized in the near future to ensure all requirements are taken care of

8. Job knowledge phrases

You can use these self appraisal comments to illustrate how well you understand what is expected out of you and how well you are able to deliver on the same. 

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I have a clear understanding of what I am expected to do as a part of my role
  2. I understand the value my work is able to contribute to the overall organizational success
  3. I was able to meet 80% of my OKRs in the last quarter
  4. I stay updated on the latest trends and insights in my field
  5. I take up training and upskilling every quarter to stay relevant for my role

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Due to a multifunctional role, I find it difficult at times to understand the expectations
  2. I sometimes struggle to explain to others what I do
  3. I am not sure how I am able to create an impact for the organization
  4. I seek to increase meeting my job expectations by meeting at least 70% OKRs in the next quarter
  5. Occasionally, I find myself unprepared for the role, and plan to take up courses to address the same

9. Customer satisfaction phrases

Customer satisfaction self evaluation performance phrases help gauge how effectively you are able to address customer requests or complaints that leads to a higher Net Promoter Score, brand credibility, etc. 

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I respond to all customer queries within 24 hours
  2. I have been constantly receiving high remarks on customer satisfaction surveys 
  3. I am always calm and patient when dealing with customer complaints
  4. I have been able to increase the customer lifetime value for my customers by 15% in the last year
  5. I am able to answer difficult questions for customers in a professional manner

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. At times, I find it difficult to respond to customers in a timely manner
  2. I intend to ensure that I become more patient while dealing with customer complaints
  3. I sometimes get overwhelmed when a customer raises an objection, which I seek to overcome
  4. While I am able to handle customer service over phone/email, I intend to achieve the same for in-person customers
  5. I intend to improve my score on customer satisfaction surveys by at least 10% in this quarter

10. Growth and development phrases

Finally, these self-appraisal comments can help you highlight your growth plans towards your professional development and impact on the organization.

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I set personal growth plans every month to ensure a healthy balance
  2. I have taken 2 trainings in the past quarter
  3. I have a clear 5 year vision for my career and am taking ‘abc’ steps towards it
  4. By the end of the year, I plan to complete 5 trainings in my domain
  5. I believe learning and development is integral to success

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. I sometimes find it difficult to make time to upskill myself
  2. In this quarter, I will try to take up at least two courses on technical skills
  3. I struggle to identify the right courses for my skill set
  4. I tend to leave trainings in between occasionally
  5. In this quarter, I will focus on creating a professional development plan for myself

Self appraisal template 

With a broad understanding of the more than 100+ self appraisal comments that you can use as a part of your self evaluation process, let’s move to this concluding section. Here, we will focus on sharing a few templates that employees can use to articulate their performance in an effective manner. 

The self evaluation phrases mentioned above can be added at the right places in these templates to give a holistic picture of one’s performance. A few things to focus on include:

  • What you did
  • What was the result
  • What was the overall impact
  • What were your learnings
  • What are some areas of improvement

Template 1: Positive impact

In the last <performance period>, I have successfully <activity/ initiative undertaken> which led to <tangible impact (metrics)> for the organization. 

My focus was on <a detailed view of everything that was done> which resulted in <accomplishments>. 

Overall, I believe that I have been able to create an impact by achieving <top 3 achievements> and seek to amplify the same in the future. 

Template 2: Areas of improvement

I believe that the last <performance period> has been full of learning and development for me. 

While I was able to <quick snapshot of achievements>, I acknowledge that I need to pay attention to <areas of improvement>. 

I believe that this focus will help me <intended outcome for improvement>. 

Towards this, I will ensure that I consistently work towards <improvement plan (courses, behavioral changes)> to achieve <SMART goal>. 

Wrapping Up

That said, self appraisal is an extremely crucial step of performance review. As a manager you must encourage your team members to provide honest reflection on their performance without being afraid of any negative consequences. Apart from providing the self appraisal comments mentioned above, you can also use assessment tools to make self appraisal a common practice within the organization. 

Custom Pulse Surveys by SuperBeings can help you with understanding their needs and help you support them better. If interested, book a free demo today.

Suggested Reading

Employee Self Assessment: How to write a great one

150+ performance review phrases for managers

How to use custom pulse surveys to enhance employee experience

Performance
-
x
min read

Employee Self Assessment: How to Write a Great One

Holistic performance reviews are integral for any organization that seeks to create a high performance culture. However, the nature of performance appraisals has undergone significant transformation with a focus on 360 feedback and review. 

One of the key pillars for the same is employee self assessment and self appraisal. Through the course of this article, we will share with you why self assessment is important and how you, as a manager, can help your employees get it right to facilitate maximum impact. 

Decoding the meaning and importance of self assessment

As the name suggests, employee self assessment or self reflection is the practice or process where employees reflect on and assess their performance over a period of time to identify accomplishments, development areas and other performance aspects

The aim of self assessment is to get the employees’ view of their performance and add the information and data to manager and peer feedback. This can enable organizations to get a holistic understanding of the employee performance and gauge the overall contribution, some of which might be invisible from a macro view. Here are a few reasons why employee self assessment as a tool for performance review makes sense for growing organization:

  • Understand employee’s side of the performance story on what has been their greatest contribution, blockers, development areas, etc. 
  • Gauge aspirations of the employees to align OKRs and engagement plans to facilitate high levels of performance
  • Enable employees to reflect on their contribution as well as challenges faced by them to get an understanding of where they stand in the overall organizational vision
  • Help managers gauge employee strengths and identify accomplishments that may not be overtly visible
  • Empower managers to bridge the gap between their perception of the employee performance and the self reflection of the employee 

When is the ideal time for employee self assessment?

With the rise of continuous performance management and regular review and appraisal, your self assessment process should follow a similar approach. 

Instead of pushing employees to assess and reflect on their performance at the end of the year, you should encourage them to conduct regular self assessment

On one hand, regular and continuous performance linked self appraisal by employees will ensure that no part of their performance goes unnoticed. On the other hand, it will constantly give them a chance to reflect on their performance and improve on the development areas on the go, instead of waiting for the year end. Invariably, they will embark on the path of development and improvement at an accelerated pace. 

Here, if you leverage employee pulse surveys which are short and frequent in nature, you can ensure consistent and continuous self reflection from employees. With as frequent as one question a day, you can encourage your employees to build a culture of performance-oriented self assessment. 

How can employees get self assessment right

With self assessment and reflection being a fairly new practice to performance management, many organizations and employees struggle with getting it right. 

While some believe that employees might see it as a chance to explain their bad performance, others believe that it might end up biasing the manager’s perspective. 

However, when done right, employee self assessment can be an extremely powerful tool to facilitate a high performance culture. Here are a few tips to get your employees conduct performance self assessment the right way:

1. Be open and honest

Encourage your employees to be open and honest. Employees must not see self assessment as a place for self aggrandizing in the hope of a better rating, rather an honest assessment of one’s performance. 

For self evaluation to be effective, your employees need to reflect on their performance without the worry of being penalized for identifying areas of development and improvement 

It is important to not see self assessment as the sole foundation for promotions and appraisals, but rather as a journey towards growth. 

2. Reflect on the OKRs

Next, persuade your employees to reflect on their OKR performance. The idea is not only to assess what has been achieved with OKR grading. It should also include reflections from OKRs about the possible enablers and blockers to further refine them for the next performance period. The employee must be guided to reflect on what helped achieve the OKRs and what other support is required as well as what he or she would personally like to work towards. 

Download: Free OKR grading template

3. Incorporate feedback from managers and peers

Third, when self assessing for performance review, employees must incorporate feedback from their conversations with managers and peers. If your organization has a culture of regular 1:1s, this will be very easy for your workforce. The idea here is to motivate your employees to reflect on what feedback they have been able to gauge and whether or not according to them their performance is a reflection of the same. 360 degree feedback can also be a helpful tool for employees to understand all aspects of their performance.

Factors like what did the manager praise about their performance or what did a coworker thank them for are very important for self assessment. 

Read: Top 50 1:1 meeting questions for great managers

4. Identify challenges and opportunities

Finally, as a part of performance review self assessment, employees need to reflect on the challenges and opportunities, both internal and external. Internally, they need to assess their attributes, skill sets and aspirations and align them with the expectations to gauge their level of performance. Similarly, external factors like resources, team support and their impact on performance needs to be documented. 

Best practices to write employee self assessment

When you share these above mentioned tips with your team members, they are bound to ask questions about the best practices for writing or filling up self assessment surveys in the most effective way. We have you covered for that as well. Here are a few quick tips to help your employees write effective self assessment:

  • Be focused and get to the point of reflecting on your performance quickly
  • Do not shy away from appreciating or praising yourself, be an advocate for yourself
  • Illustrate your USP as a part of your team i.e. be specific about what sets you apart
  • Clearly highlight your contribution — towards a project, to overall team work, etc.
  • Use figures and data wherever possible
  • Highlight the impact of your work, it could be in the form of more sales, stronger pipeline, etc. depending on your role
  • Reflect on your OKRs to see what you were able to achieve and what you couldn’t, document the reasons
  • Clearly mention your development areas, it will help your managers see that you are open to suggestions

Read: How to go from performance management to employee development 

Employee self assessment questions and templates

If you look at these best practices closely, you will realize that the key to writing effective self assessment also lies in the questions that you ask. 

Simply asking an open ended question like reflecting on your performance will seldom yield any substantial responses, mainly because your team members will struggle with starting their answers

Therefore, we have compiled a list of questions and potential answer prompts/ templates to help you make self assessment a part of your performance review process effectively.

Top 10 self appraisal questions

  1. What are the key responsibilities you have taken up in the past <performance period>?
  2. How would you describe your performance in the said period?
  3. What have been your greatest accomplishments?
  4. What are the top 3 skills that have helped you excel professionally?
  5. What are a few skills that you would like to work on in the next 3-6 months?
  6. Have your goals changed over the past <performance period>? If yes, how?
  7. Have you been able to achieve your set goals?
  8. How do you plan to achieve your goals for the next <performance period>?
  9. What are some development areas that you have identified for yourself in the past <performance period>?
  10. How would achieving your goals impact your professional journey as well as the organization?
Also read: 150+ useful performance review phrases to start using today

Top 10 employee self assessment answer prompts

  1. I have been able to increase sales by x%
  2. I have maintained a response time of 24 hours for all stakeholders
  3. I helped and supported the efforts of an external team to help them reach their targets 
  4. I appraise my team members of my targets and updates on a weekly basis
  5. I exceeded my target by y%
  6. I believe I would benefit from <improvement area>
  7. In the coming months, I would like to focus more on <skills> to ensure <impact>
  8. I would like to do more of <development area>
  9. I believe refining my <development area> will help me leverage my <strength> better
  10. I wish to achieve <goal> and would work towards <development area> for the same

Role of managers in facilitating effective employee self assessment

Ensuring impact with self assessment is not only dependent on your team members. There are several ways in which managers of an organization can help build a culture of effective self evaluation. 

Create an open culture where employee self reflection does not become the sole tool to penalize or promote employees, see it as an extended glimpse of performance
  • Encourage your team members to reflect on their performance without the fear of it being used against them
  • Provide constant and regular feedback to enable employees to reflect on their performance in real time
  • Use the right tools to make employee self assessment a common practice across the organization
  • Do not comment on the self assessment for any employee as it being correct or incorrect
  • Create a dialogue around the self evaluation to understand the employee better and deliberate on each point, don’t assume

Wrapping up

As we come to an end, it is clear that employee self assessments are an integral part of performance reviews and if conducted in the right manner have the potential to drive a high performing culture. However, we understand that administering and facilitating participation for self assessment can be daunting, especially for a growing organization. 

Fortunately, custom pulse surveys by SuperBeings with automated sending and reminders, along with NLP based sentiment analysis can take care of the same for you. If interested, book a free demo today to learn more. 

Suggested Reading

How to use custom pulse surveys to enhance employee experience

How 360 degree feedback can help managers

Ready to get started?
Speak to our team today

Book Demo