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Crowdsourcing vs. 360 Degree Feedback (part 1)

In a previous post I talked about my experience crowdsourcing for feedback.  It’s a much different experience to receiving 360 Degree Feedback.  It’s less formal for a start and you have total control over it.  Crowdsourcing has a number of advantages over 360 Degree Feedback.  Which begs the question, should 360 be consigned to the scrap heap?

Let’s start with a basic understanding of the two approaches.

360 Degree Feedback is an organised process where people receive feedback against a questionnaire.  The questionnaire is usually based around a set of competencies and behaviours.  For example, new leaders may receive feedback against a set of competencies and behaviors that define good leadership.  Responses are provided by a number of people who are invited to give feedback. To be able to provide good quality feedback, they need to know the person well.  You can read more about 360 Degree Feedback on our web site here and here.

Crowdsourcing is a less formal tool that you can use to go out to a wider group of respondents. For example, you might crowdsource using every person in a department as a potential respondent.  Unlike 360 Degree Feedback, there’s no expectation that every person in the group will respond.  You can initiate crowdsourcing as and when you like it.  Although you wouldn’t want to annoy people too frequently, crowdsourcing is suitable to use more than just once or twice a year.

Screenshot of crowdsourcing tool

There’s a big difference with the number of questions you ask with each tool.  With 360 Degree Feedback you might ask 60 highly specific questions. With crowdsourcing you might ask just one or two questions like “can you provide at least one suggestion where I can improve as a leader”.

In the second part of this blog post we’ll look at whether crowdsourcing or 360 Degree Feedback is the best tool for the job.  I’ll give some examples of different needs and pick a winner.