360 Degree for Jewish Students from WUJS
360 Feedback is a powerful management tool that can rapidly improve performance in large local Jewish student groups and national unions. 360° performance feedback is the process of evaluating performance by asking a wide range of people to give feedback to volunteers on their performance. This feedback could come from union members, fellow committee members, the union chair, or even university staff. Because feedback is gathered from a number of different people, Jewish activists won't find the results biased or unfairly critical, but rather are likely to take criticisms and suggestions on board in an effort to improve.
How it works
For each job, or kind of job, within a Jewish student union, a list of the skills and behaviours required for that job is written. This would include things like 'approachable; eager-to-please; has necessary knowledge' and so on. The union activist then elects a number of people they are in contact with to participate in their review. It is important that choice over who gives feedback is given to the person being reviewed - otherwise they are likely to resent the advice given. From the list of people to give feedback that the activist has prepared, the person overseeing the 360° feedback process, selects a few to actually give the feedback - this means that if there are people on the Activist's list who are considered unsuitable they won't actually give feedback.
Those giving feedback complete surveys, rating the individual's performance in each of the skill and behaviour areas deemed important for the activist's job. The activist may also fill out a survey, rating his or her own performance.
Survey responses are compiled and the individual receives a report summarising others' perceptions of his or her performance, highlighting strengths and development needs. The editing process must be done by somebody trusted, and confidentiality must be adhered to. The report should make it clear where other's feel improvements can be made, but also must praise the activist where appropriate.
Gaining a better understanding of others' perspectives allows a union activist to see her or his own strengths and weaknesses more clearly, through the eyes of others. Strengths and training needs can be easily identified in this way. What is considered success is made more clear to the Activist, if only from the questions that are placed on the feedback survey. All of this leads to an improvement in performance. In addition, running a 360° Feedback programme demonstrates to Activists that their performance is considered important, as is their own development.
After a survey is complete, it is important to give the individual union activist an opportunity to discuss their report with the 360° Feedback scheme coordinator, or the union Chair.