Reduce 360 Feedback Email with One Simple Trick

Blurred photo of Businessman hand pressing the keyboard for sendParticipants in online feedback reviews often note that they receive too many automated emails throughout the process. In most cases, more emails lead to confusion instead of clarification and end up overwhelming participants. This can lead to lower response rates. The EchoSpan 360-feedback tool allows you to send two types of emails to your Raters (participants providing feedback); standard review messages and summary invitation messages.

Standard Rater review invitations and reminders are personalized messages that invite Raters to review a specific Target. One email is created for each person that the Rater has to review, so if the Rater needs to review five Targets, five emails will be created for the Rater.  These individual messages are especially useful if reviews are being done on a rolling basis or Raters are reviewing a small amount of Targets.

The need for decreasing emails becomes especially important in larger projects. In order to consolidate these emails, the EchoSpan tool allows you to summarize your emails to Raters. Rater Summary invitations and reminders are used to reduce the amount of emails sent to your Raters.  If you choose to use the summary messages, only one email will be created for each Rater regardless of how many Targets they need to rate. The link in the summary emails will take the Rater to their dashboard where they can view all of the reviews they have to complete.  You can even include a merge code in the email template that will list all of the Targets they have to rate in the email message, [[targetlist]]. Summary Invitations can be queued from the drop-down menu, select Email >> Summary Invitations.


How to Compare 360 Feedback Results Over Time

Trends show that 360 feedback is increasingly used as an ongoing process for companies focused on employee development. As the uses for 360 feedback evolve, the importance of having data points to track results over time increases. One client told us, “Comparing an employee’s results over time allows us to quantify the employees’ growth as they also discuss the quality of their improvements with their managers a few times per year.”

In order to compare results over time in the EchoSpan tool, project Administrators can begin by cloning a previously completed review project. When a project is cloned the review items, email templates, and project settings are all carried over into a new project automatically. Additionally, Administrators can copy all the participants from the previous project into the new project with one click of a button. A new project’s review items and competencies should remain unchanged from the previous project so the system can analyze results most accurately.

Once your employees have received feedback in at least two review instances, Administrators can compile results into comparative reports. To create a report that shows comparisons, you will first want to create a custom report template. Next, you will want to choose the comparative sections to include in your report.

There are the two styles of comparative reports to choose from in the EchoSpan tool. The “Change over Time” components give a higher level trend view on how things have progressed over time. This can show trends for the two, three, or four most recent reviews. These components are named “Change over time: Competencies” and “Change over time: Individual Items” in the Report Template Editor. An example of a Change over Time component is shown below.

change_over_time_comps_360The Current vs. Previous components compare the two most recent review scores and highlights positive and negative changes with a numerical value in the “CHG” column. The report also includes a red “down” arrow and black “up” arrow depending on the score so that you can quickly identify areas of regression or progression. These components are named “Current vs Previous: Competencies” and “Current vs Previous: Individual Items” in the tool. An example of a Current vs. Previous component is shown below.

current_vs_previous_360report_1We encourage our current clients to sign-up for one of our Q&A sessions if you have any questions about configuring comparative reviews in your account. These Q&A sessions are hosted weekly by one of our senior client managers who can provide best practices and answer additional how-to questions about using comparative data.


Making Competencies and Items Relationship Group Specific


Content for 360- degree feedback reviews is typically tailored to help develop the skills of the reviewees being assessed. There are times when this content contains items that will be most effectively assessed by specific relationship groups; only one or multiple groups within the review. EchoSpan’s 360 tool allows you to set up single items or multiple items within a competency that are relationship group specific.  This functionality enables clients to create one review in which all reviewees can be included as opposed to multiple reviews which will cut down on project management time and make comparison reporting much simpler.

So, how does an Administrator set up this capability in their project? There are two options depending on your needs: 1) Items can be directed to participants from one relationship group or 2) Items can be directed to participants from multiple, but not all relationship groups.  As you add your item(s) to a review, choose the item type, and then select the respondent group(s) that should respond to the item(s). Once saved, the relationship groups that you chose as respondents will be presented on your review items page. Detailed instructions on this process are also in our product guide here.

A Preview of What’s Ahead in 2018

Our development team has been busy creating some great new features as part of version 7.66 of our 360-degree feedback tool. One addition to the tool is a new way to look at an employee’s performance over time.


We’ve added new report components that can be used in situations where clients want to compare two previous review instances and need greater detail in the results. The report shows bar graphs for the current review and a “PREV” column for the previous review. A “CHG” column shows the change between review instances along with a red downward arrow for reduced performance and a black up arrow for improved performance.

These components are available now as Beta components in all accounts (Current vs. Previous: Competencies (Beta) and Current vs. Previous: Individual Items (Beta). We encourage you to check out the new components and let us know your thoughts. Version 7.66 of our tool will be released in early 2018.


EchoSpan To Sponsor 2017 SIOP Leading Edge Consortium


EchoSpan is proud to return as the Presenting Partner for the 2017 SIOP Leading Edge Consortium. The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s (SIOP) 13th annual Leading Edge Consortium, “Innovations in Executive Coaching: Deepening Your Expertise in a Dynamic World,” will cover new approaches in executive coaching. Topics include coaching models and the use of technology, cross-cultural challenges, neuropsychology, and internal coaching and team coaching. The consortium will take place at the Hilton Minneapolis on October 20-21, 2017.

The multi-faceted conference will be full of top thinkers and practitioners, informative panels, and networking opportunities. For more about the consortium please visit the event website at We look forward to seeing you all there!

It’s a Good Time for 360 Reviews

As Q4 is fast approaching, many organizations are ramping up to release their 360 reviews.  The purpose of a 360-degree feedback review is to clarify areas in which an employee is excelling, as well as areas in which improvement is needed for the employee.  The multi-rater feedback results will help employees determine a development path for the coming year to ensure they are continuing to excel and grow specific skill sets.  As you evaluate 360 vendors, here are some important criteria to consider.

Ease of Implementation and Use

Setting up and managing reviews should not be time consuming for Administrators. Use a 360 feedback tool where you can easily customize competencies, items, rating scales, and workflows so the process properly fits your organization. To save yourself even more time, look for a tool that allows you to automate events in your workflow. Most of all, the tool should be intuitive for end-users so that no training is involved and response rates are higher.

time for 360 reviews_blog.jpg

Customized Reports

The culmination of any 360-degree feedback process is the final report, making reports a critical part of the process. Reports should be attractive, flexible, easy-to-understand and accessible when you need them. Be sure that your 360 tool allows you to add your company logo to reports, personalize elements such as introductory text, page titles and fonts, and distribute and secure reports with the click of a button.

Development Planning

Development planning, while a necessary component in skill development and behavioral change, is often forgotten or only partially implemented. In order to close the loop on your 360 feedback process, it is essential that employees can create and manage development plans that are aligned with their recent 360 review. A robust development planning tool should, at a minimum: 1) Allow employees and/or managers to identify and track goals and objectives 2) Be accessible via PC, tablet, or mobile device and 3) Provide Administrators with real-time information on where their employees are focusing their development plans and which plans are leading to developmental improvement.

Take a look at what EchoSpan has to offer here:

Brief Overview Video:

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Measuring Team Performance

Team of business people sitting together in discussion

Virtual teams, cross-functional teams, department teams, and leadership teams are all common place in modern organizations. More and more, driving team performance is as important as developing the contributions of individuals. Understanding a team’s areas of competence and developmental need is a critical component in creating high-performance work groups. This is why our 360-degree feedback system includes reporting features that combine the results of individual feedback reviews into aggregate group or team reports.

EchoSpan group reports allow you to create a PDF report containing the results of all or select individuals in your projects. Administrators can select which individuals to include in their group report and then all of the individual scores are aggregated into group scores. Administrators can also generate group reports across multiple 360 feedback projects as long as the projects contain comparable content. This is useful when individuals may be part of multiple projects and/or teams.

Best of all, group reports are customizable in the EchoSpan tool, providing you with complete control over the layout and appearance of your reports. Administrators are able to change the names of report sections, styles of charts and graphs, and create reports in over 140 different languages all within the administrative tool.

Administrators can generate group reports in any project and even filter their list of individuals by fields such as region, department, or title. Much like individual reviews, team reviews should be performed at least once a year or at certain checkpoints throughout the year like conclusion of a team project or ending of a quarter.

A few of the most common benefits of group reports are:

  • Clearly identify team strengths and areas that need development
  • Increased communication amongst the group about the group’s effectiveness
  • Ensure the team understands and is focused on common goals
  • Compare one team’s performance to others

Evaluating and analyzing team performance is no less important than individual reviews in today’s workplace. By utilizing group reports Administrators can easily identify a team’s strengths and areas where a team needs developmental resources to improve. No matter what types of teams are in your workplace, a group report can be effective in helping to increase the performance of your teams.