Cornerstone Credit Union
“Have you ever sat down with your team and asked: How can I be the best manager for you?” this is the question Jennie Armstrong, People Development Consultant for Cornerstone Credit Union, asks organizational leaders.
Armstrong understands it can be difficult for leaders to ask this kind of question. According to a recent article in Harvard Business Review, leaders aren’t always proactive about seeking feedback. This is because leadership feedback is often infrequent, vague or unrelated to specific behaviours. In short, it’s not helpful.
In a recent employee engagement survey, Cornerstone Credit Union employees indicated their desire to provide feedback to managers within the organization. Armstrong, who returned to Canada after several years in learning and development roles with technology companies in London UK, was tasked to lead the way.
Armstrong searched for a practical, cost effective and robust tool to gather and provide meaningful feedback to the executive team and existing personnel managers of the 9-branch, Saskatchewan-based financial institution. The Psychometrics 360 degree evaluation was selected for two reasons: it provides timely, specific feedback through the identification of strengths and gaps, and it allows for the interpretation of results by the HR team without requiring an external consultant.
360 degree feedback is now part of the annual development planning process. Every leader is required to have SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based) goals and 2 to 3 of these must be related to the feedback they receive from the Psychometrics 360.
Armstrong and her team are both direct and caring when facilitating discussions around the results of the 360. All employees in the organization have completed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and an individual’s personality preferences are taken into consideration to deliver feedback effectively.
“These SMART goals are required to be shared with direct reports and supervisors,” says Armstrong. “We are asking people to be vulnerable and it can be scary to have your weaknesses seen.”
The outcomes have been extremely positive. Armstrong notes that leaders are a bit nervous at first but are pleasantly surprised with the results.
Sharing the development plan with direct reports also provides employees with the assurance that something is being done with the information they have provided. They feel they are being heard.
Armstrong plans to continue using the Psychometrics 360 feedback tool. Soon, Cornerstone will begin a merger process with two other credit unions and leaders will face new challenges, some of which may require the development of additional capabilities. Cornerstone Credit Union understands that one of the critical elements of a high performing organization is to have happy, engaged, and satisfied leaders. The opportunity to gain high-quality , objective and relevant feedback collected by those who work directly with leaders is one of their keys to leadership success.