BT 360 degree feedback case study

  • Company:
  • Solution: Designed a 360 programme to fit BT
  • Result: Developing leaders globally


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Best known as the UK’s leading telecoms firm, BT Group is also a global communications provider serving customers in over 170 countries.

ETS was appointed as a partner by BT as they needed a 360 degree feedback programme to roll out to leaders and managers worldwide.

Challenge: Help evolve the leadership style to drive long-term growth

The business driver for a new 360 degree feedback programme was BT’s ambition to evolve its leadership style. BT’s aims for expanded future use of the 360 tool led them seek a bespoke rather than off the-shelf solution.

Rob Shaw, Head of Assessment at BT Group, explains:

“Historically, our leadership style at BT has been authoritative – quite ‘command and control’. We needed to shift this style to a high-challenge and support model of leadership, to better equip us to deliver sustainable long-term growth.”

Solution: Designing a 360 programme to fit BT

The 360 degree feedback system we developed was designed to be simple but scalable. This means more functions can be added as needed.

We designed the questionnaire around BT’s leadership framework, which consists of four priority areas and eight core leadership principles.

The reports we created for leaders include a summary of results, top and bottom-scoring questions, perception gaps and verbatim comments. This gives a clear insight into their greatest strengths and development areas.

Further phased plans are in place for more improvements to the existing BT 360 feedback programme.

These include the translation of the 360 in to 11 different languages and adding a follow-up 360 process. This will use an improvement scale rather than the standard frequency scale enabling them to assess progress made against chosen development areas. It’ll also include historical comparison data for those re-taking the 360 process.

Creating user-friendly reports

We designed personal reports for leaders that take them through their results and steer them towards development actions. The reports include a summary of results, top and bottom-scoring questions, perception gaps and verbatim comments, giving greater insight for the individual into what others perceive as their greatest strengths and development areas.

The reports link with BT’s leadership coaching tool. This makes it really easy for participants to map their strengths and development areas from the 360 feedback data against BT’s core leadership principles.

Consultancy support

To help them dig deeper and access more powerful insight, leaders at BT are supported by coaches. Our business psychologists worked closely with the team at BT to design and run workshops with the coaches so they better support leaders with their development. This has equipped the coaches to help leaders with feedback interpretation and choosing development actions.

Result: Developing leaders globally

The Group CEO and board members piloted the new tool. It was then rolled out to the top 600 executives worldwide, and later to all front line leaders. This has meant 360 feedback has been provided to over 2,000 people in the first eight months since launch.

BT’s 360 usage has continued to grow at pace, Rob Shaw explains:

“As our thinking and our experience of the 360 tool has increased, our requirements have grown more complex and nuanced. I’ve worked with ETS to add in a new leadership styles section to the report, we’ve added in norms and comparators to increase the challenge of the feedback we give, and we’ve improved how the report is delivered. It’s now being used as part of our global development programme for all front line leaders.”

Summary: Business impact

  • Increased self-awareness among leaders driving a change of leadership style
  • Demand from employees to participate in 360 process to develop themselves
  • Helping to improve employee engagement.