All about 360 degree feedback, its effectiveness and benefits

  • Written by News Company

These days, hiring new employees and retaining existing ones has become a real challenge these days. Every employee does desire to move on to a higher post and get promoted periodically. So there needs to be a proper system that offers accurate view of the employee and show if he/she is really eligible to move ahead or not. It is very much important to boost employee morale and confidence. This is done through promotion. But if the right decision is not taken to support and promote good employees, then the business is sure to lose good talent to competitors and lose out on competition.

About 360 degree feedback

It is regarded to be a process or system where employees are said to receive anonymous, confidential feedback from people working around them. Typically it includes employee’s peers, managers and direct repots. The anonymous web based feedback form is file dup by combination of 8-12 people. The form can be stated to be an advanced 360 degree feedback tool which asks questions relating to wide variety of workplace competencies. It also includes questions which are measured on rating scale, while asking raters to offer written comments. Self-rating survey which includes similar survey questions is also filled up the person who receives the feedback.

Popularity of 360 feedback tool

The truth is that the 360 degree feedback system is gaining popularity across corporate sectors belonging to all domains, across the globe. Such surveys do help the HR department and the concerned management to get better understanding of the employee’s weaknesses and strengths. This system also tabulates automatically the results, presenting them in a particular format to help feedback recipient to successfully come up with a development plan. Always, individual responses get combined with other’s people’s responses in same rater category (for example direct, peer report) so as to preserve anonymity. It also helps the employees to get a clear picture about his/her overall weaknesses and strengths and to work on them accordingly.

Those not in the management role can also find the 360 feedback to be a wonderful development tool. Non-manager 360 evaluation does not measure 360 degree feedback, since no direct reports are there. However, similar principles do apply. Therefore, 360 degree feedback meant for non-managers can be useful to help the recipients to become all the more effective and efficient in their present roles. It also helps them to focus on the different areas of weaknesses and become good enough to be promoted to the next higher management level.

How is this tool used?

Typically, companies are found to use 360 feedback systems in the following ways:

  • 360 degree feedback as development tool for helping employees to find out their strengths and weaknesses, so as to become much more efficient and effective. As a matter of fact, 360 degree feedback can prove to be effective when used as development tool, if carried out properly. Feedback process also provides people with the opportunity to offer the coworkers with anonymous feedback, which they probably could be uncomfortable with to provide. This way, greater insights can be gained by the feedback recipients as to how others tend to perceive them. It also provides them with the opportunity to make behavior adjustments and to develop essential skills to enable them excel at their work.

  • Acts as performance appraisal tool for measuring employee performance: It is considered to be a common practice for organizations to use 360 feedback tools. But experts do state that it might not always prove to be a great idea. It can be really difficult to structure properly the feedback process to develop a trustworthy and reliable atmosphere, when using 360 evaluations for measuring performance. 360 feedback also is found to focus on competencies and behaviors instead of just job requirements, performance objectives and basic skills. Such things are addressed appropriately by the employee as well as his/her manager, being part of the performance appraisal process and annual review. Incorporating 360 feedback to the bigger performance management strategy can prove to be really beneficial. However, there needs to be adequate understanding on how it is to be used.

What does it help to measure?

  • It helps to measure competencies and behaviors.

  • It offers feedback on how the employee is being perceived by the others.

  • It addresses various types of skills like goal setting, planning and listening.

  • It focuses on core subjective areas like leadership effectiveness, character and teamwork.

What is not assessed?

  • This is not to be understood to be a tool to measure performance objectives of the employee (MBOs).

  • It is not a strategy to determine if basic job requirements are being met by the employee.

  • It is not found to be focused upon any job specific skills or basic technical skills.

  • It is not to be used for measuring objective things like sales quotas, attendance, etc.

Know the qualitative comment benefits derived from 360 feedback appraisal

In 360 degree feedback, qualitative data can prove to be extremely useful as it offers great insights which can enhance development opportunities. However, it needs to be carefully handed. The written comments are to be gathered and presented to the concerned employee.

360 degree feedback can be stated to be an approach to carry out performance appraisals and reviews. This is done by collecting data from various group of people, who tend to interact with the concerned employee at work.

Quantitative data

Issues associated with purely quantitative can be termed to be the fact that no examples are explanations are provided by it. The numbers are likely to display where the employee weaknesses and strengths lie. But trying to suggest potential improvements can be tough without proper and further information. Any deficiencies present may leave the appraisee to assume various reasons.

Qualitative data

It helps to add depth and color to the information and helps the employee to become wary of their performance and to do better. It does provide the employee with better insight for professional development.

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