HR Management & Compliance

360 Performance Reviews—Powerful But There Are Pitfalls

By William Taylor

Performance reviews and 360-degree feedback are important in any company because they help boost productivity and revenue, facilitate the assessment of potential issues at the workplace, and find sensible solutions to compel employees to do their job at their fullest potential.

A 360-degree performance review has the power to transform a one-way review into a review process, thus guaranteeing end-to-end feedback and accountability. Depending on the setup and hierarchy of your company, making 360-degree reviews may be an excellent way to analyze your employees and keep an eye on the whole department.

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Is the Traditional 360-Degree Feedback Inefficient?

There’s no secret that employees don’t like to be micro-managed, and their need to feel independent at the workplace is a vital motivation factor. As a consequence, employee empowerment, teamwork, and company culture are increasingly more important, especially among fast-growing companies and famous enterprises. The traditional type of 360-degree feedback is more like a forced process initiated by a supervisor with little- to-no control over his employees. It can’t work if:

  • The feedback is forced (and thus discourages employees from speaking their minds).
  • The feedback is NOT anonymous.
  • The results are directly used against employees.
  • The surveys are not adequately structured.
  • Employees spend more than 30 minutes to complete the satisfaction survey.

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Key Steps to Making 360 Reviews Truly Effective

Over the past few years, 360-degree feedback has gained a lot of popularity and increasingly, companies have started to use it to boost engagement and productivity. In a 360 review, the feedback comes from all directions: selected peers, direct reports, leaders, and so on. For apparent reasons, they’re called “multi-rater” reviews. Right now, a lot of companies, organizations, and international enterprises consider that 360 reviews are compulsory, and they’re mostly used to determine both promotion and compensation.

If your company’s assessment system consists of 360 reviews, you should consider several important factors prior to participating or conducting such a review. Determine the right set of skills first and evaluate them. What are the main competencies for the employee? Focus on his or her strengths but analyze them one at a time. Make sure every review relates to the company’s mission, strategic goals, and values. Some other steps to consider if you want to make 360 reviews efficient:

  • Select raters carefully—Opt for individuals who can provide unbiased feedback.
  • Elucidate the intent—Talk to the people involved in the review and establish an approach to use the feedback.
  • Guarantee confidentiality—Construct a questionnaire (fewer than 50 questions), ask employees to fill it out but keep things anonymous.
  • Look for strengths in potential employees, not weaknesses—Although you may uncover some deficiencies in the performance level of the participant, it’s best to focus on the good.

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Facing 360 Reviews from the Point of View of an Employee

The purpose of a fair 360 review is to maximize performance and not punish the employee in any way. It’s really important for companies to let their people know that these assessments (also known as evaluations) have the sole purpose of boosting productivity and dealing with unpleasant concerns at the workplace. The feedback provided by all employees is anonymous, so everybody is at liberty to state their thoughts honestly and really express their dissatisfactions. To some extent, 360 reviews are controversial, yet when performed correctly the results are unbelievable. Aims of 360 reviews:

  • Help team development.
  • Offer useful, well-rounded feedback.
  • Boost the career development of employees.
  • Determine training demands.

Both 360 reviews and 360-degree feedback are excellent strategies to implement if you want to help your company to thrive. However, some people still consider these methods useless. Why? Because when surveys are not adequately crafted they can scare away employees. Rather than be honest on paper, it’s a lot simpler to be superficial and get it over with faster. It’s important to recognize the importance of employee feedback and, for that to happen, you need to pay attention to the concerns of your people and do whatever you can to satisfy their demands.


About Today’s HR Daily Advisor Blogger:

William Taylor is the writer of this article. He is basically interested in writing about business related topics, negotiation and employee engagement. Also he is a regular contributor at http://www.peopleinsight.co.uk/ that offers employee engagement surveys.