360 Degree Appraisal- Effective Performance Assessment

Feedbacks are important part for everyone in order to recognize strengths and weaknesses, good and bad, and become more effective. This is the strategy followed by organizations where many employees at various designations working together in an environment because skills-development and company’s growth are the motive of the company. Through feedbacks, there is an opportunity to adjust behaviours and develop skills that will enable them to excel at their jobs.

This feedback method is used by companies just like an employee review process where employee can be subordinates, co-workers, and managers. In this feedback process, not just superiors but also peers and direct reports and sometimes even customers evaluate an employee.In today’s changing and volatile world organizations are continually looking for ways to improve performance, and satisfy the demands of all stakeholders. For an organization to evolve the people working within it will have to adapt; and for this to be successful, they first of all need to know what it is about the way they are currently performing that needs to change.

A 360 Degree Appraisal is a type of employee performance review in which subordinates, co-workers, and managers all anonymously rate the employee. It was first developed by General Electric (GE), USA in 1992. Today it is used by all major organisations. In India, it is used by Crompton Greaves, Wipro, Infosys, Reliance Industries, etc. In systems or tools, like 360-degree feedback, employees receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around them.

It is a multi-source assessment, where performance is judged by a number of individuals and may include managers, subordinates, colleagues and customers. Each and every one rate the other based on a certain criterion which are all performance based (strategic orientation, leadership, teamwork, communication, organization skills, decisiveness, adaptability, etc.).

This kind of feedback is used during appraisal, resourcing, succession planning and to support pay decisions. When done properly, 360 is highly effective as a development tool. This process gives people an opportunity to provide anonymous feedback to a co-worker that they might otherwise be uncomfortable in giving.

An appraisal, called 360 Degree Appraisal made by top management, immediate superior, peers, subordinates, self, and customers. The performance of the employee or manager is evaluated by six parties, including himself. This method is very reliable. As these parties are continuously interacting and working with each other, they are in the best position to evaluate the employee or manager. These 6 parties which are involved in appraisal are: Top management, immediate superior, peers/co-workers, subordinates, self-appraisal, and customers.

  • Top management- evaluates the middle level managers, lower level managers and senior employees.
  • Immediate superior- evaluates the performance of his subordinates as they have direct and accurate information about the work performance of their subordinates.
  • Peer or colleagues- evaluates each other’s performance, used mostly in cases where team work is important.
  • Subordinates- evaluate the performance of his superior.
  • Self-appraisal- evaluates his own performance, should be honest and this results in self-development.
  • Customers- evaluate the performance of the employees who interacts with them, and also given the most importance as the customer is the most important person for the business.

Appraisal can also be done by an Appraisal Panel., which consists of 5 to 6 different types of members. In some cases, Outside Consultants and Personnel Department also conducts an appraisal of employees and managers. The results from 360-degree feedback are often used by the person receiving the feedback to plan training and development

The feedback process measures

  • It measures behaviours and competencies
  • It provides feedback on how others perceive an employee
  • It addresses skills such as listening, planning, and goal-setting
  • The evaluation focuses on subjective areas such as teamwork, character, and leadership effectiveness.

And it does not assess

  • It is not a way to measure employee performance objectives
  • It is not a way to determine whether an employee is meeting basic job requirements
  • Also not focuson basic technical or job-specific skills
  • It should not be used to measure strictly objective things such as attendance, sales quotas, etc.

Using this feedback system for Performance Appraisal is a common practice, but not always a good idea as it is difficult to properly structure a 360-feedback process that creates an atmosphere of trust when one can use 360 evaluations to measure performance.

360 feedback focuses on behaviours and competencies. These things are most appropriately addressed by an employee and his/her manager as part of an annual review and performance appraisal process. It is certainly possible and can be beneficial to incorporate 360 feedback into a larger performance management process, but only with clear communication that how the 360 feedback will be used.

Some important points which can be mentioned in feedback are- focus only on the top 3 behaviours, tell them how to change and finally there should be no norms and self-ratings.

Some advantages of appraisal

  • Offer a more comprehensive view towards the performance of employees.
  • Such colleague’s feedback will help strengthen self-development.
  • Increases responsibilities of employees to their customers.
  • The mix of ideas can give a more accurate assessment.
  • Opinions gathered from lots of staff are sure to be more persuasive.
  • Not only manager should make assessments on its staff performance but other colleagues should do, too.
  • People who undervalue themselves are often motivated by feedback from others.
  • If more staff takes part in the process of performance appraisal, the organizational culture of the company will become more honest.

Disadvantages of appraisal

  • There is requirement for training and important effort in order to achieve efficient working.
  • It will be very hard to figure out the results.
  • Feedback can be useless if it is not carefully and smoothly dealt.
  • Can impose an environment of suspicion if the information is not openly and honestly managed.
  • Extension of exchange feedback can cause troubles and tensions to several staff.
  • Taking a lot of time, and being complex in administration

Many parties are available for evaluation using 360 Degree Appraisal work and is popular. There is no “bias” and it will become more realistic.

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