Many organizations are using 360 reviews as a way to obtain a more holistic assessment of employee performance. Unlike a traditional performance review in which an employee’s performance is evaluated by their manager, a 360 review includes input from various people at different levels throughout the organization. This could include peers, direct reports, indirect managers, and customers. The name ‘360 review’ comes from the process of soliciting feedback from all directions in the organization. As a result, the employee will receive feedback that helps them understand how their performance is viewed throughout the organization, not only by their manager.
In practice, organizations use a variety of methods to obtain 360 feedback. A manager may ask others for feedback about the employee and then look for patterns of behaviour as well as positive and negative feedback. The manager then relays the important points to the employee making the feedback easier to understand and action. A 360 review can also be done through electronic surveys that score employees on specific metrics. This type of system makes it much easier for all parties to solicit and submit feedback. In organizations with a strong climate of trust, employees may provide 360 feedback directly to each other. This type of 360 review is less common as it requires a specific type of organizational culture and sufficient training for all employees on how to deliver and receive feedback.
As with any process or approach, there are both pros and cons to 360 reviews:
Soliciting feedback from a variety of individuals lessens the possibility for discrimination in the review process.
Team dynamics will improve as employees become more accountable to each other when they are involved in the review process.
Organizational development issues can be uncovered and addressed if 360 reviews reveal that employees and teams are not working successfully together.
Many employees believe that 360 reviews are a more accurate representation of their performance and this makes them more useful for professional development. In fact, more than 85% of Fortune 500 companies use 360 reviews in their leadership development process.
Customer service will improve when employees receive feedback directly from customers and understand how they can service them better.
Since the feedback is typically anonymous, employees need resources that they can approach for clarification and guidance. Effective 360 reviews require supervisors and managers who are trained to help employees understand and action feedback. Without this, employees may become frustrated and unmotivated.
When reviewers are inexperienced or untrained, feedback can become overly negative, overly positive, or so generalized it’s not constructive. Sufficient training is an essential part of successful 360 reviews.
When implemented successfully, 360 reviews will make a positive contribution to your performance management system. A thoughtful rollout of the 360 review process and sufficient training for reviewers is essential. When done successfully, 360 reviews become a tool that can motivate employees and improve organizational relationships.
Using the Sincron HR platform HR managers can create and customize 360-degree employee performance evaluations then implement and track their success. In addition:
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