360 Assessment Processes: Making The Proper Decision

The vast amount of visitors on social platforms, particularly Twitter and Caffeine, speaking about 360 assessment processes keeps growing weekly. Tell me your thoughts on 360 assessment processes?


One potential source of disappointment of the 360 degree process is the aggregated data. When you look across a team of, say, 10, you may not see anything very interesting. The team members naturally complement each other so the averages will merge and the colour will not be obvious while protecting individual ratings. With a team of over 40 you can start to see more interesting patterns, however, and the data can show up broad cultural norms very clearly. Importance scales in the 360 degree process help those providing feedback emphasize what they see as most important, and importance and performance measures together help employees target developmental areas. A low importance rating paired with a low performance rating may indicate a low priority for developmental attention. Conversely, a high importance score paired with low performance should alert the employee to turn attention to that area as soon as possible. In a 360 degree assessment, a behavior (or behavioral statement) is a specific, measurable, and observable action that is associated with a competency and reflects an employee’s level of mastery within the competency. It is vital that the subjects (employees for whom the feedback is being collected) have spent at least 6 months in the organisation and have spent a considerable amount of time with the people who will be giving feedback. The power in 360 feedback is not just in allowing people to express their opinions, it is also in facilitating a listening beyond the norm. Most of us in HR know that listening is key and always good. You may also know that your managers are not that great at it. It’s critically important to identify clear goals when starting a 360 assessment program for leaders, managers, or individual contributors. As mentioned above, we strongly recommend that a 360 assessment be utilised purely for developmental purposes, not performance reviews.

360 assessment processes

A potentially negative aspect of an employee rating a supervisor in 360 degree feedbackis the possibility of retaliation. Supervisors who are aware that subordinates have given them negative ratings may punish them by assigning undesirable tasks, withholding salary increases, or generally making the employees' jobs more difficult. The fear of retaliation, real or imagined, may work to positively bias the ratings. 360-degree feedback isn’t necessarily limited to an internal process within the organization. Customer scores rating their experience on a scale from poor to great can help business leaders analyse employee performance in a wider context. When properly constructed you can deliver a great 360 review process that really helps individuals to develop their professional skills. Always remember that the feedback loop is continuous, and you can improve on every feedback cycle. A major way 360-degree feedback adds value to organizational development is through the integration of its multiple parts and the alignment of their goals. This integration and alignment can take place in different forms. For one, 360-degree feedback allows the involvement and linking of important multiple constituencies in the management of the target individual's performance. The specificity/anonymity conundrum takes another turn when the idea of 360 appraisal is involved.

Clear Expectations

The 360-degree performance appraisal system is a way to make sure the appraisal is done in a full-fledged way considering all the elements surrounding the employee. For 360-degree feedback to be effective, we tend to believe that anonymity of the raters is crucial. Research shows that data gathered for developmental purposes are more accurate when raters believe that their ratings will not be used to hurt and punish the persons they are rating. The flip side of anonymity is that, for some raters, it can be an opportunity to pay back "old debts." In either case, it is a good practice to have managers who will receive the feedback select the raters whose judgment they trust. If you are one of the recipients in a 360 review, don’t forget to balance the feedback in this 360-degree report with other feedback you’ve received and your self-assessment. If there are gaps, now is the time to think of reasons. With a better understanding of the feedback, you already avoid falling into the emotion trap. The multi-rater nuanced nature of 360-degree feedback allows an individual to highlight professional behavior or weaknesses that they don’t notice, despite exhibiting them. They can then work to focus learning and development in those areas. Behavioral or otherwise observable items forming scales that relate to practices or perspectives one can change are the most useful form for 360-degree feedback, in that it enables managers to engage in a goal-setting and development-planning process that enhances involvement and self-determination. Looking into 360 degree feedback system can be a time consuming process.

When giving 360 degree feedback, give your employees a chance to respond to your comments so you can see it from their perspective and properly address the situation. Remember your job is to give them perspective on their actions. Give suggestions of ways they could adjust their performance and ask what steps they think they could take. 360 degree feedbackgoes beyond the conventional ‘Self’ and ‘Manager’ appraisals to include data from peers, reports and other sources. Such multi-sourced data enables individuals to understand how they are perceived by others and why they interact the way they do. From this, individuals can begin making fundamental change and improvement. New information and ideas need a degree of processing. This needs time and space which you can guide, but crucially you need to make sure there is time for private processing otherwise you will only get the immediate reactions which may be protective and defensive. It is this factor that has made us very clear that managers do better receiving their 360 degree feedbackreports 48 to 72 hours before the feedback coaching session. Whenever this does not happen you can see and feel the difference, and you can only be in “emotional emergency” management rather than in true coaching mode. In order to create and maintain a healthy company morale, employees need to experience an atmosphere of teamwork and collaboration. 360-degree feedback often flies in the face of this and has been described as coming from the same Godzilla world as Forced Ranking and Bell Curve Performance Reviews and all that garbage. The strategic and quality foundation to 360 degree feedbackis essential for 360 truly to be a tool of cultural change. If your 360 is fully aligned to your other talent management processes then it will enhance, build and add value, but if it is not fully aligned it may appear slightly irrelevant and lose its power to influence and impact. Analysis and decision making become easier when an understanding of 360 degree feedback is woven into the organisational fabric.

Applications For 360 Degree Feedback

Make sure you use a software that supports the number of evaluators you want to use in your process. For 360 degree to work at an optimal level there needs to be at least 5 reviewers, preferably coming from different parts of the organization. When giving 360 degree feedback, be specific. Think about the specific behaviors that are important for your colleague to do an amazing job. If you notice room for improvement, share it with your colleague in break-down points. Homemade applications may work when introducing multisource assessment, especially when used for development-only feedback and in small groups. However, as users become more sophisticated, they want additional features that are likely to be beyond the capacity of a simple home-grown computer program. Consequently, the investment in in-house-created technology must recur regularly to keep up with user needs and improvements in computer technologies. The unreliability of results can undermine your 360 degree feedbackmission. It lowers morale, and can even harm relationships between employees if there is a culture of giving overly critical peer reviews. Your data has no value to the organisation if the source is not seen as credible. This leads you to aim to reference well-established sources of research, business schools, Harvard Business Review, etc. You can use well-respected consultants to add credibility to data or diagnostics too. Brand comes in here as useful and you can soon test out which brands will land well with your stakeholders. Researching what is 360 degree feedback is known to the best first step in determining your requirements and brushing up on your understanding in this area.

A reasonable 360 degree feedbacksurvey probably should use between twenty and thirty-five items. If the survey takes twice as long to complete, research shows, more than twice as many people fail to respond at all to the survey. In a long survey, often more than twice as many nonresponses occur on the second half of the survey compared with the first half. In addition, respondents are likely to provide significantly less distinction among items on the second portion. When respondents get tired, they seem either to stop responding or to make all their ratings about the same. A 360 process can help to establish a level of comfort with the idea of giving and receiving feedback so that this becomes the norm. Accurate interpretation of 360 degree feedbackis critical in the responsible use of this powerful intervention – without this your participant can end up upset about something that is not really there or can think something is happening that may not be so. This can be very confusing, possibly destructive, and can seriously undermine the credibility of such projects – and as you can see it is not as straightforward as it may seem. We humans have many layers protecting us from outside influence and these layers can be engaged or not. In general whatever you resist persists, and change will not occur with any ease. Resistance is a phenomenon studied in physics and is seen as a hindrance to flow. The scales on which managers receive 360 degree feedbackalso should be aligned with the vision and values of their organizations. Managers should perceive that the dimensions on which they are being assessed are related to skills and perspectives valued and rewarded in their organizations. Managers are not likely to be motivated to work on development goals if those goals do not relate to valued skills and practices seen as effective in their workplace. Keeping up with the latest developments regarding 360 feedback software is a pre-cursor to Increased employee motivation and building the link between performance and rewards.

Talents Are Tenderly Nurtured

In 360 degree feedbackprojects, upsets can leak out. For instance, the initial emotions can be seen by others when they would not normally be so exposed and this can totally undermine the process and the status of the individual participant. This risk suggests that the initial delivery of 360 degree feedbackreports should be considered very carefully. Some organizations use 360-degree feedback as a strategy to communicate to employees that a new skill set will be needed for an anticipated organizational or culture change in work methods, work content, work flow, or work demand. Just as 360-degree feedback may be used to communicate a key skill set, organizational strategy, or a business need, so may the monitoring of change using 360-degree feedback maintain the focus of the organization's members on where they stand relative to those goals, and on the very fact that the organization is making these changes. Managerial effectiveness is an elusive concept. For this reason, the use of multiple sources allows for the most complete picture available of managerial effectiveness. Together, the unique perspectives from each rating source provide a fuller picture of managerial effectiveness-one that can be used to initiate individual development by comparing it against the standards set by the organization. Get additional facts about 360 assessment processes on this Wikipedia page.

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