What an employer/HR team needs to know before adopting a multi source Feedback system

A 360 degree performance appraisal is a full circle system, of obtaining information about the employee /appraisee’s performance from the self, peers, subordinates, and internal and external customers. In human resources, 360 degree appraisal, also known as 360 degree feedback, multi-rater feedback, multi source feedback, multi source assessment or full circle feedback. Most often, 360-degree appraisal will include direct feedback from an employee’s subordinates, peers, and supervisor(s), as well as a self-evaluation. It can also include, in some cases, feedback from external sources, such as customers and suppliers or other interested stakeholders. Employees view performance information from multiple sources as fair, accurate, credible and motivating.

360 degree appraisal improves the quality of performance measures by using multi-raters providing a more balanced and comprehensive view. The information is more reliable, valid and credible because the providers interact regularly with the employee at work.
The 360 degree appraisal helps the HR department to have better understanding of the competitive advantage and disadvantages of the current manpower resources and tune them towards performance excellence and productivity.
Who should be included 360 degree performance appraisal?
Managers (i.e. superior)
Team members
Suppliers/ vendors.
Anyone who comes into contact with the employee and can provide valuable insights and information

360 degree appraisal has five integral components:

  1. Self appraisal
  2. Superior’s appraisal
  3. Subordinate’s appraisal
  4. Peer appraisal
  5. External Sources (Customers and Clients)

Not only does this method provide feedback from a variety of viewpoints, it also minimizes the bias problems that are inherent to evaluations. The more appraisers an employee has, the more likely the biases of the raters will tend to cancel one another out, and the more perspectives will combine to give a complete, accurate and honest picture.

1. Self appraisal

Self appraisal is an important part of the Performance appraisal process where the employee himself gives the feedback or his views and points regarding his performance. Usually this is done with the help of a self appraisal form where the employee rates himself on various parameters, tells about his training needs, if any, it gives a chance to the employee to look at his/her strengths and weaknesses, his achievements, and judge his own performance

2. Superior’s appraisal

Superior’s appraisal forms the traditional part of the 360 degree performance appraisal where the employees’ responsibilities and actual performance is rated by the immediate superior. The superior is in a very good position to evaluate the performance of his subordinates. This is because they have direct and accurate information about the work performance of their subordinates. The superior-only performance appraisal is subjective and relies on the supervisor’s judgment.

3. Subordinate appraisal

Subordinates appraisal gives a chance to judge the employee on the parameters like communication and motivating abilities, superior’s ability to delegate the work, leadership qualities etc.

4. Peers / Co-workers

Peer or colleagues co-workers also evaluate each other’s performance. They work continuously with each other, and they know each other’s performance. Peer evaluation is used mostly in cases where team work is important. Peers can help to find employees’ abilities to work in a team, co-operation and sensitivity towards others.

5. External Sources (Customers and Clients)

Customers can also evaluate the performance of the employees who interacts with them. This evaluation is best because it is objective. It is also given a lot of importance because the customers and clients are the most important person for the business. Organizations use customer and client appraisals to improve the strengths and remove the weaknesses of their employees.

A 360 degree performance appraisal has high employee involvement and also has the strongest impact on behavior and performance. A 360 degree appraisal is generally found more suitable for the managers as it helps to assess their leadership and managing styles. This technique is being effectively used across the globe for performance appraisals.

Having made a Management or Board Decision to start using a 360 degree appraisal, the HR team or a hired consultancy firm develop tools/questionnaires tailor made to the Organization.

Conduct sessions to describe the 360 degree employee evaluation process to your organization’s staff and explain how each participant and his or her supervisor, peers, direct reports and customers—up to a specified number—will be able to complete a questionnaire to provide feedback. It is during these sessions that you clarify the purpose for everyone involved

Guide on the compilation and analysis of the completed employee evaluations; and Hold a one-on-one employee feedback session with each participant to discuss the confidential results, counsel the participant and help develop action plans for future employee development.

 Take note in order to avoid any mistakes: A 360 degree evaluation process is a lot of work. As an organization and particularly the HR team (and as the person being evaluated) you are putting additional workload on others to give time, thought and effort to an evaluation process. As the HR team, there is also significant effort required on your part to manage the process and synthesize the diverse perspectives into one common evaluation report back to your direct report. This is often one of the main reasons that HR Managers or organizations do not pursue the 360 degree evaluation option. In addition, the culture of the organization must be supportive of this type of assessment. If your organization’s culture isn’t one that can handle giving or receiving constructive feedback or isn’t one that is “trust-based” a 360 degree evaluation process is unlikely to succeed or accomplish much.

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