DevelopmentPerformance Measurement

360 Degree Feedback: 9 practical steps to transform your performance appraisals

By January 30, 2018 No Comments

When you place tangibles and intangibles in the asset category of your balance sheet, you know Human Resource’ is greatest of all. When people within an organisation grow, it’s then the organisation grows. An organisation substantiates its growth via various check-points, say increase in revenue, and increase in profit-margin, capital employed and so on.

But when it comes to your greatest asset, your manpower, why do you follow the same traditional top-down bureaucratic feedback approach. An era where we all claim ourselves as Believers of Continuous Improvement’ then, why not take an approach of Timely and Continuous feedback’– 360 Degree Feedback!

We often hear our co-peers scrunching their nose and saying after a feedback session, “Wish our company would have adopted a whole sum feedback mechanism where personal relationships are not highlighted on the score board.” It’s important that none of your employees feel that they have been unfairly assessed. Let’s see how we can be a change in the way we act as a reviewer or even when we are being reviewed.

360 degree feedback’- is a process of receiving feedback of what others, and necessarily all the stakeholders, internal as well as external, provide for your employees’ performance. Also, a complete feedback and development tool needs to be considererd which helps you to rate people that thereafter translates into proper pay and opportunities for them. The next question is: How much is the organisation ready and what steps can you take to transform your performance appraisals.

  1. Involvement of Top Management:

    Before inception of a process change, it is important to have in loop the top management of the organisation who ensures, trusts and provides the go-green signal. A 360 degree feedback mechanism derives its roots from the mission, vision and objectives to be achieved by the organisation as a whole. Aligning the same with individual goals comes has to be the primary purpose and needs a buy-in from the top management.


  2. Select the feedback tool and the process:

    Depending upon the culture and climate of the organisation, several approaches are followed. In some organisations, managers are responsible for collection of the feedback and then analyzing the same, marking the pattern of behaviour of the feedbacks received. To take note, a manager looks for both positive and constructive feedback. Where he summarises the data received, and as an answer to specific questions provides the specific sorted data. This ensures that the employee is neither highly rejoiced nor burdened with the feedbacks received.

Whereas, some organisations use tailor-made or customised instruments to provide ratings to their employees according to the goals set by them to be achieved and it provides them with a score of each area assessed. For all the external feedbacks, a score-card is specifically relied-upon.

  1. Considering the scale method: 

    Considering different methods of appraisals, broadly classified as past-oriented and future-oriented methods forms the next step to be finalised. On the basis of the nature of the organisation, under past-oriented methods, rating scales (0-5 scale or 7-point Likert-type scale), checklist (yes or no), forced choices, narrative essay method or ranking and paired comparison method (N*(N-1)/2) were considered. Whereas, under future-oriented methods, self-development score-card, setting of goal standards, discussion with management and then rating on a pie-graph (indicative by colour- green, yellow, red) is considered.


  2. Choosing the rating method: 

    A feedback provider is a stakeholder, who is chosen after a unanimous decision both by the organisation and the employee. Generally, they are the ones with whom an employee routinely interacts during the course of work. The focus of a 360 degree feedback is to guide each individual to understand strengths and weaknesses so that it can contribute to their professional development.


  3. Proper rating and feedback groups:

    For any organisation size, ensuring a proper feedback provider group or charting them down ensures timeliness. An employee for a certain period of time may have one or two seniors or managers working in a project, however, for every senior level, the decentralisation level decreases but the number of evaluation increases. Considering time to be the anchor of the ship, ensuring smaller and limited groups with led down hierarchy of feedback providers and receivers is important.


  4. Communication of the purpose and process to the employees:

    Every individual to be rated should be well informed and aware about the purpose behind the change and how to adapt to it. 360 degree feedback mechanism is a tool for development as well as evaluation. Proper training is a mandate before going online on the platform, else the pattern flow and data integration would be again under brackets of doubt. The Score-Profile’ should provide a clear distinction between how to use and the motive behind the use, so that no rating appears contentious.


  5. Pilot survey groups for test check:

    Considering 360 degree feedback process to be a success in most of the organisations, it is still recommended to have a pilot group of 50-75 people, depending on the strength of the organisation and then rehearse for a period of 12-18 months, ensuring actions and reactions to the feedback mechanism. This would help the organisation as a whole to be acquainted and familiar with the feedback process.


  6. Assessing the survey reports: 

    A group of individuals should be dedicated to ensure that whether the assessment carried out involves and answers questions based on behaviour patterns. They should also evaluate as to how the appraisal assessment has been performed and the manner it is going to link past and upcoming project appraisals. For instance, if an employee in the survey report for quarter 1 received an average response, say colour yellow. Now, in quarter 2, his performance marked to the organisation a growth in the revenue by 5%. So, is this growth directly marked to his earlier report or not.


  7. Ensuring active participation and outcome: 

    At the outset of each performance appraisal system, an employee should be aware of the course of action taken by him and the outcome of the same. Whether an individual takes it to be a pay-raise method or self-evaluation or setting future yardsticks depends upon the participation at all the levels of the organisation. This would ensure an organisation to know about the expectations and then penetrating the required skill-set to get the desired output.

These steps broadly help in laying down a base line on how to transfer the way performance appraisal is routinely performed. For every action in this field, having support from the top-management infused with the culture of trust and co-operation will help in making it to be a success rather than doom! The time and energy spent in this process should provide the organisation and each individual with the expected result.