Historically, performance management has been characterized by a one-time, annual conversation between manager and employee based solely on the manager’s assessment of the employee’s performance over the course of the previous year. Needless to say, these conversations have often been a source of dread for everyone involved, not to mention, highly ineffective at improving performance or stoking enthusiasm.
Too narrow in scope, these annual assessments also rely too heavily on the biased feedback of one individual: the manager. This is why we’re seeing a shift away from this type of performance management and toward a more fair, balanced and ongoing approach. And one piece of this new paradigm that’s been proving quite effective is the implementation of 360 degree feedback.
360 degree feedback is a method of obtaining feedback on employee performance from a variety of sources. The sources of course include the employee’s manager, but also five to ten peers such as reporting staff members, co workers, clients, consultants and customers. Most 360 degree feedback also includes a response and self-assessment by the individual.
It’s a powerful tool, as it allows each employee to understand how his or her effectiveness is viewed by a variety of people in varying roles around them, especially those they interact with routinely.
A few of the benefits of 360 degree feedback include:
Improved and varied feedback
This method is much more well rounded than the one-sided feedback of an individual manager alone. Coworker perception, especially, is important and helps people understand how their peers view their work.
Team members learn to work more effectively together when they understand how their work affects those around them. This method also increases accountability and can improve communication.
Informative for career development
Varied and balanced feedback can provide any individual with priceless information on how to improve their skills and performance in order to enhance their career.
When a manager is the sole person responsible for assessing and delivering feedback on individual performance, it’s easy for an employee to take any form of criticism personally. Or become defensive. Or to assign blame to the fact that manager simply doesn’t like them. When criticism comes from a variety of sources, it’s harder to do so.
360 degree feedback is essentially effective because of the enhanced perspective of multiple people who interact with an individual differently yet routinely. The more unbiased information that can be gathered, the more it will help to create a comprehensive assessment of performance. From there, the fine tuning of skills, and focus on areas that need improvement, will help to promote employee growth and development and improve the organization’s effectiveness overall.
If you’re interested in incorporating 360 feedback into your performance management process, contact us today to learn more.