The Real Implication of 360 Degree Performance Appraisal

Travelling back in time

It was the 1940’s when the 360 Degree Performance Appraisal method was used for the very first time. this method is able to offer every employee the possibility to obtain performance feedback from his peers, staff members, supervisors, customers and co-workers.

The 360 Degree Performance Appraisal or the multi-source feedback is in fact a performance assessment or an appraisal tool that includes feedback from everyone noticing and being affected by one’s performance.

For which category of employee may this tool be used?

This tool is commonly use for the employees at middle and senior level. They play a complex role within the organization, which is only going to lead to more data from anyone involved for a resourceful assessment.

Can all organizations use the 360 degree for assessing employee performance?

Most organizations that involve employee development are going to use this tool for assessing performance and abilities of their staff, allowing the employees to create their very own career path using the specific feedback.

The organizations are going to use the 360-degree feedback about an employee before taking any important decision about one’s professional career.

Typically, the results of the 360-degree feedback help the person receiving the feedback to plan future training and professional growth. the organizations are going to use the results for making specific administrative decisions (pay or promotions). The 360-degree assessment may serve for evaluation as well, in which case it becomes a “360-degree review”.

The 360 Degree Performance Appraisal is definitely the most complete appraisal as the feedback on one employee’s performance comes from all the people coming in contact with that particular employee.

This method is one powerful developmental tool as it’s developed on regular intervals (once a year), helping to identify the changes on perceiving the employees. The 360 Degree Performance Appraisal is a better method for the managers as they get more effective in managing and becoming better leaders.

What are the main benefits of the 360 Degree Performance Appraisal?

For better understanding on the method, let’s list its main advantages:

  • It increases the credibility of performance appraisal
  • It provides a more complete view on one’s performance
  • The combination of opinions may create a more precise assessment
  • The feedback from colleagues is going to help one self-develop
  • It increases the responsibilities of employees
  • It’s not only for managers, but for colleagues too
  • The opinions collected are going to be more persuasive
  • One that undervalues him/herself may benefit from a positive feedback
  • The more people are involved in the process, the more honest the company is going to become

What are the downsides of the 360 Degree Performance Appraisal?

Bells and whistles aside, the 360 Degree Performance Appraisal does require a lot of time for completing. It’s a rather complex process and the extension of the exchange feedback may lead to some problems and tensions to some levels.

What’s the best way to use it?

It’s quite common for companies to use this method for improving the leader’s behavior as the method offers the insight during leadership development courses, increasing the efficiency of the teams.

Some think that this method is going to change the manager’s behavior for the better or at lease improve their motivation.

Making the method easy to use is going to improve its benefits. An organization has to make it easy for a manager and there are 3 steps to take that should be followed.

It goes without saying that the 360 Degree Performance Appraisal isn’t going to help anyone change, but rather help a manager “do more” or “do less” on a specific behavior.

   1. Focus on the main three behavior

A busy manager isn’t going to have the time to check all the 360 reports in order to identify the most important behavior that need changing. The first page of the 360 report should include the fundamental actions that they need to improve.

   2. The manager has to know exactly what he/she has to change

A well-designed 360 report is going to contain really specific recommendations (start, continue or stop) from the raters in order to depict what kind of behavior he/she needs to change.

   3. It shouldn’t contain self-ratings or norms

Nobody likes to be compared to another person, especially when it’s not in your favor. The external norms and the self-ratings are only going to raise our resistance to change, especially when we get lower rates than expected. Chances are that the lower scores aren’t going to motivate one for changing or getting better at something later in the future.

What are the main outcomes when using the 360 Degree Performance Appraisal?

First thing first, we cannot stress enough about the importance of the stated goals when using the 360 Degree Performance Appraisal method.

The outcomes you’re going to obtain from the 360 feedback process are related to the decisions about the goals you’re planning to achieve later on. However, it goes without saying that the personal and career development for the staff person whose performance and abilities are being rated stands out as the most important outcome of this type of evaluation.

It may sound difficult to believe, but the decisions lead to interesting debates in organizations quite often.

When the results aren’t going to have an impact on the compensation of the employee getting the feedback, the success of the 360 Degree Performance Appraisal is going to be a lot more impressive. If you’re planning to use the feedback for taking a decision related to the compensation, the scenarios that may unravel afterwards are, more often than not, quite unpleasant and difficult to solve.

The risk for people not to give their most honest and accurate feedback as they’re worrying about the impact of the feedback on their raises is to be considered. It’s expected that people are going to collude to make sure that the employee getting the feedback is eligible/ineligible for the raise in the negative environments or the ones in which people have to compete for raises.

More often than not, employees do worry about their feedback having an impact on the manager’s opinion of the employee’s performance. And this happens even if the feedback outcomes aren’t going to affect the raises, promotions and appraisals in any ways. It just does.


360 degrees Performance Appraisal

360-degree feedback – Wikipedia