Delnaz is a project manager in ABC Co. She has been with the organization for 3 years and is currently leading a 3-member team. To improve as a manager, leader and employee, Delnaz initiates a 360-degree feedback process.

She requests her peers, juniors and seniors to fill out anonymous surveys based on her performance, skills, strengths, weaknesses and abilities. The purpose of this 360-degree feedback or appraisal is to understand how she can be better at her job.

Delnaz will get a good idea of her strengths and weaknesses as part of this feedback process. In case she has improvement areas, she can take measures to correct them, invest in learning and development opportunities and progress in her career.

Read on to discover ‘what is 360-degree appraisal?’ and how a 360-degree appraisal method can be used for both development and evaluation in an organization. 

  1. What Is 360-Degree Appraisal?

  2. Is The 360-Degree Appraisal Method For Performance Or Development?

  3. The 360-Degree Feedback System: Good Or Bad?

  4. How To Conduct 360-Degree Performance Appraisal

  5. Effective Feedback For Improved Teamwork

What Is 360-Degree Appraisal?

A 360-degree feedback system is a process where an employee—a manager or individual contributor—seeks feedback, inputs and answers from everyone else in the organization. This includes their seniors, peers and juniors. The surveys are anonymous to make sure there’s no abuse of authority.

In universities, students are often asked to give feedback to their professors about the way they teach, level of understanding and engagement. This helps institutes decide whether professors are eligible for tenure or contract extension.

Similarly, in a corporate setting, managers may ask for feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. This helps them become better leaders and mentors.

 

Let’s take an example of a 360-degree appraisal:

 

Milan has been working as a senior associate for almost 2 years. His manager believes that he could improve in certain areas like communication, taking initiative and delivering better quality work. Milan initiates a 360-degree feedback process to understand what he can do to become more effective in his role.

He gets genuine responses from everyone he works with. Most of them say that he’s too shy, but capable of taking on more complex projects. Other points raised include how he could be more consistent with his deliverables and work on time-management. 

With these inputs, Milan makes the decision to work on managing his time and speaking up more. He requests his manager to schedule weekly catch-ups with him to make a plan of action. As a result of Milan’s concerted efforts, he’s able to recognize his shortcomings and work on them.

Not only is 360-degree feedback effective but also allows you, as an employee, to understand where you stand in your organization. Many times, we become complacent in our roles and forget that we can still grow. With proper feedback systems, we’re able to come back to the present, assess where we are and make plans to be better. 

Is The 360-Degree Appraisal Method For Performance Or Development?

 

Performance evaluations work differently from development tools. Employee training or learning and development is usually assessed from a holistic standpoint. The purpose is to ultimately benefit the organization in building a robust, high-performing workforce.

On the other hand, performance evaluations factor into employee appraisals, benefits, opportunities, promotions and goals.

So, can 360-degree appraisal be used for performance evaluations? The answer is yes, but only if conducted ethically and with systems in place. Let’s discuss how.

  • As A Development Tool:

Employees can use a 360-degree feedback system for development. To be more efficient and effective, you have to understand your improvement areas. You can identify these with feedback from people who have worked with you and understand your work style. Improvement is key to a healthy professional life. You can’t expect to do the same tasks in the same way forever. If you envision a bright, successful career trajectory, you have to keep working on yourself. The 360-degree feedback channel helps you see what you may overlook in the course of your work.

 

  • As A Performance Evaluation:

Several organizations use 360-degree performance appraisal as a means to evaluate and assess an employee’s performance. It allows them to get inputs from relevant stakeholders such as immediate managers, team members or junior employees. This gives them an idea of how an employee works, their interpersonal relationships, skills, goals achieved—or missed—and their general conduct at work. It’s common to implement all-round feedback processes to get a good grasp of an employee’s performance.

But a 360-degree performance appraisal or feedback system may not always be a good idea.

The 360-Degree Feedback System: Good Or Bad?

 

Consider a situation where your performance appraisal is based on what your peers think of you as an employee. It may be that you don’t get along with someone at work. This can act as a barrier to honest and objective feedback. The reason why a 360-degree appraisal must be conducted with proper processes is to avoid misuse.

For the purpose of development, this type of feedback works well because it gives everyone a chance to focus on improvement areas. But it’s different when it comes to performance evaluations. You may not be comfortable with someone—who’s not your manager—judging how you did in the last quarter.

People may end up adding subjective comments as a result of conflict or to hold someone back from getting promoted. If used well, 360-degree appraisal can be effective but it requires a certain level of anonymity and assurance. Organizations that are willing to implement secure, honest and dedicated channels of feedback can benefit from a 360-degree evaluation. 

How To Conduct 360-Degree Performance Appraisal

 

Outcomes of a 360-degree feedback survey should tell you whether your goals are aligned with the organization’s, your strengths and weaknesses and what behaviors you should acquire to adapt to your organization’s culture. These may be to collaborate with your teammates more, communicate your expectations clearly or even to participate in meetings.

Instead of focusing on getting something out of it, think of it as a personality test. Surveys can help you know yourself better, understand your relationships with your coworkers and get reaccustomed to your organization’s mission and vision.

 

Here’s what you should keep in mind for 360-degree feedback:

  1. Create Relevant And Specific Survey Questions

Think about the kind of questions you want to be asking. They should be tailored to the employee, their job roles and responsibilities and workplace relationships. The questions should be simple to understand, requiring short, crisp answers. Many people won’t enjoy writing long paragraphs. Instead, it’s a lot more productive if they get questions that are easy to answer. Another important thing is to keep it objective to avoid any biases.

 

  1. Keep It Anonymous

The most important thing is to keep it anonymous for the reviewer. They may be apprehensive if they have to reveal their names. This is especially valid if people have to give feedback for their seniors. Anonymity gives them the safe space they need to be honest with their feedback.

 

  1. Make Sure To Add Actionable Items For Outcomes

The feedback system doesn’t end once you receive responses from everyone. It’s a continuous process wherein you have to act on the insights recorded. If, for instance, the result dictates that an employee needs to improve their collaboration and teamwork skills, you must follow up with actionable items to achieve this. Whether it’s investing in learning and development or encouraging healthy conversations.

 

How you conduct 360-degree feedback is critical to its effectiveness. If you want to receive unbiased answers that are productive, you have to create surveys that actually work. Focusing on improvement and development will help you come up with successful surveys. 

Effective Feedback For Improved Teamwork

 

Learn more about the art of delivering and receiving feedback from your coworkers from Harappa’s Managing Teamwork course. Feedback helps you take stock of your performance, but, what’s more, it allows you to recognize your efforts. You want to keep growing as an individual and employee. With sound feedback, you can make focused efforts on improving your skills and abilities. Similarly, if you’re in a position to give feedback, there’s a way to do it professionally. It’s important to encourage two-way feedback channels for a healthy work environment.

Our course will teach how to prepare, what to say and what not to say while giving or receiving feedback. In addition to that, you’ll learn the secret behind how effective teams function. Open dialogue and discussion are the hallmarks of successful organizations. Learn how you can master these techniques to progress in your career.


Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as Elton Mayo's Human Relations TheoryMax Weber Theory Of Bureaucracy, What Is Cooperative Learning and Management By Objectives to foster a team culture that helps individuals maximize their potential.

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