Organizations worldwide endeavor to implement a robust and fair performance review system to evaluate and steer their employees towards continuous improvement. The objective of any performance management system is to provide employees with developmental feedback to help them contribute to the organizations growth, to improve or build upon their skills and to eliminate behavioral problems. However, standard performance management systems (PMS) are often found to be inadequate because of several reasons such as unclear goals or expectation setting, lack of communication leading to lack of trust, less frequent performance reviews etc. In addition, individual bias is seen as inherent in the traditional performance management practices. This is where Feedback 360 can help. In a “360-degrees feedback” review method, employees are assessed based on feedback received not only from their manager but also from others such as their peers, supervisors, subordinates and the management as well. For client facing employees, some organizations also seek feedback from their customers. A development plan based on Feedback 360 review method is found effective to improve the overall performance and productivity of an employee.
What is Feedback 360?
Feedback 360 is a system by which employees are given anonymous and confidential feedback on their competencies (behavioral/technical) by those who work with them. These respondents include the individual’s direct reports, manager, peers and even customers.
To provide feedback about an employee, about 7 to 12 people are asked to fill an online anonymous feedback form that covers questions on a broad range of competencies related to the employee’s job.
The information provided in the survey helps to get a better understanding of the employee’s strengths and weaknesses. Employee can use this feedback to create his or her own developmental road-map or get recommendations to work on his strengths and weaknesses for career development.
Three reasons why organizations opt for Feedback 360?
Organizations tend to opt for Feedback 360 review system for three main reasons.
- To get a holistic perspective about the performance of a potential leadership candidate
- To gain better understanding of human resource development requirements (training, behavioral, leadership etc.)
- To collect an unbiased feedback
What Feedback 360 measures?
- Behaviors and competencies
- How others perceive an employee
- Development areas such as Emotional Intelligence, motivation, leadership abilities, listening, accountability, planning etc.
- Can measure tacit areas such as collaboration, character, leadership potential etc.
Components of Feedback 360
Important components of Feedback 360 are:
- Assessment: Respondents provide requested feedback on a survey instrument.
- Feedback: After compiling respondents’ feedback, reports are created which are used by the supervisor to have a discussion with the employee
- Training program: Specific inputs are taken to include in view of employee development, an employee’s Individual Development Plans (IDPs) or other L&D initiatives can be devised. The employee’s strengths and weaknesses are picked up from the feedback report.
Strengths and Challenges of a Feedback 360 System
This system also has several advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at a few pros and cons of implementing this system of receiving feedback.
· Feedback available from multiple sources
· Is just a part of the overall performance management system. It cannot be used to review specific criteria such as targets, attendance etc.
· Aids in developing and strengthening various facets of group dynamics such as teamwork, accountability and ownership etc.
· Can be difficult to manage/handle if implemented without thorough thinking, planning, communication and training. Can lead to trouble and tension among employees.
· Reduces bias and discrimination
· Needs to fit into the organizations existing performance systems efficiently to add value.
· One gets a better understanding of one’s strengths and development areas
· Is an anonymous process, hence one will not be able to get more information if they wish to ask for more?
· Better understanding of training needs
· If not implemented well, can tend to focus on one’s weakness than strengths
· Uncovers procedural issues that can hinder employee growth
· Feedback can be unclear or ineffective if people are not trained properly
· Employees who tend to under value themselves can be motivated based on feedback received
· Can sometimes call for huge amount of data gathering and processing. Some feedback can be irrelevant and would need to be filtered out
Relevance of 360 Feedback to Emotional Intelligence (EI)
According to research, Emotional Intelligence (EI) or Emotional Quotient (EQ) is a better forecaster of success than the traditional IQ, particularly at the executive levels. With Emotional Intelligence, one can recognize and cope with one’s own emotions and those of others around them much better.
Daniel Goleman was the proponent of this concept which got popularized by his seminal book called “Emotional Intelligence” and since then, EI has become an important factor to be considered when evaluating the effectiveness of leaders.
Goleman proposed five components of EI which are:
Self-awareness: Being aware of your own moods, feelings and emotions and how they impact others.
Self-regulation: One’s ability to pause, analyze and manage one’s emotional impulses (automatic stories) before taking action.
Internal motivation: Being able to look beyond money or status and to work for other reasons such as passion.
Empathy: One’s ability to stand in another man’s shoes and understand where they come from.
Social Skills: One’s ability to network and build and manage relationships.
While there are many self-assessments available for evaluating Emotional Intelligence, one of the most effective means of measuring EI is by collecting feedback using a 360-degree feedback survey.
Given below are some examples of 360-degree feedback questions that can be used to measure Emotional Intelligence:
- Interpersonal: Builds relationships of genuineness and respect with others.
- Self-Awareness: Is aware of how his/her behavior affects others.
- Self-Esteem/Confidence: Is open to constructive criticism or feedback without becoming defensive.
- Solution-based Optimism: Keeps a sense of perspective and calmness under pressure.
Some organizations use 360 Feedback surveys to only measure Emotional Intelligence whereas some may add a specific section on EI in addition to other competencies.
How to best implement Feedback 360 in your Performance Management System?
Implementing a Feedback 360 system needs careful planning in order to reap the benefits. One must think of the following when designing an effective 360-degree feedback/appraisal:
- Competencies/Behaviors that need to be assessed
- Correct selection of appraiser/s
- Training on Feedback 360 to all employees
- Design of the Feedback 360 process (should be simple, easy to understand and elicit right responses)
- How follow up will happen post review
Feedback 360 can be customized to the needs of organizations. It can be incorporated into an organization’s PMS in following ways:
- By Requesting Feedback
A manager can ask for feedback of any team member within the Performance Management System.
- Giving Feedback
By giving feedback on any team member unsolicited, employees get a chance to recognize team members who display good behaviors and who work to achieve the company’s goals. Since managers may sometimes be unable to catch these in their direct reports, here’s a chance for others to bring such things to light and give the employee in question a pat on the back.
This brings in an appreciative high-performance culture where demonstration of company’s core values and desirable behaviors is appreciated.
- External Feedback
This feedback culture also solicits data from individuals who are not part of the organization. It is helpful and interesting to know what third parties (those receiving your services) think of your employees that they are dealing with regularly and the impression they have of them and the organization.
Importance of Using Technology for Feedback 360
Today we have many software tools and systems to facilitate and modernize the performance review/appraisal process. Some of the values and benefits of using technology for Feedback 360 include:
- Gain Better View of Individual Performance
Software tools and systems allow the manager and staff to provide as well as view the real time feedback which makes the performance review process a whole lot easier and effective. The fact that the systems are available on mobile as well, makes it easy for providing & receiving feedback, monitor progress real time.
- Get Everyone’s Input
In some organizations, employees may work on multiple projects in a year. Technology allows for multi-rater feedback. This means that employees who worked with someone outside the current team are also able to give feedback and thereby both individuals and managers are able to get better insights into the specific employee’s skills and performance.
- Allows for Easy Setting of Goals and Objectives
An effective software solution can assist employees in the formation, tracking, and completion of their desired goals.
- Helps Maintain Anonymity
Technology allows for a built-in anonymous feature. This not only makes one comfortable sharing feedback but also protects them from being penalized for sharing feedback.
- Offers Insightful Analytics
The 360 Feedback tools allow for collation on information into a specific, personalized report that each employee receives. Feedback from colleagues or managers can be easily compared against a person’s self-assessment thereby enabling an individual to understand his/her own strengths and areas for improvement. These provide extremely useful inputs for designing L&D interventions for competency building.
- Is Versatile
360-degree feedback software tools are highly versatile. Companies can utilize them for
- Performance appraisals
- To promote an open and honest work culture
To help identify areas for future competency development
- Feedback 360 is a system where employees are assessed based on feedback received not just from their manager but also from others such as their peers, supervisors, subordinates and the management as well.
- Aids in developing and strengthening various facets of group dynamics such as teamwork, accountability and ownership etc.
- Better understanding of training needs
- Get insightful analytics