What’s it: A 360-degree appraisal is an employee performance appraisal involving the people around them, not just themselves. It might involve coworkers, superiors, and subordinates. Sometimes, it involves colleagues in other divisions with whom the workflow relates. In fact, it may also involve customers or external parties who are in frequent contact.
This method aims to obtain a comprehensive evaluation to assess performance. In addition, companies can explore and gain insight into what skills and knowledge need to be improved in each position. Thus, they can take action by designing appropriate training, development, and motivation programs.
However, implementing this appraisal method is often time-consuming because more parties are involved. Thus, more time is required to collect and analyze the results to gain insights.
How does 360-degree appraisal work?
360-degree performance appraisals seek to get feedback from as many sources as possible. Thus, companies can evaluate and assess employees comprehensively by comparing individual self-perceptions with appraisals given by others.
Generally, it involves people around such as coworkers, superiors, or subordinates. In other cases, it may involve more parties. For example, colleagues in other divisions may be involved because they have close workflow relationships and interact frequently.
In fact, it may involve outsiders such as customers. For example, your sales force interacts with them frequently. Thus, asking customers to rate them can reveal how good their relationship is.
Each party receives a feedback form to fill out, including questions and a rating scale. Once filled in, the results are combined and processed to evaluate and measure the assessed employees’ strengths, weaknesses, and skills.
In most cases, it is done anonymously. But, in other cases, it’s not. An anonymous appraisal is usually chosen because they allow appraisers to provide honest feedback. Also, because they know their identity is being protected, they tend to judge it for what it is.
Then, the questions in the form are made as objective as possible and not tendentious. Say, it’s about evaluating an employee’s ability to carry out a job. The question may be:
- Are employees performing tasks effectively?
- If so, what kind of skills did the employee demonstrate?
- If not, what areas do you think employees need to improve?
What are the advantages of a 360-degree appraisal?
Comprehensive evaluation. Self-assessment may be more subjective than objective. For example, your employees may tend to overestimate their own abilities. Thus, they may feel they have done a good job, even though others may not think. On the other hand, a 360-degree appraisal allows for a more objective and comprehensive evaluation, which is important for building higher quality human resources.
Constructive feedback. For your employees, this method provides an external perspective in understanding themselves. It allows them to take steps to improve themselves. Their self-development needs – which they had not been aware of – were finally revealed, motivating them to take steps to improve themselves for a better career in the future.
Revealing training gaps. As already mentioned, feedback reveals more comprehensive information about an employee’s skills and competencies. So, through it, you identify which areas need to be improved and developed, tailored to your company’s needs. So, by evaluating the results, your company can run a suitable training and development program.
Trust. This appraisal method brings more transparency and can build trust among employees. They work together to give each other feedback in improving themselves. Thus, they consider negative appraisals as suggestions for improving themselves and positive appraisals as suggestions for retaining them. Finally, they are more accountable as they share advice on each other’s performance.
Business improvement. Feedback does not only come from internal parties. It can also come from external parties such as customers. And, their feedback is important to improve and develop a strong relationship with them in the future.
What are the disadvantages of the 360-degree appraisal?
Subjective. Bad office politics often make evaluations more subjective. Out of dislike, appraisers evaluate based on emotion rather than actual performance. In addition, if it is not anonymous, it is difficult to encourage employees frankly, without fear, to give honest appraisals to their superiors.
Demotivating. Negative appraisals may not motivate employees to improve. Quite the contrary, it made their morale fall. It can demotivate them if the output determines their bonuses or promotions.
Time-consuming. Completing this program requires significant time. Your company needs to invite related parties to participate in answering questions seriously. Once collected, it also takes time to analyze them to gain insight. On the other hand, it often sacrifices its quality if done in a hurry.
Quality. For example, some people may be more effective at providing verbal feedback than filling out forms. Thus, having them provide feedback in writing can affect the feedback quality. Moreover, sometimes, they have less time to fill it.
In other cases, if done anonymously, some may find it unnecessary. Or conversely, it is also an opportunity for them to give an overly negative assessment and focus on weaknesses rather than what they are.
Useless. If there is no follow-up on the results, your company has no real improvement. And, it could decrease engagement in the future if your company re-run the program is re-run.