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The Basics of 360 Degree Feedback & Why is it Important in 2019?

Written By Megha Singh

What is 360 Degree Feedback?

360-degree feedback is a modern method of performance appraisal which helps organizations determine how an employee performs at his or her workplace. It presents a clear picture of the employee’s performance, skills, and behaviour along with the organizational environment. Performance appraisal system supports the organization for being adaptive and flexible according to the needs of their workforce. While the West uses 360 assessment for identifying training needs, a majority of South East Asia uses it for performance appraisal.

The opinions and views are generally taken from superiors, peers, subordinates or customers. Once the performance appraisal feedback is captured and analyzed, it is shared with the employees to further their personal development goals. Additionally, the compiled report promotes self-awareness by suggesting development programs customized as per individuals.  360 degree feedback appraisal are kept anonymous to refrain from any kind of bias or personal differences between feedback seeker and feedback providers except for manager’s feedback in most cases.

 

Fortune 500 Companies

Director of GoodHire, Mikaila Turman emphasizes on the growing need of 360 in 2019. She says, "We use it for managers to have insight and visibility into how team members are working collaboratively together - if they see certain areas that need improvement across the team, they can hone in on those areas moving forward."

Since more and more employers are using 360 performance appraisal methods for development and continuous improvement, the demand for adopting a 360 assessment tool is on the surge. 

360 Feedback Providers

 

How Organizations Began Adopting 360 Degree Assessment?

Organizations began adopting the idea of having a performance feedback mechanism after many MNCs successfully implemented the method. Ever since General Electric CEO Jack Welch successfully used 360 feedback to fire low performers, the adoption of 360 assessment witnessed a boom. However, its wide scale use has mushroomed over the past decade.  With the introduction of online 360 platforms, the ease and efficiency with which 360 assessments can be developed and deployed throughout the organization has enhanced over time.

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10 features of 360-degree Platform

10 Must Have Features of 360 Degree Assessment

Selecting a 360 assessment tool that suits your organization is not an easy task. You need a solution that both integrates seamlessly with your workflow and efficiently manage your performance management process. Though there are many components that benefit not only your organization but also your workforce, listed below are the must-have features of an all-round 360 degree performance appraisal:

1. Affordable & Easy Sign Up

An efficient and reliable 360 assessment does not burn a hole in your pocket. It becomes a cost-effective means, considering the number of employees seeking and giving feedback. A pocket-friendly performance appraisal method gives you the option to pay online through net banking, e-wallets, credit or debit cards, which further simplifies the process. Once the online payment is made, you can begin using the tool right away.

2. Real Time E-mail Validation

If your employees don’t receive e-mails, the performance feedback survey can never get completed on time. This is where a good performance management tool comes as a blessing in disguise. It automatically informs the HRs if there is any failed delivery or bounce e-mails, post which you can re-send the e-mail and make sure you receive the feedback on time.

3. 24x7 Support

At times candidates may need guidance when they get stuck, and you may not always be available to help them through. In such circumstances, a 24x7 support comes to the rescue. A comprehensive 360 assessment tool is hardly one call or e-mail away. Employees can send e-mails or call on toll-free numbers whenever they need assistance. Subject matter experts can help employees sail through such times.

4. Tailored Personal Development Plan

Once the responses have been analyzed and compiled, the performance appraisal system rolls out extensive reports which have been tailored as per individuals. The reports highlight qualities and areas of improvement, competency wise ratings, skill gaps and accordingly prepares a personal development or group development plan. The plan helps in making employees self-aware and further work on the skills they lack.

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5. Auto-Save Responses

Perhaps, auto-save responses emerge as one of the most striking features of a 360 degree appraisal. They turn out to be a boon for both HRs and feedback providers when it comes to on-time delivery. The feature especially becomes important for managers, HODs and other senior job roles that have strict timelines to meet their KRAs. If the responses are auto-saved, feedback providers can fill surveys as per their convenience. Even if their system crashes or they have other tasks to attend to, feedback providers can fill the survey in multiple sittings and not worry about starting from scratch.

6.Easy Online Availability

A power packed performance appraisal system decreases set-up time since it is hosted online. So, you do not need to install and learn new software before implementing performance management in your organization. All you need is good internet connectivity, web browser, and e-mail id.  The hassle of working on a new platform makes the process cumbersome for HRs. 360 degree assessment supports basic systems with absolutely no need for having systems upgraded with the latest technology or new features.

7. Exhaustive Competency Frameworks

Competency frameworks are an important component of a 360 performance appraisal tool since every employee is measured on a set of competencies integral to his or her job role. The competencies vary with every job level and job role, giving keen insights into the employee’s behavior, performance, and expertise. Access to behavioral or role specific competency frameworks helps in efficiently implementing 360 in both small and large size organizations.

Resonating with the same idea, Power HR Owner & CEO Susan Power wants a 360 performance appraisal to 
benchmark leader competency levels externally against other organizations by job level. She also wishes to internally look for leadership competency gaps within the organization. 

 
8. Comprehensive Question Bank

Since the survey questions are dependent on the competencies, they cannot stand alone without a strong foundation of competency library. The type of questions put forward in the surveys helps HRs correctly evaluate feedback seekers. So, a list of pointed questions goes a long way in analyzing your employees. They help in determining how attentive an employee is, how well he follows instructions, how he performs in a team and how he executes the plan.

9. Customizable e-mail Templates

HRs waste a considerable portion of their time drafting and scheduling e-mails. This piles up to their routine work. However, when they get e-mail templates that can easily be customized as per individuals, it makes their work simpler and smoother along with regular KRAs. No extra time needs to be delegated to writing and scheduling e-mails for feedback. The functionality to set-up auto reminders helps to keep a track on the progress.

Turman says, "Automation is key for reminders. I can set up “nudge” emails, customize what they say, add data fields from employee profiles, and schedule dates, so reminders are sent automatically."

10. User-Friendly

The look and feeler of the platform act as the first impression it creates on the user’s psyche. So, it is only proper that the first window does not look cluttered, rather neat, simple to understand and easily navigable. The dashboard of a first-rate 360 degree assessment gives you a holistic view. This includes a number of survey seekers and providers along with the status of pending and completed surveys which ultimately leads to a reduction in escalations and support time.

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Benefits of Using 360 Degree Feedback

In a fast-paced era of technological advancement, employees continuously need to learn new age skills. If they fail to keep up with this pace, they would ultimately falter in either meeting the company’s vision or their personal goals. As the skill ecosystem has rapidly evolved over time, so has the need to track the progress of learning and development through data-backed results multiplied. Indeed, it has become the need of the hour to implement an all-round feedback mechanism in your organization as the new year 2019 knocks at our doors. 360 degree assessment allows you to easily collect structured feedback from relevant stakeholders to help you achieve employee development goals.

Advantages of 360-degree feedback

Identifies Strengths & Weaknesses

In a study conducted by Gallup among 65,672 employees, it was discovered that those who receive strengths feedback had 15.9% better turnover rates than employees who received no feedback.

Feedbacks helps in bridging the gap between what employees think of themselves and others opinion of them. It is a good practice towards self-awareness. Not only does it benefit the organization, but also acts as a guiding light for employees since individual responses are combined with other responses to preserve anonymity and to give the employee a clear picture of his overall strong and weak areas.

Improves Productivity & Work Relationships

In a study of 530 organizations, Gallup reported that managers who received feedback showed an increase in 8.9% profitability and 12.5 % productivity.

Feedback from peers not only boosts their morale but also helps employees and their managers work better. As different teams receive feedback from others in the organization, they start building trust and are more likely to meet their mutual goals. The feedback increases the frequency of communication within the team, ultimately leading to an increase in overall performance. If individuals don’t possess emotional quotient in addition to job specific-skills, they would not be able to able to unleash their potential.

Determines Performance Appraisal

OfficeVibe reports that 69% employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized.

Employees are driven to work not only through their sheer perseverance but also through encouragement. That sense of motivation comes in the form of appreciation or salary hike that accompanies a constructive and well-established feedback mechanism. This is why 360 surveys are designed in a manner that they provide valuable insights regarding on-the-job performance. Mere verbal feedback don’t serve the purpose. Appraisals are determined based on employees’ strength, weakness, inter-personal behavior, interests and more. This also acts like an anchor for hardworking employees, thus lowering attrition rate altogether.

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Creates a Culture of Openness

As feedback results are delivered and discussed among team members, things become more transparent (Antonioni, 1996).

And, this is how a healthy work culture develops.

Employees agree that issues which previously may have been difficult to discuss became easier to address without any fear of retaliation because of the increased transparency in the office set-up (Peiperl, 2001).

Openwork culture is one where employees, their peers, subordinates or managers are upfront about their opinions. A feedback tool becomes a medium to voice that opinion and make it heard in organizations where individual hard work often gets shadowed by a person possessing a strong personality but not necessarily skilled.

Identifies Skill Gaps for Training Needs Assessment

According to 2017 Skills Gap Report, nearly 80% of Americans agree there is a skills gap, and more than a third (35%) say it affects them personally.

While skill gaps are a roadblock for organizational success and development, they also hamper individual growth. Lack of knowledge and a feeling of that void demoralizes employees. As employees are increasingly becoming self-aware and aim for mutual growth- personal as well as organizational, it becomes essential to implement a feedback mechanism in 2019. 360 assessment reports give an overall view of the employee’s personality. Individual and group level analysis give a microscopic view of the bigger problems and ways to tackle them, through group training or personal efforts.

 
Why Adopt 360 Performance Appraisal? 

To keep up with the rapidly evolving skill ecosystem, organizations need to be well versed with the basics of 360 degree feedback. This is the first rung of the ladder to creating a better work culture. Everyone needs a culture which makes employees more efficient and skilled, which ultimately leads to enhanced productivity as mentioned earlier. As we bid adieu to the on-going year, its high time that we sit back, analyze and carefully chose a feedback mechanism which aids in performance appraisal, skill gap identification or adheres to any additional organizational goals which may arise in future. Since employees also aim for personal growth side-by-side professional growth, it becomes crucial to successfully adopt and implement 360 degree feedback to create a culturally cohesive workforce. 
 

Topics: 360 Feedback Tool

Originally published May 06 2019,updated June 29 2019

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