Why understanding the metrics used in 360-degree feedback is important?

The term ‘feedback’ has been used time and again to describe the helpful information or criticism about prior action or behavior from any individual, communicated to another individual (or a group), one who can use that information for improvement in the current and future actions and behaviors. Feedback is said to occur when an environment reacts to any action or behavior.

For example, ‘customer feedback’ is the buyers’ reaction to a company’s products, services, or policies.

Effective feedback, both positive and negative, is usually very helpful. It is valuable information that is used in making important decisions. Top performing companies become top performing because they consistently search for ways to make even their best a little bit better. Suchcompanies are not only good at accepting feedback, they deliberately request for feedback. This is because they know that feedback is helpful only when it highlights bot weaknesses and strengths.

Managers who aim to replace their traditional performance review systems face tough choices for betterment. There is an abundance of evidence from firms such as Dell, Deloitte and Adobe – who were among the first to introduce Agile Performance Management – which shows that such systems can be highly effective, with very positive results.

360 Degree Feedback tool is a system or process according to which employees receive confidential, anonymous feedbacks from the people who work around them. This typically includes the employee’s manager, colleagues, and direct reports. A mix of about eight to twelve people are required to fill out an anonymous online feedback form that asks questions covering a wide range of workplace competencies. The feedback forms include questions that are measured on a rating scale and also expect them to provide written comments. The person receiving feedback also fills out a self-rating survey that includes the same survey questions which others receive in their forms.

One of the following ways is how 360-degree feedback worksfor companies:

  1. To help employees recognize strengths and weaknesses and become more effective:

When done properly, 360 is a highly development tool. The feedbackgives people an opportunity to provide anonymous feedback to a colleague that they might otherwise be uncomfortable giving.

  1. As a Performance Appraisal Tool to measure performance:

It is very difficult to properly structure a 360 feedback process that creates an atmosphere of trust when you use 360 evaluations to measure performance.

What a 360 Feedback Survey measures behaviours and competencies. It also provides feedback on how others perceive an employee. It addresses skills such as listening, planning, and goal-setting. A 360 evaluation focuses on subjective areas such as teamwork, character, and leadership effectiveness.

What 360 Feedback Surveys do not assess is employee performance objectives. It cannot determine whether an employee is meeting basic job requirements or not. It is neither focused on basic technical nor on job-specific skills. 360 feedbackcannot be used to measure strictly objective things such as attendance, sales quotas, etc.

360 degree feedback is a method and a tool that provides every employee an opportunity to receive feedback on his or her performance, from his or her supervisor or manager and four to eight peers, reporting staff members, colleague, and customers. Most 360-degree feedback tools are responded to by the individual in a self-assessment.

360-degree feedback assists each individual in understanding how his performance as an employee, co-worker or staff member is viewed by others. The most effective 360-degree feedback processes provide feedback that is based on behaviors that other employees can see in an individual.The feedback provides an insight into the skills and behaviors desired in any organization to accomplish the mission, vision, and goals. The feedback is firmly planted in behaviors needed to exceed customer expectations.

People who are chosen as feedback providers are often selected in a consensus by both the organization and the employee. These are people who generally interact routinely with the person who is receiving feedback.

The purpose of the 360-degree feedback is to assist each individual in understanding their strengths and weaknesses and for the purpose of contributing insights into aspects of their work needing professional development.

This method provides well-rounded feedback from peers, reporting staff, co-workers and supervisors and provides for a definite improvement over feedback as compared to one from a single individual. 360 feedback also saves managers’ time as they need to spend less energy providing feedback as more people participate in the process. Colleague perception is given importance and the process helps people understand how other employees view their work.

This feedback approach helps members in one team in learning to work more effectively together. Multi-rater feedback makes team members more accountable to each other as they share the knowledge which they will provide input on each member’s performance. A well-planned process improves communication and teamwork in the organization.

Often, a 360 degree feedback process arrives as a recommendation from the HR department. Just as an organization implements any planned change, the implementation of 360 degree feedback should follow effective change in management guidelines in the organization. For a 360 feedback process to work, it must be connected with the overall strategic aims of an organization. If you have identified competencies or have comprehensive job descriptions, give people feedback on their performance of the expected competencies and job duties. The system will fail if it is an add-on rather than a supporter of your organization’s fundamental performance analysis system. It must function as a measure of the accomplishment of your organization’s big and long-term picture.

It is essential for every organization to evaluate the performance of its employees. If an employee is under performing, they must be warned and if they are doing well, they must be rewarded. This can be done by understanding their performances based on a 360- feedback.

Once implemented properly; there are very few disadvantages to 360-degree feedback. However, human error can cause the difference between a successful and a failed 360-degree feedback system.


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