A 360 degree review or 360 review is a continuous performance management process that aims at helping the workforce in an organization at all levels to help them identify their strengths and weaknesses over a period of time and work on sharpening their skill set.
360 review is a method and a tool that provides each individual in an organization an opportunity to receive a performance review from his or her reporting manager, team lead, peers, colleagues, and subordinates. The most effective 360 review is the one where the review is purely based on tangible markers.
There is a distinctive difference between organizations that are largely successful and the ones who fail to stay in the competition- review process.
Successful organizations strive to evaluate their workforce by promptly guiding them towards a way to constantly improve, change and rise above the ordinary.
While a number of organizations realize the importance of a well-articulated review process, some still find it’s not smooth sailing yet. Some organizations even fall into the trap of introducing some cheap multi-rater process, but the right step here is to introduce a program that will help an overall improvement in the employees.
It is an anonymous process, where a manager, peer or subordinate fills out a review form that covers a variety of survey questions based on the attributes for which a review is needed. These questions should be based on a variety of workplace proficiency. This how a 360 review technically should work:
- Begin with measuring the right skill of the employees that would really make a difference to the performance of the organization, rather than an individual’s belief on what makes a good leader or manager.
- Take time to explain the reviewer and one being reviewed why they are going through the process and how will the data be used to benefit.
- Make it certain that the process is anonymous and there will be no breaches come what may.
- Then create a survey that should not require more than 15-20 minutes to fill out to avoid survey fatigue. The survey should be designed to focus majorly on discovering strengths than highlighting their weaknesses.
- Then tailor the result for each individual. There is no thumb rule that says everyone should be good at everything.
- Once you have deployed the survey and collected the data to individual and develop a plan of development which should be customized for each employee.
The effectiveness of any review is based on how well the metric can predict an outcome similar to how marketing lead generation campaigns predict sales revenue.
Here are the survey questions you can use for your 360 degree review survey
Section 1: Questions based on Self Awareness
- Is the employee calm under pressure situations?
- Are integrity and ethics important for the individual?
- Does the employee exhibit professional behavior at workplace?
- Is the employee open to constructive feedback?
Section 2: Questions Based on being Result Oriented
- Is the employee’s primary focus on customer needs?
- Is the employee a problem solver?
- Does the employee use his/her time judiciously at work?
Section 3: Questions based on Being a Team player
- Does the employee communicate effectively within the team?
- Has anyone in the team complained about his/her misconduct?
- Does the employee provide feedback on the ongoing activities within the team?
- Does the employee take feedback given to him/her seriously?
- Is the employee open to sharing resources provided to him or her?
Section 4: Questions based on Individual’s Level of Motivation
- Is the employee motivated with the tasks assigned at work?
- Does the employee show signs of motivation when it comes to the organization’s success?
- Does the employee come across as difficult to handle?
Section 5: Questions based on Leadership
- Does the employee show leadership traits?
- Does the employee have the ability to resolve issues within the team?
- Does the employee provide a positive environment for others to work around?
- Does the employee take the initiative to organize events at work?
- Is there anything you would like to add regarding the personality trait of the employee?
The purpose of 360 degree review is to help employees identify their strengths and weaknesses and be able to overcome any roadblocks that they might be facing in accomplishing their professional goals in the organizations.
Debates of every kind is going on within the organization about how to choose an effective tool, what kind of rater should be a part of the survey, how to use the data obtained, how to manage and integrate the process and more.
In this section, we shall look at the advantages and disadvantages of the process that will help you make a better decision. Here is an overview:
|Advantages of 360 degree review||Disadvantages of 360 degree review|
|Multiple sources are involved in the review process.||It is only an overall performance review process.|
|Helps in strengthening the teamwork culture within an organization.||It can lead to organizational issues if the implementation of the process goes wrong|
|It helps to understand the issues that might be a roadblock in an employee’s progress.||It can prove inefficient if not incorporated smoothly into the existing system.|
|Helps an employee identify their specific career development area.||Since the process is anonymous there cannot be a one to one conversation between those who have provided the feedback and the ones who have received it.|
|If implemented correctly biases can be eliminated.||If not implemented correctly might highlight employee weaknesses instead of strengths.|
|Offers constructive feedback if the parameters are set accordingly.||If the feedback givers are inexperienced and parameters are not defined, this can lead to disasters.|
|Helps an organization identify the training needs of their workforce.||Requires a substantial amount of data to work with to draw inferences.|
Advantages of 360 degree review
Following are the advantages associated with the review process:
1. Refined feedback from multiple sources
This method provides feedback from peers, manager, subordinates and can certainly be a substantial amount of over just an individual’s feedback. It is important for an organization to get a holistic picture of an employee’s progress. If an organization wants to function smoothly they need to take into consideration the good, bad and the ugly of the process.
2. Helps improve teamwork
This process can help team members work effectively with each other. This is for a fact that team members are an excellent source of feedback as they work with each other more than the manager working with them. Multi-rater feedback is excellent when it comes to providing feedback within the team. A well-established process can help organizations build a great teamwork culture
3. Understanding professional and personal goals
360 review is one of the comprehensive methods of understanding an employee’s professional and personal goals and the path chosen by them for their career development. You may come across what keeps an employee from working to his/her full potential and also can identify the loopholes in the policies, procedures, etc. and improve them to provide a better working environment to the employees.
4. Remove biases from the process.
When feedback comes from various sources it essentially removes any biases rather than when it comes from an individual. The bias can be because of age, race, gender, etc. This might not look pleasant but such discrimination does exist. Instead of reviewing an individual on the most recent interaction, it is strongly recommended to take into consideration the past experiences as well.
5. Training assessment
360 degree review provides all-inclusive information on the organization’s training needs, thereby helping in proper planning and execution. Training at all levels in an organization is a must do activity, if you want your employees to sharpen their skill set.
If 360 review has advantages, it also has disadvantages and it is important to understand the pros and cons of every review process to be able to implement it to make sure it serves purposefully.
Disadvantages of 360 Review
1. Expecting overly from the process
One needs to understand 360 review is not the same as a performance management process, it is in fact just a part of the process. Some organizations end up expecting overly from the process and end up achieving very less. Make sure it is integrated into the system effectively.
2. Design the process
A 360 review is usually recommended by either an HR of the organization or from someone who has learned its importance in a training session or must have read in some book. It is important that the process is designed carefully by an expert who would also be able to design the downfall if any.
3. Use it as support, not an add-on
360 review is a support to other performance review processes that are already a part of the organization. For example, if you know the competencies of an individual, give a review based on those competencies. This system is bound to fail if used as an add-on. This is a process that will help you achieve long term organizational goals.
4. Lack of information
Since this is an anonymous process people if need more information have no way of reaching out to the ones who reviewed them in the first place. For example, if an individual is unclear about some comments there is no way he/she can get it.
5. Tends to focus on negative
If not done correctly 360 review can evoke a lot of negative responses. If the parameters are not clearly defined it can lead to accumulating comments that can be quite demeaning and ugly and not necessarily pertaining to the individual’s ability at work. Everyone in the staff needs to be made aware of how the process works before implementing it.
Be it a small scale organization or a huge corporation, the only way to extract maximum information is through implementing the process with perfection. In some progressive organizations, employees provide reviews directly to each other, without any particular involvement from the manager.
No matter how you decide to do your 360 review you have to make sure, it is as descriptive as possible and that there is something tangible for the employees to work with. In many cases, how you monitor and evaluate determines the effectiveness of the process. It is a powerful process, treat it likewise.