Delivering information on the behaviour and performance of employees can be difficult for HR departments. Businesses today are run on metrics, bosses need to see numbers to measure performance. Sometimes the ways HR look to measure employees can be too broad and imprecise without any real tangible data. 360 appraisals can be a way to combat this, with proven researched methods of collecting tangible data throughout the process.
How are 360 Appraisals Different
A performance appraisal is a regular review and documentation of an employee’s job performance and overall contribution to a company. Traditionally it is based on a superior or a supervisor’s perception of an employee’s performance. This makes it hard to remain impartial and not take into account non-work relevant factors. This can include general ‘likeability’ in relation to the person assessing them. This is where 360 appraisal systems step in.
A 360 appraisal is a holistic employee review process, aimed at understanding individual workplace behaviours and developing business relevant and role specific skills. The 360-degree system is a method which specifies how and where feedback from a company’s employees is gathered. It gets its name from the fact that it gathers feedback of the employee’s behaviour from a variety of points of view, including peers and reports. This contrasts the downward feedback and upward feedback systems where they only take one point of view.
It can include a variety of internal and external sources when relevant to the study. For example, when external sources interact with the employee then outside sources will be taken into account. This normally includes the individual’s co-workers, supervisors, subordinates and other individuals at work. The anonymity of the surveys allows honest assessment of managers from all sources. It allows judgement data on performance much clearer due to the 360 appraisals diverse nature. There is also a section for self-assessment by the individual, which every business should encourage.
Therefore a 360 review is determined by what sources of information to use. And the sophistication does not stop there, the balance between quantitative and qualitative data collection and usage of different rating scales are what sets apart the good and bad questionnaire design. If implemented without care, a 360 system can still be ineffective and misleading. This is why consultants and coaches tend to partner with assessment software providers that offer fully administered services and bespoke delivery designs like CR Systems.
One of the main differentiators from a traditional approach is what kind of data it collects and the purpose. Traditional approaches focus on what is being/been done and centre around performance. The 360-degree feedback approach reviews the ‘how’ of employee’s actions and behaviours on a daily perspective. The aim is to help oneself learn about their own practices and manage their strengths and weaknesses for career development. As 360 feedback is purposed for developing interpersonal skills, it is often used in conjunction with performance and objectives measures to holistically evaluate employees and set upcoming targets.
Why leading companies are using 360 appraisals
As mentioned above, it allows businesses to stay far more impartial and credible when assessing employee’s skills. There are many other advantages to using 360 appraisal systems. It’s no coincidence that more than 85% of the Fortune 500 companies use 360 appraisal and feedback systems. The method clearly breeds success in all departments of businesses.
- It provides a more comprehensive view of the performance of employees
It allows companies to quantify difficult to measure qualities like teamwork, communicational skills and leadership. This is useful if it uses research-based metrics, founded on empirical research. CR Systems, a company that specialises in 360 appraisal systems, founds all their surveys on researched measures.
- The feedback is fair and reliable
It was traditionally used only for management positions or those in leadership, hence the emphasis on subordinates and peers feedback. However, now It is being found to be useful to all sections of a company. The importance of multi-sourced evaluation is that it rules out the bias of a singular reviewer. This builds trust for the received opinions and allows smoother acceptance and greater motivation for change. All positions in the organisation can benefit immediately. It provides a safe, confidential and reliable way for colleagues to provide feedback. Getting people comfortable with receiving feedback is essential for a talented team to become accustomed to feedback from their peers as well as other sources.
- It helps improve working relationships
85% of those with peer-based feedback implemented as part of their performance review feel they are more appreciated.
- Focusing on strengths
Research from the Corporate Leadership Council in 2002 shows that when reviews placed emphasis on performance strengths, employee performance rose by up to 36%. This contrasts reviews placing an emphasis on weaknesses, which led to performances to decreasing by up to 27%. Looking at weaknesses is a real “performance killer.” Leaders are by no means perfect, but they will be in these positions of power for a reason, so nurturing their skills and maximising their potential will benefit the workplace massively. For example, if a manager specifically is receiving strengths based feedback showed 12.5% greater productivity and their business units showed 8.9% greater profitability. Developing strengths in positions of leadership is important for an employee’s career growth and for the company’s effectiveness.
360 Feedback systems allow leaders to have their strengths identified and take the necessary steps to improve them. Focusing on the areas in which the individuals are strong, and how those strengths can be utilised. For example, creating a personal development plan from the feedback’s positive results. Ask your employees to consider how they can further develop and leverage their existing strengths, looking to improve strengths is always more natural than always tackling weaknesses.
- Encourages internal career advancement
Finally, due to the self-assessment and input from multiple departments, it can play a huge part in how managers can continue with their career development. Personal growth is the main aim of 360 appraisals. With the information gathered from multiple sources as well as a period of time dedicated to self-assessment managers can understand which areas they excel in and where they could improve. This allows other areas of management to sit with each other and really come up with step-by-step action plans for development after digesting their feedback. Deriving a sense of meaning from work helps develop a personal connection to the success of the work. This increased sense of meaning helps productivity and commitment.
Why should Companies seek Behavioural Change?
The method is effective at measuring employees behaviour, as well as encouraging desired behaviours. Due to the fact the 360 appraisals focus on how things are done rather than what, this makes them ideal to look at behaviours. Measuring how things get done allows you to identify the strengths that should be encouraged in management.
It is particularly useful to identify managers blind spots of behaviour and the impact that it has. The first step is to identify which core behaviours you consider critical to your business strategies and company culture, once those have been decided they need to be explicitly shared with those team members. This is commonly known as a Competency Framework. Some examples of the competencies are leadership skills, communicational skills and decisions making skills.
Assigning questions which will help measure these behaviours is the way to measure existing performance. Using a 360-degree feedback platform is the best way to attain this data. Targeting specific attributes of the behaviours in question through statements allow you to assess the strengths. This step of converting Competency Framework to 360 Degree Feedback Framework should be carried out with professional behavioural experts and language readability tools to ensure the descriptions fit the behaviours and can be understood equally for different people. Using a measuring scale of 0-6 is suggested but this can be customised to the coaching methods to allow easy and measurable assessment of qualities.
Once these anonymous surveys have been taken out it allows you to see where your management employee’s current standings are. Communicating with open and honest feedback what is expected, what they have done well and what they can improve on. This allows employees to understand what they can do to improve with greater clarity. Regular reviews then allow you to track progress in desired behaviours according to those subject to the behaviours every day. CR Systems have a variety of 360 feedback suites used to assess behaviours as well as prevent undesired behaviours from arising. Contact us today for support with 360 appraisals.