Wednesday, January 23, 2008

360-degree Performance System

360 degree feedback, also known as 'multi-rater feedback', is the most comprehensive appraisal where the feedback about the employees’ performance comes from all the sources that come in contact with the employee on his job. 360 degree respondents for an employee can be his/her peers, managers (i.e. superior), subordinates, team members, customers, suppliers/ vendors - anyone who comes into contact with the employee and can provide valuable insights and information or feedback regarding the “on-the-job” performance of the employee.
The 360-degree evaluation is a common tool in human resource management. Simply put, it is a mechanism for evaluating someone's performance based on feedback from everyone with whom the individual comes in contact—supervisors, coworkers, partners, subordinates, the general public. It is a method of collecting input from many sources in an employee's environment.
This can be a powerful tool. Each of wants to know how we're doing in our work. This method of collecting evaluative input is an excellent source of motivation for employees because it provides a truly honest assessment of how the employee and her performance are viewed by a variety of constituents.
In the more traditional method of performance appraisal, supervisors meet with employees one-to-one to discuss performance. By contrast, the 360-degree method uses confidential input from many people who can truly respond to how an employee performs on the job. The supervisor and employee meet to discuss the feedback received.

This type of feedback helps employees see themselves as others see them and allows them to seriously examine their behavior. It can reveal areas in which employees are performing particularly well and those areas in which there is room for improvement. It provides information of which neither the employee nor the supervisor may be aware. Specific input allows employees to adjust their performance. The most challenging aspect of the 360-degree evaluation is the evaluators' concern about confidentiality. When implementing this type of evaluation, it's best to assure other employees that what they share will remain strictly confidential. Likewise, explain to each employee that he will be evaluated by many people, including those who know his work best.

Typically, employees will find this methodology to be more fair. When they consider this process as opposed to being evaluated by an individual supervisor who has limited knowledge of what they do, they will begin to see the value in this type of evaluation. They will conclude that the 360-degree feedback is more accurate and equitable than other traditional approaches and puts all employees on a level playing field.

This review process is also helpful for the supervisor. It can provide a more accurate assessment of an employee's performance and help eliminate accusations of favoritism. The 360-degree process provides greater objectivity. And because the feedback is submitted anonymously, it provides a supervisor with the most unbiased and accurate information from which to draw performance conclusions. Most people are not able to see clearly how their performance is either enhancing the work situation for others or detracting from it. This performance evaluation method can help reveal these areas and allow us to improve the way we do our job, thereby creating greater harmony and better productivity in the workplace. The 360-degree evaluation will help employees identify their strengths so they can build on them at the same time it addresses their skill gaps. It is a process that leads to continuous learning, team building, growing self-confidence and improved productivity.

Sounds like a winning system, right? It can be, but your organization must be ready to accept the change from the traditional method of employee evaluation. Your formal and informal leaders must buy in to this idea and see the value of its adoption. Some questions you should ask yourself include the following:

Is your organization committed to continuous learning?
Does your organization see the value of developing leaders in-house?
Are you willing to make the changes necessary to do this?
What is the level of trust in your organization? Will your culture support honest feedback?
Is upper level management willing to lead the way and volunteer for 360-degree evaluation?
360 degree appraisal has four integral components:
1. Self appraisal
2. Superior’s appraisal
3. Subordinate’s appraisal
4. Peer appraisal.
Self appraisal gives a chance to the employee to look at his/her strengths and weaknesses, his achievements, and judge his own performance. Superior’s appraisal forms the traditional part of the 360 degree appraisal where the employees’ responsibilities and actual performance is rated by the superior. Subordinates appraisal gives a chance to judge the employee on the parameters like communication and motivating abilities, superior’s ability to delegate the work, leadership qualities etc. Also known as internal customers, the correct feedback given by peers can help to find employees’ abilities to work in a team, co-operation and sensitivity towards others.
Self assessment is an indispensable part of 360 degree appraisals and therefore 360 degree appraisals have high employee involvement and also have the strongest impact on behavior and performance. It provides a "360-degree review" of the employees’ performance and is considered to be one of the most credible performance appraisal methods.360 degree appraisal is also a powerful developmental tool because when conducted at regular intervals (say yearly) it helps to keep a track of the changes others’ perceptions about the employees. A 360 degree appraisal is generally found more suitable for the managers as it helps to assess their leadership and managing styles. This technique is being effectively used across the globe for performance appraisals. Some of the organizations following it are Wipro, Infosys, and Reliance Industries etc.

360 Degree Performance Evaluation

360 feedback assessments are powerful tools for helping individuals improve, grow, and develop their interpersonal skills. Our assessment gathers information from several people about an individual's performance as seen by his/her boss, self, peers, direct reports, and customers. Traditional performance evaluations are subjective and one-sided. Most traditional evaluation systems are ineffective in providing honest and objective feedback.

A better way is the 360-Degree feedback assessment process. No matter what position you hold in a company, it is important to understand how others (boss, team, peers and customers) perceive your effectiveness as a leader--strengths and weaknesses. 360-Degree input from supervisors, co-workers, clients and direct reports is valuable in improving organizational and individual performance.
Key Aspects of a 360 Degree Feedback Assessment Process

We conduct individual assessments, which includes input from 7-15 respondents directly on the Internet. We can provide either a standardized or a customized assessment. The standardized assessment consists of approximately 60 questions. The assessment is conducted via the Internet and we provide you a final report with these key features:
Mean Average
Gap Size Analysis
Open Ended Questions
Development Plan
Overall Results
Overall Importance Ratings
Strengths by Rater Group
Developmental Needs by Rater Group
Strengths by Frequency of Occurrence
Developmental Needs by Frequency
Online Delivery
Multiple Languages
Coaching (optional)
Is 360 Degree Feedback Better Than Traditional Evaluations?

Studies show 360 degree feedback assessments can have a positive economic impact when used for leader development. A study by J. Folkman showed the relationship between turnover and leadership effectiveness. He showed effective leaders have lower turnover of employees under them. Another study showed performance-based assessments and development can result in a 6 standard deviation improvement in employee performance, yielding a return on investment as high as 700%
How does it work?

The process is simple. We provide you a secure webpage where the questions are listed. The rated individual scores him/herself, along with their boss, and peer group. After all scorings are received, we provide you and the rated individual a printed report or access to a webpage listing the ratings summary.

7-15 people provide input on individual's performance

Completely anonymous-Identities protected

Internet based-Accessible from anywhere in the world

The first step includes a self-evaluation

Thorough and detailed reports providing improvement suggestions

We work with you or your company to custom design the assessment or use our standardized 360

We can custom design one assessment or as many individuals you desire

Most standard 360's have between 60-100 questions

Completed 360 includes a development guidebook

Arguments Against 360 Degree Performance Appraisal
Despite the fact that 360 degree appraisals are being widely used throughout the world for appraising the performance of the employees at all levels, many HR experts and professionals argument against using the technique of 360 degree appraisals. The main arguments are:
360 performance rating system is not a validated or corroborated technique for performance appraisal.

With the increase in the number of raters from one to five (commonly), it become difficult to separate, calculate and eliminate personal biasness and differences.

It is often time consuming and difficult to analyze the information gathered.

The results can be manipulated by the employees towards their desired ratings with the help of the raters.
The 360 degree appraisal mechanism can have a adversely effect the motivation and the performance of the employees.

360 degree feedback – as a process- requires commitment of top management and the HR, resources(time, financial resources etc), planned implementation and follow-up.

360 degree feedback can be adversely affected by the customers’ perception of the organisation and their incomplete knowledge about the process and the clarity o f the process.


  1. 360 degree feedback helps you finding the easy way to establish, that make it more prominent and efficient, 360 degree feedback system.

  2. 360 degree feedback main effect is the perceptions is reality and this process helps the individuals understand how others perceive them, uncover blind spot, the feedback is essential for learning.