What is 360 Degree Assessment? Importance, Uses

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360 Degree Assessment

Performance-appraisal data collected from ‘all around’ an employee, his or her peers, subordinates, supervisors, and sometimes, from internal and external customers. This approach is also called multi-rater assessment, multi-source assessment, multi-source feedback.

The primary reason to use this full circle of confidential reviews is to provide the worker with information about his/her performance from multiple perspectives. From this feedback, the worker is able to set goals for self-development which will advance their career and benefit the organization.

With 360-degree feedback, the worker is central to the evaluation process and the ultimate goal is to improve individual performance within the organization. Under ideal circumstances, 360-degree feedback is used as an assessment for personal development rather than evaluation.

What is 360 Degree Assessment?

360 Degree Assessment is a performance appraisal basically on evaluation of an employee’s job performance by all those around him/her.

Importance of 360 Degree Feedback

An organization starts off with a goal to achieve something. To reach that goal they need a plan. Turning that plan into action and achieving the outcome requires people. But not just any people.

The organization needs people with specific capabilities. And the more capable they are, the more capable the organization is!

360-degree Feedback is not very expensive and is a lot more accurate. So once the organization knows what capabilities it does and doesn’t have, it needs to fill the gaps.

360-degree assessment is also really useful for developing people. It identifies precisely where the development is needed so you don’t end up wasting a huge amount of money on training that people don’t need. And it also provides something that’s needed for effective development – a measure of progress and achievement.

The pros and Cons of 360 degree Feedback

The 360-degree assessment is designed with that goal of extracting an honest and insightful look at employees and how they work. When used correctly, 360- degree assessments can help managers strengthen their skills, positively impacting the organization. Unfortunately, many companies use 360s haphazardly and incompletely or implement them in the wrong context.

Followings are the important points about the implementation of 360-degree feedback:

  • The 360 is a good indicator as to why a particular employee is successful or not-and enables the employee to see oneself through others’ eyes.

    The feedback is best interpreted with the help of a 3rd party coach, an HR professional or a trained manager. Employees need to believe that this tool will be used purely for their own success or they won’t be invested in the process.

  • Another common error is not protecting the confidentiality of the people interviewed. It is critically important that both the feedback results and the source of the feedback remain anonymous.

  • A third area where organizations frequently get tripped up is in the actual delivery of the feedback to the employee. Without expert assistance in interpreting the data from the feedback report, there is a risk of misinterpretation or even misuse of sensitive information.

  • The results should be delivered directly to the employee by an experienced coach, an HR professional or a manager who has been trained to interpret and provide feedback.

    This will help the employee to frame the information in the most productive developmental context.

Use of 360 Degree Feedback

Companies typically use a 360 assessment system in one of two ways:

  • 360 feedback as a Development Tool to help employees recognize strengths and weaknesses and become more effective

    When done properly, 360-degree feedback is highly effective as a development tool. The feedback process gives people an opportunity to provide anonymous feedback to a coworker that they might otherwise be uncomfortable giving.

    Feedback recipients gain insight into how others perceive them and have an opportunity to adjust behaviors and develop skills that will enable them to excel at their jobs.

  • 360 feedback as a Performance Appraisal Tool to measure employee performance

    Using a 360 degree feedback system for Performance Appraisal is a common practice, but not always a good idea. It is difficult to properly structure a 360 feedback process that creates an atmosphere of trust when you use 360 evaluations to measure performance.

    Moreover, 360 feedbacks focus on behaviors and competencies more than on basic skills, job requirements, and performance objectives. These things are most appropriately addressed by an employee and his/her manager as part of an annual review and performance appraisal process.

    It is certainly possible and can be beneficial to incorporate 360 feedbacks into a larger performance management process, but only with clear communication on how the 360 feedback will be used.

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