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Evaluations are given by several different stakeholders - supervisor, colleague, subordinate, customer, supplier, etc. It is imperative that the people who will be evaluating the employee have some form of working relationship with him/her. Different perspectives help to form a combined and balanced evaluation.
360-degree feedback is aimed at assessing skills that will support both the individual development of the employee and the development of the organisation. Such skills, for example, are: leadership skills, teamwork skills, communication skills, etc. By receiving feedback, the employee will not only understand how colleagues evaluate their abilities, but also what their strengths and weaknesses are and how they can increase their productivity.
The 360-degree feedback identifies development opportunities, assists in creating an action plan, and suggests the resources and tools that need to be provided so employees can focus on their long-term career development.
The 360-degree feedback focuses on the following areas:
- Identifying a starting point for new skill development.
- Measuring progress as the employee works on improving their skills over time.
- Identifying behavioral weaknesses and influences the employee has that have never been addressed.
What does 360-degree feedback measure?
With 360-degree feedback, you can:
- Measure behaviors and skills.
- Find out what others think about a particular employee's skills.
- Target specific skills, such as teamwork, active listening, planning and more.
What doesn't 360-degree feedback assess?
- It's not a way to measure employee performance.
- It is not a way to determine if an employee is meeting the basic requirements of the job.
- Does not focus on technical skills or those related to specific job duties.
- Should not be used to measure specific things, such as sales, for example.
Who should not be given 360-degree feedback?
Before deciding whether to arrange 360-degree feedback for an employee, consider the following questions:
- Does the employee have the time and energy to develop their business and personal skills?
- How has the employee responded to feedback so far?
- Has the employee recently received feedback from his or her supervisor?
- Has the employee been on the job long enough for adequate feedback to be given?
- 360-degree feedback is realistic because it is received from many sides.
- It helps employees start working better together.
- Helps personal development as well as that of the organization.
- Organizations show that they care about the career development of their employees.
- Discrimination is reduced as feedback comes from different individuals, with different roles, different ages, different genders etc.
- Improves customer service.
- Helps to determine the educational needs of the organization - training, seminars, etc. can be planned.
Roles and responsibilities
There are typically 3-4 roles in 360-degree feedback. It is important for all participants to understand their own role and responsibilities in order to complete the process successfully.
The roles are as follows:
- Evaluated employee
The administrator is the person who will conduct the survey. Note that the supervisor of the employee being evaluated does not have to be the administrator. The administrator should be a person who is familiar with the current issues but is not emotionally connected to the case. In most cases, such a person can be found in the Human Resources Department. It may also be an outside consultant who specializes in 360-degree surveys and personal development.
If you are a 360-degree survey administrator:
- Explain the objectives and benefits of the survey to all who will participate.
- Explain to them also how the process will work.
- Administer the feedback collection.
- Advise the supervisor of the employee being evaluated so that the supervisor can better understand the results and what actions to take after the survey is completed.
- Present and discuss the results with the employee being evaluated.
- Create a plan and help provide the necessary resources for the appraisee to improve their skills.
Employee being evaluated
The appraisee needs to understand that people who are asked to give feedback are giving constructive criticism. Their observations will help him understand the difference between how he perceives himself and how his colleagues perceive him.
Here are some guidelines to think about if you are going to be evaluated with 360-degree feedback:
- People are evaluating you, not criticizing you. They provide you with constructive feedback.
- Feedback is neither right nor wrong. It is simply feedback.
- You don't have to change anything after the feedback. Of course, if you don't make changes, you won't learn new skills or achieve better results, but that's your choice.
- You may need to self-evaluate. This is done in order to identify differences between your self-assessment and the assessment of other survey participants.
- You will find out which are the things you can change and which of your skills you need to develop to achieve the career development you want.
- Be prepared to hear surprising opinions. Some of them may even make you angry, but this is a very normal reaction.
Evaluators are usually between 4 and 10 people (not including the supervisor) who will answer questions that the administrator has prepared that are related to the evaluation. Evaluators should have some form of working relationship with the evaluatee - a colleague, a person on the same team, a client, a vendor, etc..
Duties of evaluators
If you are an evaluator, you should keep the following things in mind:
- Answer questions honestly and constructively.
- Your answers can be anonymous.
- If the feedback is in the form of a survey, consider open-ended questions carefully.
Supervisor feedback is usually handled separately as the perspective is quite different. The main thing he or she should do is to keep in mind that he or she should not be evaluating job performance, but the employee's skills.
After the survey is completed, the supervisor and administrator will discuss a plan to develop and improve the employee's skills.
The supervisor should provide the necessary support - through resources, coaching, encouragement and recognition.
When creating 360-degree feedback questions, you should consider the following best practices:
- Do not include questions assessing the employee's technical skills. These cannot be measured by a 360-degree survey.
- Focus on the employee's habits and skills, not their personal qualities.
- Select the right questions. Include open-ended questions, e.g., "What are the things that X should stop doing?", "What are the things that X should start doing differently?", "What are the things that X should continue doing?".
- Focus your study on a small group of skills.
- Strike a balance between the number of open-ended questions and skill assessment questions.
- Use a scale of 1 to 5 for skill assessment questions. It is familiar to all and easy to understand.
Create 360-degree feedback
Step 1: Meet with the person being assessed.
First, you need to make sure the ratee understands the process and how they can use the feedback they receive.
Step 2: Talk to the ratee's supervisor.
Once you have a basic idea of the ratee's expectations, it's time to meet with his or her supervisor.
Often supervisors have their own goals for the ratee. Discuss these goals and the supervisor's expectations for the feedback, and make sure they are appropriate to the 360-degree survey. If they are not, it may be better to choose another form of structured feedback.
Step 3: Send the survey.
The most common way to conduct 360-degree feedback is through an online survey. At the beginning of the survey, introduce yourself and explain the process again. Encourage evaluators to provide constructive feedback and examples.
Step 4: Review the data and prepare a report.
You should review all responses and comments for each evaluatee, and prepare a report that synthesizes the most important points from the feedback. If a particular response made a stronger impression on you, you can invite the evaluator to a meeting and discuss things in more detail.
Always paraphrase any comments rather than showing them directly. Tell the assessor that they have been paraphrased. That way, he won't waste time wondering who said what.
What to do after the survey is over?
Meet with the appraisee's supervisor and make sure he understands the future plan of action. Make sure he or she also has all the resources needed to help the employee.
The appraisee should accept the feedback, and decide what to change, and what not to.
Everyone should keep in mind that skill development doesn't happen during the survey, it happens afterwards and takes time.
What questions to include in your survey?
If you want to create your own 360-degree survey, you can include questions on the following topics:
- Leadership skills (Delegation, responsibility, vision, active listening, coaching, decision making, change management, risk management).
- Communication skills (Active listening, conversation skills, negotiation skills, giving and receiving feedback).
- Teamwork skills (Active listening, asking questions, helping, responsibility, giving feedback).
- Organizational skills (Project management, time management, logistics, attention to detail).
- Creativity (Problem solving, problem identification, brainstorming, networking).
- Personal skills (Empathy, self-confidence, stress management, positive attitude, teamwork, enthusiasm).
Make sure that before you start measuring a skill, you are clear about what success looks like and what resources you can provide to enable the person being assessed to develop.
Sample questions for 360-degree feedback
1. He/she is aware of the latest trends and is making progress in his/her field of work.
2. Demonstrates a clear understanding of the factors that impact the success of the company.
3. Is respected as a talented and knowledgeable individual in his/her field of activity.
4. Sets clear guidelines for team development that are directly related to the organization's strategy.
1. Makes decisions that clearly demonstrate an understanding of overall goals.
2. Considers multiple sources of information before making a decision.
3. Makes timely decisions.
4. Displays good judgment and common sense when making decisions.
Planning and organizing
1. Sets short-term goals that coincide with the organization's long-term strategy.
2. Breaks down large projects into smaller, easy to accomplish tasks.
3. Manages time well.
4. Keeps people focused on the core initiatives and priorities of the organization.
Integrity and trust
1. X is characterized by the following qualities - honesty, trustworthiness, ethical.
2. Delivers on promises.
3. Takes responsibility for his own actions.
4. Sets a good example for others.
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