360-Degree Feedback

360-degree feedback has become a hot topic in the HR sphere. This is especially true with the increased focus on the importance of an organization’s appraisal process in driving improved employee and company performance. Let’s take a closer look at what 360-degree feedback is and how it can pay real dividends to your organization.

What is 360-degree feedback?
360-degree feedback is a method of gathering both positive and constructive feedback on employee performance as part of the wider appraisal process. The traditional way relies on receiving feedback from the employee’s manager. This method, however, gathers a variety of feedback from multiple sources, including the employee’s peers, external stakeholders/clients, direct line manager, and subordinates, where appropriate. This feedback can be gathered in several different ways, such as verbally, via a paper or email form, or through an automated system.

The purpose of 360-degree feedback
The main purpose of implementing a 360-degree feedback system is to allow employees the opportunity to receive meaningful and constructive feedback from more than one source, instead of just from their direct line manager. This can be quite useful. Depending on their job role, the employee may work closely with a colleague or even a customer who is external to the business, and would benefit from hearing their structured feedback. 360-degree feedback, therefore, provides a mechanism for gathering the views and opinions of these people to give the employee in question much more well-rounded, relevant, and specific evaluation on his/her job performance.

Benefits of 360-degree feedback in the appraisal process
Now that we’re clear on what 360-degree feedback is, let’s consider the advantages of using this tool as part of your organization’s performance management process.

As we have already mentioned, the fact that the employee receives feedback from multiple sources can be beneficial. It can help employees to clearly identify areas of success and opportunities for improvement across the whole spectrum of their job role – and, crucially, offer specific ideas on how to go about improving their performance. From the perspective of the line manager, feedback takes the pressure off of their having to be personally responsible for all of the feedback for their team member and helps them to see an overall picture of their employees’ work performance.

360-degree feedback can also be an excellent way to promote effective communication among staff members. It encourages an open and honest organizational structure where successes are celebrated and areas of opportunity are identified and supported. It means that feedback is much less one-sided and more collaborative, with teams working together to improve both personal and organizational performance in a culture where ongoing self-development is encouraged and celebrated.

How to streamline 360-degree feedback using automation
While 360-degree feedback can be a useful tool in the performance management process, implementing it can be a potential headache if it isn’t done with care. With more individuals to ask for feedback on behalf of each employee, line managers can easily become tangled up in sending feedback requests, as well as chasing, tracking, and collating the information, particularly if it is done manually.

Simplifying and streamlining how the feedback is requested and handled is key for both managers and employees to get the best out of the process. Automation is an ideal way of achieving this. Paper-based feedback forms, or even requests for feedback on email, are hard to track and gather.

Furthermore, achieving consistency across questions asked and different employees can also be tricky. Automation allows managers to request feedback at the touch of a button, choosing the type and frequency of feedback and automatically collating results by the employee.

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