The key trend in performance appraisals over the past few years has been a desire to gain 360 degree feedback as part of the performance appraisal process. For some, feedback is gained against a set of competencies – similar to standard 360 degree feedback. For others, feedback is gathered against a few key questions to supplement the manager’s own knowledge of the appraisee. Here are our 5 tips built from our experience with clients using our integrated 360 degree performance appraisal system.
1. Allow more time.
Obvious? Perhaps. But if there was one practical outcome that we saw from introducing 360 degree feedback into the performance appraisal it is that it significantly increases the cycle. The time taken to select the respondents, verify them, distribute the questions, get the responses and then organise the appraisal meeting is significantly lengthened. If you wish to have high quality feedback then you have to leave time for respondents to set aside an appropriate amount of their own time to give it.
2. Let appraisees choose their respondents and then verify their list
Logistically, it is quicker to allow the appraisee to choose their respondents and they will get it 80% right. And they take ownership. Some, but not many, may abuse that trust and so a failsafe is required. But let the appraisees pick the respondents first and then let their manager (or HR in some organisations) check over and supplement / amend the list.
3. Think quality not quantity
As ever with feedback – it is better to have 3 people write 2 or 3 well crafted paragraphs each than have 10 people provide 20 ratings and no narrative. The aim of performance appraisal is (usually) to reflect on prior performance and to support the coming year. Energised feedback from well-selected people is better than tired feedback from a scattergun of everyone with a potential opinion.
4. Automate it
You really don’t want to do this on paper. So, get system support and have that system geared to both standard appraisal and the 360 feedback element. There is the potential for significant amount of administration – don’t let the process get in the way of the feedback.
5. Be open with the process
Unless there are real issues with people being concerned with confidentiality, then we recommend that the appraisee gets to see all of the 360 degree feedback. This makes acceptance of feedback much easier and creates a better culture around the performance appraisal itself. The manager should ultimately take responsibility for providing the overall feedback and appraisal conversation and should be confident in doing so while showing the inputs they have used.
We have left training out of the tips – training people on feedback and the appraisal conversation is always the way forward and not specific to this topic….but do, do train the managers!
If handled properly then including 360 degree feedback into performance appraisal reflects modern team structures and is the way forward. We see some great implementations and hope the above tips set you on your way.