“The word we like to hear most is our own name,” said Dale Carnegie a quote taken from his famous book ‘How to win friends and influence people.’ Even when we don’t master a subject, we still want to give an opinion and actively participate. Should the subject be considered as the performance evaluation of an expert, therefore such participation is even more important. Thus, an increasingly high number of companies are now adopting the 360-degree feedback system.
Everything begins with war
Accordingly, the multi-source performance evaluations have been available since the First World War. However, their most consolidated format only appeared in the German Armed Forces during the Second World War.
Although its name “360-degree feedback” didn’t officially exist at this time, and yet, the concept was identical: members – soldiers – were evaluated by each other, by their superiors and subordinates. This evaluation made the perception clear in regards to the group as well as providing suggestions to improve each other’s performance.
The main difference between this performance evaluation method, as you can imagine, is that other hierarchic levels also partake in providing their opinions. Traditionally, what we used to have – in the Armed Forces and the companies – was that the high ranking military officers and managers always offered their impressions down the ranks.
How to apply the 360-degree Feedback
Some of basic steps which are necessary for implementing this performance evaluation method in your company. Such as the following:
- Set the intended competencies that the company wishes to pursue. These competencies must constitute a checklist of the 360-degree feedback;
- Train your team effectively, so they know how to evaluate each other’s performance, along with their own. Also, prepare the managers in accepting the criticisms of their subordinates, which can be a touchy issue;
- Make it clear for all participants that the information contained in the 360-degree feedback must be kept confidential;
- Prepare a brief and unbiased performance evaluation form. The collaborator should not be directed towards certain answers;
- Evaluate the answers given in the forms, then collect all of the perceptions of the evaluators;
- Offer positive feedback so that the collaborators can learn and identify their difficulties, to make appropriate actions.
Models of 360-degree feedback
To fit accordingly to the company or teams configuration, the manager can implement different variations of the 360-degree feedback questionnaire. These models help in detecting different collaborators’ characteristics and should be applied to specific cases. Nonetheless, they are all based on the aggregation of everyone’s opinions, which can bring reliable inputs for managers, including those who are being evaluated. Let’s take a look at them:
1. Lean model, with three alternatives
In this brief, satisfactory feedback is quickly achieved through the objective and theme-divided model. The respondents must answer “Never,” “Sometimes” or “Always” for each question:
- Proactivity: Does the collaborator show initiative?
- Interest: Is the employee dedicated and is trying to achieve the sales targets?
- Organization: Is the employee organized in their daily activities?
- Resilience: Does the collaborator adapt to new situations and clients?
- Sociability: Does the employee have a good interaction with their workmates?
- Leadership: Does the collaborator demonstrate leadership skills?
- Vocation: Does it show if the employee is talented enough for their current role?
- Availability: Is the collaborator always willing to cooperate?
- Efficiency: Does the employee deliver the expected results?
- Teamwork: Does the employee collaborate with other company’s members?
- Ethics: Does the employee have an ethical behavior?
2. Direct model, with five alternatives
This modality of performance evaluation does not use the themes, and the questions also seem vaguer. However, it works better when the evaluation aims to learn the ethical aspects, commitment, and expertise. The respondent must choose between “Never,” “A Little,” “Sometimes,” “Much” and “Often.”
- Is the employee reluctant to accept the decisions made by the group?
- When solving day-to-day difficulties, does the employee know how to expose their needs and ask the questions that will help them?
- Does the employee easily and respectfully accept opinions that differ from theirs?
- Is the employee an example to everyone, in representing the company’s values?
- Does the employee endeavor to achieve the best possible results for the group?
- Is the employee self-confident?
- Does the employee show autonomy in decision making?
- Does the employee know how to manage time to overcome challenges?
- Does the employee know how to communicate clearly and consistently?
- Does the employee use administrative techniques to improve the environment and collaboration in the workplace?
- Does the employee try to help reduce expenses and waste?
- Does the employee place the needs of the company before their own?
- Is the employee willing to accept risks?
- Does the employee give up easily at the first sign of trouble?
- Does the employee know how to use the resources on the company’s behalf, to work productivity?
3. Complex model, with three alternatives
This performance evaluation model proposes two questions per theme and is designed and better suited for teams with high performances, enthusiasm, and demand, in more competitive markets, with more aggressive targets. Employees must answer each question with “Never,” “Sometimes” and “Always.”
- Leadership: Is the employee able to influence and motivate other collaborators to participate in the proposed projects? Does the employee understand the diversity of personalities and can evoke the best trait out of each one?
- Moral Integrity: Does the employee work ethically? Does the employee aim for impartiality and fairness in the case of opinions’ disagreement?
- Versatility: Does the employee encourage team’s members to search for solutions in the problems of their department? Does the employee accept new responsibilities and face difficulties with creativity?
- Relationship: Does the employee know how to link collaborators in search of discovering true teamwork? Does the employee try to conciliate opinions and reconnect people upon the conflicts that occur?
- Systemic look: Does the employee see opportunities for the clients and the company and will ask for leaders’ help? Does the employee realize the importance of connecting with other departments to fulfill the tasks?
- Teamwork: Does the employee aim for dialogue within the group, so that together everyone finds a better solution? Does the employee work productively in groups, without causing conflicts but instead evokes the participation of everyone?
- Responsibility: Does the employee fulfill deadlines and tries to reach their objectives? Does the employee try to achieve the quality levels established by the company?
- Communication: Does the employee pass information to the workgroup? Does the employee communicate honestly, without hiding information?
- Focus on results: Does the employee engage with their group to reach the goals? Does the employee direct their efforts to reach the company’s goals?
- Organization: Does the employee know how to set priorities when allocating their time, to ensure that various tasks are performed efficiently at the same time? Does the employee know how to use their time appropriately?
Tips to succeed when using the 360-degree feedback
Applying the 360-degree feedback in your team is not enough. Specific measures also have to be made to the process can work out successfully. David Epstein, Human Resources Director, presented tips for your management to achieve successful results with the feedback, as you can see in this Forbes’ article.
1. To create and reach a feedback environment
The process is still seen negatively by collaborators. So, to effectively break the paradigm and make people more and more comfortable in expressing and listening to the evaluations, the suggestion is to carry out the feedback continuously and on a consistent basis.
2. Adopt an action plan
It’s important to utilize the 360-degree feedback to identify the improvements that can be made and adopted in the management. Now, with your reports to hand, it is possible to create a plan to solve the problems which have been found. For example, how to optimize your company’s communication, increase the team’s productivity or improve the workflow.
If you use a complete work management software, you can face these and many other additional challenges. Runrun.it, for example, is a tool that facilitates collaborative interpersonal communication, thus avoiding loss of information contained in e-mails and WhatsApp groups. It also automates what is bureaucratic in your operation, such as meetings and the micromanagement, and will make your processes more efficient. In addition, you can also distribute the tasks to your team, visualize the projects’ progress in real time and measure the time spent in each activity.
3. Develop the collaborators
The main goal is to help in people’s professional growth, and it cannot be forgotten. The focus cannot only be on performance analysis; rather it should be on providing information and tools aiming for the development of each one. As a result, collaborators will be able to enhance themselves by improving their output, strengthening the team and contributing more effectively to the company.
4. Do not forget the strengths
After an evaluation, it is common to highlight the weaknesses of an individual and how they must be improved. So, as a result, the positive aspects end up being ignored or simply forgotten. However, having some focus on the strengths can really show the best practices that you can continue follow to improve your career. So, yes, work on your weaknesses but please do not stop enhancing the best parts of you.
5. Be careful with the decision making
Here you can see a recommendation from Angelo DeNisi and Avraham Kluger, organizational behavior professors: in this article, they suggest to avoid decision makings, such as promotions, terminations, and dismissals based on the 360-degree feedback. According to the authors, these procedures increase the anxiety towards the process, which impairs analysis’ accuracy and affects people’s performance negatively.
Should these suggestions be followed, your 360-degree feedback program will be maintained more efficiently, when bringing true benefits to your management.
Performance evaluation using intelligent tools
The evaluations, target definition and information exchanging among collaborators will become far simpler and quicker by implementing management tools like Runrun.it. With this tool you always keep your team well-informed about the results, and what the company expects from its collaborators. There are many personalization roles; this means that everyone can take the most advantage of their work. Try it for free: