360 degree feedback / 360 evaluation

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360 degree feedback - ToolsHero

This article explains 360 degree feedback in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful communication skills tool.

What is a 360 evaluation?

360 degree feedback or 360 evaluation can be used to obtain a complete picture of an employee’s performance. It is a measuring tool in which an individual’s performance is analysed from different angles on the bases of competencies.

The founder of this great employee performance analyse tool is Marshall Goldsmith, a leading authority on leadership, business education and coaching.

The individual’s skills, knowledge and behaviour are evaluated as objectively as possible by themselves and by people who maintain contacts with them. The collected feedback provides insight into the employee’s performance.

Categories of the 360 degree feedback

It is important that 360 degree feedback is obtained from different perspectives. This is why the responses from the feedback providers are categorized into for example colleagues, managers, employees, customers and other external relations. As a result, insight is obtained from various perspectives into the qualities of an employee.

By using an appraisal form with predetermined competencies, representatives from the different categories are asked to assess the employee in question.

As the employee also completes the form, the manager can verify how many areas of overlap and how many discrepancies there are in certain areas.

In case of discrepancies, it is advisable to go through these with the employee and make agreements about future performance.

360 degree feedback as a tool

The 360 degree feedback is best used to support assessments. The assessment of people in their immediate environment is just a random indication.

This is why the assessments of feedback providers are not necessarily in accordance with the truth. Furthermore, the 360 degree feedback is an efficient tool for making a personal development plan. It is also used for identifying training needs or supporting career changes.

Criticism

Critics indicate that 360 degree feedback takes a lot of time and effort. The vast amount of information that is generated would make it impossible for a manager to process all this within a short time.

The 360 degree feedback method only works well when it is linked to a common goal. Managers and employees must work well together and formulate SMART goals: specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic and time-bound.

By collecting honest and unbiased feedback, managers will be able to use the information for development activities. With the help of this information, progress can be measured and adjusted.

It’s Your Turn

What do you think? Is the 360 degree feedback method applicable in today’s modern organizations and businesses? Do you recognize the practical explanation or do you have more suggestions? What are the success factors for a good 360 degree feedback analyze?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

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More information

  1. Church, A. H., & Bracken, D. W. (1997). Advancing the State of the Art of 360-Degree Feedback Guest Editors’ Comments on the Research and Practice of Multirater Assessment Methods. Group & Organization Management, 22(2), 149-161.
  2. Edwards, M. R., & Ewen, A. J. (1996). 360 Feedback: The powerful new model for Employee Assessment and performance improvement. New York: Amacom.
  3. Hesselbein, F., Goldsmith, M., Beckhard, R. (1996). The Leader of the Future. Jossey-Bass.
  4. London, M., & Beatty, R. W. (1993). 360‐degree feedback as a competitive advantage. Human Resource Management, 32(2‐3), 353-372.
  5. Tornow, W. W., & London, M. (1998). Maximizing the Value of 360-Degree Feedback: A Process for Successful Individual and Organizational Development. Jossey-Bass.

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