Why using 360 degree feedback in organisations is a better idea

Why using 360 degree feedback in organisations is a better idea

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Engr Syeda Tanzia Abedin
Can any organisation run smoothly without performance appraisals? No, it is practically impossible. To put it simply, performance appraisal is a process of evaluating an employee’s job performance relative to his or her performance standards and organisational objectives.
Appraisals mainly help the supervisors to make decisions for salary raise and promotion, to correct any deficiency in performance of the employee that is brought up in this process, to reinforce the positive sides of the employee and also for career planning purposes. This evaluation can be done by their immediate supervisors, peers, subordinates, internal or external customers or also by themselves. When each of the evaluation is considered separately and if an organisation depends on only any one of them, there might be a chance of dissatisfaction and unfairness in the appraisal. Employees might not be able to accept the results considering it unjust and prejudiced decision. So the overall evaluation of all the above appraisers should be taken into consideration. Therefore organisations can make use of a process where all the appraisers are involved which is called the 360 degree feedback process.360 degree feedback is a process of rating the performance of an employee by the employee’s supervisors, peers, subordinates and internal or external customers. Self- rating is also considered. In this process, the raters complete anonymous online feedback forms. The forms contain a wide range of questions covering workplace competencies. Research has shown assessment from various multiple sources provide more accurate and reliable results.
360 degree reviews are intended to give an employee the opportunity to understand and remedy any issues that may prevail between themselves and the rest of the organisation. These issues can be teamwork, management style, communication and interpersonal relationships. While positive feedback serves to reinforce desired behaviors and motivate employees, negative feedback reduces level of job satisfaction and a decreased ability or desire to contribute to an organisation.
360 degree review removes biasness and dissatisfaction among employees. Because if a rating is done by only the supervisor, yes, there then might be chance of biasness in the process of evaluations. Especially if promotion or salary rise is connected to it. Even when only the evaluations of the peers are taken, there is a chance of jealousy and grouping to exist in the organisation. Also, it might not be fair to only take appraisal by the rating committee as there are other sides of an employee that might not get considered. Subordinates might not rate accurately and give inflated ratings. If only self- assessment is taken then one might rate himself or herself higher than usual ratings. The best solution for a more credible and reliable process would therefore be to consider the result of the supervisors, peers, self- assessment, subordinate’s rating into consideration.
Traditional reviews give us only a single viewpoint while 360 degree offers us views from many sources. When all the sources sent repeating messages, then the receiver can see a consistent pattern in those feedbacks. The employee would then be less likely to write it off as invalid and be more acceptable of it. Since it’s an evaluation given by a round of people, consistent pattern in the feedback will make the employee take this as more valid and credible. Once the individual accepts the feedback he will make an effort to change his behavior and improve his performance. But there are some steps to be followed to make this feedback process successful like training the appraiser and employee well about the process, good communication, proper planning, building trust, asking the right questions that align with organisation’s vision, mission and strategy etc.
It is essential to communicate with those giving and receiving the feedback and educating them. Those receiving the feedback should be properly made understood why the process is important. If people are wary and do not trust the results it can sabotage the feedback. People should be made known beforehand what the data will be used for. Overall it can be said, 360 degree review offer employees something traditional review process do not, an opportunity to receive feedback from a well-rounded group of people. Feedback is an indispensable part of performance growth and development of an organisation. 360 degree feedback can’t be successful without the cooperation of everyone involved.
(The writer can be reached at abedinsyed@gmial.com, Dhaka, Bangladesh)

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