360 reviews“the difference between knowing someone and knowing of someone”

It’s that time again, the annual ritual we call performance evaluation. Tricky business at the best of times. As four council members had requested for help on this topic, we organised a lunch roundtable to explore how 360 degree feedbacks can be improved.

The most common sources of unhappiness were:

  1. not a random exercise – For any process to work, it must be connected with the overall direction of the team. Have you identified competencies or defined comprehensive job descriptions? If so, give feedback on performance of the expected competencies and job duties.
  2. assessors must be experienced and effective – insufficient training for people providing feedback, inflated ratings to make an employee look good, deflated ratings to appear serious, informally banding together to massage the system appear to be more prevalent than one would expect. Assign a senior manager to oversee assessors as a professional community.
  3. realistic expectations – in their efforts to obtain organizational support for implementation, proponents may have lead participants to expect too much from this feedback system. It is critical the 360 feedback is integrated into a complete performance management system, and is seen to be a part of it, and not a substitute for performance management.

If you are an assessor, ask yourself if you really know the person, or merely know of the person.

Photo credit: Bahman Farzad

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