Carried out correctly, 360 feedback can be a tremendously valuable human resources tool. It allows staff to feel listened to, and for opinions to surface that might not otherwise be apparent. As part of either a performance appraisal or development process, both staff and managers can use it for reflection, improvement and personal development planning. However, like any tool, it may cause problems if not wielded correctly. In order then to get the most from the process, you need to understand the potential pitfalls, and how to avoid them.
Anonymity and honesty
Anonymity in 360 feedback can be a great boon, and encourage nervous staff to speak out where they might otherwise stay quiet, or be more truthful than they might feel able to should they be required to identify themselves. However, the issue of anonymity is not always so simple.
Participants may feel that they will still be able to be identified, and depending on both the way in which feedback is gathered and the issues being addressed, this might well be the case. For the staff member about whom feedback is being gathered, anonymous feedback – especially if it is negative – can sometimes be difficult to take on board.
These situations can be difficult if they’re allowed to develop. In order to address them, it should be emphasised that the 360 feedback process should not replace face to face feedback between colleagues, and that problems should be addressed directly rather than being saved up. Building a strong internal performance as well as feedback culture is the key here, in order that employees can feel comfortable discussing issues face to face.
Understanding the process
The 360 degree feedback process has the potential to support an organisation’s development of a performance culture, and help to reinforce the importance of competencies and the link to behaviour.
If the process is misunderstood, implemented inconsistently, or appears not to be fair, authentic and transparent, it might produce effects contrary to those desired. An employee might feel undermined, bullied, or talked about. It’s important therefore that all the parties understand the aims and objectives of a process. Clear staff training is particularly important here.
Proper presentation of feedback
Where negative feedback is received, the way in which it is presented to the employee is crucial. Employees, who are not used to the feedback process, may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about addressing negative feedback. Care should therefore be taken to avoid the situation from becoming upsetting, or a listing of accusations. Employees should feel supported on their developmental path. You may wish to consider presenting positive feedback first, followed by areas for potential development, and time allowed for discussion and exploration of those issues. Care should also be taken not to bring forward any feedback that might be considered malicious.
The 360 feedback tool allows for the presentation of different aspects and perspectives upon an employee’s performance, and once these simple steps have been taken to avoid misunderstandings and confusion, you should find it a valuable and powerful tool in improving performance.
Author’s Bio: Simon Hopes is a guest blogger writing articles on the needs and wants of the employees. In this article, he has discussed about an important human resource tool. He tries his readers to have a detailed study of 360 degree feedback. His articles are highly valued and proved to be greatly helpful to his readers.