360 degrees Performance Appraisal


The 360 degrees Performance Appraisal method was first used in the 1940s. Analogous to the multiple points on a compass, the 360 method provides each employee the opportunity to receive performance feedback from his or her supervisor, peers, staff members, co-workers and customers.

360-degree feedback or multi-source feedback is an appraisal or performance assessment tool that incorporates feedback from all who observe and are affected by the performance of a candidate.

FOR WHICH CATEGORY OF EMPLOYEES IS THIS TOOL USED? 
Usually, this tool is used for employees at middle and senior level. The complexity of their roles enables the organisation to generate sufficient data from all stakeholders for a meaningful assessment.

WHICH ORGANISATIONS USE THIS TO ASSESS EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE? 
Most organisations that focus on employee development use the 360-degree tool to assess performance and potential of staff and enable the employees to map their career path based on the feedback. Organisations take 360-degree feedback about an employee before taking a major decision about the professional's career. 

The results from 360-degree feedback are often used by the person receiving the feedback to plan training and development. Results are also used by some organizations in making administrative decisions, such as pay or promotion. When this is the case, the 360 assessment is for evaluation purposes, and is sometimes called a "360-degree review."

360 degree feedback  is the most comprehensive appraisal where the feedback about the employees’ performance comes from all the sources that come in contact with the employee on his job. this method is being used in the (MARUTHI SUZUKI Motors and HCL)

WHO ARE THE STAKEHOLDERS IN DOING 360-DEGREE ASSESSMENT? 
360 degree respondents for an employee can be his/her peers, managers (i.e. superior), subordinates, team members, customers, suppliers/ vendors - anyone who comes into contact with the employee and can provide valuable insights and information or feedback regarding the “on-the-job” performance of the employee.360 degree appraisal has four integral components
  1. Self appraisal
  2. Superior’s appraisal
  3. Subordinate’s appraisal
  4. Peer appraisal.
Self-appraisal gives a chance to the employee to look at his/her strengths and weaknesses, his achievements, and judge his own performance. Superior’s appraisal forms the traditional part of the 360 degree appraisal where the employees’ responsibilities and actual performance is rated by the superior.

Subordinates appraisal
gives a chance to judge the employee on the parameters like communication and motivating abilities, superior’s ability to delegate the work, leadership qualities etc. Also known as internal customers, the correct feedback given by peers can help to find employees’ abilities to work in a team, co-operation and sensitivity towards others.

Self-assessment is an indispensable part of 360 degree appraisals and therefore 360 degree Performance appraisal have h
igh employee involvement and also have the strongest impact on behavior and performance. It provides a "360-degree review" of the employees’ performance and is considered to be one of the most credible performance appraisal methods.

360 degree appraisal is also a powerful developmental tool because when conducted at regular intervals (say yearly) it helps to keep a track of the changes others’ perceptions about the employees. A 360 degree appraisal is generally found more suitable for the managers as it helps to assess their leadership and managing styles. This technique is being effectively used across the globe for performance appraisals. Some of the organizations following it are Wipro, Infosys, and Reliance Industries etc.


Advantages of 360 degree appraisal
  • Offer a more comprehensive view towards the performance of employees.
  • Improve credibility of performance appraisal.
  • Such colleague’s feedback will help strengthen self-development.
  • Increases responsibilities of employees to their customers.
  • The mix of ideas can give a more accurate assessment.
  • Opinions gathered from lots of staff are sure to be more persuasive.
  • Not only manager should make assessments on its staff performance but other colleagues should do, too.
  • People who undervalue themselves are often motivated by feedback from others.
  • If more staff takes part in the process of performance appraisal, the organizational culture of the company will become more honest.

Disadvantages of 360 degree appraisal
  • Taking a lot of time, and being complex in administration
  • Extension of exchange feedback can cause troubles and tensions to several staff.
    History of 3600 feedback


    The German Military first began gathering feedback from multiple sources in order to evaluate performance during World War II (Fleenor & Prince, 1997). Also during this time period, others explored the use of multi-rater feedback via the concept of T-groups.

    One of the earliest recorded uses of surveys to gather information about employees occurred in the 1950s at Esso Research and Engineering Company (Bracken, Dalton, Jako, McCauley, & Pollman, 1997). From there, the idea of 360-degree feedback gained momentum, and by the 1990s most human resources and organization development professionals understood the concept. The problem was that collecting and collating the feedback demanded a paper-based effort including either complex manual calculations or lengthy delays. The first led to despair on the part of practitioners; the second to a gradual erosion of commitment by recipients.

    Multi-rater feedback use steadily increased in popularity, due largely to the use of the Internet in conducting web-based surveys (Atkins & Wood, 2002). Today, studies suggest that over one-third of U.S. companies use some type of multi-source feedback (Bracken, Timmereck, & Church, 2001a). Others claim that this estimate is closer to 90% of all Fortune 500 firms (Edwards & Ewen, 1996). In recent years, Internet-based services have become the norm, with a growing menu of useful features (e.g., multi languages, comparative reporting, and aggregate reporting) (Bracken, Summers, & Fleenor, 1998).
  • There is requirement for training and important effort in order to achieve efficient working.
  • It will be very hard to figure out the results.
  • Feedback can be useless if it is not carefully and smoothly dealt.
  • Can impose an environment of suspicion if the information is not openly and honestly managed.

Who should conduct 360 degree performance appraisal?

  • Subordinates.
  • Peers.
  • Managers (i.e. superior).
  • Team members.
  • Customers.
  • Suppliers/ vendors.
  • Anyone who comes into contact with the employee and can provide valuable insights and information.

Facts [+]

Google, world's giant software corporation emphasises a 360-degree appraisal where employees are assessed by peers, bosses and subordinates.

How to use 360 feedback to your advantage
Few modern management practices show as much promise and as few results as 360 feedback. Companies often look to 360s to improve a leader's behaviours, provide insight during leadership development courses and help build more effective teams.

They believe that 360 feedback will either change their managers' behaviours or at least increase those managers' motivation to change.

Unfortunately, those expectations are unrealistic and not supported by science. In fact, given what the academic research on feedback tells us, we should be surprised that today's 360 processes work at all! Let's start by addressing some erroneous assumptions we have about feedback:

Feedback does not directly lead to change: Many organisations believe handing a manager a 360 report will cause them to improve their behaviours with no additional action required. Research says, when feedback is focused on our behaviours, rather than our skills, our willingness to change drops dramatically.

Gaps between self perceptions and others' perceptions do not motivate change: It's a commonly held belief that if we see a gap between how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us we will be motivated to close that gap.

In reality, research is clear that when we are confronted with that perception gap we diligently try to excuse it or explain it away. We aren't resisting feedback - we're experiencing "cognitive dissonance." Our minds work very hard to ensure that our carefully developed, largely positive self-image is preserved.

More information does not create better results: Typical 360 reports have 50+ pages filled with charts, graphs, norms, icons and comments. It's nearly impossible for a manager to tell (without hours of help from a coach or HR leader) which items are most important to focus on and how to improve those behaviours.

Afeedback experience that leaves us confused or angry creates a huge barrier to taking action.

MAKE IT EASY TO USE Making 360s work means making it as easy as possible for the manager to take action on the results. Here are three steps that will help guarantee that managers will follow the advice in the 360: Don't rate - guide: The typical 360 rates managers as being good or bad at various behaviours. This doesn't help anyone change. Instead, use a scale that tells a manager to "Do More" or "Do Less" on that particular behaviour.

Focus only on the top three behaviours: Busy managers don't have time to search through confusing 360 reports to identify their priorities for change. The first page of their 360 report should list the vital few actions for them to improve.

Tell the manager exactly how to change:A well-designed 360 report should include specific "start, stop or continue" suggestions from their raters that describe exactly how the manager should change those vital few behaviours.

Don't include norms or self-ratings: We do not like to be compared to other people, especially when the comparison isn't favourable. Self-ratings and external norms only increase our resistance to change if we score below our expectations but don't motivate us further if we score above our expectations.

DRIVE ACCOUNTABILITY
The "old school" of human resource management used to insist that 360s were purely for development and that they should never be used to evaluate managers or help make organisational decisions. If we believe that how managers behave is important, then ignoring the best data we have about a manager's behaviours seems ridiculous. Properly gathered 360 data should be considered as one of many data points when making decisions about new roles, promotions or development.

When managers know their behaviors have consequences, they'll be much more likely to take action to change them. Getting 360 feedback doesn't have to be painful or unhelpful. By focusing on the core science and presenting information in a practical and easy-to-understand way, 360s can help managers to make important behaviour changes quickly and easily.
17 Jan, 2012, The Economic Time, News Paper