When used properly, 360 degree feedback is a powerful tool within business. But are there ever any instances when 360 appraisals should not be used?
The answer is yes. 360 feedback is designed to help a person’s development, to help them identify their individual strengths and weaknesses and to ultimately help them become more effective in their job. What it is not ideally designed for is performance appraisal. It shouldn’t be a replacement for a traditional performance review.
This is because respondents who take part are not necessarily in a position to assess the recipient’s performance against any objectives they have. They also cannot evaluate a person’s ability to do their job against any defined standard.
In addition, even though all feedback is completely anonymous, it doesn’t create a good working atmosphere of trust when people know that their colleagues will be assessing whether they’re any good at their job. Respondents will feel under pressure when the whole point of 360 appraisals is to get their honest, unbiased feedback.
A 360 degree appraisal focuses on the behaviours and competencies of the recipient. Skills like the ability to work as part of a team, to efficiently delegate tasks and even how well they listen to their team.
It doesn’t – and isn’t – designed to focus on whether someone can actually do their job, or traits such as punctuality. These appraisal points are best addressed on a one-to-one basis, as part of the regular review and appraisal process within a company.
However, 360 degree feedback is a highly beneficial additional element to any annual performance review, and can form the basis of an employee’s personal development plan for career progression. Remember – the whole purpose of 360 degree appraisals is to empower people to succeed in their job.