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Creating a 360-degree Feedback Survey

For most people, an evaluation at work usually means formal assessment done by a manager or a supervisor. In formal work evaluations, an employee is given periodic appraisals that look at:

  • Specific job requirements and how well they were fulfilled

  • Working with others

  • Leadership and initiative

  • Training and development seminars attended

Managers may look at previous evaluations and whether the employee has fulfilled the given responsibilities of their positions. This evaluation of employees has been and continues to be a main component of what human resources departments do in companies. Companies have also invested in frequent, less formal evaluations that are usually done by a direct supervisor or manager. The goal of informal work evaluations is to:

  1. Provide guidance and direction to employees on a basis that is more frequent than annual evaluations

  2. Resolve conflicts between employees as they come up

  3. Check-in with long-term projects to make sure that roles and responsibilities are clear

  4. Communicate to employees what they are doing well and what they need to improve

  5. Update team members on changes in work processes and project details

  6. Reward employees whose performance is exceptional so they have an incentive to maintain high quality performance

  7. Alert employees whose performance is below expected standards that they must address required issues and correct them.

While formal and informal evaluations overlap in their purposes, there are differences between them. For most companies, managers will use a mix of formal and informal evaluation to:

  • Assign projects according to skills and experience gained from the evaluations

  • Update duties and responsibilities depending on how employees have advanced in their past tasks. For example, if an employee has completed important safety training between evaluations, he or she will may be given a lead position in a project due to this training

  • Create teams made up of different skills and experiences to maximize project success

  • Recommend advancements and promotions at work

  • Recommend training and develop opportunities for employees

  • Determine salary rates and bonuses

Decide whether employees will remain with the company at their present positions and pay or face modifications.

1.1.Organizational role of feedback

Companies are invested in proper feedback from their employees on performance. Every organization understands that high performing employees are necessary for profits, competitive positions in a market, and attracting the best talent in the business. Proper feedback is central to an organization for a number of reasons as seen in Figure 1:

  • Vision – A company’s vision is what sets it apart from competitors in its industry or market. When employees understand the vision of the company, it is easier for them to match their performance to it. This is especially important for supervisors and managers. These individuals are considered leaders in the organization. If they are uncertain of the vision, their subordinates and team members will also be uncertain. When employees are unsure of the company’s vision, performance can be inconsistent or unsatisfactory. Feedback conducted within an organization must determine whether the vision of the company is clear to all leaders and employees.

  • Values – A company’s values are those that are shared by all leaders and employees and explains how they do business. Whether they are made explicit or not, company values are taught to new employees by old ones. For example, some companies may value team work over individual work. Managers and supervisors, as leaders, must make sure that these values are known by all their employees.

  • Purpose – A company’s purpose is the core of what its employees do. A company’s purpose can be thought of as its larger activity such as providing technical support services or manufacturing shoes.

  • Objectives – A company’s objectives detail the goals that they want to achieve. If a retail company wishes to sell 20 million dollars worth of shoes in one year, that would be one objective. Usually, a company will have different organizational objectives including financial, human resources, operational, and sales.

  • Strategies – A company’s strategies are the blueprints required for them to reach their goals and objectives. If a company wishes to hire 50 new employees within one fiscal year, its recruitment strategy will outline how they will choose the best people possible for the company.

1.2.What is 360-degree (°) feedback?

The initial purpose of developing 360-degree (°) feedback in companies was to answer the question: how good are individual evaluations in determining manager or supervisor performance? In other words, if a manager evaluates an employee who works underneath him or her, is that evaluation enough to assess present performance and predict future performance. Human resources professionals have determined that it was NOT enough. Instead, they proposed a new way of evaluating both employees and managers that looks at multiple sources.

Traditionally, evaluation of managers of subordinates was top-down. However, 360-feedback looks at multiple sources of evaluation that include:

  • Self

  • Co-worker

  • Immediate supervisor

  • Mentor

  • Customer

  • Client

  • Manager

  • Senior manager

This feedback is used to evaluate employees and managers too. Using more than one source paints a more complete picture. A manager described as “ambitious” and “results-oriented” by his bosses could also be described as “difficult to work with” and “inconsiderate” by his subordinates.

A 360° evaluation/feedback gives a comprehensive understanding of an individual’s performance in a company. This performance can be assessed by a number of people who work with the employee through different capacities.

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