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Check out our weekly blog posts and see the latest news and discussions happening in the HR world of business.

Could Your Company Benefit From a 360-review System?

The typical employee review process entails a manager – or even the big boss – dishing out a rating for employees based on metrics important to their success in the role and in the broader company. However, for some folks, their higher ups don’t always have the best insight on said employee’s on-the-job performance.

Enter the 360-degree review, an employee evaluation system that combines feedback on a worker from not only their higher ups, but also their peers, and even those that are “below” them. In asking workers at all levels about an individual’s performance, you can get a clearer picture of not only where they are excelling, but also where they have some work to do. After all, who better to weigh in than the people who work directly and most frequently with the employee in question?

Sound like something you should implement at your company? Wonderful! But be warned, it should be rolled out with caution. Below, we outline a few key considerations before you make the leap to a more robust review system:

Keep it confidential:
If you want to get honest feedback from your respondents, you’re going to need to create a culture of confidentiality. While the 360-degree process would suggest that everyone in contact with the employee will be pitching their opinion, where possible, you could simply pick one or two workers from each level so that it isn’t obvious who said what. Further, the ratings and comments provided by those who do issue an appraisal should be anonymous before you give the feedback to prevent any ill-will between coworkers.

Keep it constructive:
The 360-review process shouldn’t serve as an opportunity for folks to air their PERSONAL grievances about their coworkers. Rather than asking folks to rate their co-worker’s personalities and even intelligence, the process should focus on tangible aspects of the person’s job, such as their aptitude for time management, delegation, and crucial communication. Further, folks should be encouraged to be constructive in their responses – to provide comments that could elicit positive change as opposed to simply call out their inadequacies.

Keep it candid:
While you want the feedback to be constructive, you also want it to be candid and realistic of their coworker’s performance. To elicit the most honest responses, be sure to position the 360-review process as a means to really provide an honest critique – with even negative feedback deemed valuable for its potential to allow the employee to address their perceived shortcomings and improve their on-the-job performance.

Keep it simple:
Asking your employees to review their peers – especially if you’re asking them to review several folks, several times a year – can really turn out to be a real time sponge! With this in mind, you should develop a system whereby workers can quickly and efficiently evaluate their co-workers. One option that we love is to develop an online survey that helps employees quickly move through a series of questions. Another bonus? Asking for online submissions can add a further layer of anonymity, which in turn encourages that candid feedback you’re craving.

Keep it customized:
While we wish it was as simple as developing a single survey and rolling it out across the board, it is highly unlikely that everyone in your company has the same job. As a result, you’ll want to develop a basic review survey that captures the traits most important for all members of your company – such as time management or attention to detail – but you’ll also want to customize it to capture the unique skills necessary to function in individual job roles. Managers, for example, should perhaps be reviewed on their ability to delegate tasks and provide feedback to those under their care, while entry-level employees should be reviewed based on their ability to pick up new skills and information.

Keep it going:
Even after you’ve gathered the information and disseminated it to the employees in question, your job still isn’t over. Rather, the feedback portion of the 360-degree review is less of the main star of the process and more a springboard for further discussions. Once the feedback has been delivered, you’ll need to follow up with the reviewed employee to discuss the areas for additional work and, where necessary, help them to develop an action plan to address the feedback and incorporate it moving forward.

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