When it comes to evaluating employees’ performance, one method used by companies is the 360 degree feedback, also referred to as multi-rater feedback or multi source assessment. With this method, an employee’s performance through assessment from peers, associates, supervisors and the employee as well. This is significant to get honest feedback from members of the team within the workplace of organization. However, this assessment method, although popular among companies, still have its advantages and disadvantages. Let us discuss some of the benefits and setbacks of this peer assessment method:
List of Pros of 360 Degree Feedback
1. Multi Feedback Source
Supporters of this assessment method posit that unlike traditional employee evaluation wherein managers usually evaluate the performance of employees, 360 degree feedback let different people from the workplace answer a questionnaire that will evaluate the employee being assesses as he or she is perceived by other employees, supervisors and the evaluated employee himself or herself. This way, the management will have a broader basis on how well the employee performs at work.
2. Strengths and Weaknesses Awareness
Employees who support this type of assessment claim that this practice makes them more aware of the areas they need to improve on when it comes to carrying out their duties and responsibilities at work. Moreover, this also enhances their interpersonal skills since they get feedback from their peers and consequently, go become mindful of how they interact with other employees and their contribution to the department they belong to.
3. Specific Training and Learning Opportunities
Advocates for 360 degree feedback say that since this also includes self-evaluation from the employee being assessed, the management will have a basis of the areas of knowledge and skills that need to be acquired and improved. Consequently, specific trainings will be offered to employees that will not only make them more competent but also save the company from spending for trainings that are unnecessary.
List of Cons of 360 Degree Feedback
1. Time and Cost Investment
Critics of this employee performance appraisal argue that this takes away time that should have been spent working on tasks at hand. If the manager will spend an hour to answer the questions in the assessment, this will be multiplied with the number of employees that need to be evaluated. The same amount of time will be spent by other employees and this can affect productivity as well as profit.
Three hundred sixty degree feedback contains questions that are based on how the evaluator perceives the attitude and behavior of the employee which are not objective. It is not inevitable that the assessment will be affected by emotions and how the assessor feels about the colleague being assessed.
3. Possible Misleading Information
People who are not believers of this performance appraisal method say that if the peer chosen to assess an employee is not focused on answering the questions honestly and is not serious about it, chances are, he or she will just rate the employee inaccurately. Or if the feedback will be used for promotion, it is not impossible for the evaluator to jeopardize the assessment if he or she is not in good terms with the employee who is a candidate.
The 360 degree feedback can be a significant and useful tool for the managers to know who the top performers are but this method does not apply to all workplaces. What is important is for the management to gather all data and review the assessments painstakingly because at the end of the day, the managers will be the ones who will decide on employee performance.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.