Performance reviews, when done well, inspire employee performance and help your company achieve goals. But when done poorly, they help foster a culture of disengagement that wreaks havoc on corporate performance and profits.
360° performance reviews offer a powerful way to help organizations overcome these challenges, as this process solicits feedback from not just the employee’s manager but peers, subordinates, and other key stakeholders. All of this feedback is then used to create an accurate picture of the employee’s overall performance.
One of the biggest sticking points for employees when it comes to performance reviews is a lack of accurate feedback on their performance. The model of the “boss” giving one-way feedback no longer works for multiple reasons including bias, recency effect and the fluid nature of teams in today’s workplace.
Let’s look at each of these and how 360° feedback can help:
1. Manager Bias
The old school way of having only the employee’s manager provide feedback is fraught with issues, the biggest of which is bias. Everyone, no matter how “fair” they think they are is biased in some way. Positive or negative bias can have a major impact on how employee feedback is provided, particularly in performance reviews. Managers need to be better equipped to identify their own biases around everything from work style to personality to what they think the employee’s future plans may be.
360° feedback can be a powerful way to identify manager bias and correct against it. Feedback from other managers, the individual’s peers or employees can make a significant contribution to creating a holistic picture of performance versus presenting only the perspective of a single individual.
2. Recency Effect
Recency effect is a well-known psychological principle where individuals will always remember the most recent experiences the best. When it comes to performance reviews, this means that the most recent experiences — good or bad — with an employee will be the ones that the manager recalls. If the organization only conducts performance reviews once per year, the employee is then going to be evaluated on what happened over the past couple weeks or the past month. Recency effect can majorly skew performance feedback as consistently poor performance in the past from one employee can be forgotten, where a minor mistake from a high performance will be overplayed.
Using 360° feedback all year long can help alleviate recency effect by offering multiple viewpoints and ensuring that feedback is gathered on an ongoing, consistent basis. For example, once a project is completed, 360° feedback can then be used to assess performance, offer feedback and address any issues immediately. Peers can offer their perspectives and the results are likely to be more relevant and accurate.
3. Changing or Flexible Teams
The classic departmental or business unit structure has become much more fluid in today’s workplace. Employees may have multiple managers or be working on cross-departmental teams throughout the year. This model means that the primary manager an employee reports to may have very little insight into their actual work, goals or performance.
The power of 360° input into reviews enables the organization to include the most appropriate people in the feedback cycle. This may be a manager they were working with, someone on the executive team they were reporting to on a project or even a customer or third party vendor they were engaged with.
Employee performance is best assessed with the overall portrait of the employee’s performance in mind. 360° feedback offers a proven way to give the organization an ongoing pulse on performance, identify areas of concern, and recognize outstanding performance as it happens. Most importantly, employees will be happier and more engaged as feedback is more accurate and timely, which helps them improve and reach their goals.
How can your organization improve on 360° feedback? What issues are you facing when it comes to ensuring performance data is accurate and timely? Schedule a demo to see how we can help.