How to give feedback to an employee after a 360-degree assessment?

Feedback is an essential tool in the work of every organization. However, to conduct it effectively, one must first go through the process of thorough evaluation of each team member’s work. Employee appraisal systems are a way to ensure credible, equal, and efficient evaluation. Thanks to them, it is easy to verify the achievement of set goals and outline planned development, which can be discussed during feedback.

According to the dictionary definition, feedback, or so-called feedback, should concern the reaction to a product, the effectiveness of task execution, which is the starting point for introducing improvements. It is simply conducting a constructive assessment of the employee’s work and the quality of the individual tasks or duties they perform. This allows employees to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and find out how their work is perceived by others. It is also an opportunity to give further direction to the employee’s development or a chance to develop proposals for solutions to problems, challenges, or areas requiring care.

Development and Feedback

One of the main assumptions of employee evaluation and the feedback that follows is precisely to direct the development plan of the employee within the company structure. It is a process in which the evaluation concludes what the strengths of each person are, and how these key competencies can be strengthened using the appropriate tools. Each development plan is unique and tailored to the employee; there is no universal rule that works for everyone. Its ultimate goal is for the employee to achieve better results in their current position or acquire new skills to take on new responsibilities. The development of competencies also increases employee loyalty, job satisfaction, positive energy, and efficiency in performing tasks.

For each action to bring the intended effects, before taking it, it is necessary to define a clear and achievable goal. The same is true for employee appraisal. To allow for development and comprehensive evaluation of the employee, it must be made clear what purpose it serves for each party. Therefore, it is worthwhile to structure it and during the appraisal to distinguish elements such as hard competencies required for the position, soft skills needed to perform a specific function, performance and efficiency within the responsibilities according to the company’s standards, and for managerial positions, leadership skills as well as opinions and values that the employee follows in professional life. It is crucial to ensure that during the analysis, we focus only on elements under the control of the employee and their behaviors, not on their personality traits.

Gathering and analyzing this data will allow for the creation of an employee profile and enable reflection on their work. Which tasks or roles are fully realized by them, what challenges set before them have been met, which areas need development, or what direction of specialization to choose when planning a career within the organization’s structure. Such a complete set of knowledge becomes a reference point for conducting employee feedback.

A good solution when creating individual developmental goals is to use the SMART method. This acronym corresponds to the first letters of words describing this method, according to which the goal should be:

  • Specific — a defined, described, thought-out goal is easier to achieve. It’s important to focus on a precise plan and its assumptions, as well as on the process of achieving it. However, it’s good to leave some room for maneuver, so that you can update the assumptions and adjust them to current needs as you develop.
  • Measurable — the plan should be measurable. It is worth setting specific KPIs that can be easily checked with concrete numerical data. Such a progress indicator ensures clarity of action and satisfaction with achievements.
  • Attractive — for the employee to feel motivated to realize the plan’s goals, the goal must be attractive. Therefore, it’s necessary to propose a truly tempting offer so that undertaking work towards its realization is worth the final achievements.
  • Realistic — what comes easily to employees often does not provide satisfaction. Therefore, the development plan should activate and compel work, but it should also be achievable thanks to this hard work. The employee must gradually move towards its realization, so that in the end they can obtain gratification.
  • Timely — the goal must assume a realistic time for realization. The predetermined period should be adapted to the set tasks, so that monitoring the effects is confined within a time frame.]

How to prepare for conducting feedback after 360-degree assessment?

The 360-degree assessments are advanced systems allowing for a cross-sectional evaluation of work, verification of assumptions and challenges set before the employee. Thanks to feedback received from various sources, data can also be obtained about how the employee fits into a given position and what impact they have on other team members, how they are perceived as a supervisor or colleague. Additionally, it allows for the gathering of opinions from employees outside the company, not operating within its structures, and receiving assigned tasks or verifying their expectations from perspectives such as a client’s. Such evaluations are less biased and more complex.

Although a 360-degree assessment of an employee is conducted by several people, feedback is most often given by one person. The meeting itself should take place in conditions as comfortable as possible for the person being evaluated, and the role of HR is to ensure such circumstances are created. Therefore, it is advisable for one representative of the company to speak on behalf of the community after analyzing all the voices. To ensure that the reception of the feedback is positive and that valuable conclusions resonate properly, it is helpful to introduce a few rules into the feedback process to facilitate the task for both sides.

The first of these is the Stop – Start – Continue formula, which divides information about competencies into elements that do not work and need improvement, those that should be introduced for better results, and those that work and should continue to be performed in the same way. Such a clear division will help to understand the feedback well and be a tool for implementing changes or for self-reflection.

It is also very important to focus equally on each element and not give the impression that negative issues dominate the evaluation. And when discussing more problematic aspects of work, it is worth immediately proposing ways to improve them or solve problems, starting with a prepared development plan.

Receiving Feedback

It is also important to remember that feedback is an activity involving two sides – when one side gives feedback, the other should be open to receiving it. The employee’s willingness to develop will be key here, but it is important to keep in mind that not everyone is ready to accept an evaluation and listen to a development plan with commitment. Therefore, it is worth preparing employees to receive such information, for example through proper communication and building an open organizational culture.

Development and investing in employee competencies is an ongoing process, so it is worthwhile to regularly verify assumptions and monitor their effects. The scheme that is worth knowing and implementing in the company is as follows:

Employee evaluation and feedback -> Development and implementation of a development plan -> Improvement of selected competencies in the plan through training -> Implementation of tasks or new roles within the acquired skills and gathering work results.

Then the process starts from the beginning, so that both the employed person can continuously develop within the company’s structures, and the organization can achieve increasingly better results in its activities.