How to implement an appraisal 360 in an organization

Evaluating employees in an organization is an essential aspect of human resource management that cannot be overlooked. Based on evaluations, plans can be made for future work organization at various positions, gathering information about employee performance, goal achievement, and the team’s internal atmosphere.

What does a 360 appraisal give us?

The 360-degree evaluation allows for the collection of information about an employee’s skills, knowledge, and behavior. This evaluation is characterized by its multi-faceted nature, as information about employees is gathered from four sources:

  • supervisors,
  • coworkers,
  • subordinates,
  • employees themselves through self-evaluation.

This type of evaluation is not only an incredibly effective way to get a full picture of an employee’s actions but also provides them with feedback that can motivate them to perform even better.

To conduct a 360-degree evaluation in an organization, a survey assessing the employee’s competencies must be prepared. The survey consists of a combination of open and closed questions concerning both strengths and areas needing improvement. Surveys are filled out anonymously, allowing participants to be more honest in their assessment. It is important that each organization creates clear and transparent rules for evaluation and reporting, for both survey participants and the evaluated employee.

Tools like the Ostendi Competencies Feedback can be helpful in this process. This innovative solution is suitable for any company and allows for a deep understanding and improvement of an organization’s internal processes.

One of the main advantages of the Ostendi Team Insight Survey is the ability to identify the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. The survey results are a valuable source of information on the current level of employee satisfaction and engagement, enabling precise diagnostics and planning of development activities.

The tool also offers unique flexibility in choosing survey questions. You can create a personalized questionnaire that best suits the specifics and needs of your company, making the study not only effective but also fully tailored to your organization’s individual requirements.

How to communicate an appraisal 360?

Good communication within an organization is crucial for the success of a 360-degree evaluation program. Why? Clearly defining the rules for filling out the survey, explaining the program’s purpose, and the significance of feedback ensures a smooth and accurate execution of the study. Open and transparent communication can also help build trust and encourage employees to participate in the survey.

Unclear messages or a lack of communication can lead to resistance or even fear among employees about participating in the survey or being the evaluator or the evaluated. It’s essential to honestly define the purpose of the 360-degree evaluation. Gathering information about an employee can serve to assess the employee necessary for professional promotion, improve and streamline the work of individuals or entire departments. Communicating the 360-degree appraisal must have a positive tone, focusing on the benefits and purpose of the evaluation.

Employees who will participate in the 360-degree evaluation must be well acquainted with it. They need to understand the purpose of the study and the role of feedback. Therefore, before starting the evaluation process, the most important rules should be presented.

Feedback must be anonymous and confidential. This ensures that everyone can feel comfortable sharing honest thoughts and opinions about colleagues and evaluating themselves. Feedback will cover key competencies and behaviors that are assigned to specific functions: supervisor, subordinate, manager. It’s also important to determine how the survey results will be presented.

How to prepare employees for a appraisal 360?

The first step is to inform the evaluated person about the commencement of the 360-degree study and present its various stages. At the same time, individuals responsible for preparing and conducting the survey, as well as subsequent analysis and report preparation, are appointed.

The survey can be prepared by the HR department or outsourced to an external company. Then, all the participants of the survey are notified. They should be briefly but comprehensively informed about the rules of filling out the survey and the clear purpose of it. After collecting the surveys, a designated group of people reviews the results, analyzes them, and prepares further development paths for the evaluated employee. The final stage is a discussion with the employee, presenting the conclusions and jointly discussing professional goals for the next year.

From the very beginning, communication during the 360-degree evaluation should have a positive tone. Awareness of the purpose and assurance of anonymity effectively influences the accuracy of the information collected.

An employee undergoing evaluation should not feel threatened or fear the results. Employees should be accustomed to being evaluated regularly, every six months or yearly. The mere fact of being evaluated should be a motivator for them to work even better on themselves.

Of course, the most challenging part of the evaluation is dealing with the opinions of third parties, especially negative ones. Therefore, it is important that the survey results are thoroughly discussed, also with the support of experienced coaches who specialize in this field. After each evaluation, a personal development plan is prepared, aimed at mitigating weaknesses indicated in the survey and expanding strengths. Thanks to the 360-degree evaluation, we know exactly which areas require changes and in which the employee is effective.

How to discuss the results of the evaluation?

After conducting the survey, its results are checked and a report is prepared, in which all collected data is thoroughly analyzed. Communication of the 360-degree evaluation should not be limited to discussing the survey results. It is important to carefully analyze the collected data and draw conclusions.

Survey results can sometimes be shocking to an employee, as they represent hard data: “several people think this way about me, I have to face it, what can I do to be better in this aspect?” Such questions arising after receiving feedback are extremely important and can contribute to the desire for change and self-improvement. Since the employee also fills out the survey, they can confront their own opinion with that of their coworkers. This also helps change the perspective on their work.

During the summary meeting, the employee’s development path is indicated, including elements they should change or work on, and the direction they should follow for the next year. This method clearly assesses aspects that the employee needs to pay more attention to and what they are good at.

Delivering feedback should be based on dialogue, not a lecture. The conversation can be two-way; looking back and discussing the employee’s behavior in specific situations to guide future decisions and mitigate errors or focusing on their strengths to motivate them to take action. The ideal model is a combination of these two styles.

How to encourage others to conduct such an evaluation?

In addition to supervisors, coworkers, and subordinates, external parties who closely cooperate with the evaluated employee can also be invited to participate in the 360-degree evaluation. External business partners and clients can provide information if they have sufficient insight into the evaluated employee’s behaviors and competencies and work with them daily.

Encouraging and obtaining information from external partners broadens the scope of the 360-degree evaluation and can provide new data for analysis from outside the organization. Engaging external partners in the evaluation strengthens relationships with clients and significantly contributes to the development of an organizational culture based on feedback.

It is worthwhile to create a 360-degree evaluation survey template and, after completing the project, make it a practice to send it to contractors. When sending the survey, it is important to emphasize that receiving constructive feedback about our employees’ work is significant for several reasons: it helps set professional development directions for the employee, improves team performance, and influences the development and better functioning of the entire organization, including with external parties.

Setting norms and rules for providing feedback

It is a mistake to use 360-degree appraisal to determine who gets promoted or fired. Such a communication of the 360-degree evaluation is inappropriate and leads to unhealthy competition. Employees subconsciously feel that by giving their colleagues good ratings, they weaken their own position. Conversely, employees who have formed closer bonds may want to give inflated good ratings to their close coworkers. To avoid distortion of results in questionnaires, it is important to train employees in providing objective 360-degree feedback and to build a positive image around the survey. A 360-degree evaluation should evoke positive associations, its results should be a driving force for the evaluated employee, and a moment for the team to reflect on cooperation.

A key aspect of providing feedback is standardization in terms of questions, the evaluation system (scoring), reporting, and presenting feedback after the process is completed for all employees, the same for superiors and subordinates. The evaluation should focus on elements under the control of the employee and their behaviors, interactions with coworkers and clients. Personality traits should not be evaluated.

Positive and constructive feedback from coworkers, managers, subordinates, business partners, and clients can be a driving force for changes within the organization (e.g., professional advancement) and an inspiration for the employee’s professional development.

Automating the appraisal 360 process

Conducting a 360-degree evaluation in an organization is a difficult and time-consuming process. Developing the right survey, informing parties about the start of the evaluation, collecting completed surveys takes time. The most time-consuming part is analyzing the results, preparing feedback, and developing an action plan. However, to significantly facilitate the process of data collection and analysis (comparing and sorting responses) and data storage, it is worth using dedicated tools available on the market to streamline employee evaluations, which greatly assist in managing this process. As mentioned, tools like Ostendi Competencies Feedback can be helpful. Check out the product demo and see how the tool can improve your work!