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Effectively Using 360 Degree Performance Reviews

written by: Eduard Ezeanu•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 7/5/2011

The 360 degree performance review can be a powerful tool for the HR department. However, this does depend on how they are implemented and how the results are used afterwards. Here, you'll learn the very best ways to implement these types of reviews.

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    360 review A 360 degree performance review is a method to evaluate employees based on collecting and interpreting feedback about them from a wide range of people they interact with at work.

    These people can include managers, colleagues, subordinates, and sometimes clients, suppliers, collaborators or self evaluations. What 360 degree performance reviews do is to gather very rich and potentially meaningful data, which can be the material for a very precise and correct review of an employee.

    Implementing the Review

    The effectiveness 360 degrees performance reviews can have is realized by the way they are implemented. When using such a review, make sure the following conditions are respected:

    • Feedback about the employee is gathered from a representative number of people, in various professional relationships with the employee.
    • The people who give the feedback have interacted with the employee long enough and know them well enough to provide quality feedback.
    • The performance review form used is standardized, so all the people who provide feedback use the exact same type of form, with the exact same content.
    • The reviews are anonymous in order to encourage honesty, meaning that the employee will not find out which specific person gave them which feedback.

    After the individual feedback forms are filled and collected, they are processed using statistical methods. The result is a meaningful image of the reviewed employee, through the synthesis of all the individual performance reviews.

    Using the Data

    Once the data is collected and interpreted, only about half the job is done. The other half is making the best use of that information. It is important to keep in mind that 360 degree performance reviews are tools to help an employee grow and perform. It is with this purpose that they are best used.

    The next step is to have a trained professional present the reviewed employee with the results of the review and have a constructive discussion with them. This trained professional will usually be the employee’s direct manager or an HR specialist.

    The performance review discussion has three main goals:

    1. To help the employee know themselves better, in terms of professional strengths and weaknesses.
    2. To help the employee and the employer understand what kind of jobs and responsibilities within the organization would be a good fit for that particular employee and give them high chances of performing well.
    3. To help the employee create a professional development plan form themselves, which would include developing key strengths even further and also addressing key weaknesses the employer might have.

    The immediate result of a successful performance review discussion is that the employee will now have valuable information and increased motivation. The long term result is that they will use this information and motivation to improve their workplace achievements.

    The 360 degrees performance review can potentially be a great HR tool, or a waste of time. This depends mostly on how well it is implemented. This is why not just using, but effectively using this tool, is the thing to focus on.

    Image credit: laverrue