Sometimes, the best way to find out how someone is doing in your organisation is to ask their colleagues. This may sound unprofessional but the suggestion here isn’t to wait until the employee leaves the room then start a debate. A 360 degree appraisal uses an anonymous approach to gather information you might not be able to acquire through a standard appraisal.

Data is collected from a representative group of the employee’s colleagues. They will answer questions on the individual’s work behaviour and performance.

It is perception, not fact-based, so cannot be used to measure whether the employee is meeting objectives, but can be a valuable tool in assessing how the rest of the team view their communication skills or how well they work in a group.

Observation, not actuality

Remember that the feedback from a 360 degree appraisal isn’t scientific proof of anything, they are a range of opinions that perceive how well an employee is operating and cannot be used to measure competence.

It is a good idea to use 360 degree appraisals alongside the annual appraisal system between a line manager and an employee. The outcomes can then be used as evidence towards the employee’s professional development and self-improvement targets.

Many organisations’ HR departments are equipped to carry out 360 degree appraisals but they can be outsourced to an external company too.

Here are 10 key tips on how to conduct and evaluate the 360 degree appraisal process:

1. Ask the employee to complete their own survey too, it’s good to know how they think they’re doing and whether they’re happy with their progress etc.

2. Collect feedback from a random representative group of around 15 to 20 people, include both the employee’s superiors and more junior staff members.

3. Assure respondents that anonymity is guaranteed.

4. Ensure that respondents have been working with the employee for at least six months to avoid bias.

5. Make sure all employees know the reasons for carrying out the survey and don’t exclude anyone.

6. Consider confidentiality, the environment the feedback is collected and delivered should not be too exposed.

7. Compile and analyse feedback data and generate a list of key points to discuss during appraisal.

8. Use the data to identify any patterns and trends of the perceptions of behaviour.

9. Give positive, constructive criticism and don’t focus on negative findings as these are not concrete.

10. Ensure that both the organisation and employee learn from the experience and that the individual works towards improvements for their own good, which will ultimately be for the company’s good.

If you’d like more advice on conducting a 360 degree appraisal, please speak to one of our consultants.

Recruitment advice from Michael Page 

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