The Benefits of a 360 Assessment

Regular employee assessments are an important part of any human resources programme. While checking in with an employee will provide you valuable information about their individual motivations, attitude, comfort in their role, and their own perspective on their workplace interactions, it is only a small piece of the pie when trying to understand how they fit in with your organisation.

A 360 assessment is a useful workplace tool to gain a full understanding of an employee's performance. Obtaining feedback from a range of people that an employee encounters in their role gives you a broad view which can be used to increase morale, personal growth, and productivity. 

Whether an employee has been with your organisation for a short time or is a seasoned veteran, there is something to be gained from a thorough assessment. Let's take a look at how HR Profiling Solutions can help your organisation's productivity and bottom line with a comprehensive 360 assessment.

What is a 360 Assessment?

A 360 assessment is a feedback tool for measuring and evaluating performance, behaviours, and competencies of an employee. It gathers anonymous feedback from integral team members, potentially including managers, peers, direct reporting staff members, other members of the workforce, and even clients or customers. 

Unlike a typical performance review which is conducted solely by an employees manager, the 360 assessment provides the opportunity to address feedback from everyone who works with the employee to gain a more thorough understanding of their performance.

It is called a 360 review as it elicits feedback from all directions within an organisation. When feedback is anonymously shared with the employee, it provides them a full spectrum of how their performance and work contribution is viewed from every angle of the organisation.

What is the Purpose of a 360 Assessment?

The purpose of a 360 assessment is to provide constructive feedback to employees in order to increase engagement and motivation in the workplace. At the same time, it encourages teamwork, personal growth, and adjustments to behaviours and performance where needed. Once your whole team adopts a feedback culture and can appreciate and learn from it, they will be on their way to functioning like a well-oiled machine. 

Considering the current workplace climate where remote working is becoming the norm, it may be more difficult for managers to collate a clear picture of their employees' impact and even of their own performance since there is less face-to-face interaction with colleagues. This makes 360 feedback an important tool for any organisation, particularly if they are utilising remote work arrangements.. 

Instead of receiving feedback once a year, assessment from a wider group of people on a regular basis can help employees recognise their patterns, learn to absorb and process feedback, and grow as professionals. Additionally, it can ensure an employee gains the recognition they deserve for high performance that might otherwise go unrecognised.

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How Does a 360 Review Work?

For 360 assessments to be effective, data must be collected from a variety of sources and ideally cover every aspect of a person's role. Collecting feedback from all workplace levels and teams that interact with an employee will provide the most well-rounded view of their performance.

A 360 assessment can utilise different methods in administering, collecting and analysing the data:

  • The manager that accumulates the feedback from a variety of sources, analyses it, and reports back to the individual. 
  • Online or other Information Technology systems can be put in place to collect feedback which can then be systematically analysed and passed on. 
  • Some organisations may prefer an external assessor to be consulted to perform an in depth survey by interviewing and collating feedback from relevant sources.

However, 360 degree feedback goes beyond using the right software and processes. A cultural shift in the workplace may be required to integrate multi-source feedback programmes. Creating a culture where employees give and receive honest and constructive feedback can reduce bias, increase employee confidence, and highlight areas of an employee's role that managers may not see.

Typically, a minimum of 8-10 people can contribute to a 360 degree assessment. The more participants there are, the easier it is to maintain anonymity while imparting an accurate and nuanced view of an employee's performance.

Why is a 360 Assessment Important?

Most employees want feedback to understand how their work is perceived relative to the expectations of their role and organisation. Many organisations only provide feedback through line managers during a yearly review and this can be woefully inadequate for optimal performance.

Recognition and constructive feedback are crucial to workforce development and the more frequent it is provided, the more progress we can make. Receiving feedback throughout the year from different angles is an invaluable benefit for anyone striving for professional development or career advancement. Additionally, it has been shown to increase employees morale and personal growth and encourage productivity.

The process of 360 assessment encourages team members to acknowledge one another and their contributions to the team leading to more engaged and empowered employees and a highly productive team.

The Benefits of 360 Assessments

  • Increased engagement and motivation in the workplace
  • Improved employee accountability and productivity
  • Encourages recognition and appreciation among team members
  • Fosters teamwork across departments
  • Provides a well-rounded, clear picture of performance
  • Minimises any managerial or team bias
  • Cultivates a transparent and open work environment
  • Highlights skill gaps to develop relevant training programmes.

360 Assessments and your Team

Do your employees have doubts about the work they're doing and how their work is perceived? 

Do your employees do well in some functions but need improvement in others? 

Implementing 360 assessments can be the solution to many workplace issues. They help team members identify their strengths and weaknesses and build stronger relationships with colleagues where they can be comfortable, transparent, and open.

Providing 360 degree feedback is also beneficial in workforce development planning. The multifaceted feedback excels at identifying areas of excellence as well as skill gaps to plan for training, hiring, and retention.

360 Assessments and Appraisals

Whereas a 360 assessment is typically an ongoing process throughout the year, some organisations implement that as yearly appraisals and tie them to things like promotions, pay raises, and even layoffs. While this is an option, our experience has shown that this can cause divisiveness, competitiveness, feedback biases, and hurt workplace morale rather than build it. 

Collecting feedback throughout the year for 360 assessments can be extremely valuable in preparing for yearly performance appraisals, so long as the feedback is provided to the employees as well. In this way, an annual performance appraisal can reflect on individual projects an employee worked on throughout their year, the constructive feedback provided, and how employees have adapted and progressed.

If you're interested in learning more about 360 assessments in the workplace, get in touch with HR Profiling Solutions today to see exactly what they can do for your organisation!

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