Ask the Capitalist: Can I Have the Managers Use 360 Results For Performance Ratings?

Dear HR Capitalist:

I’d love a post where you weighed in on the value of 360 feedback with the following parameters (my preferred approach).  I am running into people who want managers to be able to view results and consider them during performance review time.  My position is that employees will not seek out feedback from key stakeholders who perceive a need for improvement if he/she thinks the manager will see the feedback. 

My preferred process:

•       Employee chooses raters, not manager.

•       Only employee and 360 process facilitator see the actual detailed results report

•       Employee must provide a summary and action plan to her boss (and staff)

•       Separate from annual performance review process –development focus only, ensures a “safe” process

•       Report results not used in determining rating or salary increase

•       Action plan however can be used to formulate the PPRD development objective

Just curious on your thoughts from any angle on this topic – general effectiveness/value, separating the process from annual perf review etc.

Debbie from LA

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Hey Debbie - 

I think your thoughts regarding the danger of using feedback collected during a 360 process to drive performance ratings are on the money.  The bottom line, which you know, is this: If the 360 process drives performance ratings, etc., it can quickly turn into a cloak and dagger type process where everyone knows what is at stake, which can make a couple of things happen:

--People can come out with the daggers and hurt people they don't like personally, or

--People will avoid giving real feedback to those with developmental opportunities that they like personally because they don't want to hurt them.

Either way, by using 360 data in performance reviews, the process is DOA in my eyes.  Same goes for using it for input into salary increases.

Couple of other notes on your preferred approach... I'd be careful of letting the employee alone pick who gets the opportunity to provide feedback.  My sense is that they'll avoid individuals that they think will be harsh to them and thus the data won't be as informative as it otherwise could be.  I'd prefer an approach that allows the manager, who should have an eye towards who relies on the employee for things in the organization, to have input and be able to make some calls with the employee on who the survey goes to.

One thing I'm on the fence about is the ability of the manager to see the report on the employee.  The risk you run is even if you tell the manager they can't use that data on a performance review, they'll still be influenced by it.  That's too bad, because if you're going to expect your manager to act as a coach, the data and reactions from others is a great tool.  Maybe they'll get that from the summary from the employee, maybe they won't.

Final thoughts - simplify that sucker.  Don't do 30 items.  Question the need for ratings at all.  Get simple feedback the team member can learn from.  Check out this book for more thoughts on simplifying many, many things in your talent platform.  I'd buy the book if you don't already have it.

Good luck with the process!

KD

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