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Outcomes From Your 360 Degree Feedback Process

The Great Debates About 360 Degree Feedback

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Employee Development Is the Goal of 360 Feedback

Jacob Wackerhausen

The outcomes you experience from your 360 degree feedback process are dependant on the decisions you make about the goals you want to achieve. The most important outcome of the 360 degree feedback process is personal and career development for the staff person whose skills and performance are rated. And, these decisions have sparked more debate in organizations about 360 degree feedback.

You will experience more success with multirater feedback when the results do not impact the compensation of the person receiving feedback. If you require the feedback to impact the compensation, you set up several possible scenarios.

People may be unwilling to give accurate feedback because they are concerned about the impact the feedback will have on raises. In a negative environment, people might collude to assure the individual receiving feedback is ineligible for a raise.

Employees are also always concerned, that on some subliminal level, the feedback will influence the manager's opinion of the employee's performance. Even if the feedback outcomes are not supposed to influence appraisals, raises, and promotions, employees believe that they do.

Allow the Employee to Own the 360 Degree Feedback Data

To counter these employee concerns, in my work with companies, I have found that people overwhelmingly prefer that the individual owns the data from the 360 degree feedback. In this scenario, the individual shares the information with the supervisor as she chooses. The supervisor and other members of the organization have no access to the data.

When the organization owns the data and the supervisor has access to the information, too often the feedback becomes directly or inadvertently, part of the individual’s appraisal. This negates the developmental goals of the process. Few individuals will openly discuss the aspects of their work needing improvement when they believe the information will become part of an appraisal impacting compensation.

I have been challenged about these outcomes by individuals who ask me why bother with the assessment if the supervisor has no access to the data. My response has generally been that if the supervisor is truly looking out for the development of the employee, the employee will share the data. In a performance management system, the employee uses the feedback to set up a performance developmental plan; thus the supervisor indirectly has access to the information.

In an environment of trust and cooperation, you can establish a norm that the employee shares the data with the supervisor.

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