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Pros and cons of a 360 degree feedback. Should you use it?

by , 08 May 2015
Each company that uses 360 degree feedback decides to implement a system which allows each individual to understand how his effectiveness as an employee, coworker, or staff member is viewed by others.

In a nutshell, the most effective 360 degree feedback processes provide feedback that is based on behaviours that other employees can see.

The feedback offers insight about the skills and behaviours desired in the organisation to accomplish the mission, vision, and goals and live the values, as humanresources.about.com defines it. Moreover, the feedback is firmly planted in behaviours needed to exceed customer expectations.  

According to the same source, the persons chosen as raters, usually choices shared by the organisation and employee, generally interact routinely with the person receiving feedback.

As a main objective, the 360 degree feedback aims to assist each individual in order to understand his or her strengths and weaknesses and to contribute insights into aspects of his or her work needing professional development.

However, companies are still debating over how to select the feedback tool and process, the raters,   use the feedback, review the feedback, and manage and integrate the process into a larger performance management system.

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In an analysis for Edweb.sdsu.edu, Terri Linman highlighted the pros and cons of the 360 degree feedback.

Thus, here are some of the pros of using the 360-degree feedback:

-    Organisational climate fosters individual growth

-    Criticisms are seen as opportunities for improvement (Randel, A., 2004)

-    Proper framing of feedback method by management

-    Assurance that feedback will be kept confidential

-    Development of feedback tool based on organisational goals and values

-    Feedback tool includes area for comments (Hoffmanner, A., 2004)

-    Brief workers, evaluators and supervisors about purpose, uses of data and methods of survey prior to distribution of tool

-    Train workers in appropriate methods to give and receive feedback

-    Support feedback with back-up services or customized coaching

There are, however, many factors that can lead organisations to make errors when using the 360 degree feedback, Here are some of those situations, as provided by the previously mentioned source:

-    Feedback tied to merit pay or promotions

-    Comments traced to individuals causing resentment between workers

-    Feedback not linked to organisational goals or values

-    Use of the feedback tool as a stand alone without follow-up

-    Poor implementation of 360-degree tool negatively affects motivation

-    Excessive number of surveys are required of each worker with few tangible results provided to individuals (Clark, S., Whittall, A., 2003)

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Pros and cons of a 360 degree feedback. Should you use it?
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