Managing people is a complex endeavor. Given the right combination of people, interpersonal skills, cultural dynamics and motivation, a company can create a happy, productive, engaged workforce. That kind of success doesn’t happen by accident. It takes the right executed approach. The “360” performance review concept, when first introduced, opened up a new, fresh approach to managing. By polling an employee’s direct reports, peers and even customers, gathering diverse opinions from different perspectives, a company could gain new insight into its people.
After years in practice, though, the 360 review has revealed its flaws. People providing feedback often don’t know enough about an employee’s day-to-day work, challenges and responsibilities. As a result, comments can tend to be personality-based, as opposed to a valuable additional perspective. This feedback can even be damaging and misguided.
Disrupting the 360 Model
The first step in steering the 360 back on course is to get clear on what matters. What’s germane in a 360 review? Here are some fundamentals:
• Responsibilities – what does the employee own within the organization, and how do we measure success?
• Organization contribution – where does an employee’s role fit into the company’s vision and objectives?
• Obstacles and successes – what is an employee up against, what is getting in the way of success and what are measurable accomplishments?
If a 360 review doesn’t focus on criteria like these, it’s falling short of its goal. Taking this list as a starting point – how can the 360 model be tweaked to make sure that feedback addresses fundamentals and supports creating valuable feedback?
Let’s reboot the 360, and make sure we are providing feedback with our eyes wide open!
Systematic, Ongoing Feedback
Systematically tracking employee performance conversations on an ongoing basis builds a foundation for better 360 reviews. That way, when review time comes, there’s a historical trail of those conversations. New software keeps an ongoing record of how employees are doing – and can help improve company culture in the process.
OpaConnect software is designed to address the need for systematic, ongoing feedback. Its goal is to provide transparency and open information exchange across an organization, while incorporating core values (behaviors) into the conversation. Management and staff alike have visibility into a top-to-bottom view of work flow, and each employee can see where employee’s responsibilities and goals contribute to company initiatives. All along the way successes and feedback become an integral part of the big picture.
Come review time, management has that wealth of information at its fingertips. That leads to a re-imagined 360 process. Objective snapshots taken throughout the review period help overcome the personality-based review problem, while providing consistency of information over time. An employee’s individual contributions, seen side-by-side with the organization‘s scorecard and performance review measures, make for holistic framing that gives management a robust overview.
Business operates year-round, employee’s work year-round. By integrating information that’s gathered year-round, management can base 360 reviews on complete and relevant data. When that happens, the 360 feedback model can fulfill its original promise.