Looking to revamp your organization’s employee performance appraisal method?

It can be difficult to pinpoint what type of feedback is most valuable both for your employee and their development and for your organization’s planning purposes.

Understanding The Benefits Of 180 Degree Feedback

For many companies, a 180 degree format–that is, a review that solicits feedback from employees’ managers and the employees themselves–can offer a multitude of benefits over alternative methods.

With that in mind, here are the six main benefits offered by a 180 degree feedback process as compared to other employee appraisal methods.

1. In contrast to traditional top-down only feedback, 180 degree feedback involves the employee in the review process.

The term “performance assessment” typically brings to mind a one-way, top-down process: the manager brings their employee in and provides them with performance feedback without any input or self-reflection from the employee themselves.

While this basic, common type of performance review is certainly simple to administer, it has some major downsides–and one of the biggest is how the employee fits into the process.

Without being provided the opportunity to reflect on their own performance or offer their own views on their workplace, workload and other employment issues, it’s easy for employees to feel alienated from the process. This is the last thing any employer should want.

Whether an employee is a top performer or has areas where they need to improve, it’s critical they feel invested in the feedback that they receive. A 180 degree feedback process sets up a dialogue between employer and employee, opening up communication and increasing the likelihood he or she will take the feedback to heart.

2. The feedback provided by a 180 degree assessment helps clarify expectations.

One of the most important parts of excelling in any position–from an entry-level worker to the CEO of a multinational company–is understanding what is expected of you.

It should be of significant importance for both employer and employee that everyone is on the same page when it comes to job duties and responsibilities, but disconnects can (and do!) happen.

A traditional, one-sided performance feedback process can help provide some guidance. However, if expectations are unclear due to miscommunication, a one-sided conversation isn’t likely to offer much clarity.

A 180 performance assessment is much more effective at clarifying job expectations by allowing employee and manager to outline what they see as the employee’s priorities and primary focuses–and providing the chance to realign if the two are out-of-sync.

3. With a 180 degree performance review, all feedback is open and clear.

In contrast to a traditional performance review process (often referred to as a 90 degree performance assessment), a 360 degree performance appraisal looks to collect feedback from all sides: the employee, their manager, their subordinates and their peers.

Obviously, there are some benefits to such a thorough process–but there are some downsides that can mean the narrower feedback offered by a 180 degree appraisal is actually more beneficial.

One major benefit of 180 degree feedback over 360 degree feedback: with the former, all feedback is open and clear. Since there are only two parties to the review process, the employee will know exactly who is providing them with feedback.

In contrast, the feedback provided in a 360 degree performance review is usually anonymous by design. This can undermine the value of the feedback.

Why? Anonymous feedback can lead to suspicion and anxiety, particularly if any of it is critical. In an effective performance review, some feedback should contain (constructive) criticism. The focus is taken off of the feedback itself and redirected to scrutinizing peers and subordinates to figure out the source, distracting from an employee’s ability to act on the comments.

With 180 degree feedback, on the other hand, the employee is able to address constructive criticism head-on and engage in a dialogue with the feedback-giver immediately.

4. A 180 degree feedback report is simple, making it easy to digest and compare.

Besides directly offering guidance to the employee under review, performance feedback generated as part of a review process plays another important function for any organization: development planning and benchmarking.

Performance feedback allows employers to compare employees to each other, identifying who has leadership potential and who needs guidance to improve in their role.

Effective development planning and benchmarking require that employers can compare apples-to-apples feedback for all employees. In this area, more data points aren’t always better as they can obscure the main points of comparison.

A 180 degree feedback process boils down the data points to the most important and relevant ones: the employees themselves and the manager. This allows for easier and more thorough comparisons than performance feedback that takes into account additional sources.

To ensure you are getting the most out of your 180 degree assessment, stay away from these top 5 most common mistakes that companies make.

5. Compared to more full-scale performance reviews, 180 degree feedback is less tedious to collect.

When collecting feedback for performance reviews, it’s important not to lose sight of the forest for the trees.

It is very important to provide regular constructive feedback to encourage employee growth and development, but writing feedback reports shouldn’t get in the way of completing your company’s actual work.

In a 360 degree review process, the average employee can end up having to write potentially dozens of feedback reports: for their manager, their subordinates, their peers and themselves. Besides interfering with work, having to provide so much feedback can lead to rater fatigue that results in less thorough and more perfunctory feedback.

A 180 degree review process is a lot less inconvenient and likely to result in genuine helpful feedback.

6. Obtaining 180 degree feedback is quick, simple and often affordable.

Think about it: how much time and money do you want to dedicate to providing full-scale reviews–especially when a broader process may not provide better results?

In general, 180 degree feedback can be collected and distributed for a fraction of the cost of 360 degree feedback, making it the strategic choice for many organizations.

Gaining Leverage From The Benefits Of 180 Degree Feedback

Yes, performance assessments require time and resources. However, they don’t have to take away from the heart of the matter–running a successful organization.

Understanding the benefits of 180 degree feedback is critical to employing effective performance assessments without losing sight of what’s important or breaking the bank.

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