One of the top reasons why employees leaving a company is their strained relationship with supervisors. While HR can do little on personal relationship, is there anything to dilute such boss-is-king issue?

Multi-Source (360-Degree) Performance Appraisal

In Multi-Source Performance Apprasial, feedback is collected from varies parties that forms a more objective and holistic view on the performance and competencies of the staff. This avoids result of performance review significantly affected by subjectivity of employees' immediate supervisor.

After all, the ultimate objective of human resources is to help the company to find the most competent candidates contributing the most to the organization, but not merely candidates who can only make supervisors happy. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to distinguish the following duties:

  • Making business-as-usual decision on how tasks and responsibilities should be delegated, and
  • Evaluating how a staff member contribute to the organization, and how he or she should move forward

360-Degree Performance Appraisal is Most Suitable for Service-Oriented Positions

The first step of implementation is to map who the staff member is "serving" in his or her position, and the qualities or competencies that we want to evaluate with respect to the employee:

  1. For sure, direct supervisor should be included in the prorcess.

  2. Then it should be colleagues from other departments. Typically it can be from department which is typically the receiving-end of apprasiee's output. These colleagues can help evaluate quality of work of the appraisees that is otherwise invisible to their immediate supervisor.

  3. Colleagues, whether from the same or different departments, can also comment on appraisees' competencies on communication, teamwork, innovation, etc, according to their experience with the appraisees.

  4. Subordinates of appraisee should also be involved. It is important whether the appraisee can communicate with subordinates effectively so that the team can perform well and contribute under the guidance of the appraisee. Concerning the leadership and management skill of the appraisees, subordinates' views speak volume.

  5. "360-Degree Feedback" can involve customers as well. For B2B companies with small number of key clients, perhaps the client itself would like to provide feedback on key staff, hoping that the feedback can help improving the quality of service in the future.

Self-assessment is also part of the "360-degree". On one hand, it allows appraiser to understand how appraisees view themselves, on the other hand, it is usually the starting point of a discussion in performance review.

360-Degree Performance Review must be Consistent

Given all the benefits mentioned above, it should be noted that 360-Degree Feedback should be carried out with consistency, meaning that parties invited to provide comments or evalution should remain largely the same from time to time. Otherwise, whether the change in performance rating is due to change in appraisers, or due to change in actual performance level of the appraisee, will be an unknown.


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