Introduction program (Ivancevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, 2014). This

Introduction

            Nowadays, we recognize that feedback
plays an important role in the case of an employee’s development. Many
companies elect to utilize the multisource feedback also known as 360-degree
feedback program to measure employee’s productivity and performance, instead of
only top-down feedback program. Research suggests that 90 percent of Fortune
1000 firms use some form of multisource program (Ivancevich, Konopaske, &
Matteson, 2014). This evaluation is used by many companies to assist employees
identify their strengths and weaknesses. In a 360-degree program, employees are
evaluated based on a holistic approach and viewed from multiple angles and
perspectives, such as their ability to grow, self-motivation and orientation
towards performance (Chicu & Nedelcu, 2017). Additionally, employees
behavior are also assessed in the 360-degree feedback program, which has a
major influence on productivity as well as their capacity of reaching their
goals (Chicu & Nedelcu, 2017).                        As
an example, the book illustrates that Google allows its managers and employees
to request reviews from anyone across the organization, including peers,
supervisors, customers, and suppliers (Ivancevich et al., 2014). This feedback
approach is assumed that this broad network has a complete picture of the
employee’s performance than just an immediate supervisor does or any other
category by itself. According to a case study conducted by Md. Sajjad Hosain,
it states that 360-degree feedback is considered one of the measures of
performance appraisal process, which reduces and changes the traditional
supervisor based appraisal method (Hosain, 2016). This program can be more
beneficial if combined with some other traditional methods. Research also
indicates that the 360-degree feedback performed by anyone in the person’s full
domain (360-degree range) is more favorable than the assessment made by the
individual’s manager (Chicu & Nedelcu, 2017).

Prevalence
of 360-Degree Feedback

            According to David Bracken and Allan Church (2013),
the value of using feedback from multiple sources as both a leadership
development and a performance measurement tool is a concept that has been around
since the 1980s. Bracken and Church (2013) performed a study on more than 200
organizations with active 360-degree feedback programs found 47 percent of
those organizations are using 360-degree feedback for performance management.
This statistic is interesting because it represents a 15 percent increase from
the last survey conducted in 2009. Regardless the purpose of the 360-degree
feedback whether it is used for performance management or development purposes,
research believes that 360-degree feedback is the key to improving the quality
and effectiveness of performance management in today’s organization (Bracken
and Church, 2013).

            On the contrary, leaders and
managers in most organizations receive less and less practical feedback as they
move up the ladder (Dyer, 2001). One of which is because of limited opportunities
to provide feedback from others. As a result, leaders are blindsided by
something that most leaders are not aware of like a need to change their
behavior. One study (Dyer, 2001) stresses the importance of using 360-degree
feedback to allow leaders to compare their own views of themselves with the views
that others have of them.

Results
of 360-Degree Feedback

            Researchers have also conducted various studies on the
successful companies who are utilizing performance management to recognize and
reward individuals. Bracken and Church (2013) conducted a study, which
concluded that Pepsi separated their 360-degree process into two different
multi-rater feedback tools. One administered annually to direct reports only
that was dedicated to performance management and a full 360-degree process
focused on leadership capability that was primarily developmental. By
separating the two feedback tools, Pepsi had effectively achieved three goals:

1.     Made the distinction clear between
what are considered effective manager behaviors at any level versus leadership
behaviors needed to be successful at higher levels.

2.     Formally articulated the linkages
between the different feedback tools and their respective uses (i.e.,
performance management, talent management/planning, and individual
development).

3.     Adjusted the timing and execution
windows to align each feedback process to best match the cadence of the HR
system it feeds (e.g., performance calibration, people planning/talent reviews,
etc.).

Moreover,
a comprehensive research study that analyzed the results of 24 research studies
on multisource feedback reported modest and positive improvements in employee
performance because of the feedback (Ivancevich
et al., 2014). Another study reported by Ivancevich et
al. (2014) showed that 360-degree feedback 428 retail associate store managers
were more valid in predicting assessment center performance than using
managerial ratings alone.
As the 360-degree feedback process increases in popularity,
the 360-degree feedback activity is not a stand-alone event. An outcome of any
360-degree feedback process is developing a plan of action. This should be not
just an exercise in goal setting, but also rather a blueprint for achieving and
sustaining behavioral change (Dyer, 2001).

JPL’s 360-Degree Assessment

            JPL utilizes 360-degree assessment
primarily for manager performance. Managers may seek feedback from other
employees such as peers, direct reports, line managers, and others (these could
include vendors, customers, etc.). The feedback is used to measure manager’s
skills and performance, but it is not part of the formal appraisal system.
Managers are required to partake in a one-day workshop called the Extraordinary
Leader Workshop which is built-in as part of the Leadership Launchpad program.
Before attending the session, managers need to complete a 360-degree
assessment. The 360 process is designed to gather helpful feedback that will
aid their individual growth and development as a leader. The respondents are
asked to record perceptions of the manager as a leader in the context of
several competencies that define extraordinary leadership.

            The assessment is delivered online,
and feedback from everyone except for the immediate manager will be anonymous.
JPL hires an external consultant to coordinate and manage the surveys. This
consultant will send an email to the manager as well as the respondents
detailing about the assessment, the actions they need to take and link to
access the assessment. Everyone should expect to complete the assessment in
15-25 minutes. The role of a reviewer in this process is to provide accurate
information about their observations of the individual (manager). The survey is
done electronically to ensure the reviewer’s anonymity is strictly maintained.
Only the summary of results is provided to the individual to review.

            The
goal of JPL’s 360-degree assessment is to provide managers a view of how others
observe their leadership competencies in areas such as character, personal
capability, and focus on results, interpersonal skills, and leading change. According
to Hosain (2016), 360-degree feedback is one of the most powerful mechanisms in
the field of performance appraisal process. Hosain further explains that 360-degree
feedback can be an influential organizational tool to increase awareness of the
importance of aligning behavior, performance and customer expectations; as well
as increasing participation in leadership development and work effectiveness
(Hosain, 2016).

Pros
and Cons

            360-degree feedback has many advantages and positive
aspects if implemented properly. As research has shown, a properly implemented 360-feedback
process like PepsiCo can provide a number of benefits (Bracken et al., 2013).
Alignment is an advantageous factor, which provides employees a clear
understanding of what the organization expects of them. Bracken and Church
(2013) further explain that the means for achieving business strategies and
goals are translated into leadership competencies and behavioral statements
that uniquely capture the needs of the organization for current and future success.
Agility is another benefit of having a 360-degree feedback. In this era of
technology, if the entire organization is using a 360-degree process on a
regular basis, changes and requirements can be communicated to the entire
employee very quickly (Bracken et al., 2013). Validity is the third advantage
and has a definition of measuring the right things in a reliable way. When the
360-degree feedback is done correctly, it produces information that is appropriate
to use for decision making and helps organizations make better decisions that
affect individuals and the organization as a whole (Bracken et al., 2013).

Another great benefit of using 360-degree
feedback program is accountability. Bracken et al (2013) suggest that 360
feedback does not necessarily have to predict successful leadership, but states
that you are a successful leader because you behave consistently with
organizational values or cultural norms, with appropriate consequences. Accountability
is also defined by the leader’s performance of activities that create a
trusting feedback climate, including coaching and feedback (Bracken et al.,
2013). Last advantage of 360 is consistency. Having a robust feedback measure
based on a set of well-defined behaviors aligned to a single leadership model,
a set of core values or strategic business priorities will add rigor to any
performance measurement process and increase the consistency of its application
(Bracken et al., 2013).

            On the other hand, 360-degree feedback also has
disadvantages. One, feedback can hurt someone’s feelings. Mary Vinson (1996) states
that evaluators are not always nice or positive. As a feedback provider,
individuals tend to use their role as an opportunity to criticize someone’s
behavior in the workplace. Another disadvantage is conflicting opinions. Hosain
(2016) mentions that feedback providers tend to be less likely to give honest,
impartial and fair feedback if they know that it might affect someone’s pay or
promotion they are close to. This unfair practice raises many questions whether
the feedback is accurate and reliable. Another area of concern according to
Mary (1996) is whether the feedback is truthful. On the same note, Hosain (2016)
shares an example in the case of upward feedback, implicit or even explicit
deals may be struck with subordinates to give high ratings in exchange for high
ratings and such manipulation is less likely when feedback is provided strictly
for developmental purpose. Whatever the reason, if the feedback is not truthful,
it is not going to be useful (Vinson, 1996). Lastly, anonymity may become a major
issue since multiple parties are involved in the 360 process. It is likely that
evaluators may discuss an employee’s appraisals openly and violate their privacy
(Hosain, 2016).

Opinion

            As discussed above, the 360-degree feedback has
benefits as well as drawbacks. It is imperative for the organization to
understand that 360-degree feedback for performance is likely to produce
different results than if used for development (Hosain, 2016). Many
organizations may see 360-degree feedback as an alternative to traditional
performance evaluation methods; 360-degree should be used in conjunction with different
feedback methods to measure employee’s performance and not be used for to determine
salaries or advancements. Karen Dyer (2001) suggests that using 360-degree
feedback strictly for appraisal violates principles of learning, growth, and changes.

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