Introduction Nowadays, we recognize that feedbackplays an important role in the case of an employee’s development. Manycompanies elect to utilize the multisource feedback also known as 360-degreefeedback program to measure employee’s productivity and performance, instead ofonly top-down feedback program. Research suggests that 90 percent of Fortune1000 firms use some form of multisource program (Ivancevich, Konopaske, &Matteson, 2014). This evaluation is used by many companies to assist employeesidentify their strengths and weaknesses. In a 360-degree program, employees areevaluated based on a holistic approach and viewed from multiple angles andperspectives, such as their ability to grow, self-motivation and orientationtowards performance (Chicu & Nedelcu, 2017).
Additionally, employeesbehavior are also assessed in the 360-degree feedback program, which has amajor influence on productivity as well as their capacity of reaching theirgoals (Chicu & Nedelcu, 2017). Asan example, the book illustrates that Google allows its managers and employeesto request reviews from anyone across the organization, including peers,supervisors, customers, and suppliers (Ivancevich et al., 2014). This feedbackapproach is assumed that this broad network has a complete picture of theemployee’s performance than just an immediate supervisor does or any othercategory by itself. According to a case study conducted by Md. Sajjad Hosain,it states that 360-degree feedback is considered one of the measures ofperformance appraisal process, which reduces and changes the traditionalsupervisor based appraisal method (Hosain, 2016).
This program can be morebeneficial if combined with some other traditional methods. Research alsoindicates that the 360-degree feedback performed by anyone in the person’s fulldomain (360-degree range) is more favorable than the assessment made by theindividual’s manager (Chicu & Nedelcu, 2017).Prevalenceof 360-Degree Feedback According to David Bracken and Allan Church (2013),the value of using feedback from multiple sources as both a leadershipdevelopment and a performance measurement tool is a concept that has been aroundsince the 1980s. Bracken and Church (2013) performed a study on more than 200organizations with active 360-degree feedback programs found 47 percent ofthose organizations are using 360-degree feedback for performance management.This statistic is interesting because it represents a 15 percent increase fromthe last survey conducted in 2009.
Regardless the purpose of the 360-degreefeedback whether it is used for performance management or development purposes,research believes that 360-degree feedback is the key to improving the qualityand effectiveness of performance management in today’s organization (Brackenand Church, 2013). On the contrary, leaders andmanagers in most organizations receive less and less practical feedback as theymove up the ladder (Dyer, 2001). One of which is because of limited opportunitiesto provide feedback from others. As a result, leaders are blindsided bysomething that most leaders are not aware of like a need to change theirbehavior. One study (Dyer, 2001) stresses the importance of using 360-degreefeedback to allow leaders to compare their own views of themselves with the viewsthat others have of them. Resultsof 360-Degree Feedback Researchers have also conducted various studies on thesuccessful companies who are utilizing performance management to recognize andreward individuals. Bracken and Church (2013) conducted a study, whichconcluded that Pepsi separated their 360-degree process into two differentmulti-rater feedback tools. One administered annually to direct reports onlythat was dedicated to performance management and a full 360-degree processfocused on leadership capability that was primarily developmental.
Byseparating the two feedback tools, Pepsi had effectively achieved three goals:1. Made the distinction clear betweenwhat are considered effective manager behaviors at any level versus leadershipbehaviors needed to be successful at higher levels. 2. Formally articulated the linkagesbetween the different feedback tools and their respective uses (i.e.
,performance management, talent management/planning, and individualdevelopment).3. Adjusted the timing and executionwindows to align each feedback process to best match the cadence of the HRsystem it feeds (e.g., performance calibration, people planning/talent reviews,etc.).Moreover,a comprehensive research study that analyzed the results of 24 research studieson multisource feedback reported modest and positive improvements in employeeperformance because of the feedback (Ivancevichet al., 2014).
Another study reported by Ivancevich etal. (2014) showed that 360-degree feedback 428 retail associate store managerswere more valid in predicting assessment center performance than usingmanagerial 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 any360-degree feedback process is developing a plan of action. This should be notjust an exercise in goal setting, but also rather a blueprint for achieving andsustaining behavioral change (Dyer, 2001).JPL’s 360-Degree Assessment JPL utilizes 360-degree assessmentprimarily for manager performance. Managers may seek feedback from otheremployees such as peers, direct reports, line managers, and others (these couldinclude vendors, customers, etc.
). The feedback is used to measure manager’sskills and performance, but it is not part of the formal appraisal system.Managers are required to partake in a one-day workshop called the ExtraordinaryLeader Workshop which is built-in as part of the Leadership Launchpad program.Before attending the session, managers need to complete a 360-degreeassessment.
The 360 process is designed to gather helpful feedback that willaid their individual growth and development as a leader. The respondents areasked to record perceptions of the manager as a leader in the context ofseveral 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.
Thisconsultant will send an email to the manager as well as the respondentsdetailing about the assessment, the actions they need to take and link toaccess the assessment. Everyone should expect to complete the assessment in15-25 minutes. The role of a reviewer in this process is to provide accurateinformation about their observations of the individual (manager). The survey isdone electronically to ensure the reviewer’s anonymity is strictly maintained.
Only the summary of results is provided to the individual to review. Thegoal of JPL’s 360-degree assessment is to provide managers a view of how othersobserve their leadership competencies in areas such as character, personalcapability, and focus on results, interpersonal skills, and leading change. Accordingto Hosain (2016), 360-degree feedback is one of the most powerful mechanisms inthe field of performance appraisal process. Hosain further explains that 360-degreefeedback can be an influential organizational tool to increase awareness of theimportance of aligning behavior, performance and customer expectations; as wellas increasing participation in leadership development and work effectiveness(Hosain, 2016).Prosand Cons 360-degree feedback has many advantages and positiveaspects if implemented properly.
As research has shown, a properly implemented 360-feedbackprocess like PepsiCo can provide a number of benefits (Bracken et al., 2013).Alignment is an advantageous factor, which provides employees a clearunderstanding of what the organization expects of them.
Bracken and Church(2013) further explain that the means for achieving business strategies andgoals are translated into leadership competencies and behavioral statementsthat 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 oftechnology, if the entire organization is using a 360-degree process on aregular basis, changes and requirements can be communicated to the entireemployee very quickly (Bracken et al., 2013). Validity is the third advantageand has a definition of measuring the right things in a reliable way.
When the360-degree feedback is done correctly, it produces information that is appropriateto use for decision making and helps organizations make better decisions thataffect individuals and the organization as a whole (Bracken et al., 2013). Another great benefit of using 360-degreefeedback program is accountability. Bracken et al (2013) suggest that 360feedback does not necessarily have to predict successful leadership, but statesthat you are a successful leader because you behave consistently withorganizational values or cultural norms, with appropriate consequences. Accountabilityis also defined by the leader’s performance of activities that create atrusting feedback climate, including coaching and feedback (Bracken et al.,2013).
Last advantage of 360 is consistency. Having a robust feedback measurebased 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 anyperformance measurement process and increase the consistency of its application(Bracken et al., 2013). On the other hand, 360-degree feedback also hasdisadvantages.
One, feedback can hurt someone’s feelings. Mary Vinson (1996) statesthat evaluators are not always nice or positive. As a feedback provider,individuals tend to use their role as an opportunity to criticize someone’sbehavior 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 orpromotion they are close to. This unfair practice raises many questions whetherthe feedback is accurate and reliable. Another area of concern according toMary (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 explicitdeals may be struck with subordinates to give high ratings in exchange for highratings and such manipulation is less likely when feedback is provided strictlyfor 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 majorissue since multiple parties are involved in the 360 process. It is likely thatevaluators may discuss an employee’s appraisals openly and violate their privacy(Hosain, 2016).Opinion As discussed above, the 360-degree feedback hasbenefits as well as drawbacks.
It is imperative for the organization tounderstand that 360-degree feedback for performance is likely to producedifferent results than if used for development (Hosain, 2016). Manyorganizations may see 360-degree feedback as an alternative to traditionalperformance evaluation methods; 360-degree should be used in conjunction with differentfeedback methods to measure employee’s performance and not be used for to determinesalaries or advancements. Karen Dyer (2001) suggests that using 360-degreefeedback strictly for appraisal violates principles of learning, growth, and changes.