360 degree feedback has many positive aspects and many
proponents. The 1999 State of the Industry Report, from the American Society
for Training and Development (ASTD), reviewed the training practices of more
than 750 firms. Fifty-five firms, described by ASTD as leading edge in their
training approaches, rely heavily onemployee feedback, including360
degree feedbackand peer review, for individual development plans and
annualperformance reviews. According to ASTD, 75 percent of these
companies provided individual development plans, and 33 percentprovided
360 degree feedback for most of their employees in 1998, compared to
50percent and 10percentin 1997.
Organizations that are happy with the 360 degree component
of theirperformance management systemsidentify these positive
features of the process that manifest in a well-managed, well-integrated 360
degree feedback processes.
Feedback From More Sources:This method provides well-rounded
feedback from peers, reporting staff, coworkers and supervisors and can be
a definite improvement over feedback from a single individual. 360
feedback can also savemanagers’ time in that they can spend less
energyproviding feedback as more people participate in the process.
Coworker perception is important and the process helps people understand
how other employees view their work.
Development:This feedback approach helpsteam
memberslearn to work more effectively together. (Teams know more
about how team members are performing than their supervisor.) Multi-rater
feedback makes team members more accountable to each other as they share
the knowledge that they will provide input on each member’s performance. A
well-planned process can improve communication and team development.
- Personal and Organizational Performance
Development:360 degree feedback is one of the best methods for
understanding personal and organizational developmental needs.
for Career Development:For many reasons, organizations are no
longer responsible fordeveloping the careersof their
employees, if they ever were. Multi-rater feedback can provide excellent
information to an individual about what she needs to do to enhance her
manyemployeesfeel 360 degree feedback is more accurate,
more reflective of their performance, and more validating than feedback
from a supervisor alone. This makes the information more useful for both
career and personal development.
Discrimination Risk:When feedback comes from a number of
individuals in various job functions, discrimination because of race, age
or gender is reduced. The "horns and halo" effect, in which a
supervisor rates performance based on her most recent interactions with
the employee, is also minimized.
Customer Service:Each person receives valuable feedback about
the quality of his product or services, especially in feedback processes
that involve the internal or external customer. This feedback should
enable the individual to improve the quality, reliability, promptness, and
comprehensiveness of these products and services.
Needs Assessment:360 degree feedback provides comprehensive
information about organization training needs and thus allows planning for
classes, cross-functional responsibilities and cross-training.
A 360 degree feedback system does have a good side. However,
360 degree feedback also has abad side - even an ugly side