June 7, 2010 at 5:46 pm #102323
Scott O. KonopasekParticipant
I am leading a team in a large urban county charged with recommending a new personal performance evaluation tool. There is a lot of buzz about 360 evaluation systems among the decision makers even before the team is prepared to make a recommendation.
Does anyone have experiences to share with a 360 evaluation system? I am particularly interested in experiences implementing or using such a system rather than the philosophical arguments about its value.
June 8, 2010 at 12:11 pm #102339
The Division of DOD that I was involved with from 1996 through 2006 made an attempt to implement a variation of the 360 evaluation system in 2002.
It failed rather loudly in 2005, suspect for several reasons, at least in my opinion…
1. Major mission change in in late 2004 which dramatically affected job descriptions not to mention number of staff.
2. Apparent unwillingness to invest in the resources(primarily training for all,) to insure an reasonable implementation in a timely manner.
3. Apparent unwillingness of most to accept the feedback provided.
4. Unwillingness of the organization to invest the resources to provide training that was identified by the evaluation process.
The implementation process, IMO, was generally flawed because of the apparent lack of any meaningful support, other than some level of lip service, on a mandate from the director.
June 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm #102337
Scott, as part of a leadership continuum at my employer, I had a 360 eval, and I have participated in three as contributors. It’s a worthwhile evolution.
The idea is to get a statistically relevant sample (at least 12, and 20 is the best number) of inputs from friends, colleagues and co-workers from across your experience. The survey I have seen takes about 40 minutes, and it covers nearly two dozen separate areas of personality, leadership, management and task accomplishment. Many of the areas are related, and that helps for correlation of responses, and it gives more insight into particular areas of interest.
After compiling inputs, the results form a report of 25-30 pages, showing how respondents graded the person. The results are frequently complicated to interpret, so a one-on-one session is a necessity to get the most from the packet.
The advantage of a 360 eval is that you get more, and more honest, feedback than from simple evaluation sessions with your immediate supervisor. The disadvantage is that it’s expensive, both in time and resources, and you have to provide follow-up training to address employees’ weak areas.
If your organization wants to encourage professional growth and you have resources and the will to carry it through, then it’s definitely a worthwhile exercise. If your employees see it as something other than an opportunity for personal and professional growth, then don’t do it – opposition will skew results and spoil the opportunity to shape and improve the organization.
June 10, 2010 at 2:30 pm #102335
We use the Discovery Learning 360 in our public health leadership institute. While not an employee evaluation per se, it does incorporate individual learning and development plans into the process…
June 11, 2010 at 1:23 am #102333
Yes, I have given and received 360 feedback several times in private industry at a Fortune 500. The way we worked the process was to have at minimum: your immediate supervisor, your “dotted-line” boss (your most important internal customer), a mix of several other internal customers or peers in different departments, and your direct reports if you were a supervisor.
The feedback was very helpful in understanding where there were gaps in your perception of your performance and others’ perceptions, as well as giving insight into what your internal customers viewed as what your goals should be vs. what you thought they should be.
In the case of several people whom I worked with or managed, it was very helpful in highlighting performance areas.
June 11, 2010 at 2:39 am #102331
The important part are the consequences and follow-up actions based on the feedback.
I have been part of a 360 through FC and then a different system as a my regular annual eval.
In both, the consequences and the method in which the results are communicated are the most important factor. I suggest spending a majority of the time on the process for which consequences will be implemented.
I would analyze the evaluation tools based on the perspective of which are most likely to enable clear and positive followup actions. The tool that does that is the most valuable.
In my case, the 360 asked more specific questions. It created the most value because I had more specific feedback on which to take action.
June 14, 2010 at 3:14 pm #102329
My last employer (private sector) had a division that used 360 evaluations. When asked to provide input to someone else’s evaluation I found it helpful when I got either a set of questions to answer or a list of the goals and objectives for that person rather than just a note that I was listed as a superior/colleague/subordinate/customer and please provide feedback. It helped me to frame my responses in the context of the evaluation and give the supervisor the information he or she was seeking.
Providing the questions, goals or objectives when requesting feedback also helped increase the response rate (particularly from those who may not have had a lot of time and/or may have received many such requests).
For the supervisor preparing the 360 evaluation, providing the questions, goals or objectives also helped them get briefer, more targeted and useful feedback for subordinate evaluations. This eased their burden in preparing the evaluations and also gave more significant and specific feedback than just “a great worker” or “a great experience working with this person”.
Hope that helps.
June 16, 2010 at 3:23 pm #102327
As a manager (in my private sector life), I didn’t have to prepare anything other than determine who should get the requests for review. Our company used a very robust online 360 review software package that had detailed / pointed questions, and summarized key findings (good & bad) for us. It was a very powerful / useful process.
June 16, 2010 at 9:18 pm #102325
Here’s a thought – why do we want any evaluation of our staff? Seems to me that the problems we have in government are not people problems… So spending time trying to make the people be better workers won’t help us. Therfore, the 360, and like programs are at best a waste of our time, and can be harmful to our workforce…. Don’t let popularity convince us they are good for us…
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