What are performance reviews?

Modern HR managers are aware of how annual performance reviews have consistently failed to improve performance levels. With the advent of millennials and gen z, the contemporary workplace consists of varied demography that demands modern processes. Three hundred sixty performance reviews stem from one such framework called continuous performance management. The contemporary thought leaders have already spoken about the redundancy of annual performance and bell curve appraisal while backing current continuous performance management practices. Though the early adopters and visionaries have already come on board, there still tend to be quite a majority of laggards that are skeptical about change in the existing due process and the cost of incorporating it.

These traditional systems that still rely on top-down ratings and seldom include an honest conversation between manager and employee. Modern employees demand a continuous stream of relevant feedback and year-round performance evaluations. 

This process in-fact served as the genesis for the new 360 performance evaluation method. The 360 performance feedback is now a simplified process adopted by modern organizations to evaluate their employee performance. The current 360 feedback process seeks input from all the people, including peers, superiors, subordinates, and customers. This multifaceted feedback is hugely insightful for the manager as well as the employee. Doing this helps management provide their people with holistic employee improvement insights. The most active part of the 360 feedback process is how it uncovers behavioral nuances noticed first-hand by fellow collaborators, and help your people gradually phase out such behavioral patterns. 

360 performance reviews

What are some best practices for 360 Performance Reviews?

  1. Though it’s a simple and straightforward process, that’s crucial for the career growth of an employee; there tend to be some impediments that when subject to conscious actions can be easily averted. 
  2. This process happens most often when there’s no established objective for the endeavor. 
  3. When the established review process does not align with your overall expected outcome, measuring results will become harder and will dissipate further into the process where the participants will either refuse to adopt or adopt will very little accountability or ownership. 
  4. Neglecting to define a purpose for your program
  5. Making decisions about program workflow that do not align with your program purpose
  6. Lack of accountability or action

How to set up an unbeaten 360 performance review program? 

  • Establish objective
  • Draw a mockup of the decided workflow
  • List down the areas of assessment 
  • Formulate the assessment material that will aid in the evaluation
  • Ensure there’s no noise or miscommunication in reporting of results.
  • Capitalize on the results and instigate action. 

Though when usually asked for a performance review, you might be tempted to respond with a surface level opinion of the subject. However, that practice can be extremely sabotaging, for the whole feedback chain operates on the principle of mutual trust and honesty. When there’s a single contaminated source that deviates from sincerity, it tends to elicit adverse or misrepresented outcomes from the evaluation. This unfairness in the result caused by a single malignance may again be mistaken for inherent bias in the evaluators or the evaluation process itself. 

You preparing for a performance review process beforehand will give you a greater sense of transparency in the process which will help you provide an honest and insightful response that might help contribute positively towards someone’s career. The primary landmine that tends to affect employees during feedback will be an honest opinion that is contrary to a popular narrative. A famous person being asked to improve their performance, or a deemed to be average performers gaining stellar reviews. These findings in-fact are a positive sign towards the growth of the whole company, for they have positively contributed towards uncovering the deeply insightful nuances that would’ve otherwise escaped the attention of the management.

Before you schedule a time for the upcoming review, which most often than not aligns with the fiscal or the calendar year, consider the timeline of various stakeholders who might have a direct stake in the review process. For example, once a performance review process is complete, it may follow the promise of monetary compensation and a year-round hike, which in turn falls under the purview of the payroll department which needs to collaborate, confirm and modify the employee data with several stakeholders accordingly.

When key stakeholders of the entire process are considered, it tends to be more seamless and yield a thorough evaluation. You also find out insights on where your organization is failing to nurture an environment where the employees are happy and thriving. Identify the overall shared timeline that accounts of maximum availability and accommodates for a flexible schedule. When you are flexible, you can avoid rigid schedules an also not accelerate the preparation for the 360 feedback and review session. 

Formulate an annual timeline in a way your employees are notified about it beforehand. Ensure the questions or content do not come across as a surprise. Psychologically we are wired to respond with openness when we are aware of the context. 

Focusing on the self
Focusing on the self

Performance review phases

Preparing objectives and expected results

Initially, at the start of a fiscal year, have an all-hands that includes all the stakeholders to notify them of the annual goal plans and where they need to stand concerning their Key-Results or KPIs. The OKR framework will serve as a growth-driver at this stage of the review process, for it establishes both the long and short term goals of your organization. However, OKRs are a collaborative process that requires personal discussion with every stakeholder involved. Once your employees are clear about the necessary results and the relevant Key-Results that they need to deliver on, they are now aligned with the overall mission of your organization, and that provides a clear context for both the management and employees to continue the insightful conversation about performance in the following year. 

The Key-Results in an OKR framework should be Specific and Measurable

One easy way to draw a parallel between OKRs and KPIs is to think of Key-Results as SMART goals, that are specific and measurable. Ensure that while your intentions are lucid and timebound, they should be both aligned towards the overall mission while also catering to one’s specific job responsibilities. When organized this way, your employees see a clear trajectory of how individual performance affects the team overall.

Arriving at conclusion 

Provide a conclusion at the end of an all-hands meeting, highlighting all the discussed goals, expected results, and outcome. A simple way to record and document all of this would be to use a continuous performance software that helps you collect information and also recall them with context at a later stage.

Honest reviews

First-time managers often avoid hurting team morale and tend to stick to positive feedback alone. However, the idea of 360 performance evaluation is to uncover unpleasant performance feedback that can later be rectified by taking appropriate action. 

360 performance evaluation

Components of 360 appraisal 

The 360 performance evaluation consists of four critical parts:

  • Self-evaluation - Self
  • Superior evaluation - Top Down 
  • Subordinate evaluation - Bottom Up 
  • Peer evaluation - Peer to peer 

Self-evaluation - Is evaluation as perceived by the employee about his contribution, as an employer the aim is not to judge and compare it with heir peers or manager’s review, but look for systemic improvement in their performance capabilities. As en employee try to give a holistic perception of how your performance has positively contributed to the growth and profitability of the organization. 

Top-down - This accounts details of your performance from a superior’s point of view. As an employee what you need to do is pay critical attention to their perspective so that you can have an informed conversation with your superior once you have incorporated their suggestions

Bottom-up - Our subordinate accounts of our action often tell us important details that may escape our attention. Being a great leader is an acquired skill, and that starts with paying attention to the people whom you lead.

Peer evaluation - This gives an honest account of your capability as a fellow collaborator and a team player. Though these review processes are confidential and may not provide you immediate recourse, we all, however, can train ourselves to be more receptive towards such feedback which may help us achieve progress together. 

Important points to consider while submitting evaluation

Include specificity and critical details

Keeping track of all your achievements and wins that have been accomplished throughout the year will reinforce your self-confidence to provide an honest evaluation of self. These cited examples and results should be significant and specific, such that there can be no avenues of misunderstanding regarding ownership and accountability. If these achievements were a group effort, ensure you share credit with whomsoever shared equal responsibility. 

Include numbers

Humans are bad at generalizing and are better at drawing a relation with numbers than a vague recollection of events. Ensure all your achievements have a quantity associated with them. 

Make every point an explanation

Your managers want to know how you took a rational set of steps to achieve a particular outcome. Include fellow contributors, how multiple contributors collaborated to achieve a mutual goal. Also, include details on how you went out of your scope of the job-responsibility to achieve the desired results in a way that reflects you are a go-getter. 

As a manager, consider these details of evaluation as a precursor to determine the degree of responsibility shown by the employee. Factor in the nature and circumstances of accomplishment to assign an equivalent compensation include the employee in the final round of discussion where you explain your understanding of their evaluation and highlight how you agree or disagree with the same to achieve a result based reward understanding. Clarifying evaluation goals in terms of fixed goals will help your employees visualize their career growth and progress within the organization. 

Upshotly is a continuous performance management software that allows managers and leaders to easily conduct a 360 performance evaluation using mutliple sources of feedback.