There are numerous articles delving into the broken process of performance appraisals. Filled with biases, inaccurate performance appraisals can be a draining and demotivating process for many employees. (This is true even in organizations that have implemented continuous feedback which helps mitigate some of common workplace biases). In fact, one study be SHRM found that 49% of HR professionals believe that annual performance reviews are not an accurate appraisal of employees’ work.
Can peer/360 reviews help transform the broken annual performance appraisal?
Most, if not all, organizations are quick to state that most work is accomplished through teams, but more often than not, these organizations leave employee performance to be exclusively assessed by one manager. In some organizational structures, the direct report may not even work with their direct manager for the majority of the year. Even if managers work closely with their direct reports, they are rarely privy to the employee’s day-to-day. There is a strong value-add to incorporating 360 reviewers into the formal performance appraisal process in virtually all organizations.
The benefits of 360 reviews include:
1. Reducing biases
Receiving feedback from peers, direct reports, and managers give employees insight into their performance from all angles. One report by SHRM in 2018 found that 76% of HR professionals agree that annual performance reviews are more accurate when coupled with ongoing peer feedback.
2. Strengthening workplace relationships
360 reviews encourage employees to become more comfortable sharing, collaborating, and helping one another to improve. 89% of organizations that have peer reviews reported it having a very positive or somewhat positive impact on their organization.
3. Allowing for faster skill development
The more data on employee performance leads to more insights in how to best develop and motivate an employee. Employees increasingly want more feedback. They want companies to invest in their development, and peer feedback enriches that process.
Employees want to develop from all angles and they want to be assessed fairly. 360 reviews provide a comprehensive look at an employee’s efficiency, productivity, and contributions, and work behaviors. Depending on your people strategy, you may want to go a step further and enable continuous, 360 feedback. This would mean that peer feedback can be given at any time – not just at annual appraisal season. In fact, your organization may already incorporate peer feedback or recognition programs (high fives, kudos).
While 360 feedback/recognition isn’t a new concept, infusing it into your performance management process probably is. Moving to a 360-degree system takes more effort than just changing out the paper administration. It takes sponsorship, experience, in addition to providing the right tools and training. But your employees want it, and your organization will thrive because of it.