360-de­gree sur­veys can give you the whole pic­ture

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Judy Kneiszel J.J. Keller & As­so­ci­ates

Karen is al­ways will­ing to lend a hand and pa­tiently share the tips and tricks she’s amassed af­ter years on the job.

In fact, in the past year, she’s been so will­ing to help new em­ploy­ees that she’s fre­quently fallen be­hind on her own work­load.

Dur­ing her re­cent per­for­mance re­view, her boss men­tioned some missed dead­lines, and Karen got a less-than-stel­lar re­view. She couldn’t re­ally ar­tic­u­late why she was not able to keep up with her work­load.

This is a prob­lem of per­spec­tive; Karen and her boss can­not see the whole pic­ture. They have blind spots when it comes to Karen’s job per­for­mance.

Karen’s co­work­ers, how­ever, could prob­a­bly shed light on the sit­u­a­tion by ex­plain­ing how much coach­ing of oth­ers Karen has un­der­taken at the sac­ri­fice of her own work. With that per­spec­tive, Karen and her boss might have been able to come up with a plan to uti­lize Karen’s train­ing skills while min­i­miz­ing the im­pact on depart­ment out­put.

With­out the per­spec­tive of oth­ers, how­ever, Karen and her boss may con­tinue to be frus­trated.

Shed­ding some light on the sub­ject

All em­ploy­ees have blind spots, char­ac­ter­is­tics about them­selves they just can’t see. It’s pos­si­ble their di­rect su­per­vi­sors can’t see the full pic­ture, ei­ther. That’s where 360-de­gree sur­veys can help.

A 360-de­gree sur­vey process is a me­thod­i­cal way of gain­ing in­sight, through feed­back, into how oth­ers in the work­force view an em­ployee. Un­like tra­di­tional per­for­mance re­views, the feed­back in a 360-de­gree sur­vey comes from a va­ri­ety of peo­ple who are fa­mil­iar with an em­ployee’s work — not just the em­ployee’s im­me­di­ate su­per­vi­sor.

Us­ing sources who pro­vide a full cir­cle of in­for­ma­tion (thus, the 360-de­gree des­ig­na­tion) pro­vides a wider view of how an em­ployee func­tions. Not only

Un­like tra­di­tional per­for­mance re­views, the feed­back in a 360-de­gree sur­vey comes from a va­ri­ety of peo­ple who are fa­mil­iar with an em­ployee’s work — not just the em­ployee’s im­me­di­ate su­per­vi­sor.

do you get in­for­ma­tion on whether or not the em­ployee com­pletes his or her work, but how well he or she in­ter­acts with co­work­ers, other de­part­ments, out­side ven­dors, and/or clients. The feed­back comes from those above, be­low, and be­side the em­ployee, pro­vid­ing a fuller, more com­plete

pic­ture.

The process of 360-de­gree sur­veys

There are six steps to a 360-de­gree sur­vey:

• De­cide who to in­vite to par­tic­i­pate in the sur­vey.

• Anony­mously sur­vey those in­vited peo­ple — man­agers, co­work­ers, sub­or­di­nates, and per­haps cus­tomers — about the em­ployee’s work.

• Re­ceive the sur­veys

from in­vited peo­ple.

• Tab­u­late the sur­vey in­for­ma­tion and de­velop a re­port.

• Pro­vide this re­port to the em­ployee fea­tured in the sur­vey.

• Have a fol­low-up meet­ing with the em­ployee to dis­cuss the re­sults and set goals.

Putting the re­sults to work

The ben­e­fits of 360-de­gree sur­veys in­clude:

• Im­proved self-aware­ness for those be­ing re­viewed.

• Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of spe­cific strengths and weak­nesses to help for­mu­late achiev­able goals.

• Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of re­al­is­tic em­ployee con­tri­bu­tions.

• Align­ment of em­ployee goals and abil­i­ties to cor­po­rate strate­gies, lead­ing to greater pro­duc­tiv­ity.

Most em­ploy­ers choose to keep per­for­mance eval­u­a­tions and 360-de­gree sur­vey re­sults sep­a­rate, us­ing

the 360-de­gree in­for­ma­tion only for em­ployee devel­op­ment. For such sur­veys to be use­ful, goals should be clar­i­fied be­fore the process be­gins. That means hold­ing an ori­en­ta­tion meet­ing to re­view the process, dis­cuss which skills and com­pe­ten­cies will be eval­u­ated, and teach em­ploy­ees be­ing re­viewed how to put the both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive in­for­ma­tion to con­struc­tive use.

Judy Kneiszel is an as­so­ciate ed­i­tor with J.J. Keller & As­so­ci­ates, a na­tion­ally rec­og­nized com­pli­ance re­source firm. Kneiszel spe­cial­izes in busi­ness top­ics such as re­cruit­ing and hir­ing, on­board­ing and train­ing, team build­ing, em­ployee re­ten­tion, and la­bor re­la­tions. She is the ed­i­tor of J.J. Keller’s SU­PER ad­VI­SOR news­let­ter and Es­sen­tials of Em­ployee Re­la­tions man­ual. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.jjkeller.com/hr and www.jjkeller­li­brary.com.

JUDY KNEISZEL

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