develop a group
of raters by mutual
is no standard way to
do this, say those in the
field. Rather, it depends on the
purpose of the 360-degree appraisal
and the organization’s culture. Raters then answer questions
through online links. Internet-based online survey systems
once a month to work on particular skills, tasks or style.
Russell R. Day, PhD, of the executive coaching firm R.R. Day
& Associates in Arlington Heights, Ill., has seen firsthand how
360-degree evaluations can lead to behavior change. “They are
of great value if they are done correctly,” he says.
Day offers one particularly successful example of how
360 appraisals can improve employee performance: One of
his clients hired a new vice president to run the company’s
southwest region. The new recruit’s mission was to boost
profits — and he succeeded, retaining existing business, as
such as Zoomerang or
well as adding new clients.
Survey Monkey are popular
But in the process, the vice
ways to collect self-report
data, but most vendors
have developed their
president fired employees
and changed their roles.
Morale in the region sank
own 360-degree feedback
to an all-time low. Several
administration systems to
high performers quit, and
streamline multi-rater data.
of change is modest
others were looking to
Once the data have
been tabulated, and the
individual understands and
leave. When the human
resources manager spoke to
accepts it, coaching can
begin. Nowack suggests a
model he developed with
Sandra Mashihi, PhD, called
significant. We have
to be realistic.”
all complained about
the new vice president’s
management style: He was
and overly critical, they
Enable,” to implement
behavior change. In the first
step, the psychologist or
coach helps the employee
Envisia Learning Inc.
To improve the
situation, the company
hired Day as an executive
become aware of how he
or she is perceived and
determines the conditions necessary for behavior change. Then,
the psychologist works with the employee to become ready
to make the changes; he or she has to commit to working on
change rather than just acknowledging that something is wrong.
“The employee has to be motivated to do something about
it,” says Nowack.
Employees also have to be prepared for the feedback. A meta-analysis by Avraham N. Kluger, PhD, Angelo S. DeNisi, PhD, and
colleagues finds that while feedback interventions are usually
effective, in a third of the cases, the feedback actually “lowered
subsequent performance” (Psychological Bulletin, 1996). For
example, if an employee’s self-perception is quite different from
the feedback, the employee can even become demoralized.
That means the report is not just left on a person’s desk.
Once an employee has his or her results, there has to be a
discussion with the manager, an internal or external consultant,
coach, and he conducted
a 360-degree appraisal
that identified a problem: By focusing only on profits, the
new vice president had alienated his subordinates. Several
referred to him as a “dictator” or “Attila the Hun.” After
receiving his 360-degree appraisal results, the vice president
shared them with his team, apologized publicly for his past
behavior and promised to change. For a year, he worked
with Day every four to six weeks on new leadership styles,
specific steps to take and advice to heed. At three months,
six months and eight months, Day met with the manager to
discuss his progress. At the end of the year, Day conducted a
second 360-degree feedback with five employees the manager
supervised and five colleagues. The results showed definite
improvement: The same employees who had been looking
for new jobs now said that if the manager were to leave the
company, they would ask to go with him.
For the regional vice president, the 360-degree assessment
or a mentor in which the employee agrees to work on
undesirable behaviors, Nowack says. “We create a professional
development plan for them to work on something.”
For example, a supervisor who has received 360-degree
feedback will meet with a psychologist or an executive coach
was a catalyst for him to change his behavior and to obtain
expert advice about how to make those adjustments.
Harriet Edleson is a writer in New York City.