Recognise This! – 360° reviews are an improvement on traditional annual employee appraisals, but don’t go far enough.

Regular readers will know that I am not a fan of the traditional annual performance appraisal, for many reasons, not least of which are:

1)      They’re annual, which is far too infrequent to change behaviours or redirect efforts for best results.

2)      They usually reflect the opinion, perception and feedback of just one person.

3)      They engender fear and trepidation among both the manager giving the appraisal and the employee receiving it.

Traditional 360° Reviews Not the Answer

For at least two or three decades, a solution many HR pros have turned to is the 360° review – a formal process to solicit feedback from multiple people. On the surface, this solves the problem, but dig a bit deeper and these challenges still remain with traditional 360° reviews:

1)      Feedback is given by a pre-selected group who have been asked (or required) to provide their comments and is often anonymous, which leads to any number of problems such as those Seth Godin mentioned recently in his blog.

2)      People don’t know how to interpret the feedback they are given from these multiple sources, which are often wildly divergent, as explained in this Envisia blog post.

3)      They’re still annual, disconnecting the feedback from the events.

If annual reviews from the boss don’t work and 360° reviews still have their problems as well, then what’s the answer?

Crowdsourcing through Strategic, Social Recognition

Instead, empower all employees through strategic, social recognition to give their positive feedback on what matters to you – how well your employees demonstrate your company values whilst achieving your strategic objectives. The benefits of this approach:

1)      It’s frequent, timely and very specific positive feedback that clearly associates the reason for recognition in the employees’ minds so they will want to repeat those behaviours/actions again and again.

2)      It’s from multiple sources across the organisation, alleviating the burden of one point of feedback and the associated fear.

3)      Vastly increased data points on recognition given also reveals areas of weakness or potential opportunity for growth in areas yet to be recognised. Easy integration with other forms of appraisal and feedback provide a more full and complete picture for real-time and long-term talent management.

What is your preferred form of employee appraisal and feedback?