Many organizations are conducting 360 degree feedback at the end of their annual review process. This is probably not providing much value and isn’t a great idea for a number of reasons.
The main reason is that people are focused on the outcome of their end of year review – their bonus or salary increase. It’s difficult to get someone focused on identifying their areas for improvement and creating development goals when you’re also talking to them about their salary increase or bonus.
Another reason 360 isn’t a good idea as part of the end of year review is that it’s not a review of past performance. Running it at this time of year creates an unavoidable perception that 360 is all about reviewing how well you performed. It isn’t – 360 degree feedback is simply a way of identifying a person’s behaviours. And that gives you two key things needed to coach someone for improvement. A way of providing feedback on behaviours and a measurement to gauge improvement.
So when should you run 360? The answer is at the start of the performance cycle or somewhere in the first three months. When you’re in looking forward mode and setting goals for the year. This suits 360 because you want people to look forward with the results – that is to plan how they are going to develop their areas needing improvement.
Setting SMART objectives when there’s little clarity of business goals.