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Overcoming two big obstacles to effective performance management

A recent article* from the ATD reports on how organisations are rethinking performance management.

Two of the three key issues with most performance management processes are identified as biased evaluations and infrequent feedback. The lack of engagement of employees is one outcome. The consequent poor data available to the organisation is another.

Biased evaluations

It’s true that a poor employee/manager relationship can produce a less than favourable evaluation, whilst an over-positive evaluation can be equally unhelpful to the employee in the long run.

There are several reasons why line manager evaluations alone can be biased. Not just because of the halo or horns effect (they already have a good or bad opinion of the employee) but also because the line manager might not want their team to be seen as underperforming (reflecting badly on them).

That’s why 360 Degree Feedback is critical for obtaining multiple sets of evaluations, and hence for smoothing out individual biases. Whilst Line manager feedback is usually shown separately, feedback from other colleague groups is aggregated. This provides anonymity for the feedback givers, and allows the ratee to identify areas where there is consistency of feedback from multiple colleagues.

Infrequent feedback

We know that the best feedback is recent and relevant, so that people can quickly adjust and make small changes in what they are doing, and so continuously improve. But traditional, once-a-year 360 Degree Feedback can sometimes be too little (because raters can’t remember too far back), and too late.

The answer is to offer 360 as an easy, available-at-any-time tool; employees are able to get post-project feedback, feedback from their teams, or feedback from customers, whenever they need it (for an update meeting with their manager, or a team review, for example). The 360 generates automatic reminders and provides rich reports online which employees can access when they need to.

Data for the organisation

With the right 360 Degree Feedback tool, the organisation can aggregate the individual feedback data into group reports that can highlight key information on skills.

*Read the full ATD article here