Arguably one of the most important tasks for any company’s Human Resource department is performance management assessment. If the very thought of either administering or undergoing assessment strikes terror into your heart, you are certainly not alone. Even the most successful assessment programs tend to make employees uncomfortable; if, as is often the case, assessment is linked to compensation and promotion prospects, then the situation becomes even tenser. Done badly, assessment can set a company back months, due not only to the frustration generated among disillusioned employees who feel they have been unfairly treated, but also to the unwieldy and time-consuming process of administering the assessments in the first place. Small wonder that so many people dread this annual event!
Employers need to be clear as to their objectives when evaluating their personnel. Ideally, they should be able to: link assessment to the company’s goal-setting exercises; ensure they hire — and retain — efficient, productive staff members; obtain feedback from customers and employees; and make sound judgments regarding future promotions and compensation. An effective performance management review will align goals set for individual employees with those of the company as a whole, ensuring that the company’s short and long-term objectives can be met. It will also identify those employees who are performing above expectations, enabling them to be rewarded with promotions or salary increases. Also, identifying weaknesses in staff members can enable employers to set personal targets, or establish mentoring programs to facilitate improved performance. Customer feedback offers invaluable information in terms of future development.
Why 360° assessment?
360° assessment, also known as multi-rater assessment, places the person being assessed at the center of a circle; s/he is assessed by supervisors, peers and employees or customers as appropriate. This should give a clear all-round picture of an employee’s strengths and weaknesses, while also providing target areas for future development. Most feedback tools also allow for self-assessment in response to each evaluation. Ideally, the process should be interactive, with opportunities for feedback to be openly discussed at every stage. This is far more informative than top-down, supervisor assessments. Just a few of the advantages of 360° assessment are: minimizing bias and discrimination, team-building, improved customer service, and mutual responsibility for setting career goals.
However, employers should not automatically assume that 360° assessment is a magic wand that will solve all their problems. There are limitations and downsides to any system; the selection of raters is key; inexperienced evaluators can give imperfect results, and bias cannot be completely eliminated, though arguably the overall assessment should be more balanced. Additionally, since far more people are involved in the assessment process, it does become more unwieldy and time-consuming, placing greater stress on resources. A well-tailored program, specifically designed for this purpose, is obviously invaluable.
There are many software programs available to assist companies in carrying out 360° performance management assessment. Shift iQ offers employers a suite of applications including Compensation and Performance Management modules. Since Shift iQ utilizes cloud computing technology, accessibility is easy and cost-effective.