Do you have any comments about automating the 360 degree feedback process?

May We Recommend...

Many companies choose to automate part of the 360 degree feedback process using software, or other kinds of technology. It makes sense theoretically, but whether it's a good idea or not is going to depend on HOW the software or technology tools are used.

There's an analogy with paper forms. We know that when the performance management process is perceived as only filling out the required forms, the entire process becomes a waste of time, because managers and employees focus on the paper chase, and not the actual point, which is improving performance. It's the same with 360 degree feedback software and technology. If managers and employees see the process as simply "getting the information into the computer", there will be no positive outcomes.

A story: I was presenting at a performance management conference, and was approached by an HR person who was quite excited about their 360 degree feedback automation, software, and technologies. She said: "It's wonderful and it's so convenient. We have it set up so that the feedback givers (managers, co-workers), can actually pick up the phone, key in a few digits, and answer questions on a touch tone phone to provide the feedback to the recipient. Then the computer software can be told to print a report of the ratings given, and that report can be given to the recipient. We're happy with it."

Uh huh. This gives new meaning to the expression "phoning it in". Now, what are the chances that these phoned in, anonymous, and almost informationless sets of data will actually help someone improve performance.


About Company

Bacal & Associates was founded in 1992 by consultant and book author, Robert Bacal. Robert's books on performance management and reviews have been published by McGraw-Hill. He is available for consultation, training and keynote speaking on performance and management at work.


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  • Performance management and appraisal MUST be a partnership between manager and employee where BOTH benefit.
  • Performance management can be the lever for improved employee engagement.
  • The review process is the LEAST important part of performance management
  • If managers aren't managing employee performance, why are they there?

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