Someone emailed me today with some questions about 720 degree performance evaluations for their staff. An HR consultancy had pitched this to their company and they wanted to explore how this would operate.
To be honest, I had never heard of such a thing. This is how it is supposed to work:
- 360 degree – assessment from someone’s boss, peers, and direct reports (i.e. everyone around them)
- 540 degrees – feedback also sought from external customers and vendors
- 720 degrees – you perform 360 degree assessment, wait a while and then do it again.
I openly admit that i think most annual evaluations are a huge waste of time and provide little benefit to the company. Staff hate them, managers hate overseeing them, and HR gets no other work done that month. I have no idea why companies persist with them.
In place, I prefer on-going assessment and feedback.
The simplest and most logical way to manage anyone is in 3 steps:
- decide what is important for that person’s success in that role
- regularly measure these aspects
- provide the person with feedback and coaching to help them develop and improve
My rationale is that if something is so important that it is worth measuring, worth acting upon, and worth deciding the pay of an employee, then why measure it once a year?
Figure out how to do this daily, weekly or monthly. Then provide feedback loops within the company so that people can act on the information. Not only will the company become more responsive, but you will save lots of money on silly appraisal consultants.
If you need feedback from customers on their interaction with an employee, ask them regularly. Then set targets for the employee to improve their rankings each month. But ask the customer for their opinion because you care about the customer and want to serve them better, not because you have to figure out how much bonus to pay your staff.
If it is not important enough to ask about regularly, then don’t ask at all.
That’s my take, but I’d love to hear from anyone who thinks that annual appraisals are important?