Performance management is an important part of the responsibilities of any successful business. HR staff, executive leadership, and managers all have a responsibility to their employees to help give them the tools – including training, feedback, and more – to help them do their jobs successfully. A comprehensive performance management system is needed to effectively guide employees through their tenure with an organization and help businesses get the most from their employees.
According to the International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, a 720-degree performance appraisal is when an employee “is appraised from 5 dimensions and feedback or the appraisal meeting is conducted twice (pre and post feedback) to ensure the efficient performance of the employee. Including the pre and the post feedback, that plays a vital role, the 720-degree performance appraisal has seven phases.” The logic behind the name is that if 360 degrees is a complete review that encompasses a holistic view of performance, then 720 degrees is even more thorough, comprehensive and beneficial.
Important stages of the 720-degree performance appraisal process
According to the research, the following seven stages make up the 720-degree performance appraisal process.
1. Pre appraisal feedback
Before a manager or supervisor sits down with their employee, feedback is collected from all the notable and worthy touchpoints. Who does an employee interact with who could weigh in on their performance in a meaningful way? Who has input that could help shape employee progress and success? Managers and HR work to define who these valuable points of feedback are and also work to set targets and goals to go over in the official appraisal.
How an employee sees themselves matters. Using a self-report questionnaire, employees fill out a performance review on themselves, ranking and rating their strengths, weaknesses, performance, and more. This is a useful discussion tool, as it helps managers and employees both see gaps in communication or understanding and work to address them.
3. Coworker/colleague appraisal
Feedback from peers can be very useful in helping employees understand their team impact and contribution to the team dynamic. Cultural fit is just as much a measure of success as any other metric that an employee is being reviewed on, so understanding how an employee relates to and with their peers is an important factor in the assessment.
4. Customer appraisal
What do customers think of your employee? Customer satisfaction is key to the success of any organization, and having an understanding of your employee’s ability to relate well with and serve their customer base is indicative of their overall success in meeting your company goals. Sometimes customers aren’t outside clients, but other business departments. An IT department, for instance, services other employees and those employees are the IT teams “customers.” These relationships are equally valuable to ensuring long-term business success.
5. Direct report and subordinate appraisal
Getting feedback from the people that your employee manages or oversees is useful in analyzing the organizational, communication, motivational, leadership, and delegation skills.
6. Manager or supervisor appraisal
This is one of the most common parts of any performance appraisal system – the performance, responsibilities, and attitude of an employee being assessed by those who oversee their projects and ultimately their job success.
7. Post appraisal feedback
Researchers of the 720-degree appraisal method note that this is its key differentiator between this method and others. This step includes additional guidance to help employees meet their goals and stay in regular communication with their managers.
Benefits of implementing a 720-degree performance appraisal method
Does this method hold up when compared to other performance appraisal processes? Here are some of the benefits that some businesses have reported seeing:
- More holistic and comprehensive feedback leads to a better understanding of performance. Hearing from customers, teammates, managers, and other stakeholders can help identify any performance gaps or places of improvement.
- Multi-dimensional feedback helps employees better cooperate and communicate more consistently.
- Can greatly reduce appraisal barriers such as prejudice, bias, and discrimination. These are much more common when employee reviews are conducted as feedback between employers and managers only.
- Greater transparency – such as regular feedback and consistent communication with other feedback channels, such as coworkers – leads to more engaged employees who feel that they are valued, respected, and that their contributions and success matter to the overall future of the organization. Better employee relationships are built on trust, communication, and feedback and ultimately lead to better employee retention, which reduces both costs and lost productivity for companies.
In order to get the most meaningful contributions from your employees, it’s important to make sure that you have a performance management process in place, including an effective performance appraisal method. It can be a process trying to find the right appraisal method that works for your business, but it’s a key step to organizing your employee reviews and growing their engagement and productivity.