360º feedback is a powerful HR Performance Management (HRPM) tool that can be difficult to implement and maintain. Software innovations in HRPM provide software solutions that aim to make 360º feedback much easier to work with. It is important to understand what 360º feedback is and its limitations before choosing a software solution. An effective 360º feedback software solution should be easy to implement, configure, and use. It should also provide user access management and customizable performance management tools. Moreover, 360º feedback software should also preserve the anonymity of individual reviewers while delivering aggregated data in formats that are easy to understand. Finally, an effective software solution should be able to quickly adapt to changing business needs.
What Is a 360º Feedback Software Solution?
The 360º Feedback performance management tool has been in use for decades. It is used to formulate questionnaires or surveys about employee performance. When an employee’s performance is being reviewed, that questionnaire is delivered to the employee’s supervisor and co-workers to collect feedback on how that employee is performing. Before software solutions were available, all of this work was done by hand on paper. It took a tremendous amount of effort to create the questionnaires, distribute and collect them, and aggregate the data. Finally, the data would be analyzed and interpreted then included as part of the employee’s performance review. Virtually all of this process has been automated with software solutions, making work that was labor-intensive and time-consuming simple and easy to complete within a very short period of time. Review cycles can be automated, making it easy to distribute questionnaires via email. Users filling out the questionnaires can simply submit the completed questionnaire to a designated email address, eliminating the need for costly printing and distributing of paper forms. The software automatically collects and aggregates the data, informing managers when all questionnaires are completed. This eliminates the time and effort required to manually go through each questionnaire, transcribing data to a spreadsheet.
Big Data, machine learning, and AI are driving a digital transformation that is disrupting business as usual. To maintain a competitive edge, businesses need to be able to quickly update and re-define business goals. Traditional performance tools are difficult to adapt to changes in business goals. Today’s performance management tools must be able to quickly adapt, re-defining and aligning employee goals with business goals. 360º feedback software solutions offer this flexibility, providing tools and features that allow HR managers to quickly align employee goals with changing business needs.
Implementation, Configuration and Usage
Well-designed software is easy to implement, whether for a single department or for a whole company. For an HR manager, this translates to a solution that can be set up and deployed in a few minutes instead of hours or days. This is accomplished through pre-configured features that you can easily customize to suit such as user access level, employee email, review cycle duration, and other features. Questionnaires and surveys also need to be configurable, offering templates with questions for a starting point. HR managers who prefer to create their own custom questionnaires should have the ability to do that. An effective 360º feedback tool is also easy for managers and employees to interact with and use on a daily basis. This is accomplished through a simple, intuitive User Interface that avoids user overload.
What 360º Feedback Isn’t
Regardless of the software solution you choose, 360º feedback is not a complete performance management strategy. It is only a tool that works best as part of a clearly defined, well-developed performance management program.
360º feedback is not a magic-pill. Purchasing a software solution and dropping it down the gullet of your business will likely lead to confusion, frustration, and other troubles. If your business has significant cultural and management challenges, no software solution will be able to fix it.
While a powerful tool, it cannot fix misaligned employee and business goals. No performance management program will succeed when these two goals are out of alignment. Before trying a software solution, it is best to take the time and effort to redefine employee goals, aligning them with current business goals.
User Access Management
A 360º feedback software solution needs to allow HR managers to set user access levels based on user needs. A reviewer or a reviewee will need a minimal level of access, while a department head will need access to 360º feedback on department employees. HR managers would have greater levels of access defined by their responsibilities. Finally, the person in charge of HR would have unlimited access to all features and data collected by the software. All user access levels should be predefined, with the ability to customize individual user access settings.
Feedback Anonymity and Data Aggregation
When employees feel confident that their feedback will be used anonymously, they are much more likely to share what they think and feel about the employee being reviewed. A 360º feedback solution should include the ability to anonymize data, displaying only the final results of feedback data collected for a specific employee. Data aggregation addresses this issue by providing only final review results and averages that are easy to read and understand.
With several 360º feedback software solutions available, it is imperative to find one that will best suit your needs. A good software solution will be easy to setup, deploy, and scale. Tools and features should be available, making it easy to implement and deploy within a department or across an entire company. Understanding what 360º feedback is makes it much easier to utilize in a way that is easy to manage and maintain. While 360º feedback is a powerful tool, it cannot stand in for or replace a clearly defined performance management strategy. 360º feedback software solutions should make it simple to set user permissions based on the user’s role in the organization. When deployed, the software should collect and aggregate data in a way that keeps individual reviewers anonymous, showing the final results in an easy to read format.