The Importance of Employee Blind Spot Detection

Sep 19, 2016 | 360 Degree Feedback, Professional Development, Real-time Feedback

When it comes to evaluating employee performance, it’s not always easy to balance your expectations with the employee’s own perception of their performance. That’s why building blind spot detection into any performance evaluation process is immensely valuable. It also helps managers to set the right expectations – something that is very important in performance management).

What do we mean by blind spot detection?

In terms of employee performance, a blind spot is a difference between how an employee sees themselves and how their manager and peers see them. It’s sadly fairly common, and it can often be a sharp contrast!

For example, perhaps an employee sees themselves as honest, someone who ‘tells it like it is’, to the benefit of their colleagues, when in reality others see them as too blunt, rude and offensive, a bully even.

Or maybe an employee sees themselves as careful and considerate when they undertake certain tasks, but to everyone else they’re too slow, which causes resentment and problems with blocked up workflows.

It could even be a manager in your business who sees themselves as friendly and approachable with an open style of management, but their direct reports completely disagree, and in fact struggle to approach them with any problems they have.

Unless you can actively seek out and identify these types of blind spot, the performance issues they cause are unlikely to resolve themselves on their own.

How to identify blind spots

The importance of regular performance evaluations for all levels within an organization is obvious, and yet another benefit is the ability to identify any blind spots in terms of performance.

You should take note of any discrepancies you spot when evaluating employee performance, and 360 degree feedback is ideally suited for doing this as you’re able to get a complete picture of how others view an employee. For example, do you see continuity between opinions on someone’s performance (including their own, their manager, peers and any direct reports), or are there completely opposing views when it comes to a specific aspect of their performance?

In the image below you notice how Primalogik 360 clearly identifies the different respondent groups:

  1. Self
  2. Manager
  3. Direct reports
  4. Peers
  5. Others 

The image clearly displays the discrepancy between the self-review and that of the Manager and Direct reports, while the group Peers seem to be aligned with the self-review. Primalogik 360 makes it easy to spot this type of discrepancies and allows both manager and employee to focus on these gaps.

How to correct an employee’s blind spot

In order to correct these blind spots, it can sometimes be as simple as pointing it out to the employee, as they might be genuinely upset that they’re coming across in a specific way and are keen to change their behavior. More often a discussion to align expectations is needed, with support from their line manager going forward. Sometimes you might need to put in place a complete improvement program, if either the employee struggles to change the behavior in question, or if they push back against making the change.

Having more “objective” results in the form of an official report, like the one available in Primalogik 360, can help in removing some of the hearsay that the employee might perceive.

The idea is to align what you are expecting from the employee with how they see themselves, and it’s only once you’ve identified a performance blind spot that you can start to take steps to resolve the issue. In doing so you’ll be improving things for everyone around them, as well as the employees themselves.

Do you want to see if you have your own blind spot? Give Primalogik 360 a try today, via a 30-day free trial with no obligation. You’ll be able to quickly see all this in action. Sign up today for a free trial.

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