Using 360-degree feedback during regular appraisals and performance reviews as part of an overall employee performance management process is a common and successful method, but have you ever considered using it for new employees?
What’s your organization’s process for probationary periods?
The length and procedure of probationary periods may differ from business to business, but they all boil down to the same thing – new employees are given a review period to prove that they’re capable of the position, during which time the employer is able to let them go. Many organizations have a formal review with the employee’s manager at the end of the probationary period, where for some it’s simply a case of the manager signing off either yes or no.
But how all-around effective are these methods really? What if the new employee is showing one face to their manager, knowing they need to impress them to pass their probationary period, but their peers or direct reports have a different view of their suitability and ability?
Imagine that manager six months down the line having a problem with the employee, and other employees saying “we could have told you that!” It’s much easier to find out everything you need to know about the employee’s performance by getting others involved, and this method also gets new employees used to the employee performance management process early on.
How to use 360-Degree Feedback in Probationary Reviews
- Decide whether or not to show to employee: Although it’s usually essential for the person receiving feedback to be able to see the results, in this case it can sometimes just be used as a gauge of whether or not the employee is the right fit for the organization. If, for example (and looking at extreme circumstances), the feedback indicates that they should neither pass probation period nor have it extended, you may choose not to share the feedback, and instead go through the HR process of failing the employee.
- Keep it confidential: It’s more important than usual to keep the feedback confidential or mask exactly who the feedback is coming from, because being fairly new might make the recipient more sensitive to the opinions of others. If the team structure will make it easy to identify individual feedback, you could show it as a whole rather than split into peers, managers and direct reports.
- Make sure it’s linked to training: If there are issues around new employees taking longer to pick up a certain process or system, it could be an issue with their induction training. By using 360-degree feedback you can get an overall picture of where the training might have fallen down.
- Keep it SMART: If you need to extend their probationary period, make sure that you use the results of the 360-degree feedback to create an actionable plan with SMART goals. One important thing to note is that you need to have the rules surrounding probationary periods written into all employment contracts, so make sure that the length of probation and the fact that they can be extended are included in contracts.