"360 degree feedback" (also known as "peer review") means you can get feedback from everyone around you: From your coworkers and from your manager, from your team members, but even from more distant people like internal or external clients.
Some organizations decide to ditch the traditional manager-employee performance review entirely, and only conduct 360s. Here at Small Improvements we believe that both approaches have their place: A well-executed performance review is for instance better suited to discuss difficult topics, and to come up with new objectives and a career plan. So we'd recommend that you combine them, for instance by conducting "traditional" but lightweight performance reviews in January and July, while performing peer reviews in April and October.
How does Small Improvements help?
Small Improvements simplifies the process. You set milestones and define the questions to ask, and then let the system notify people when to pick reviewers, when to provide feedback, and how to provide feedback. If your staff have used Facebook before, they're almost overqualified, it really is that simple.
At the same time, Small Improvements gives you powerful overview screens to help you track progress across the entire company, and to help you remind those who are running late.
The general workflow
Small Improvements is a very versatile and configurable system. Here's the general workflow, but keep in mind that many steps can be adjusted to match your company:
- Step 1: An administrator creates a "360 feedback cycle" that holds the timeline, the questions to ask, and anonymity settings. The admin also decides who gets reviewed. It's entirely possible to create parallel cycles for different audiences, using different settings and questions.
- Step 2: The administrator triggers an email to let reviewees nominate who they want feedback from. Reviewees log in and nominate their reviewers, and indicate to their manager once they are done. Note: This step can be omitted if you want managers to decide who reviews who.
- Step 3: Managers adjust and approve reviewers of their direct reports. Once approved, reviewers get notified. Also, once approved only managers can add additional reviewers, it's too late then for the reviewee to change their minds.
- Step 4: Reviewers write their feedback. Nothing is delivered before the deadline defined by the admin. Admins can easily remind those who are running late.
- Step 5: Once the time is up, the feedback gets delivered to the intended recipients at once. Based on the cycle settings, this could be the reviewees, or their managers, or both. The feedback may get delivered in anonymized form or not, this also depends on the cycle settings.
Many options can be tweaked and adjusted. For instance you can bulk add all direct reports to a reviewee in one step, thus creating a bottom-up-review within seconds. By leaving a time gap between the deadline to nominate reviewers, and before managers can start approving reviewers, you can give HR or senior managers a chance to revisit invitations. You can limit the amount of reviewers someone can nominate, and you can mix and match visibility and anonymity settings as well.
You'll find more details in the admin section.
There are three main documents that explain the Small Improvements 360 degree review software in more detail:
- Taking part in a 360 degree feedback. The first document shows the employee perspective. Check it out first, even if you work in HR. After all, you need to know how the system feels to the regular employee.
- Managing your team's 360 degree feedback. Our second document demonstrates the manager's perspective. Although 360 degree feedback is light on managers, they still may have some work to do, like approving their direct reports reviewer selection.
- Configuring your 360 degree feedback campaign This HR/Admin document explains all the configuration options, how to get started, and how to track progress. Also, if you're an admin, you may want to learn how to configure the system's "Guest invitation policy" so that people can invite external 360 degree reviewers.