viaPeople Insight - Performance Management & Succession Planning Blog

Mid-Year Reviews – the New Annual Performance Appraisal?

Posted by Amanda Seidler on Jun 13, 2013 12:03:00 PM


Don’t be surprised if you see the #MidYearReview hashtag trending on your Twitter screen. Mid-year performance reviews - traditionally overshadowed by their Year-End counterpart - are having their moment! (image courtesy of Twitter)

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Topics: 360 Degree Feedback, Performance Management, Performance Evaluation, Mid Year Reviews

How to Choose the Right 360 Feedback Tool for Your Company

Posted by Karen Caruso, Ph.D. on Apr 19, 2013 11:23:00 AM

Searching for a 360 Feedback tool?

No need to get overwhelmed by all of the choices.

An internet search on 360 degree feedback yields a plethora of results.  In fact, I just searched '360 degree feedback' now and found over 9 million results! It seems that solution providers have appeared out of nowhere.  Unfortunately, many of these vendors are offering services with little or no experience and expertise.  Given the impact and importance of 360 degree feedback, it is important to do your research.

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Topics: 360 Degree Feedback, Competency Models

Top 3 Characteristics of an Awesome 360 Feedback Process

Posted by Leah Groehler on Feb 23, 2013 10:33:00 AM

Organizations that implement highly successful 360 programs have a few secrets to running such successful feedback initiatives. And they're not sharing...but we are!

360 Feedback is as hot as it's ever been.

In the past 20 years we have seen an acceleration in 360 feedback initiatives and many different approaches on how this can be accomplished. Of course with these different approaches we have seen some that are more successful than others. Over our many years of conducting 360 Degree Feedback initiatives we have surfaced the top three characteristics for a successful 360 feedback program. While there are certainly other factors that contribute to the program’s success, we know that these three are fundamental to achieving the full benefits of 360 feedback

1. Clearly Define the Process and Messaging 

Before any 360 Degree Feedback initiative begins, there should be a clear purpose defined. Decisions need to be made on how the data will be used:

  • Will this be strictly for development? Will there be some type of linkage with succession planning processes?
  • Will this be used to drive training initiatives or other leadership development programs?

Deciding on these important variables before the 360 process begins ensures that your positioning will be clear and participant confusion can be avoided.

2. Identify the Survey Questions that are Most Relevant for Your Business

The leadership skills and behaviors deemed most important for one organization are not necessarily the same for another. Depending on the culture of the organization and the stage of growth these behavior and criteria could differ considerably.

For smaller organizations that may not have the resources to develop a competency model or customized 360 feedback survey, a standard leadership assessment tool is fine as long as the questions can still be tailored. We take this approach frequently with our smaller client organizations where we provide the 360 leadership survey developed by our Industrial Organizational Psychologists and tailor the questions to be specific to our clients. This is a very efficient and effective method for getting the questions right within a limited budget and timeframe.

Survey length is also a very important factor to consider when deciding on a set of survey questions. The 360 survey should never be longer than 50-60 items. A survey longer than that will inevitably result in survey fatigue so we recommend a very focused, targeted set of questions - ideally no more than 50 items.

3. Develop a Well Thought Out Plan for Feedback Delivery

It’s important to have a plan for feedback delivery at the beginning of a 360 feedback initiative so this can be clearly communicated to the participants in advance. The more information is communicated to the participants up front, the more you ease any apprehension and minimize confusion around the process.

For higher-level leaders (e.g., executives) we always recommend one-on-one coaching with an external coach. In our experience, when clients have attempted to coach these leaders internally, there is often apprehension about giving direct feedback when it comes to areas for development. An external coach has no internal political pressure to side-step these issues.

For mid-level managers and individual contributors a group feedback delivery session is not only very well received but also cost-effective. This format typically involves first setting the stage for what to expect when participants see their report.  In our training sessions, we first address the typical reactions people experience when receiving feedback. This prepares people for receiving information on their strengths as well as development areas (for more detail on strategies to keep in mind while interpreting the 360 report, see 360 Feedback- No Sweat..Even in this Heat!). We then provide a sample 360 feedback report so participants understand how to interpret each section when they receive their own report. Last, we provide the actual feedback reports to each individual and then move to action planning for development.

Bringing managers or individual contributors together with their peers in this type of setting offers an opportunity to share best practices, openly discuss strategies for development planning and even form stronger relationships as they are working on an initiative that require sharing a bit of personal information.

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Topics: 360 Degree Feedback

Can 360 Feedback Survive in the Social Performance Management World?

Posted by Amanda Seidler on Feb 11, 2013 10:46:00 AM

"Anonymous" seems to be a dirty word these days.

The rise of social networking and media, along with fast and edgy companies who promote their open, share everything with everyone cultures means Social Performance Management is the new “hot”.  But does this leave good - dare we say old-fashioned - 360 degree feedback as the “not”?

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Topics: 360 Degree Feedback, Social HR

360 Degree Feedback Still Shines Bright - If You Do It Right

Posted by Amanda Seidler on Feb 5, 2013 4:10:00 PM


Don't let the lights go out on your 360 degree feedback process!

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Topics: 360 Degree Feedback, Development Planning

Exposing the Truth About 360 Degree Feedback - Part 2

Posted by Karen Caruso, Ph.D. on Nov 14, 2012 12:05:00 PM

Part 2 - The Dark Side of 360

Read Exposing the Truth About 360 Degree Feedback - Part 1.

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Topics: 360 Degree Feedback

Exposing the Truth About 360 Degree Feedback - Part 1

Posted by Karen Caruso, Ph.D. on Nov 5, 2012 8:20:00 AM

Part 1: The Positivist View

Sadly….after all of this time…360 Degree Feedback is still misunderstood.

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Topics: 360 Degree Feedback

360 Feedback - No Sweat....Even in this Heat!

Posted by Amanda Seidler on Aug 14, 2012 4:32:00 PM

The anticipation of 360 degree feedback can be pretty intense. If you’re like most of us, once you receive access to your feedback report you pour over every little detail. All of the strengths highlighted are of course nice to see, however despite the glowing feedback in some areas your eye still catches on the lowest ratings and you dwell on the sometimes achingly detailed written accounts of your shortcomings and development needs. It is human nature.

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Topics: 360 Degree Feedback, Performance Management

360 Feedback Goes Social

Posted by Jackie Caruso on May 4, 2012 9:19:00 AM

Social technologies make everything easier….well, maybe not everything.  In fact, they also have made it easier for some folks to get into some serious trouble.

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Topics: 360 Degree Feedback, Social HR

8 Tips for Effective Self Evaluation in 360 Feedback

Posted by Jackie Caruso on Apr 3, 2012 4:59:00 PM

One of the most critical pieces of the 360 degree appraisal is the self evaluation. Self evaluation is key to comparing your view of your own performance versus the perspectives of those around you.

Self Evaluation:

  • Helps all employees to focus on their behavior.  The better we are at understanding the criteria by which performance is evaluated, the better we can be at targeting our efforts on the job.
  • Forces us to think about our performance over a given time period and identify our own strengths and opportunities for improvement.


Here are 8 tips for us all to consider in completing self evaluation as part of 360 feedback:

  1. Keep performance notes throughout the year. Use your online performance appraisal system to make note of the outcomes of projects you have worked hard on.   
  2. Review your job description and performance goals to make sure you have a fresh understanding of expectations.
  3. Set aside time to think about the past year. Review work samples that showcase your abilities/efforts. This will also refresh your memory of all the hard work and goals you have accomplished.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the entire evaluation. Understand the rating scale, instructions, and criteria to be evaluated. 
  5. Start at the mid-point (e.g., a “3” on a 5-point scale) of the rating scale and move the rating up or down, based upon specific examples of performance.
  6. Don’t focus on one unusual episode - either good or bad. It is important to make sure one really excellent or poor incident does not color your rating for the whole year. 
  7. Offer supporting behavioral examples for your ratings. Include examples from your notes and work samples. This allows you to make your most accurate rating.
  8. Ensure comments support/match with ratings. If you choose to give yourself a “5”, make sure you can support that rating with comments and example of your performance.

For more information on self evaluation, read Save the Self Appraisal in Employee Performance Evaluation.

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Topics: 360 Degree Feedback, Performance Evaluation, Self Appraisal