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Masha Masha is a content developer at IceHrm. You can contact her at masha[at]

360 Degree Reviews: Blending Personal and Professional Feedback

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If you're lucky enough to work at a company where your colleagues are also your friends, the lines between personal and professional relationships can easily become blurred. Feedback is often not as objective as it should be - best friends push each other, or when there is criticism it can be more about feelings than performance.

A 360-degree assessment provides the opportunity to gain multiple perspectives, but it's important to put some processes in place so that the feedback doesn't become personal. Follow these tips to make performance management meaningful and maintain a collegial culture:

  • Make sure appraisals are about balance: Especially if you've never had a performance management culture, appraisals can be scary. Employees may want to hide areas for improvement and inflate their strengths. As you begin the 360-degree assessment process, discuss the importance of balance. Discuss what a high-scoring behavior looks like and what a medium- or low-scoring behavior looks like. Give employees examples so they know how to be objective and maintain balance when completing the survey.
  • Maintaining Anonymity: It is important to make it easier for reviewers to maintain anonymity. If an employee selects peer reviewers, there should be at least three so that it is not obvious who provided what feedback. This way, the employee receives more comprehensive feedback and does not feel like they have to confront a reviewer about a negative comment.
  • Keep the feedback conversation objective: The sessions in which managers and employees discuss a feedback report can be fraught with anxiety and stress. Be clear that the feedback will also include personal feelings and the employee's reaction. Then focus on talking about behaviors. If you understand that there is a personal element, the meeting will not be cold and distant, but talking about behaviors (that can be changed) will keep things on track. And if there are good things to discuss, talk about how those good behaviors could be used in other situations.

Personal feelings can make the feedback process stressful for employees or make it difficult to figure out what behaviors really need to be changed. By striking a balance, maintaining anonymity and keeping things objective, employees can get the feedback they need and the company can achieve the changes it is working towards.

Striking the right balance in performance assessments is crucial. IceHrm's tools facilitate objective, anonymous feedback, fostering a culture of growth and improvement.

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