How to introduce 360 Appraisals – How to – 3D HR

 schemes are an essential part of any business, as a means of measuring how people are performing in their roles in the work-place.  The appraisal scheme may not be formalised and happen in an ad-hoc, unsystematic way.  Often that means someone is only told about their performance when they get things wrong – good performance goes unnoticed or at least un-remarked.

360 appraisal

We all know that appreciation is appreciated; it’s good and motivating to be told when we get things right. Frequently appraisal schemes are set up with the best of intentions, only to collapse after one or two rounds under the pressure of other work.  If this start-stop cycle is to be halted, the value-added of an effective appraisal scheme must be identified, clarified and quantified.

The term ‘360 appraisal’ refers to an appraisal scheme that seeks about a person’s behaviour in the work-place from a sample of all those who work with them – line manager, direct reports, members, peers, sometimes external clients and suppliers.  The recipient or appraisee is given feedback on their skills and behaviour – their competencies – by a circle of ‘raters’ or appraisers.

It is important to firstly establish the of 360 appraisals.  Why is it being introduced?  What information is being sought and for what reason?  Generally the purpose would include seeking information on a person’s skills and behaviour to acknowledge the good and effective and to challenge the poor and unhelpful.  A consequent purpose would frequently be to identify the development needs to reinforce the good and remedy the poor behaviour and/or skills.  Where a competency framework exists and is used in the organisation, the 360 appraisal incorporates this framework through its design.

Having established the purpose, the next step is to establish the process.  The most critical feature of any appraisal scheme and especially a 360 process is to design a process that ensures confidentiality and enhances trust.  Generally raters will only be honest in their feedback if they are assured their response is given in confidence and cannot be traced back to them.  Therefore most systems report anonymous responses.  Where such responses are classified by category of rater – line manager, team members, peers – the degree of anonymity varies.  One line manager response is easily identifiable! Thirdly, having established the purpose and the process, it will be necessary to establish the resources.

There are many computer-based systems on the market to help with the process and guarantee confidentiality of responses, especially if the process is out-sourced to an external consultant or company rather than delivered and managed in-house. While computer systems assist the process of delivering and collating questionnaires, it is still critical that a facilitator is available to feedback and interpret the results.  This is most important where the overall feedback is negative and is required to discuss and construct an individual development plan to address the issues highlighted by the raters.  Even when feedback is generally positive, there will still be issues to consider of how to build on success and avoid complacency.

360 appraisal schemes tend to be well received if there is good planning and discussion prior to implementation, a sense of buy-in from all staff and a genuine lead from senior within the organisation, including a willingness to be vulnerable to criticism and prepared to accept and build on positive appreciation.

Ref: 360 Feedback (CIPD, revised 2012); 360 degree feedback: Best Practice Guidelines360 Best Practice Guidelines.pdf

Curated from

360 appraisals are a recurring fad in organisations. My brother, Peter, helps many to implement them well. Most notably, effective 360 appraisal implementation begins with knowing the real purpose for the appraisal.

Peter is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and has been involved in Human Resources (HR) management and development for 17 years, including being the HR Director of the international development charity WaterAid and previously their International HR Manager in a new HR team, and before that as Personnel and Training Manager at the Church Mission Society (CMS).

Peter has worked in or made business trips to many countries in Africa and Asia, including Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He has a good understanding of the challenges facing international non-governmental organisations, especially issues around Human Resources Management and HR Development. Peter has developed simple and useful frameworks for HR policies and processes that can be adapted internationally and adopted into local HR manuals and staff handbooks which take into account the local cultural and legislative context. He has designed and delivered practical training courses to UK and international staff on such subjects as effective recruitment, appraisals and managing performance and personal development and skills topics such as email and time management.

Before moving into HR as a profession, Peter lived in Tanzania for 9 years with Jan and their two children and worked in agricultural development. He was then a Regional Manager for CMS based in London and managing people and grant programmes in West and Southern Africa.

His passion is to help people find a healthy work-life balance, especially in value-based organisations where the demands are great and resources limited. Peter supports people and organisations so that employees find enrichment in their jobs and appreciate diversity and difference in teams.

Peter is qualified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the associated Management Team Roles Indicator (MTRi) as well as the TetraMap team-building tool. His academic background includes an MSc in Agricultural Development, Postgraduate Certificate in Development Management (Open University, 2013) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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