The “360-degree performance evaluation” has grown in popularity in recent years. This process involves the input of peers of, reports of, and even clients that worked with the person being evaluated. The idea is to get a holistic view of how well a given employee does their job.
The question then is do organizations share who said what? Or do they leave the collected data anonymous?
Anonymity generally provides for better feedback. It is obvious that someone might hold back if they have something unfavorable to say about a superior or just a colleague. Most people want to avoid any awkward encounters or may even fear for their job if they are critical. Most organizations choose this method (usually even written to ensure complete anonymity) in order to ensure enough information to make a complete decision.
The downside is that organizations are unable to follow up on anything that may be a little ambiguous, leaving the potential for holes in the feedback.
Some employers choose a transparent approach to help:
- Maintain accountability. When employees know their name is on something they know that there might be follow up and that they would have to explain anything outlandish. This helps keep biases in check.
- Encourage openness. Some organizations have a culture of openness, believing that getting the truth in the open is better so that issues can be dwelt with in an appropriate manner and time frame.
- Leadership Growth. Even simple things can mar an organization over time. Transparent feedback allows growth as a team, in some cases allowing for multiple issues to be resolved with one larger solution.
Careful ConsiderationWhen deciding on a method to use for employee evaluations you should think about a 360-degree model. Your organizational structure and culture should help you decide if you want transparent or anonymous feedback when conducting reviews.