360 Degree Feedback Best Practices – Part 3

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In Part 2 of this series, we discuss how to make 360 Feedback ‘fit’ into your organization.  In today’s installment, we will discuss how to ensure your process is Psychometrically Sound.

Three important steps include:

1. Make Sure Your 360 Instrument is Reliable & Valid

A good assessment should be reliable and valid. It must measure what it proposes to measure, consistently and accurately. The 360 degree feedback system only works effectively if it measures the relevant job performance, knowledge, skills, abilities and personality characteristics necessary for high levels of job performance. Thus, the first step is to identify, define, and incorporate these job performance behaviors, knowledge, and skills into the appraisal system.

2. Increase Rater Familiarity

Select raters who are well acquainted with the employee. Rater familiarity is linked to accuracy and fairness in performance ratings. To evaluate rater familiarity, some 360 degree feedback systems include a rating for familiarity and provide the option of indicating “inadequate opportunity to observe” for performance characteristics. To increase reliability and decrease the impact of individual biases a large sample of raters should be selected. Reliability continues to increase when up to twenty raters are included, but adequate reliability can be obtained using 6 or more raters.

3. Promote Rater Accuracy

Both ‘self’ and ‘other’ appraisal accuracy should be promoted and rewarded. The nature of the 360 degree feedback system should reduce the problem of rater accuracy, as the use of multiple raters will average out individual biases. Furthermore, there is an apparent tradeoff when using either ‘self’ or ‘other’ ratings. Other-ratings are perceived to be more accurate, however, they may also be perceived by the employee to be less fair. The inverse is true for self-ratings. Clearly, both rating methods have advantages and disadvantages; thus, a performance appraisal system that combines both ‘self’ and ‘other’ ratings will be the most beneficial.

Check back for our final installment where we discuss How to Use 360 with Care.

Until Next Time…

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