This is currently a very popular method of performance appraisal. It is also known as 360-degree feedback. 360-degree feedback is “The systematic collection and feedback of performance data on an individual or group derived from a number of the stakeholders.  With this method, managers, peers, customers, suppliers or colleagues are asked to complete questionnaires on the employee being assessed. The person being assessed also completes a questionnaire. Data on ones performance is analysed and the result shared with the employee appraised, who in turn compares the results with his assessment.


  • It forms part of a self-development or management development.
  • supports learning and development,
  • Supports appraisal, resourcing and succession planning.


The system is NOT used for formal performance evaluation or to support pay decisions.  The system is not to be used as a basis for reward.

To develop and implement 360-degree feedback, the following steps need to be taken.

  • Define objectives
  • Decide on recipients of the feedback
  • Decide on who will give the feedback
  • Decide on the areas of work and behaviour
  • Decide on the method of collecting the data
  • Decide on data analysis and presentation
  • Plan initial implementation programme
  • Analyse outcome of pilot scheme
  • Plan and implement full programme
  • Monitor and evaluate

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Employees get a broader perspective of how they are perceived by others than before
  • Increased awareness of and relevance of competences
  • Increased awareness by senior management that they too have development needs
  • More reliable feedback to senior managers about their performance
  • Gaining acceptance of the principle of multiple stakeholders as a measure of performance
  • Encouraging more open feedback
  • It is supporting a climate of continuous improvement
  • Perception of feedback as valid and objective, leading to acceptance of results and actions required

But there may be problems.

  • People not giving frank or honest feedback
  • People being put under stress in receiving or giving feedback
  • Lack of action following feedback
  • Over-reliance on technology
  • Too much bureaucracy


  • Active support of top management
  • Commitment everywhere on the process –briefing, training
  • Determination by all to implement the system as a basis for development

The core element of the use of rankings is that employees are compared to each other, and given some number that supposedly indicates whether they are better than, about the same or less effective than their colleagues.  It is used to determine who will get a pay rise from a limited resource pool, or for other decision-making processes. In ranking methods, especially the simplest form, the supervisor lists all subordinates in order, from the highest to the lowest in performance.

The following methods are used in ranking: –

  1. Straight ranking
  2. Alternation ranking
  3. Paired comparison.


Here the supervisor simply ranks all members of a group from best to worst, based on some dimension of performance e.g. Best quality, most researched, sales etc.  The method is appropriate for small companies.  As the number of employees increases, it becomes gradually more difficult to discern differences between individuals performance.  The method has other drawbacks; first, the size of differences between individuals is not well defined. E.g. the differences between the individuals 2 and 3 may be little, but between 3 and 4 very huge.  This can be overcome by assigning points to indicate the size of the gaps existing among employees.  The method offers little or no feedback for improving performance.  The method assumes a normal distribution of performance.


Since it is easier to distinguish between the best and the worst employees, than just rank them, this method is more popular.  First, list all the subordinates to be rated and then cross out the names of any not known well enough to rank.  Then one piece of paper, indicate the employee who is the highest on the characteristics being measured and also who is the lowest.  Then choose the next highest and the next lowest, alternating between highest and lowest until all employees to be rated have been ranked.  The method suffers from the same disadvantages as straight ranking, but initially may be easier to complete.


This helps make the ranking method more precise.  For every trait (quality of work, quantity of work etc), every subordinate is paired with and compared to every other subordinate.

Suppose there are 5 employees to be rated.  A chart of all possible pairs of employees for each trait is made.  Then for each trait, indicate with a (+ or -) who is the better employee of the pair.  Next add the number of times an employee is rated better and add then up.

(Visited 48 times, 1 visits today)
Share this:

Written by