720 degree performance appraisal
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I. Contents of getting 720 degree performance appraisal
Many employers hate to conduct performance evaluations, and many employees hate to receive
them. That’s because performance evaluations are often ineffective and pointless, and the
employees end up feeling confused, frustrated, and demotivated, says Samuel A. Culbert. The
award-winning author, who is also a professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, also
advocates doing away with performance appraisals altogether.
Whether or not you subscribe to Culbert’s radical approach, experts seem to agree that the
performance evaluation system is definitely in need of a major overhaul. In their book,
Management Reset, Edward E. Lawler III and Christopher G. Worley argue that companies must
change the performance management system for it to be an effective and valuable tool.
For example, one key mistake that companies make is to grade performance based on such
personality traits as being “reliable” or “trustworthy.” Instead, they say, employees should be
evaluated and rewarded on how well they do their jobs, as well as their accomplishments.
Lawler and Worley and Business Management Daily offer the following tips for improving the
performance evaluation process:
1. Don’t rely on memory to recall an employee’s performance. Using some sort of simple log to
document job performance on a regular basis allows managers to present a data-driven snapshot
2. Be methodical and systematic. Consider using the following framework:
3. Avoid making generalizations. “Lately, your work has been sloppy” is too vague, whereas
“Your last three reports contained an high number of statistical errors” is specific. “You’re
certainly not an English major” focuses on the person vs. his performance, whereas “I know
you’re capable of producing higher-quality work” suggests that you have confidence in the
employee’s abilities. “Don’t let it happen again” sounds like a threat, whereas “How can we
produce error-free reports?” engages the employee by asking for feedback on how to improve
4. Avoid terminology that could get you into trouble. Stick to evaluating performance rather than
using subjective words like “attitude” or “demeanor,” which could be viewed as discrimination
based on age, gender, race, or disability.
5. Don’t inflate evaluations. If you consistently rate a mediocre employee as “competent” and
then have to fire her for poor performance, your appraisals won’t support the dismissal. This
could open the door to a legal complaint.
6. Use 360-degree appraisals for development, but not for rewards. Although it can be helpful to
have peers, subordinates, and customers provide input, this information usually doesn’t produce
valid data for assessing an employee’s performance. For example, if peers are aware that their
input will affect pay increases and promotions, they may be subjective (overly positive or
negative) and not objective.
7. Send the performance evaluation in advance. According to Lawler and Worley, research shows
that people are nervous and apprehensive before and during performance evaluations, and they
often don’t actually hear or accurately process what’s being said. However, if you send the
appraisal before you meet with the employee, he or she has time to recover from the initial shock
of the evaluation, to come up with questions to ask you, and to correct any mistakes in the
8. Allow employees to provide self-assessments. Let people have a say in how well they think
they’ve performed. This leads to a more well-rounded evaluation and creates a sense of fairness
III. Performance appraisal methods
1. Essay Method
In this method the rater writes down the employee
description in detail within a number of broad categories
like, overall impression of performance, promoteability
of employee, existing capabilities and qualifications of
performing jobs, strengths and weaknesses and training
needs of the employee. Advantage – It is extremely
useful in filing information gaps about the employees
that often occur in a better-structured checklist.
Disadvantages – It its highly dependent upon the writing
skills of rater and most of them are not good writers.
They may get confused success depends on the memory
power of raters.
2. Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales
statements of effective and ineffective behaviors
determine the points. They are said to be
behaviorally anchored. The rater is supposed to
say, which behavior describes the employee
performance. Advantages – helps overcome rating
errors. Disadvantages – Suffers from distortions
inherent in most rating techniques.
3. Rating Scale
Rating scales consists of several numerical scales
representing job related performance criterions such as
dependability, initiative, output, attendance, attitude etc.
Each scales ranges from excellent to poor. The total
numerical scores are computed and final conclusions are
derived. Advantages – Adaptability, easy to use, low cost,
every type of job can be evaluated, large number of
employees covered, no formal training required.
Disadvantages – Rater’s biases
4. Checklist method
Under this method, checklist of statements of traits of
employee in the form of Yes or No based questions is
prepared. Here the rater only does the reporting or
checking and HR department does the actual evaluation.
Advantages – economy, ease of administration, limited
training required, standardization. Disadvantages – Raters
biases, use of improper weighs by HR, does not allow
rater to give relative ratings
The ranking system requires the rater to rank his
subordinates on overall performance. This consists in
simply putting a man in a rank order. Under this method,
the ranking of an employee in a work group is done
against that of another employee. The relative position of
each employee is tested in terms of his numerical rank. It
may also be done by ranking a person on his job
performance against another member of the competitive
Advantages of Ranking Method
Employees are ranked according to their
It is easier to rank the best and the worst
Limitations of Ranking Method
The “whole man” is compared with another
“whole man” in this method. In practice, it is very difficult
to compare individuals possessing various individual
This method speaks only of the position where an
employee stands in his group. It does not test anything
about how much better or how much worse an employee
is when compared to another employee.
When a large number of employees are working,
ranking of individuals become a difficult issue.
There is no systematic procedure for ranking
individuals in the organization. The ranking system does
not eliminate the possibility of snap judgements.
6. Critical Incidents Method
The approach is focused on certain critical behaviors of
employee that makes all the difference in the
performance. Supervisors as and when they occur record
such incidents. Advantages – Evaluations are based on
actual job behaviors, ratings are supported by
descriptions, feedback is easy, reduces recency biases,
chances of subordinate improvement are high.
Disadvantages – Negative incidents can be prioritized,
forgetting incidents, overly close supervision; feedback
may be too much and may appear to be punishment.
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