360-Degree Feedback in the Management of Human Resources

In the management of human resources of an organization, there are a number of functions which have to be performed by the human resource department. Some of these activities are recruitment of potential candidates, selection of the qualifying ones, choosing whether the staffing of the organization can be done by external contracting companies or direct hiring by the organization, ensuring the employees are producing the maximum outputs, ensuring the employees comply with work requirements, handling issues arising in the management and perhaps one of the most important, performance development feedback.(McNamara C, 2007.)

There are a number of performance feedback techniques which can be used in an organization. One of these techniques is 360 degree feedback, which can also be referred to as multi-rater feedback, multi-source assessment or outsource feedback. (About.com. 2007) The other feedback techniques which can also be used are: the upward feedback whereby the resource managers receive feedback on employees from the reports, performance appraisal in which the workers are appraised by their superiors.

The name of the 360 degree feedback is derived from the way it is carried out. In 360 degree feedback, responses about the employees come from all around them, in a circle, i.e. from the other subordinates, the senior managers in the organization, sources from outside the organization like the customers of the organization and their suppliers inclusive of other stakeholders who may have various interests in the organization. It can be defined as a procedure whereby workers are given private unidentified feedback mainly from the people around whom they work.

Some of the advantages of 360 degree feedback are: it gives a provision of goal oriented opinions from a group of the employees’ colleagues and in this regard it ensures that all the stakeholders of the organization are involved. In this method since there is direct reporting by the people who are closest to the workers, they have a better and more honest views of the employee and therefore better placed to make judgments of their leadership capabilities. This method also gives the employees the chance to manage their careers and performance at work in a much better way.(Stephane et al, 2007) The feedback received from this process is viewed as dependable and friendly to the users due to its confidentiality. To sum it all up, this process brings organizational value as it enables the stakeholders to set out the specific needs and objectives of the organization.( About.com. 2007)

Alliance Unichem is a company formed by the joining of a UK and a French company. It is a pharmacy retailing group that has since its inception, spread across most parts of Europe employing a huge number of people. The company has employed the 360 degree feedback to bring together the different cultures it has to deal with in the various countries. (360 Degree Feedback at Alliance Unichem.2000) This has been done by describing the culture in terms of behaviour and assists the managers in giving examples for the employees on the new culture and adjusting to the new techniques. The system works at the same time in English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and French in an effort to do away with language barrier.

In the company the employees assess one another as they look into the strengths and development needs of the managers. They have set on how to determine the next step from one and also established a feedback and coaching and competency technique in which also the managers are involved and even the coaches and internal facilitators are trained in it.( 360 Degree Feedback at Alliance Unichem.2000)


360 Degree Feedback at Alliance Unichem.2000. Web.

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About.com. 2007. Human Resources. 360 Degree Feedback Process. Web.

McNamara C, 2007.Free Management Library. Human Resources Management. Web.

Stéphane Brutus, Mehrdad Derayeh, Clive Fletcher, Caroline Bailey, Paula Velazquez, Kan Shi, Christina Simon, and Vladimir Labath. Internationalization of Multisource Feedback Systems: A six-country exploratory analysis of 360-degree feedback. Web.

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