Communications experts postulate that there cannot be effective communication without feedback. 360 feedbacks, also known as multi–rater feedback, is a means by which employees get feedback from the people they work with – subordinates, colleagues, peers, managers, clients/customers, etc. – either in teams, on projects, departments, etc. This enables employees to know their skills, performances and their weaknesses, thereby identifying potential opportunities for personal and group efficiency and effectiveness for the ultimate purpose of growth at the corporate level.

Furthermore, it serves as a performance appraisal tool which is used to appraise employees’ performance. It helps in assessing the performance of both newly recruited staff and already existing staff. It could be adopted into the larger performance management process of the organization in its mini and annual performance reviews.

Constructive feedback gives the appraisee the chance to know how his/her co-workers perceive him/her and further grants the recipient the opportunity to redesign and develop competence gaps to help him/her perform better on the job. This obviously serves as a self-development model for employees at all levels. More so, it helps in the following areas;

Team Building:

Corporate objectives or goals are best achieved when team building is strong among members, thus, feedback gives the team critical points that need to be improved and shows areas that need attention and further development. Synergy and effective coordination help achieve better results and enhance team work, while creating a cordial interpersonal relationship amongst team members.

Leadership Development:

In corporate governance and strategic management, leaders must be developed at different levels. There should be a clear leadership direction so as to help in the management of activities in the organization. Employees with leadership potentials should be groomed and developed to pick up strategic leadership positions in the future. A very structured 360 feedback would help in identifying such abilities and capabilities without biases.

Succession Planning:

It is vital for every organization to plan for the future in terms of the human capital available at each point in the life of the business. Through 360 feedbacks, potential employees who have demonstrated the willingness to move up the corporate ladder must be assigned to understudy different supervisors/managers, so that they can easily ­fill vacant positions when the need arises, to avoid any vacuum that would be created. It also helps to avoid the challenge of going out of the business (external) to engage candidates to occupy vacancies. It saves the time, energy and resources needed to employ external candidates and also limits the time needed to study the organizational culture.

Talent Management:

Through 360 feedbacks, talents could be well harnessed and managed effectively. The feedback would provide the statistical data for such an exercise, it would help the recipients know their strength and weaknesses and as individuals, draw Personal Development Plan (PDP) to enable them streamline their talents at their units of operations. Such important work must be structured well by line managers and HR practitioners, who would put together training sessions to bring such talents to the benefi­t of all.

Training Needs Assessment:

Data, when gathered well during the appraisal period, provides the basis for drawing an effective training program for all employees. The training department of every organization must put to use the feedback to bridge identi­fied competence gaps by developing either coaching or mentoring sessions. There could also be o‑-shore and employee secondment programmes or Management Trainee programmes for fresh recruits from schools.

Apart from the above, 360 feedbacks have immense benefi­ts which help both the organization and the individual being appraised. It enhances the understanding of individual and group behaviours that are needed to improve effectiveness and aid in an open culture, where giving and receiving feedback becomes an accepted norm.

It helps Increase organizational communication where there is clarity on any communiqué, thereby avoiding any form of speculations, information distortion and “grape vine” communication.

In conclusion, organizations should not expect an entirely effective 360 feedback model; it is a human institution and therefore would have limitations, however, it is up to the strategic HR professional to put in place mechanisms to address such defects because it has proven to be an effective and efficient working tool for assessing the performance of employees.

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