Anyone else have 360 reviews at work?

Well, it’s annual performance review time for me, and my first one at my current job. I was asked to name six people to give my 360 feedback. Oh, how I hate that part. Don’t get me wrong, I do get valuable feedback out of it, but the way it’s structured (assuming this is the same everywhere) really bugs me. It’s usually framed like this:

  1. Name three things the person does well
  2. Name three things the person does poorly
  3. Name three ways the person could improve

In other words, twice the bad news as good. And the responses to #3 are usually tied to whatever they said for #2, which gives a lot more weight to the bad stuff than the good. I usually feel like shit after going through this. At my old job, my teammates and I rallied and decided that on every 360 we participated in, we’d go ahead and list three good things, but only one bad/improve thing.

Sigh. Anyone else go through this? What do you think of it?

I’ve never done this before, but I think it’s a lousy practice. Why force someone to come up with a specific nubmer of good or bad things to say? Why not just give a well-balanced overall, holistic evaluation?

Why, to justify no one getting more than a 2% raise, of course!

This is another one of the things that will change once I am God-King.

Of course, I don’t guarantee that y’all will like my changes. In fact I’m pretty sure y’all won’t care for it at all.

I went through this process twice, pretty much exactly as you describe it, before my (now former) employer discontinued it. I think we named 6 people and management chose 3 of the 6?

I think it is more valuable, and was originally designed, for people who have subordinates. If you are a nonmanager, it doesn’t make quite as much sense.

If I were a manager, I’d give kudos to people for selecting people other than their best buddies to provide the feedback.

As an individual receiving feedback, you might as well just make the best of it. I always got sugar-coated, all positive feedback. I dished out very balanced, constructive feedback. I’m pretty sure word would have gotten around, and if we had done it another year, no one would have put me on their list. So one other piece of advice is don’t get a reputation as being too nice, or you’ll wind up writing feedback for everyone in the d*mn office, like one teamlead we had.

No kidding. That’s pretty much how it played out at my old job, too. Of course, my boss was evil in other ways, but this was definitely a tool in his arsenal (emphasis on arse).

Harriet, I’ve never seen names linked to the feedback given. My boss will know who said what, but I won’t. I’ll just hear what was said.

I’m trying not to build up a head of steam about it, since I know my performance has been solid. It’s just the imbalance in positive and negative feedback that bugs me.

No, didn’t mean to imply the names were linked to the feedback. However, it was always obvious to me from people’s writing style exactly who wrote what. I always gave my boss the names of the six people I worked most closely with. From there, the boss picked 3 of them to send my form to. So I got back 3 feedbacks with no names from the pool of 6 people I selected. It was all done online, so it wasn’t like I recognized their handwriting, but just the way people phrase things is usually pretty obvious. Also, people would sometimes ask for permission before putting someone’s name on the list for the boss. That’s how it became obvious everyone wanted that one team lead to write feedback.

Because this way, management can leverage the positive synergistic qualities in employee-employer relationships to create a win-win situation on a going-forward basis.

In other words, it’s another management fad that management feels will produce positive change, but that leaves employees wasting time filling out forms and answering intrusive questions about one another.

Bitter? Nah, I’m long gone from that job…

I had to do 360 feedback for about a decade. It was during either the first or second go round that the phrase “shitting on our buddies” was first used. In short order almost everyone learned to give no lower than a seven out of ten.

One of the things that I noticed that the grading and comments given didn’t reflect one’s personal performance as much as they reflected how far the job satisfaction of the grader and/or their level of achievement within the department. The bosses had no interest in discouraging their people or putting them on the layoff list; the specialists were happy and just wanted to get along, and the good folks on the bottom didn’t have an axe to grind.

I graded everyone with an eight or above, usually higher and was tempted to give everyone straight tens. My superiors got top marks (not to kiss up but because they really were that good.) For comments, I took my cue from a manager who tended to say the important stuff in mumbles and bullets and wrote stuff like “Mary Beth does a good job of stuff, things, mumble, etc…”

Focusing on the positive is a good way to maintain morale, and I never was unable to find something nice to say about someone. For the “How does this person screw up?” sections, I’d either do the interview spin, saying “Wow, Pat can even keep up with me!”, or “Whatever shortcomings Pat may have, I am sure that they are even more aware of them and are addressing them already.”

I only had one case where I couldn’t in good conscience give a positive review - a new employee was taking hour breaks, two hour lunches and was clearly just there for the ride. Remembering the old adage “If you can’t say something nice about someone…” I entered N/A for almost every grade and put a period into the comments fields until I was able to close the review.

We called it “Mutually Assured Destruction”, and did the same thing.

We did it where I worked 15 years ago, and gave up after two years. Same reason - it was useless. In fact, it was dangerous. If someone who is really screwing up gets good reviews from co-workers, that’s evidence for an unfair dismissal suit.

We didn’t do the weird questions, though.

Where I work now we have upward evaluation, which is mostly computerized multiple choice. That’s dangerous too - get a much better manager rating than your manager, and you won’t be a manager long.