360-Degree Feedback in Human Resource Management


Appraisals in today’s competitive world have become the norm. Performance is highly sought on the backdrop of an ever demanding clientele served by different corporate and organizations. The Human Resources departments that carry out various appraisals especially on employees employ different methods (Sims 2007, p. 27). One of the methods used is the 360- degree feedback. Besides human resource, the style is also common in industrial or organizational psychology. 360-degree feedback is also referred to as multi-rater feedback, multi-source feedback and/ multi-source assessment.

360-degree feedback

The method is a little different from the traditional performance appraisal normally carried out by immediate line managers of an employee. Instead, the HR from all round the people who surround him/her receives feedback about an employee (Dessler, 2004, p. 432). Figuratively, the method assumes the employee is in a central location like in the middle of a circle and the peers, subordinates, and superiors give feedback about him/her. In advanced settings, when HR departments are seeking appraisal information for an employee, using the 360- degree method, self-assessment is included and information from external sources including from customers, and other interested organizational stakeholders.

HR uses the method when collecting information for use in promotions or when making administrative decisions. Despite criticisms on its applicability and effectiveness, the method is still popular among HR practitioners and has, in many cases, proved its worth in human resource development.

Use of 360- degree Feedback by Alliance Unichem

The pharmaceutical giant has operations across a number of countries in Europe including Czech Republic, Norway, France, UK, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Swiss, and Turkey. The company’s 30,000 plus employees come from different background and present a diverse cultural conglomeration. The company at first had problems integrating the employees to work together as a tem considering their different cultural backgrounds following a merger.

However, the group’s HR was able to solve the problem with 360- degree feedback method that is actively among the top management of the company. Through the method, the company aims at achieving culture change, employee development and increasing overall performance through better skills.

The company’s HR first stated the goals of applying the method on the company. The goals included helping employees improve performance, benchmarking the top managers with other managers in different companies and to make managers be aware of their value and roles in the new conglomerate. Fusing technology, the HR then employed the method and invited managers, peers and customers to rate different statements of behaviors. After the analysis, the managers were bale to determine the behaviors that needed development.

The company then involved top managers in the interpretation of the results and the development of an action plan that was going to improve behaviors and at the same time dive up business. According to the company, emphasis in a set of corporate etiquette is necessary in achieving company goals like cultural integration is this company’s case. The plan that they put in place is beginning to bear results and the HR is positive it is because of the incorporation of the 360-degree appraisal process.

Concisely, the method helps create a shared vision in an organization, helps create ownership of the appraisal process by stakeholders and ensures feedback is more structured for decision-making (Schuler & Jackson, 2007, p. 245).

Skills gaping

According to Sims (2007, p. 47), many employers nowadays have two major concerns. They are always looking for good employees and actively devising ways to train them. Employers hire workers from different backgrounds. Some of the employees are fresh from college and lack the necessary experience to carry out their duties. Some of them do not have the skills to operate in the specific job environment. These skills are different from technical skills and are generic in nature. For that reason, they apply across all industries and professions. “Skills gaping” is a method used by organizations to train employees who do not have the specific skill the organization may need (Homer & Griffin, 2006, p. 10). Many organizations find it difficult to hire workers who are fully fit for the job at hand. In healthcare and many other sectors, HR appraises the level of skills that employees have and their effectiveness on the job. From the analysis, they justify the need for training of employees to improve the effectiveness of their work and enhance service delivery. Sometimes the screening and appraisal is done during the recruitment process. The HR tries to find the employee with the skills that match what they are looking for. More often than not, there is a lag between what prospective employees offer and what the organizations are looking for. The skills gap that is identified is bridged by specialized training that is offered by the employer through the human resources department.

In healthcare as well as other corporate sector settings, skills’ gapping is achieved through introduction of training programs through human resource welfare programs (Mason et al, 2007, p. 724). The training programs are meant to fill the gap so that the employees can work optimally. They are also meant to make the prospective employees employable. Many health institutions have different standards dictated by law and tradition. Applicants to these positions are normally assessed, gaps identified and then they are taken through a training that makes them ready to work for the organization.

In the military, skill gapping is applied widely, only that it is done a little differently from what the corporate sector does. The military is a self-sufficient organization that has experts from every sector. However, every professional whop is hired to the military needs basic soldier skills that are crucial in a war situation. After the military determines that a particular professional is fit to join the military, they are taken through elaborate soldier training skills that they will need to work optimally as soldiers. That is one type of skill gapping that takes place in the military. Additionally, soldiers are chosen from among the ranks to join the elite groups within the military. Though they have the basic soldier skills, they are appraised and taken through further training that enables them to perform the duties of their assigned units. Similarly, the prospective soldiers are taken through soft skills that are not offered anywhere else to make them competitive in their job.


There are many methods of appraisal and training that human resources department’s use in the corporate sector. 360- Degree is just one of them. While it cannot be concluded that the other methods are not effective, it is safe to conclude that is all encompassing method that delivers an all round assessment on an employees, and the results are great.


Dessler, G. (2004). Human resource management. New York: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Homer, L. J. (2006). Bridging the Skills Gap: How the Skills Shortage Threatens Growth. New Jersey: ASTD publishers.

Mason et al. (2007). Policy & politics in nursing and health care. New York: Sage Publishers.

Schuler, S. R. & Jackson, E. S. (2007). Strategic human resource management. New York: Thomson Learning.

Sims, R. R. (2007). Human resource management: contemporary issues, challenges. London: Cengage Learning.

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