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What's the Difference Between 360 Degree Feedback and an Appraisal?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The process of managing employee performance is something that usually varies slightly from company to company, but whatever the variations, the same principle applies - using feedback about an employee's performance to help them grow and develop.

One question I've been asked a number of times is 'what's the difference between 360 degree feedback and an appraisal', which is why we wanted to write a post about it.

The Appraisal: An Overview

A standard appraisal is, at its core, a process with only two participants - the employee and their manager. It usually looks at the employee's performance over the last 6 or 12 months (or whatever time period is used), and through the manager's observations on that performance, achievements and weaknesses are discussed, and targets or goals for the upcoming review period are set.

Depending on the company's policy, the employee's input might also be considered during a regular appraisal process.

The 360 Degree Survey: An Overview

The 360 degree survey is similar in that observations about an employee's actions, strengths and weaknesses are used to evaluate their overall performance, but the difference is they normally involve more than just two participants. With a 360 degree survey it's not only the employee's direct manager who gives feedback, it involves other colleagues such as their own direct reports, peers, and anyone else who works with the reviewee on a professional basis. By using observations from different people, it means the employer gets a much more accurate (and fairer) picture of the reviewee's overall behavior and performance.

As you can see, the big difference between this and a two-person appraisal is that without 360 degree feedback the manager is left with his or her impression, plus that of the employee (if a self-evaluation is conducted). That's it. There's no more input from others who may well have a more rounded view of certain aspects of the reviewee's performance, which means the review process may be missing important information that will help the employee to grow professionally (and, of course, help the organization).

Which One Should You Use for Managing Employee Performance?

We're not saying that you should never use traditional appraisals, with only two participants, at your organization, because they can definitely be advantageous in certain circumstances. However, due to the limitations of a two person appraisal, we believe that both of these tools are better used in combination. While you may not necessarily want to use them at the same time during each review cycle, combining a manager's appraisal with a more robust and accurate 360 degree survey makes for an employee performance management process that's more successful and all around. Deciding not to incorporate 360 degree feedback into performance management, just because you're already conducting traditional two person appraisals, isn't usually a good idea. Instead, look at 360 degree surveys as an additional tool to complement the appraisal process, and vice versa.

Primalogik 360 allows the use of both tools independently of each other. You can start an appraisal session for one cycle, while leaving 360 surveys for a different time of the year. Or you can combine both if you like.

Primalogik 360 provides particular tools to analyze results collected in both appraisals and 360 surveys, removing the headache of data collection and analysis. The manager and HR personnel can focus on the most important part of all this: employee management and development.

Give Primalogik 360 a free try today by starting a complimentary free trial.

The Importance of Rating Scales in Surveys

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Whether you're performing employee satisfaction surveys or employee engagement surveys, the importance of using good rating scales can't be underestimated.

What's a rating scale?

As per Wikipedia: A rating scale is a set of categories designed to elicit information about a quantitative or a qualitative attribute.

Rating scales are a crucial element in surveys and as such it is important to understand how to use them appropriately.

Rating scales can look like this:

Or like this:

Or with even more points or less points.

They're ideal for going a step further than simple yes or no questions because, as we all know, views and feelings aren't rarely simple. If employees are only given a black and white, yes or no question, you may well find that the complete picture remains hidden.

You've probably taken part in many surveys that use rating scales yourself, and Primalogik 360 lets you create fully customized scales to use in your own surveys. Our customers love this feature, but we know it's not always that easy if you don't have previous experience creating rating scales.

Intervals and Anchors in Rating Scales

Interval rating scales show strength of feeling or agreement - so rather than yes/no, they have a scale of options. For example, your survey could have the statement 'I feel comfortable going to my line manager for support', and the responses could be Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Somewhat Disagree, Somewhat Agree, Agree, Strongly Agree - these statements are called anchors.

There are different types of interval rating scales, like the Likert-type scale as above, where there are levels of agreement (or lack of) with a specific statement. A verbal frequency scale, however, looks at how frequently something takes place. For example, 'Management always keeps me informed of new initiatives' with the intervals between one and five, where one is Never and five is Always.

There are a number of other types, but for now we wanted to go through some of the important considerations when you're setting interval rating scales.

Proper Use of Intervals 

    Group by type - while you may think that different types of interval scales suit different aspects of the survey, it's often more successful to use the same throughout. Employees will often go into autopilot and expect the anchors to be the same, so if you start mixing and matching types, you risk the results being skewed.

    Ensure intervals are equal - employees taking part have to perceive that the difference between anchors is equal to avoid any bias.  An example of a poor set of anchors is: Extremely Poor - Poor - Fair - Good - Excellent. It's not clear that the difference between Poor and Fair is the same as Fair and Good.  In fact, it could be said that the Fair is closer to Good than it is to Poor. Another example of a bad scale is Not At All Satisfied - Satisfied - Very Satisfied - Extremely Satisfied. In this case we talk of a truncated scale. The difference between the first two points (Not At All Satisfied - Satisfied) is likely to be far greater than the other intervals.

Proper Use of Anchors

    Choose carefully - the anchor choices you make will have an effect on the results you get, so choose wisely and really put some thought into what you want to achieve from the survey.

    Set scale direction - there can be confusion with which is highest, is it '1' or '5'? That's why verbal anchors should be at least at the beginning and end, so participants can see exactly which end of the scale their answer is. Even better is to have verbal anchor at each point in the scale.

    Balance anchors - each end of the scale should be opposites of each other to avoid potential bias, so Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree, Never to Always, Extremely Dissatisfied to Extremely Satisfied, and so on.

Primalogik 360 allows different types of rating scales to accommodate the most diverse needs in surveys.  Give us a try today with a 30-day no-commitment free trial and see how Primalogik 360 can help you with your performance management needs.

Why Leaders Should Listen to 360-Degree Feedback

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Performance management within any organization needs to be done with the full support of every employee at every level, and this includes the higher echelons.

That's one of the reasons why 360-degree feedback surveys are so successful, where employees receive feedback from their direct reports and other people they work with within the organization - not just their own managers.

360-degree feedback is essential for everyone in an organization, even upper management, and here's why...

It supports leadership progression

It gives the manager (and their managers in turn) a much more in-depth understanding of their leadership qualities, strengths and opportunities for improvement, and so will help them as individuals to grow and progress within the organization. Self-awareness of their own performance leads to more focus on how they can be an outstanding leader, which is of course better for them and better for the business.

It allows honest feedback from everyone

Let's face it, no matter how much they're encouraged to do so, very few direct reports are likely to give completely open and honest opinions of their line managers face to face. Even peers of managers going through 360-degree feedback might be reticent to give constructive criticism openly for fear of harming future working relationships.

That's why the 360-degree feedback process, where feedback surveys are taken and feedback is given anonymously, works extremely well in managing employee performance when those employees are part of the management team. The confidential aspect of this type of performance review makes it much easier for everyone involved to be completely honest.

Primalogik 360 offers a variety of anonymity settings when launching a 360-degree survey.  From a completely anonymous survey, to one where only HR, only managers, and even the reviewees themselves can identify respondents. All these can be set on a survey-by-survey setting, or even as a policy for the whole organization - making the administration even easier.

Anonymity settings in Primalogik 360 surveys

It boosts employee motivation

We all know that the more motivated a workforce is, the better the resulting performance. As they'll be going through the 360-degree feedback process themselves, all employees need to see the leadership team going through exactly the same process. If they see it's only the 'lower levels' being evaluated, the resulting drop in motivation won't take long to start affecting performance.

On the other hand, when direct reports see that their opinions matter and that their feedback on their manager's performance is being taken into account, they're going to be much more motivated. As well as that, a good leader knows how to increase their team's motivation, and the better the leader's own performance is managed, the better they become.

It improves working relationships

360-degree feedback surveys help to improve managers' working relationships with their direct reports as well as peers and colleagues in other areas of the business as a whole. By giving managers a greater understanding of how their performance and behavior affect others, and by allowing them to improve on any weaker areas they have, it can really boost relationships with colleagues of all levels.

No matter how high up a person is within an organization, constructive feedback and performance management are essential parts of their professional growth. Not only does 360-degree feedback benefit the person on the receiving end, it has no end of benefits to the organization itself.

Primalogik 360 is an excellent tool to manage this process. It lets HR professionals and managers focus on the employees and the communication with them, rather than the process itself. Give it a try today with a 30-day no-commitment free trial.

The Importance of Employee Blind Spot Detection

Monday, September 19, 2016

When it comes to evaluating employee performance, it's not always easy to balance your expectations with the employee's own perception of their performance. That's why building blind spot detection into any performance evaluation process your organization has in place is immensely valuable, and it also helps managers to set the right expectations (something that's very important in terms of managing performance).

What do we mean by blind spot detection?

In terms of employee performance a blind spot is a difference between how an employee sees themselves and how their manager and peers see them. It's sadly fairly common, and it can often be a sharp contrast!

Everyone Needs Feedback to Improve

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

It's so important in any career, at any level, that people are coached instead of 'managed' in order for them to improve and progress. Successful coaching and mentoring always includes giving constructive feedback, because it's something that lets the person being coached to discover their own potential, something that's crucial for improvement.

In fact, we all need feedback, whether it's in our personal or working lives. Don't just take my word for it, see what Bill Gates says:

How does feedback help people improve?

Feedback shouldn't only be positive, because if there are issues, people need to be aware of them in order to be able to deal with them. As long as feedback around performance issues is presented in a constructive manner, not accusatory, it gives the recipient a chance to consider how they can solve the issue, and whether they need any support to do so.

Primalogik 360 wins "Great User Experience" award from FinancesOnline

Monday, August 29, 2016

One of the key Primalogik 360 differentiators with other tools available in the market is its simplicity. From the very beginning, Primalogik 360 was designed with the end user in mind.

Just recently Primalogik 360 was awarded both the "Great User Experience" and "Rising Star" awards from FinancesOnline, one of the most popular business review directories, highlighting this particular aspect of our solution.

As FinancesOnline mentioned to us:
We are happy to inform you that Primalogik 360 was distinguished with our Great User Experience and Rising Star awards for our top HR software category. Primalogik 360 also met our experts’ quality standards and it was granted our Verified Quality Seal. This seal is a guarantee of your product’s credibility.


We are happy and humbled by such recognition.

In their Primalogik 360 review, FinancesOnline highlights the Great User Experience, as defined:

This goes to the core of what we do at Primalogik. Primalogik 360 was built, and continues to be built using the KISS principle. We want to make sure that there is minimum training needed for admins and no training required for participants at all.

When you are administering surveys across your organization to hundreds and thousands of employees, you do not want to spend time on and focus on training users on how to use the survey tool. Primalogik 360 sends automatic reminders with easy links to follow, it provides an uncluttered user experience focused on results while keeping a friendly and modern look.

The Rising Star award highlights our contributions even as a newcomer to the market:

We accept the news about both awards with pride and satisfaction, and promise to commit ourselves to keep designing and improving Primalogik 360 with the end user in mind.

If you would like to give Primalogik 360 a try, you can easily do so by starting a 30-day Free Trial.

Our clients are talking, and they are happy!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Primalogik started its humble beginnings more than 4 years ago with a vision to provide flexible, simple, and affordable Performance Management solutions. The solutions that were available on the market were either too complicated to use, too cumbersome to setup, and just too expensive. We believe that good management requires good tools and we hope that Primalogik 360 helps foster better management.
Our clients have rewarded us with their continued business and support. And they have gone the extra mile to say so.

As early as 2013 we started getting great reviews. Rose Sarti, Special Events Manager from The Heat and Warmth Fund said:
The customer service was quick and efficient and they were very patient with all of my questions. I would highly recommend this company to anyone looking for a 360 on managers or CEO's.
Clients from around the world have been praising Primalogik 360's simple approach. Verónica Botto, HR Consultant with Contract Workplaces in Buenos Aires, Argentina stated:
Proved to be a useful and simple tool that allowed us to smoothly implement the online version of our performance review process. Was a great experience to work with Primalogik platform.
In August 2014, Suzanne Darrow-Magras, Learning & Development Manager from International Capital and Management Company said on her Capterra's online review:
When our organization was searching for a performance support tool that would allow us to measure pre- and post-program data for 260 managers, the capabilities, cost and user-friendliness of the Primalogik 360 tool were standouts. As I was the person who needed to manage the implementation and rollout of the tool, on top of my many others tasks, it was essential that the tool was easy to set-up and that the use of the product was intuitive for end-users. The Primalogik 360 platform has delivered on all of these points. But what really stands out, and sets Primalogik apart, is the dedication and support shown by the CEOs and Co-founders, Gabriel Dominguez Martin and David Lévesque. They have gone the extra mile in ensuring that the tool meets my business needs that I receive regular reports, and that custom modifications have gone into effect in a timely manner. They are responsive in addressing my many questions and concerns. I have especially appreciated the collaborative/brainstorming approach they have taken with me in regards to product enhancements. I highly recommend both Primalogik 360 as a reliable, effective tool, as well as the outstanding consultative service provided by the Primalogik 360 team. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss my recommendation further.
Glowing reviews like the one from Suzanne are hard to come by for any company. We're blessed to have such supportive clients that share the passion for Performance Management and good tools. We continuously seek feedback from our clients with respect to new modules and features we implement. The recent Employee Journal addition is no exception. A great tool to keep notes on an employee during the review cycle leads to more valuable feedback and less hearsay. Read more about the Employee Journal here.

There are many more reviews from our clients. You can see them on Capterra's review site, where all reviews are validated.

Krystel Quesada, HR Lead from the Namu Travel Group clearly states efficiency as one of the key elements of the Primalogik 360 solution:
It has been a super helpful tool for our company. We have been able to move to a quicker performance review process thanks to this software.
And Lia Dicicco, Interim Executive Director from ArtStarts in Schools highlights some of the useful features included in Primalogik 360:
The set up was quite easy, and we received the support we needed. The reports themselves are well laid out. I do appreciate the auto reminder emails that get sent out. This has really streamlined our 360 review process.
I wanted to highlight as well the comments we received from Gordon Bluechel, Director of Operations from Access Laser Company.  Gordon has been a client of Primalogik since October 2015 and already has some positive experiences to share with respect to his use of Primalogik 360.
We have just completed our second round of Primalogik 360 feedback reviews. The process is extremely helpful in providing information to help employees see where their coworkers really appreciate them, while at the same time offering the opportunity for valuable conversations about areas need improvement. By referring back to the previous round, employees get encouraged when they see improvements in their results. 
The flexibility of the questionnaire build tool reduces the amount of time it takes to create meaningful surveys. There was also significant time savings with the process of handling performance reviews. What took a couple of weeks of almost dedicated time was accomplished in far few hours. The back and forth process also created a performance discussion between manager and employee rather than a monologue dominated by the manager. Having all of the information online and available to the individual managers makes it easy to utilize too. 
Being allowed to try it out for free was also great. By the time we were through our trial period, we completed our process but the value we received was enough that we subscribed so that we can maintain continuity for the next year and beyond.
The support we received from Primalogik is extremely strong. We wanted a few custom ratings and they turned those around within an hour of requesting them. They also helped us to understand how to use the system in an optimal way.
As Gordon mentions, remember that there is a very easy way to try out Primalogik 360. We provide a full no-commitment required 30-day Free Trial. All you have to do is sign with your email address and you'll be on your way to better, more effective and efficient Performance Management.

More Facts Lead to More Effective Performance Reviews

Monday, July 18, 2016

There's nothing less effective than telling somebody "get better at your job", "improve your performance", or "don't be like that", without actually explaining how to get better, what about their performance needs to improve, or why 'that' isn't appropriate. Yet time and time again we see managers doing exactly that when handling performance management for their employees.

The problem with those generic statements is that they're hardly actionable items, are they? The person receiving those comments doesn't really know what to do with them. "What do I have to improve exactly?", "What have I done wrong precisely?", "How can I avoid doing it in the future when I don't know what 'it' is?".