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Not all 360 Degree Surveys Are the Same: How to Design the Questionnaires to Ensure They Remain Useful

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Do your 360 degree surveys evolve over time, as you discover best practices? The problem with keeping things the same is that you might be repeating the same mistakes over and over again. A potential issue with 360 degree surveys is discussed in this article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), and we wanted to cover the problem, and the solution, for you.

360 Degree Surveys as a Tool for Boosting Self-Awareness

As we know, the feedback participants get from 360 degree surveys is invaluable to people of all levels, with everyone including leaders and managers benefitting from an increased level of self-awareness.

However, not all 360 degree surveys are created equal, and as the HBR article tells us, if the questions aren't designed carefully enough, they can actually do harm to both your organization and the individuals involved.

Do Your 360 Degree Surveys Produce Bad Data?

What do we mean by 'bad data'?

Your questionnaires will of course measure various competencies, and the way in which the questions are asked makes a real difference. Many organizations tend to look at behavioral aspects of that competency, for example for the competency 'developing others', means a potential statement could be 'Alice encourages the team to take part in continuous improvement'.

You're probably thinking 'But why is that a problem, it's the way we've always done it?' While using different behaviors to rate a person on key competencies does sound sensible, the problem is that participants tend to rate other people's behaviors compared to their own. If they rate Alice high on the statement we just mentioned, they're really saying that Alice is more encouraging compared to themselves; if they rate her low, they're saying that she's low compared to them.

In essence, when people are asked to rate other people's behaviors, they're only able to perceive and rate them compared to themselves, meaning the data produced is intrinsically 'bad' (or unreliable).

How to Design 360 Degree Surveys to Get GOOD Data

One way of ensuring you get good data from your 360 degree survey questions is to utilize the technique used in polls - carefully selecting a group of raters who are representative of the specific competencies you're measuring in your employee performance management process. But that's not going to be easy, in fact it's likely to be completely impossible!

The other option, and one that you can do, is to change the questions rather than the raters. While employees may not be able to reliably relate to another person's behaviors, they can easily rate themselves on certain statements. So instead of using the statement about Alice's ability to encourage continuous improvement, make the statement about the rater - 'I feel encouraged to take part in continuous improvement'.

Makes sense, doesn't it? Instead of rating other people on their behaviors, participants evaluate their own feelings - leading to a more dependable and accurate 360 degree survey!

Are you ready to try Primalogik 360 help you with 360 degree surveys?

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?

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.


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.

Sample review badge

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?".

What happens when you don't 'stick to the facts'?

The point of performance reviews is to maintain high standards of performance - looking at ways to improve poor performance and encouraging good performance. As we've just discussed, an employee performance review that doesn't contain facts is utterly unhelpful in terms of performance and often leads to more problems than solutions. Facts can come from everywhere in the organization, peers, managers, direct reports, and why not include external clients and partners as well. That is why a good solid performance review is not based on feedback coming only from the line manager.

As well as running the risk of hurting an employee's feelings unnecessarily, these type of non-factual sweeping statements can cause interpersonal issues between employees and their line managers, issues that are definitely not conducive to strong team performance. While of course the line manager's views and opinions are relevant, the overall appraisal needs to be objective, otherwise the employee is likely to see the comments as a personal attack, creating resentment.

Using Primalogik 360 Employee Journal to Improve Performance Reviews

To be able to do a fact-driven employee performance appraisal, managers obviously need to have an array of facts about each employee at their fingertips. Where that can fail is when reviews are only thought about at the last minute. If you're looking at the last 12 months, 6 months, or whichever time period (or cycle as it's described within Primalogik 360) your organization uses, the longer the time, the less likely you are to be able to remember everything that's happened.

That's fine, of course, because nobody expects line managers to have superhuman memory. That's why we've introduced a new module, the Employee Journal, which lets line managers make notes as and when situations arise that might be pertinent to their direct reports' performance reviews.

As you can see from this image, each employee has their own Employee Journal section which their line manager can add to and use as a tool to record their thoughts and facts about the employee throughout the appraisal period. There are options to note concerns about some aspect of their performance, such as a customer complaint (indicated by the red thumbs down symbol), positive comments such as praise from a customer (indicated by the green thumbs up symbol), and notes to remind the line manager to raise a particular topic (indicated by the grey speech bubble symbol).

The Employee Journal section is accessible directly from the Manager Assessment section of the employee's performance appraisal, making it a really valuable tool for ensuring successful performance appraisals.

This is just one of the recent enhancements we have done to the Primalogik 360 solution. Give it a try today by starting a Free Trial, with no commitments at all, for a period of 30 days. You will be able to use the tool at its full extent with no strings attached.

If you prefer to have a demo, feel free to send us a request to

Boost Employee Independence with the Right Performance Management Techniques

Monday, July 11, 2016

Happy Independence Day for last weekend! We hope you had a fantastic weekend, we certainly did.

The holidays actually got us thinking about independence when it comes to employees - when you think of employee independence, what comes to mind? Independence, autonomy, empowerment - these are all words that organizations should have in mind when it comes to their workforce, but do employees at your organization have these things?

The problem is, not every manager or leader knows how to get there, because it's not always an exact science. While there are a number of different tools and techniques that organizations can use to really get the most out of their employees, the one we're going to look at today is the employee performance management system.

The benefits of employee independence

A workforce that takes the initiative, meaning minimal guidance is needed to undertake tasks from the basic to the more complicated.

Think of the potential cost savings in senior salaries. Management spend less time having to instruct and monitor their direct reports, so the people with higher salaries are able to spend time on tasks and projects that are more relevant to their pay grades.

Motivated employees, and as we all know, motivation equals productivity, a positive atmosphere and (ultimately) profitability for the business.

Performance management for independence

So, how can you use performance management to increase independence and autonomy in your employees? The first thing to consider is whether your current employee performance management system encourages communication. Using, for example, 360 degree feedback means that people of all levels feel included in the process, encouraging conversations rather than just being told what to do.

If performance management and appraisals are all one-sided, employees aren't going to feel particularly comfortable airing their views or making suggestions. They'll wait to be instructed, instead of taking the initiative, and that will be apparent in their day-to-day roles, not just at appraisal time.

Learning what it is employees actually want is also important, because without knowing how they feel, you can't ensure that performance incentives are appropriate. It's all too easy to assume that everyone is motivated by money alone, but it's surprising how many other factors are important in motivating staff. One great way of discovering what makes your employees tick is by using employee satisfaction surveys. If your organization manages performance largely by way of target KPIs, you should make sure the rewards are encouragement enough to foster a culture of independence, whether those rewards are praise, promotion, or monetary. If organizational culture hasn't traditionally been one of empowerment, it can seem a big step for employees to start working independently, so it's up to the leadership of the organization to put the tools and processes in place to start changing things.

Get started with a Free Trial of the Primalogik 360 solution platform, providing you excellent and simple tools for performance appraisals, 360 surveys and employee satisfaction surveys. The Free Trial can be used for a period of 30 days without any commitments on your side.

Powerful Employee Engagement Surveys - Know how your staff feels

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Opinion Survey module within the Primalogik 360 platform can be used for Employee Engagement surveys as well as Employee Satisfaction surveys. These surveys are a key tool for HR professionals and Executive teams to gather information from their staff.

Whether you are thinking of instituting a new program or making modifications to an existing program, these surveys are a great ingredient to gather information from the affected staff about what is about to occur or what has occurred.

4 Ways to Keep Remote Employees Engaged

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Many organizations now include remote workers as part of their overall workforce, seeing the benefits of flexible working to the employer as well as the employee. Some might say it's even more important to have a policy for employee engagement when it comes to remote workers because the old adage 'out of sight, out of mind' could apply in cases where a remote worker feels undervalued.
Some of the more traditional methods of boosting employee engagement, like having a physical 'open door' policy or sitting down together as a team, don't always seem like the obvious choice when it comes to engaging remote employees. With that in mind, how do you ensure that they feel motivated, engaged with the business, and appreciated as a valued member of the team?

Take advantage of employee engagement surveys

Employee engagement surveys are an easy and effective way to measure employee satisfaction, as well as keeping everyone engaged and motivated, and they're equally important for remote workers. If you don't see employees every day, it can sometimes be easy to 'forget' they're out there, but you really need to keep on top of their feelings and opinions. Otherwise, resentments may brew, and you could struggle to make the right decisions when it comes to motivating every employee, wherever they're based.

Use technology for virtual face time

While you can't necessarily physically sit down together, either as a team or one-to-one basis, the wonders of technology makes keeping in touch easy. Applications like Skype and HipChat mean you can have video chats at the touch of a button, and even if there's nothing work-related to discuss, getting everyone together to chat virtually can make remote workers feel less, well, remote! Phone calls aren't necessarily the best way to ensure open communication, because without being able to see the other person's face, it's easier for misunderstandings to occur.
Include remote workers in office traditions
Whatever your company culture, there are bound to be some traditions that everyone likes to be involved in, like the birthday boy or girl buying cakes, team building days, or leaving early on a Friday. Try wherever you can to include remote workers in whatever traditions your organization holds dear - sending a card/gift on their birthday, planning team-building/treat days around the times they're visiting the office, or making sure they down tools for the day at the same time as everyone else.

Keep everyone in the loop

Remote workers might not often get the opportunity to come into the office for meetings to get that social interaction, so it's up to their management to make that opportunity. Once a month would be ideal, but quarterly or bi-annually would work if that makes more sense in your circumstances. Whether it's an official meeting, team lunch, brainstorming session, or just a day working in the office, as long as workers aren't too remote (a different continent might make it tricky!), it really helps. It's also easy to forget remote workers when work issues crop up, news is shared, or a last minute project needs to be discussed - but it's so important to make sure they're contacted as and when it happens.

Strong relationships with remote workers equal strong employee engagement, so honesty, communication, and the ability for every employee to share their feelings are all crucial.

Primalogik 360 offers the Employee Surveys tool to help out in knowing how your employees are feeling. Give it a try for free today. Just sign up for a Free Trial to get full access for 30 days.

Introducing multiple-choice questions and flexible manager deadlines

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

With the latest upgrade of Primalogik 360 we introduced the capability of adding multiple-choice questions to the questionnaires as well as configuring the deadline for managers to complete the Employee Appraisals.

Both of these were requests from several of our clients, and in the spirit of keeping it simple, we worked quite hard to bring the benefits of this new functionality with minimum training required and maximum functionality.

Multiple-choice questions

More than one option

With this added functionality you can create a question where the respondent can select more than one answer. See for instance the example below:

More than one option available to respond

Only one option

The other common use of multiple choice questions is when you ask for only one answer. The new Primalogik 360 also offers this capability for questions like the following.

Only one option available to respond

As you can see the interface remains simple and intuitive. The creation of these questionnaires is also as simple. Just look for another question type in the pull-down menu:

Adding a multiple-choice question

And once you add a multiple-choice question the interface remains extremely simple, as seen below:

Multiple-choice question editor

Flexible manager deadlines

In previous versions of the application, once a self-review deadline was selected, the application would automatically calculate 14 days past that self-review date to give a deadline to the manager for him/her to complete the process.

With the new version you now have the possibility of controlling this date on your own.

Take a look at how the new interface looks like:

Flexible manager deadline

We continue to make regular improvements to the Primalogik 360 application. Stay tuned for the Employee Journal, coming soon.

If you haven't tried Primalogik 360 yet, why not sign up for a Free Trial with no obligations nor commitments. You can use the application fully for 30 days. Sign up today for a Free Trial.

Managing a geographically dispersed team. How do you know what is really going on?

Monday, June 6, 2016

I used to manage a group of about 15 people. Only 5 of them were co-located with me, with their cubicles outside my office. The other 10 were distributed throughout North America, spanning three different timezones.

When you have a distributed team, knowing how well they’re performing can be challenging. Even though you focus on results, and that’s one of the most important areas, everything is not just about results.  Remote employees also need support and help from other team members, and as such, they interact with other people.  In this day and age, the interaction can be via a large number of media:
  • Email
  • Phone calls
  • Chat
  • Instant Messaging
  • Skype, google hangouts or some other video conference tool

Are Your Organization's Employee Performance Appraisals One-Sided?

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

One-sided performance reviews leave the manager
and employee with just one side of the information.
How are employee performance appraisals conducted at your organization? Do managers conduct their employee's appraisals, with nobody else giving feedback on the employees' performance?

One of the problems with this type of employee performance appraisal is that they often become very one-sided, but feedback from other people is not only beneficial in terms of the employee's perspective, it's actually of great benefit to the organization too!

The One-Sided Employee Performance Appraisal

While a one-on-one appraisal where the manager gives feedback to their direct report might be seen as the 'traditional' way of managing employee performance, it's important to realize that times have changed. Performance appraisals conducted in this way can be at best ineffective, and at worst have a negative impact on performance.

Why Managing Employee Performance Should Start at the Top?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Is your senior leadership team fully behind your organization's process of managing employee performance? If not, why not? Peer reviews and performance management should always start at the top for the program to be as effective as possible, and if it doesn't, it's unlikely to ever reach its full potential. 

Why? Because, as with any process or initiative in businesses both large and small, the support of management can mean the difference between success and failure.

Primalogik keeps expanding its customer base

Monday, April 25, 2016

Primalogik has been expanding its client base since its inception.  In the last year alone, we have more than doubled the number of subscriptions. Our system is used on a regular basis by more than 15,000 users helping manage the crucial and important task of performance management, talent management and career development.

We are currently operating in more than 15 countries around the world. All our users enjoy a worry-free, always-up, and cloud-based system that allows management and employees alike to plan and carry on surveys and appraisals without the paper overhead of antiquated systems or other expensive solutions found in the market today.

Client subscriptions from all around the world.
Our solutions are fully trilingual, with English, French and Spanish available throughout the application. We even provide Support services in these three languages as well, right from our headquarters in Montreal, Canada.

5 Ways to Keep Employees Focused

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A focused employee equals an engaged employee, which means less chance of careless mistakes being made, higher levels of output and all-around better quality of work. If you want your teams to be productive, you need to make sure that they're focused, and not just around employee performance appraisal time!

Think about it, if you have an employee who's stepping away (either physically or mentally) from their work every ten minutes, maybe to head for the water cooler or kitchen to make a coffee, going to chat to a colleague, taking a smoking break, or even just looking out of the window and daydreaming, they're obviously not focused. The result of that is that their work will suffer, and they're also likely to have an effect on their colleagues, so you end up with an even less productive team.