Final Project Proposal

Research Proposal: 360-Degree Performance Measurement 16

Applying 360-Degree Employee Performance Measures

Table of Contents

  1. Project Title

  1. Central Purpose

  1. Research Question

  1. Literature Review

  1. Talent Management Approach

  1. Data Collection Methods

  1. References

Project Title

Applying Employee Performance Measures at United Way of Oconee County

To develop a 360-Degree feedback tool to be used in conjunction withannual performance evaluations to assess training and developmentneeds of staff within the organization in alignment with theorganization level goals.

Central Purpose

Performance evaluations are conducted annually but only as atechnicality and not used for any progression of professionaldevelopment. In an effort to promote headway, developing a360-Degree feedback tool used in conjunction with annual performanceevaluations to assess training and development needs of staff withinthe organization presents a beneficial opportunity. 360-DegreeFeedback is defined as “a comprehensive approach to performanceappraisal that uses self-ratings, customer ratings and ratings byothers to evaluate the performance of an employee” (VanTiem, 2012). Using these tools collectively will allowspecific goals to be set pertaining to each staff position andprovide a more comprehensive approach in alignment with theorganization level goals.

Problem area

Performance measurement is a major challenge for any organization.Finding the best way to measure employee’s performance is crucialto ensuring you secure talent that aligns with organization goals.United Way of Oconee is a small office compared to other localchapters and they face challenges when it comes to securing talent.The organization has a complex mission/vision that change with eachlocal chapter and tailors to each community’s unique circumstances.The uniqueness acts as an impediment to concentrating on performance.Employee performance has been difficult to measure since growth inthe organization has doubled in the last 3 years.

United Way of Oconee County is a nonprofit organization. As anonprofit, it is not exempt from the aforementioned challenge ofperformance measurement. The organization was created in 1966 as theUnited Fund in Oconee County. The county leaders in Oconee made thedecision to combine their agencies. The objective of the merger wasto mobilize as well as stimulate the civilians to take part incontributing towards worthy causes, like education and healthpromotion. The organization assigns and disburses money raised todifferent nonprofit agencies, programs and initiatives that alignwith the mission of United Way of Oconee. In addition, theorganization provides a platform where donors can direct their funds,which are then distributed to the different nonprofit agencies.Generally, the organization’s mission involves coordinating andcreating resources that identify, assess and effectively servecommunity needs (Live United, 2015).

Recently, the challenge has become more staff and performancemeasurement has been obsolete. Senior management is supposed toconduct annual performance evaluations for each staff member. However, once evaluations are completed they are merely filed in theoffice of human resources. The approach is strictly a top-downapproach with performance evaluations only conducted as atechnicality and not utilized to assess training and/or developmentneeds.

Research Question

Many nonprofits measure their performance based on how much fundingthey received, the growth of their membership, the number ofindividuals that are served, and overhead expenses. The metrics areof great importance and provide meaningful information. However,these performance evaluations fail to offer insight on growth anddevelopment needs of staff. The necessity to implement a 360-DegreeFeedback assessment tool aids United Way of Oconee County ineffectively measuring its employee’s performance in leadership anddevelopment of their roles and functions within the organization.

How can United Way of Oconee effectively measure employee performanceand utilize annual performance evaluations to further train and/ ordevelopment?

Performance Analysis/Talent Management Approach

It is necessary for the organization to come up with approaches forsuccessfully measuring performance. Such effective measures ensurethat nonprofits effectively work to meet their mission, while at thesame time adhering to their values (Herman &amp Renz, 1999). The“360-Degree Feedback Assessment Tool” is one talent managementapproach that the organization can use as an effective measure of itsperformance. 360-degree feedback refers to a technique ofmethodically collecting opinions concerning performance fromdifferent coworkers (Rao,Mahapatra, Rao &ampChawla, 2002). It involves getting direct feedback onperformance from a worker’s closest work circle. These includescolleagues, peers, bosses and supervisors or by use of directreports. Direct feedback under this approach is not just internal,but external as well. This means that an organization can getfeedback concerning its performance from individuals outside (Rao,Mahapatra, Rao &ampChawla, 2002). Such individuals include customers or donors.The advantage of gathering feedback using this approach is that theorganization is able to receive reviews from different individuals orgroups instead of relying on personal perception.

In the case of United Way of Oconee County, 360-degree feedback actsas the building block to effective performance measurement. The360-feedback can help to identify the “gap” (Rummler, 2013) inthe employee performance, evaluation process. It also serves as theadjunct in development and training opportunities. The talentmanagement approach helps to enhance performance measurement since itmakes it possible for the organization to receive appraisal fromthose inside the organization. With the top-down approach currentlyin place at United Way of Oconee County, there is no opportunity forfeedback from staff using a self-assessment perspective or otherwise.Staff can provide assessment and feedback on how the organizationconducts its operations. The perspectives can also help incorporatesuggestions on improving performance, which include areas ofoperation needing improvement.

Literature Review

All references identified provide information pertaining to alldifferent aspects and elements of the 360-Degree Feedback tool,including but not limited to, strengths, weaknesses, uses andfindings/results of studies and/or research conducted. Sources areintended to provide advantages, suggestions for implementation andhow the feedback tool is most successfully used in best practices. In addition, key terms pertinent to implementing the 360-DegreeFeedback approach were defined. This list is preliminary and somesources may be added or eliminated based upon findings in furtherresearch.

If United Way of Oconee County is to effectively measure performance,it must employ non-monetary approaches. The organization hasdiffering and complex missions. It comprises of different andintricate essentials (Speckbacher, 2003). This means that it is notpossible to validate the main interest group in a nonprofit. It couldbe those that finance the organization, those that receive servicesfrom the organization or individuals that belong to the board ofdirectors. It is hard to have a clear definition and successfulmeasurement of the nonprofit’s mission. The organization succeedsbased on impossible challenges. In order to attain all of its setmissions it would have to operate as a perfect organization (Sawhill&amp Williamson, 2001). The performance of the United Way of OconeeCounty is frequently difficult to describe and measure as it entailsimpact on persons and community in general.

According to Bracken and Church (2013) most human resource managersand business leaders support the lack of effectiveness in performancemanagement approaches. However, the 360-degree feedback approach actsas a solution to performance measurement challenges (London&amp Beatty, 1993). Unfortunately, many organizationsdo not realize the effectiveness of 360-degree. The talent managementapproach has over the previous 20 years advanced to become anestablished as well as accepted “human resource people process inmost organizations” (Bracken &amp Church, 2013). Owing to thisrevolution, the authors urge organizations to use 360-degreefeedback. Performance ratings were invented due to the necessity ofquantifying results as well as paying workers in line with theirresults. Contrary, 360-degree acts as a kind of survey feedback thatconcentrates on driving personal growth as well as altering behaviorin organizations (Bracken &amp Church, 2013).

Bracken and Church (2013), further explain how the 360-degreeassessment has the capability of enhancing performance measurement,which is a major contribution to this research. Since the researchproposal evaluates the implementation of 360 feedback, at United Wayof Oconee County, it is necessary to comprehend how itsimplementation enhances performance measurement. The authors notethat when the assessment tool is properly implemented, it leads toalignment, agility, validity, consistency and accountability.Alignment – it is necessary that personnel understand what isrequired of them by their employer (Jones &amp Bearley, 1996). Awell formulated 360 assessment tool captures the organization’sneeds, which are communicated to personnel. Agility – using360-degree makes it possible to reach most people in a company andidentify their behavior requirements. Once identified, the behaviorsare altered to meet altering market environment changes (Bracken &ampRose, 2011). Supposing an organization employs the approachregularly, alterations in terms of work requirements are possible tocommunicate to all personnel, and measure how they respond to suchchanges.

Validity – in 360-degree, validity implies that an organization ismeasuring the correct things reliably (Bracken &amp Church, 2013).When properly implemented, the approach provides information requiredin making decisions concerning personnel performance. Accountability– it is a significant aspect in guaranteeing that the talentmanagement approach has been effective. The relevance ofaccountability increases when using results from 360-degree feedbackin measuring performance (Bracken &amp Church, 2013). Accountabilitymakes it possible to assess a leader’s performance and alignment toorganizational goals. Consistency – a major setback of many humanresource structures derives from contradictory administration andapplication, resulting in impartiality in the process (Bracken &ampChurch, 2013). Using a feedback measure that is founded on a group ofproperly-established conducts in line with a specified leadershipmodel, like 360-degree, increases thoroughness in any performancemeasurement procedure.

Research demonstrates that many organizations are adapting the use of360-degree. Nowack (2015) notes that 360-degree is frequently beingemployed for different purposes. These include managerial coaching,performance analysis, managing of talent and creating successionplans. Under suitable conditions, this kind of feedback may promotetriumphant behavior change among employees. Nowack (2015)additionally explains that the basic objective of performancemeasurement is to change behavior. The possibility of personnelaltering their behavior relies on their individual expectationsconcerning how the behavior change affects their professionalobjectives. Thus, tools like the 360-degree are important inreceiving feedback from personnel on what they think needs to changein their organization, which will in turn enhance their performance.

Simply put, 360-degree avails confidential response on particulargroups of competencies as well as behavioral characteristics asobserved by workmates as well as different stakeholders (ConfidentialInsight, n.d). These different stakeholders may be clients whocan provide feedback on particular persons. Such feedback does notact as criticism, rather constructive input, which may result inactions towards individual improvement. It is aimed at strengtheningpositive factors of the worker’s performance in addition to enhanceperformance through identification of probable weak areas. 360surveys act as an effective tool that has a significant objective ofharnessing the authority of honest response to determine weaknessesand enhance performance (Ward, 1995). Important research is presentedon the need for formalized 360-degree approach. Personal performancegrowth depends on frequent as well as active response. All throughtheir work course, a worker has frequent interaction with an array ofindividuals that involve peers, managers, clients and direct reports.Each interaction provides the other individual with a chance toassess the worker’s thinking, work behaviors, expertise andmotivations (Confidential Insight, n.d).

Any survey conducted using the 360-degree approach aims at receivingresponse on leadership method, internal and external skills incommunication, competencies that individuals display while in theirpresent position, behaviors, and skills aimed at managing people(Confidential Insight, n.d). The survey questions ought to beformulated to acquire particular insights in the above areas. Thefeedback should be derived from at minimum five raters. Thisinformation is crucial for this research. Considering that theproposal aims at conducting needs assessment surveys, the informationinforms on how the surveys should be conducted by informing on whatto put into consideration.

Data Collection Methods

Performance measurement at United Way of Oconee County has becomeoutdated. Although annual performance evaluations are conducted inthe organization for every staff member once completed they are juststored away in the offices of human resource officers. Such aperformance management approach does not create room for assessingthe needs of staff. Staff in the organization have development needs,which need to be addressed in order to improve their performance. Asa result, the organization needs to implement a 360-degree feedbackassessment tool that assists in measuring personnel performance. Sucha measure can only be effective when feedback is directly obtainedfrom the workers. Hence, this research aims at using needs assessmentsurveys to obtain feedback from personnel concerning theorganization.

Implementation plan

There are three major stages during the implementation process. Theseare preparation, administering and following up.

Preparation- this involves preparing the organization as well asstaff. It is a very important stage, regardless of the objective ofthe assessment, which follows determining the needs of theorganization. For instance, an organization might lack leaders thatare effective and desire to create managerial skills and enhancemanagerial behavior. Or, there might be dissatisfaction within anorganization concerning the use of appraisal procedures, resulting inthe need to employ a fair process (Fleenor &amp Prince, 1997).Following the determination of the organizational needs, which can berealized through 360-degree, the logistics of process implementationhave to be put into consideration.

The first decision involves what instrument to employ. There arethree kinds of instruments to use under 360-degree. Each of theinstruments comprises of positive as well as negative factors(Antonioni &amp Park, 2001). Important to note is that the design ofthe instrument can impact the assessment outcomes. The first kind ofinstruments are “off the shelf”, which gauge general skills orexpertise. The second kind is the instruments created by an externalgroup, like a consulting agency, which concentrate on the assessmentneeds of particular organizations. The third kind of instruments isthose developed within the organization and aligns with particularpositions or groups (Fleenor &amp Prince, 1997).

Preparing specific individuals to participate in 360-degree procedureentails educating them on the assessment in addition to feedback.First, staff needs to be well-versed on how the organization aims atusing their responses (Ludeman, 1995). Those participating infeedback evaluation must be trained on avoiding general mistakes.Participants must as well be well-versed on if they are responsiblefor ratings they provide. Rater privacy is crucial when preppingparticipants (Ludeman, 1995).

Administering – following the decision on the instrument that willbe utilized during the 360-degree assessment, and after preppingparticipants, it is possible to administer the evaluation instrument.Administration affects the results of the assessment (Fleenor &ampPrince, 1997). Many instruments comprise of questionnaires, whichemploy scaled items in assessing workers. Others involve open-endedfeedback. It is crucial to contemplate on the medium of collectingdata prior to beginning the assessment. Another issue to put intoconsideration concerns who is evaluated (Fleenor &amp Prince, 1997).For instance, feedback on development needs is collected frompersonnel that have no skills in being effective. After deciding onthe personnel to assess, it becomes relevant to decide on who doesthe evaluation. Basically, to ensure effectiveness, raters ought tobe in influential positions and part of the worker’s circle. Therater ought to be in a position to observe the conduct as well asperformance of the worker. Possible sources can be supervisors.

The other step in administration of the assessment tool is availingfeedback. Some assessment instruments have guidelines on how tointerpret data. Others employ the services of outside consultants ininterpreting feedback collected from workers. Whichever procedureemployed, the objective of 360-degree involves providing usefulinformation (Fleenor &amp Prince, 1997). The information might befor worker development or organization appraisal. The feedback oughtto be presented in a manner, which reveals weaknesses or drawbacks inemployee performance or conduct. The feedback may also identifyorganizational strengths.

Following up – following the interpretation of feedback, the nextissue to contemplate on involves what to do after. This refers to howthe organization employs the feedback, which is a crucial section inthe 360-degree procedure. It is specifically an important step whenthe feedback aims at being employed in developmental objectives(Fleenor &amp Prince, 1997). Following the identification ofstrengths as well as development needs, the worker ought to settle onhow to utilize the information in the facilitation of development.Generally, follow up entails forming some kind of development planthrough use of feedback in setting particular objectives (Berger&amp Berger, 2011). The employee must endeavor toattain the objectives by use of the development plan.

Employing feedback obtained from numerous sources is crucial inenhancing development plans. This is because it provides informationthat is precise concerning the current position of personnel inregard to expertise and conduct. 360-degree might as well enhanceself-awareness and avail closure as to how personnel’s conduct andperformance influence those within their circle (Fleenor &ampPrince, 1997). Following the identification of personneldevelopmental requirements, it is important for an organization toactively engage in development, through organizational support.Support can be in form of training or cultural changes within anorganization.

Applying the Implementation Plan at United Way of Oconee County

In line with the implementation plan discussed above, the sameapproach shall be used when using 360-degree at United Way of OconeeCounty. In order to ensure that the employee assessment is effective,it is important that the employees are informed on why and how theywill participate. The needs assessment surveys will be conducted onall employees. This is because the objective is to receive feedbackfrom the different levels within the organization. Considering that360-degree has not previously been implemented at United Way ofOconee County, it is highly likely that most personnel are unaware ofthe assessment tool.

The first step in conducting the needs assessment surveys begins byholding meetings with all staff members. At this point, theorganization informs staff of the assessment. It then progresses toexplain how the assessments will be carried out. Most important isinforming employees on how the information they provide will be used.To enhance accuracy and the possibility of employees providinginformation that is honest, it is crucial to put in place measuresthat ensure confidentiality and communicate the same to participants.In this case, participants will be informed that their feedback willbe confidential. At this point, the individuals that will participatein the survey have already been established as all staff members.

The needs assessment survey is a manner of asking group or societymembers what they view as the most significant needs of the group orsociety. The results from the assessment direct on future action thatshould be taken. In general, the needs rated are the ones that needto be addressed. Depending on resources, which are money, people andtime, the needs assessment survey might take differing forms. Whenconducting needs assessment surveys at United Way of Oconee County,the needs assessment will be formal. This is because it involves allstaff members that are both senior and junior. Formality enhancesfairness in the assessment process. It also ensures that all membersare given an equal opportunity to accurately provide feedback throughthe surveys. In addition, junior staff can rate the performance oftheir seniors, and vice versa.

The needs assessment instruments that will be used arequestionnaires. After informing staff about the performancemeasurement, they are provided with questionnaires to fill. Thequestions used in the survey are the same for all participants.Notably, staff are expected to provide feedback to questions on howthey view their role in United Way of Oconee County, how they viewthe organization involving what they think needs change. Theparticipants are supposed to respond to the questions and depict howtheir responses align with organizational goals. Since all staffmembers are expected to fill the questionnaires, they will beevaluated by a consulting firm. The reasons for using a consultingfirm are to enhance fairness and partiality. The firm acts as therater. The consulting firm assesses the questionnaires feedback inorder to determine the needs of staff, which are then communicated toUnited Way of Oconee County, and the necessary training anddevelopment needs of staff implemented.


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