How to Conduct a 360-Degree Performance Assessment

Kristin Luke

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Performance reviews. Managers and employees dread them, and many experts say they do little to improve performance. I’ve found that when advisory firm employees do well, they shouldn’t need a performance review. But they need something that sets expectations and encourages constant improvement.

My 360⁰ performance assessment tool is specifically designed to eliminate the much-maligned performance review. Indeed, it could be called the anti-performance review.

For new employees, it sets professional and personal expectations at the beginning of the employer–employee relationship. In addition, when you’re resetting your firm’s culture, this assessment will help current employees change direction and adapt to the new expectations that accompany a cultural shift.

Ultimately, the assessment gives advisory firm employees and managers the chance to work together in a positive fashion, leading to quantifiable improvements and better communication. For new employees, the assessment should be used within their first 90 days and at their one-year point.

Step 1: Take the assessment

Here’s how it works. An employee and manager will each take the assessment (focusing on the employee).

The assessment is broken down into nine areas of focus:

  • Business
  • Client
  • Results orientation
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Initiative
  • Planning and organization
  • Decision-making
  • Interpersonal skills

Using a combination of Likert-scale questions (agree, disagree, don’t know, etc.) and open-ended, fill-in-the-blank questions, the assessment asks employees to rate themselves based on their performance. They’ll need to honestly answer how well they change and adapt to client demands, how well they provide candid feedback to other employees and how well they innovate and adopt new ideas, among other considerations.