One of your jobs as CIO is to measure the performance of managers who report to you. Performance reviews are always a tough chore, but this process has become more complicated due to increased pressure on IT to align its people and functions with strategic business goals.

One way to get closer to this goal is by providing employees with a well-rounded evaluation of how they fit in to the grand scheme of things. 360-feedback is one tool for doing this.

For those of you not familiar with 360-feedback, it’s a review process by which input is gathered from an employee’s peers, his direct reports, and, you, his boss.

TechRepublic is offering a download that includes three employee review templates:

  • Upward evaluation
  • Client evaluation
  • Peer evaluation

You can download all three here.

These are fairly simple review templates, so they should be used not as the only means of evaluation but as part of a larger process. It’s also important to give employees feedback on their performance with frequent talks and at mini-reviews scheduled frequently during the year. This is one tool you can use in the ongoing process.

The advantages of the 360
The 360-evaluation lets employees know how others perceive their strengths and weaknesses and allows for improvement and growth. It lets employees take responsibility for their own professional development. It also:

  • Provides insight to the employee about the skills and behaviors desired by the organization to accomplish business missions and goals.
  • Can save you time because you’ll spend less energy providing feedback yourself.
  • Lessens charges of discrimination. (If the same kind of feedback comes from a number of sources, there’s less chance it can be disputed.)
  • Improves customer service. Feedback from clients helps the employee improve the quality and reliability of his or her service.
  • Helps teams work more effectively together.
  • Helps you and the employee learn what kinds of training needs he or she would benefit from.

Tips for using the 360
The implementation of 360-feedback should follow effective change management guidelines. Some employees initially balk at the process, so you need to make everyone aware that it’s only a part of the process, and that they will not be judged solely on the input received in the 360.

It’s also important to remember to:

  • Connect the process with the overall strategic goals of the organization. Give people feedback on their performance in the expected competencies of their positions.
  • Train employees on how to provide constructive feedback.
  • Have a member of the HR staff help you and the employee interpret and understand the feedback.

Sometimes because of other duties and responsibilities, CIOs aren’t very involved in the day-to-day performance of the people who report to them. The 360 is not an exercise in delegation. It’s a means by which you can garner feedback from various sources that you can, in turn, use to give an employee a more valuable evaluation experience.