The otherwise immeasurable soft skills of human resource tend to get sidelined when it comes to costs, profits and return on investment. Now T.V. Rao, the founder and president of the National HRD Network and a professor at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, explains the concept and technical details of measuring things such as the cost of time in his book Hurconomics for Talent Management. The book analyses human resource activities, processes, events, systems and decisions in terms of costs and returns. In a chapter on 360-degree feedback, Rao explains the more wholesome strategy of multiple assessments over traditional feedback systems where a single person’s judgement is utilized. Edited excerpts:

360 degree feedback or Multi-Rater Assessment and Feedback System (MAFS)

Hurconomics for Talent Managemment: Dorling Kindersley, 240 pages, Rs450.

degree appraisal is a multi-rater appraisal and feedback system. Almost every Fortune 500 company uses it in some form or the other. According to this system, the candidate is assessed periodically (once a year and sometimes even half-yearly) by a number of assessors, including his/her boss, immediate subordinates, colleagues, and internal and external customers. The assessment is based on a questionnaire specially designed to measure behaviours considered critical for performance. The appraisal is done anonymously by others and the assessment is collected by an external agent (for example, a consultant) or a specially designated internal agent (for example, the HRD department). The assessment is then consolidated, and feedback profiles are prepared and given to the participant after a workshop or directly by her/his boss or the HRD department at a performance review discussion session. Due to the innumerable variations possible in 360 degree feedback and appraisals, and its potency as a competency identification and development tool, it is important to understand the process and its dynamics.

Advantages of MAFS

The MAFS or 360 degree appraisal system has certain advantages. These

Objective: Go for 360-degree reviews.

The additional advantages offered by MAFS are as follows:

• It is more objective than the assessment of traits and qualities by one person.

• It supplements the traditional appraisal system.

•It usually provides feedback that employees find more acceptable.

• It can serve all the purposes of the traditional appraisal system, such as identifying development needs, reward management and performance development.

•It helps focus on internal customer satisfaction.

• It can point to the supervisory biases in the traditional appraisal systems.

• It is a good tool for enhancing customer service, and the quality of inputs and service to internal customers.

• It provides scope for candidates to receive multiple inputs to improve their role, performance, styles and ideas, and enhances their overall acceptability.

•It is more participative and enhances the quality of HR decisions.

• It is suitable for the new organizational cultures being promoted by most world-class organizations—participative culture, learning culture, quality culture, competency-based performance culture, team culture, empowering culture and leadership culture.

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