Making Multirater Feedback Systems Work

Article

Church, Allan H.; Waclawski, Janine   (1998, ASQ)   W. Warner Burke Associates, Pelham, NY

Quality Progress    Vol. 31    No. 4
QICID: 13324    April 1998    pp. 81-89
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Article Abstract

Assessment through multirater feedback is an exciting and effective tool, and its users should pay attention to implementation issues. Multirater feedback increases self-awareness in the focal individual, thus leading to improved performance and effectiveness. Raters of work-related behavior can be clients, customers, peers, subordinates, and supervisors of the focal individual. Implementation of multirater feedback systems can encounter resistance based on issues of relevance, confidentiality, accuracy, meaningfulness, and impact. The system must be perceived as relevant and must be taken seriously. The best way to ensure this is to integrate it into organizational improvement programs. Concerns about confidentiality are most germane in direct feedback from subordinates. Strategies for safeguarding confidentiality and preventing retaliation include distributing sealed packets of questionnaires and sending responses directly to an outside processing center. Accuracy is usually best served by customizing the instrument to the given organization rather than using a generic measurement system. To make the results meaningful, multirater feedback should be accompanied by follow-up and self-evaluation activities, and the entire feedback system should have a formal structure. Organizational impact from a feedback system emerges in the identification of strengths, weaknesses, and needs of individuals and the organization. Individual and systemic impact can be combined into systems like the managerial performance profile, which uses both feedback and financial data to assess managerial performance.

Keywords

Feedback,Assessment,Performance appraisals


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