ITB 2024 Special Reporting
Closing the Circle in Measuring Performance - Understanding 360° Feedback.
By Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA MHS
Monday, 9th November 2009
My last two columns have addressed the evaluation and measuring performance process for hotel staff and I appreciate reader comments, questions and the opportunity to support hospitality and hotel companies.

Those reader questions and inquiries caused me to reflect on the need to complete or "close" the circle of evaluation, which is providing useful and meaningful feedback to senior management.

"My will shall shape the future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man's doing but my own. I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze. My choice; my responsibility; win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny."  Elaine Maxwell:

Part one of the series identified a number of ways to assess performance at almost every level within a hotel structure, including:

1. Forced Ranking systems that specifically rate and compare every person
2. Management by objectives (a Peter Drucker-inspired method to focus on both long and short term activities and planning)
3. Key result areas that focus on specific areas of measurement

Part two provided background information and a fundamental overview of The Balanced Scorecard , which evolved in the early 1990s.  Its focus was addressing intangibles of a changing  economy that requires managers to look at relationships between today's actions and their long term-impact. Many performance systems tie raises, bonuses or promotions to only financial benchmarks, yet the changing economy requires a balanced strategy between short-term productivity, mid term customer value, and long-term innovation. Things like customer retention, product or service quality as well financial measurements are now part of the equation of things measured

As stated in the earlier columns, most people want to be reasonable and even-handed in staff evaluations, but I have discovered in my career as a manager, corporate executive and consultant that many organizations and individuals make it more difficult and less rewarding than it should be. 

Common sense should prevail, but it too often becomes obscured in either meaningless bureaucracy or in a lack of planning, a lack of concern for staff development and a disregard of the cost of turnover.

Feedback that is meaningful to senior management is a critical step to long-term success, in relation to cultivating customer satisfaction and staff loyalty.  In hotels, open assessments that are delivered to senior management (which may include ownership, especially in family businesses) may seem like an inspired notion, but it will likely be unsuccessful in practice unless honest, open and measured feedback is delivered.

An internet search of the topic 360° Feedback provided many excellent resources from a range of international companies. These references listed a series of benefits and ways to facilitate this assessment that provides meaningful two-way communication that address leadership's communication and operational practices, with appropriate weight to financial and non-financial measures.  A number of resources are listed at the end of the column.

360 Feedback has a number of descriptions, but the activity mainly involves gathering insights and perceptions about a person's (in this case, senior management) behavior from those around them, and in this case, those reporting to them. For this discussion, the feedback comes from the person's peers and/or direct reports.  The feedback is then used for action planning, training or development goals.

360 Feedback can provide benefits for both the individual and the organization, by sharing accurate views of how others perceive that individual's delivered work and results. This honest description of performance helps identify weaknesses that need improvement, as well as strengths that can be enhanced.  Understanding this assessment is a major step in short and long term strategy planning.

In a hotel management company setting or in a large hotel, 360 Feedback can target goals and objectives, promote practical interaction and clarify the ever-changing roles of all parties within the Management Company setting or hotel.  This in turn encourages self-development, which leads to staff engagement at multiple levels, while building staff loyalty for those you want to retain.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at johnjhogan@yahoo.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements ………….
And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES are available  from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com www.smartbizzonline.com  and other industry sources.     

All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management.   The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication

John Hogan, a career hotelier and educator, is a frequent speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is a successful senior executive with a record of accomplishment leading organizations at multiple levels.  His professional experience includes over 35 years in hotel operations, food & beverage, sales & marketing, training, management development, consulting, management, including service as Senior VP of Operations.
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