Absolventa GmbH is a job portal for young graduates and students. The company supports students in preparing for their careers, helping them to find their first job and assisting them with their next steps on the career ladder. Absolventa offers companies tailored recruiting and employer branding solutions for the target audience, young academics. Absolventa is based in Berlin and employs about 50 people in the areas of sales, marketing, IT and human resources.
Absolventa has an open, team-oriented philosophy, which includes a cooperative atmosphere for all employees as well as transparent communication. Every employee has the right to suggest ideas and proposals for improvement. The management is always accessible and encourages an open feedback culture.
Part of this feedback culture are regular 360 degree surveys, where the skills and performance of managers are evaluated from different perspectives: The manager themselves, supervisors, colleagues and other staff rate the person, so that a comprehensive and objective picture of skills and performance is created.
As an employer, Absolventa aims to promote every employee appropriate to their skills, and in this way offer ideal opportunities for development. In this context, 360 degree feedback has become an excellent basis for concrete actions, because this form of evaluation is based on different perspectives, with the comparison of how one perceives themselves versus how others perceive them providing a realistic view of strengths and weaknesses.
“We want to give every manager the opportunity to have their skills and performance evaluated by themselves as well as by their colleagues, supervisors or subordinates.” explains Susanne Kohn, Head of Human Resources at Absolventa, with regards to the use of 360 degree surveys.
Absolventa’s 360 degree survey was implemented via the online survey platform Netigate. To conduct the survey, Absolventa used Netigate Insight’s services and counselling. As a first step, Netigate’s online surveys (which, for example, ask for social skills and professional competences) were matched to the corporate design of Absolventa. It was also previously determined who would evaluate who and what kind of relationship these people had to each other.
This information was provided by Absolventa as an Excel table and uploaded as background variables. Subsequently, Netigate sent the survey via e-mail to the appraisee themselves as well as to their direct supervisors, colleagues and subordinate co-workers.
At Absolventa, the survey results are discussed in performance appraisals and subsequent, individual goals for the manager are determined.
“It is important for us, to help our employees, to develop their skills and individual strengths. 360 degree feedback surveys are an excellent basis for this. If there are decisions to be made based on these results, promotions for example, 360 degree analyses are also used, to evaluate these decisions in comparison with other employees.”
Furthermore, 360 degree surveys are, for Susanne Kohn, always a barometer of the atmosphere across the whole company, as they give information about the employee satisfaction with their managers.
Actions based on results After completion of the survey, every manager is sent their own appraisal. In this comprehensive appraisal, generated with Netigate’s high-performance analysis and reporting functions, demonstrative charts are used to compare the way the appraisee perceived themselves with the assumptions of their colleagues, supervisors and subordinate co-workers, so that discrepancies and conformities are immediately visible. The evaluation also contains a comparison of the given free text answers.
Results enable targeted development of specific skills The 360 degree analysis provides managers with a realistic view on their competences, strengths and weaknesses and enables the delineation of improvement potential and development opportunities. The biggest benefit of an evaluation from different perspectives is apparent for Absolventa too: The results show, for example, that specifically managers tend to evaluate their own skills as being better than their environment would suggest, whereas employees in other positions tend to evaluate themselves as being weaker than they are. In these cases, the perspective of colleagues, supervisors and subordinate co-workers is very helpful, to identify real strengths and point out where improvement is needed.