A Brief Guide To 360 Degree Appraisal

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A Brief Guide To 360 Degree Appraisal

Have you ever wondered why is it so difficult to review an employee where from everyone, the employee, you, and your team comes out satisfied? To solve this issue we have 360 degree appraisal where feedback on a group or an individual is taken from all the possible stakeholders.

The data can be collected from reporting managers, team members, colleagues or sometimes even from clients. The feedbacks received are generally anonymous and confidential. The basic procedure is generally the distribution of a digital form which needs to be submitted by the people concerned. The questions on the form are to be answered on a rating scale i.e. you are supposed to give a rating against a certain quality or subject. On top of multi-rater feedback, the form can also include space for optional comments.

Let’s look at the reasons why 360 degree appraisal is so popular amongst all the top organizations around the globe.

Why 360 Degree Feedback?

Performance Management

This type of performance appraisal method aligns properly with the desired performance management system of a company. The data collected from the feedback is used for the review of an employee. With the size and frequency of the data available you can effectively track and develop the performance of your workforce.

Employee Development

This is one of the core reasons why companies opt for an all-round feedback system. Human resource management uses these data from the survey to fill the gaps in the skillsets of the employees. This makes sure that the organization is up to date and well accustomed to the current trends in the industry.

Onboarding and Training

Companies want to have a structured way of training and getting new employees on board. It helps the companies identify the type of skills required and make arrangements for fresh new talent.

Also, it helps companies to make arrangements for a promotion. It helps to familiarise the administration with the strength and weaknesses of a new leader. This makes sure that the company doesn’t lose too much time adapting to changes.

These are broadly the reasons why companies opt for such an appraisal system.

But 360 degree appraisal is not the magic wand you were looking for. It, of course, comes with its own sets of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at a few of those.

Advantages of 360 degree appraisal

Creates Self Awareness

360-degree feedback gives employees a much need opportunity to introspect. Since this is a holistic process, employees have a greater insight into their strengths and weaknesses which motivates them towards self-improvement. This kind of feedback process further leads to an increase in the skillsets, discipline, and motivation in employees which reduces employee attrition. The logic is simple, if an employee is receiving the same feedback from multiple persons then he/she is more likely to act towards it.

Increases transparency in the workplace

This is one of the obvious benefits of such a feedback process. When we talk about one on one appraisal, the review is more asymmetrically skewed than you think. It leaves ample room for misjudgment and wrong decisions which can not only hamper the performance but also end up decreasing the revenue.

In a 360 degree system, there is a greater level of transparency. Feedback tools such as these help employees have more trust in the system and the decisions by the managers and leaders. A transparent workforce increases accountability and enables managers to optimize their decisions.

The Pool of knowledge

One of the lesser-known benefits of this performance appraisal method is that it presents you with a pool of extensive data regarding your employees.

When 360 degree appraisal is used properly and efficiently you have a solid foundation with which you can base your HR and recruiting policies. Also, investing in a 360-degree feedback system helps to keep track of improvements especially in the softer areas like discipline, motivation, leadership, etc.

Greater Insight into staff members

360 degree feedback is a great way to gain deeper insight into your staff members compared to a one on one review. It helps employers understand the roles of employees better beyond the obvious outcome. Managers can understand how an individual fits in a team in other aspects that need not necessarily be related to a project. This enables managers to create a dynamic that communicates effectively. This further increases employee engagement in your organization and drives employee performance.

Proper training

Its easier to train your new employees when you have an idea of the kind of qualities that makes a team tick. This is in fact of the most important benefits of a good 360 degree feedback system. The data you acquire from managers, peers, subordinates or even clients can point out you towards gaps in skillsets required in your industry. Subsequently, you can tweak and adjust your training programs to suit the current trends.

Disadvantages of 360 degree appraisal

Susceptible to Dishonest reviews

This one is probably the most glaring and obvious disadvantage of 360 degree performance appraisal method. If your employees don’t trust your system, then you are likely to gather dishonest feedbacks. People will generally start giving feedback which you like to hear, which will render the feedback system useless.

Also, if employees are aware that the data could be used for performance review, they could feed false data either to downplay others or make collective arrangements for a better review.

Efficient but Slow

There is no doubt that this appraisal system is efficient, but one thing that most managers will agree upon is that it is slow. The person receiving the mail usually postpones the feedback for the later, or worse, he might even forget about it. Others who usually appreciate the importance of the feedback usually end up overthinking about the rating which further delays the appraisal.

The irony is that these are the easier or in fact the “faster” aspects of such a feedback process. The challenging part is to compile the various data and come up with a result that will satisfy all the stakeholders. A software might somewhat speed up the process, but coming up with a final decision will still remain a challenge.

Suspicious And Distrustful Environment

As the reviews submitted are generally with the authority, this creates an environment of suspicions regarding the safeguard of the data. This leads to people thinking twice before submitting the reviews.

Also, if a leader or the management fails to act upon the feedback, then employees might feel that it was a pointless exercise. This will lead to employees not taking the surveys seriously and makes a dent on the accountability of the manager. Also, it might also lead to the loss of employee engagement.

So, it is vital that when implementing a 360 degree appraisal system you act upon the data and come up with a result that satisfies everyone.


360 degree performance appraisal is useful for an organization as they provide a holistic view of the employees’ performance. It provides the views from various perspectives which leads to fair feedback of an employees’ performance.

What are your views on the 360 degree appraisal? Let us know in the comments below.

  This article is written by Iftekar Ahmed. Iftekar is working as a content and digital marketer at Vantage Circle. He is a music aficionado and loves solving puzzles.