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360 Degree Feedback: A Brief Guide

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360 degree feedback has, many a time, proven to be an extremely powerful tool in an organization’s development process.

Feedback is the breakfast of champions.
-Ken Blanchard

The 360 degree feedback, also referred to as multi-rater feedback, provides an employee with performance feedback from the people who work with them.

In simpler terms, employees receive feedback from various raters. Peers, managers, subordinates or sometimes even clients.

360 Evaluations In A Development Plan

More and more managers within organizations are increasingly using 360 degree feedback.

Why? Because 360 data provides tremendous data in better understanding the strengths and weaknesses of their employees.

Effective implementation of the 360-degree feedback has shown a direct impact on organizations. This is true not only for teams but also in the work culture rising productivity levels.

No wonder that:

More than 85% of all the Fortune 500 companies use the 360 degree feedback process for their overall leadership development plan.

Pros: Benefits Of The 360 Degree Feedback

The truth is that feedback is the future. 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized.

A 360-degree feedback survey offers leaders an incredible opportunity. Leaders can give their accurate and helpful feedback in a constructive and confidential manner.

In turn, the person receiving feedback gets valuable insights into their performance. In many ways, 360 evaluations are much more useful than performance appraisal. Performance appraisal is more about monetary benefits while 360 data seeks to improve performance metrics.

With effective implementation, these are the following benefits of 360-degree feedback.

Benefit One: Improves Self-Awareness As Compared To Performance Review

Being self-aware is to be aware of one’s own interests, strengths, and weaknesses.

A 360 degree feedback provides employees with a well-rounded assessment. It includes their strengths, weaknesses and also areas for improvement. This gives the employees insight into their overall performance. Also, employees get to know how others perceive them in the organization.

Many a time we are not able to perceive our own strengths and weaknesses. 360 reviews enable deeper understanding when the employee compares their assessment from others with their own perceived assessment of their work.

Benefit Two: Balanced View From Team Members

360 degree feedback is very useful to the employee. No doubt that it provides a well-rounded view of their work performance.

In this model, feedback isn’t only given from the employee’s manager. It is also from their peers, mentors, and managers. 360 reviews provide a fair and more accurate picture of the employee’s work ethic.

Benefit Three: Identifies Personal Development Opportunities From 360 Data

An integral part of performance management is regular development plan and opportunities.

A 360 degree feedback shows how teams could keep on developing, work better together and improve their individual performance. Also, the 360 process gives employees ownership over their own improvements.

This encourages individual accountability and gives employees control over their career paths. Taking the central role in their own development also increases the engagement of employees.

A continuous 360 evaluations help to highlight the areas where an employee is lacking. This creates a culture of taking responsibility and accountability. The employee can perform according to the areas which need further improvement.

This makes it easier to convey constructive feedback. And if the employee fails to perform, he will be responsible for his poor performance.

Benefit Four: Receiving Feedback Facilitates Communication

Communication is the initial step to move from evaluation to improvement.

A self-aware attitude matched with feedback creates an opportunity for communication. This generally begins with a talk between the reviewer and the employee surveyed. Here occurs the discussion about the pros and cons of the work.

Thus, 360-degree feedback facilitates communication and deciding on improvement goals.

Why The 360 Feedback Process Might Not Work For You

Now here comes the ugly part.

With effective implementation, 360-degree feedback systems can have a significant impact. Not only on employee engagement but also on professional development.

But, sometimes leaders start expecting way more from 360 degree feedback. This is one of the main reasons why the 360 feedback process fails. Some other reasons are:

  • Disinterested bosses: Programs that do not get due attention from bosses are ineffective. The leader needs to be well invested in the feedback program. Only then, everyone in the organization will take it seriously.
  • No follow-ups: Change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. The process doesn’t end after forwarding the feedback to the concerned employee. A significant change requires time, attention and reminders.
  • No strengths only weaknesses: Some companies only focus on the negatives. And completely disregarding the positives that discovered in the feedback process. Always give the positives are aspects more significance in case of a feedback system.

But what most leaders fail to acknowledge is that these mistakes are preventable. And almost exclusively have to do with the implementation of the system.

With adequate training, the advantages of a 360 evaluations process far outweigh the disadvantages.

Traditional Performance Feedback v/s 360 Degree Feedback

Previously, only managers used to give feedbacks about or to an employee. As a result, the evaluation of an employees’ performance was rather one-sided.

In a traditional performance feedback scenario, most of the feedback get affected by the personal judgment of the manager.

This resulted in a drastic change in the quality of the feedback received. Many a time deserving employees never got appreciated for their efforts. Also, this gave a false input to management which took decisions based on the feedback.

Thus this started to affect the growth of the organization.

However, in 360 reviews, every person in the hierarchy of the organization becomes a part of the performance appraisal system.

Also, the 360 degree feedback helps in tracking the development of an employee. Thereby increasing efficiency and effectiveness within an organization. In a sense, 360 evaluations are more valid as it is from such a varied audience.

This became a primary reason why most of the organizations are opting for the 360 degree feedback as opposed to the more traditional feedback system.

This article is written by Barasha Medhi who is a content marketer at Vantage Circle.She is always on the lookout for interesting tidbits about the current HR and employee engagement space. For any related queries, contact

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