360 Degree Feedback: Definition, Benefits, Alternatives

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360 Degree Feedback: Definition, Benefits, Alternatives

360-degree feedback has proven to be a potent development tool for performance management.

First of all, what is 360-degree feedback?

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

In simpler terms, employees receive feedback from diverse raters. The raters range from managers, peers, juniors, to even clients.

Feedback is the breakfast of champions.
-Ken Blanchard

360 Evaluations In A Performance Development Plan

More and more managers within companies are opting for the 360-degree feedback.

Why? Because it's useful. A 360 feedback report offers data that highlights employees' strengths and weaknesses.

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

4 Major Benefits Of The 360 Degree Feedback System

The truth is that feedback is the future. More than 85% of all the Fortune 500 companies use the 360-degree feedback process for their overall leadership development plan.

A 360-degree feedback survey offers leaders an incredible opportunity. It allows them to give accurate and helpful feedback confidentially.

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. Whereas, 360 evaluations seeks to improve performance metrics.

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

Benefit 1: Improves Self-Awareness When Compared To Performance Review

Being self-aware is to be aware of one's strengths and weaknesses. But most often, we need a push in the right direction.

360 reviews empower deeper understanding when an employee compares their peer assessment with their own regarded evaluation of their work. 360-degree evaluations provide a balanced evaluation. It highlights their strengths, weaknesses, and improvement areas.

The peer direct report helps workers analyze their performance and take suitable steps. Thus, employees get real-time insights into their actual potential.

Benefit 2: Balanced View From Team Members

360-degree feedback is highly beneficial to the employee. The peer direct report helps give a well-rounded view of their work performance.

In this model, feedback isn't collected only from the employee's manager. It is also gathered from other managers, peers, and clients. Thus, it guarantees a fair and accurate picture of the employee's work ethic.

Benefit 3: Identifies Personal Development Opportunities

An integral part of performance management is creating regular development plans.

360-degree feedback highlights the essentials of team dynamics. Who are the team players? Which members go above and beyond? Who has leadership potential?

Such feedback results are crucial in team building. Teams develop better working relationships and improve team performance.

Similarly, the 360 feedback process gives employees ownership over their improvements.

It encourages individual accountability and control over one’s career path. Taking the central role in their development plan increases the engagement of employees.

A continuous 360 evaluations help employees to understand their problem areas. That creates a culture of taking responsibility and accountability. The employee can perform according to the areas which need further improvement.

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

Benefit 4: 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. It generally begins with a talk between the reviewer and the employee surveyed.

The reviewer gets to understand the employees’ side of the story. The employee gets a safe space to share his ideas and troubles. Such one-on-one conversations help aid:

  • A better working relationship.
  • Address important issues.
  • Two-sided communication process.
  • Builds trust and loyalty.
  • Set individual and organizational goals.

Why 360 Degree Feedback Processes Are Being Ineffective

Now here comes the ugly part.

With efficient implementation, 360-degree feedback processes can have a vital impact. Not only on employee engagement but also in professional development.

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

Disinterested bosses

Programs that do not get due attention from bosses are ineffective. The leader needs to be invested completely. Only then, other workers 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 an employee. A significant change requires time, attention, and reminders.

No strengths. Only weaknesses.

Some companies only focus on the negatives. Additionally, they disregard the positives that discovered in the feedback process. Always give the positives are aspects more significant in the case of a feedback system.

But what most leaders fail to recognize is that these mistakes are preventable.

However, with proper measures, the advantages of a 360 evaluation far outweigh its disadvantages.

Traditional Performance Feedback v/s 360 Degree Feedback

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

In traditional performance feedback, feedbacks get affected by the manager's personal judgment.

It has 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 made decisions based on the feedback.

Thus this started to affect the growth of the company.

But, in 360 reviews, every employee becomes a part of the performance appraisal system.

Also, 360-degree feedback helps in tracking an employee's development, thereby boosting employee performance. In a sense, 360 evaluations are more valid as it is from such a varied audience.

It became a primary reason why most companies opt for 360-degree feedback instead of 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 editor@vantagecircle.com