Providing employees with 360-degree feedback can be beneficial for organisations as well as individuals.
360-degree feedback is gathered from different members of an employee’s work circle and includes self-evaluation. Along with peers, direct reports and managers, clients, contractors and other interested parties can also be asked to give feedback.
The feedback is anonymous to encourage complete honesty and the survey asks questions on areas such as: customer focus, teamwork, communications, leadership, technical know-how and ethics.
Perception versus reality
A 360-degree review can help to improve an individual’s performance as it gives them different perspectives on how colleagues and stakeholders rate their performance. However, 360-degree feedback only provides an individual’s observations on how an employee is performing and cannot be used alone as a measure of competence.
Ideally, 360-degree reviews should be used in tandem with the traditional annual performance review between a line manager and an employee, with the outcomes used towards the employee’s self-improvement and professional development.
Before online surveys were common, 360-degree reviews were often outsourced to external companies because of the heavy administrative workload required to compile all the results. Now they are easily undertaken in-house.
How to conduct and evaluate 360 degree reviews
- Ensure that all employees know why the 360 degree survey is being carried out and don’t exclude anyone
- Assure respondents that their anonymity is guaranteed
- Create a tailored survey or feedback form
- Collect feedback from a representative group of between 10 to 20 people, making sure to include the employee’s peers, direct reports and superiors
- Ask the employee to complete their own survey for a broader view
- Ensure that respondents have been working with the employee for at least six months
- Compile and analyse feedback data and generate a summary of the data to discuss during the employee’s annual performance review
- Use the data to identify behavioural patterns and perceptions trends
- Provide positive, constructive criticism and don’t focus on negative findings as these are just individual perceptions
- Ensure that both the organisation and employee learn from the experience and that both work towards positive improvements