360 degree review

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360 degree review

What is 360 degree review?



What is a 360 degree review?


A 360 degree review – also referred to as a 360 degree appraisal – is a formal process where an employee is given feedback and inputs on their performance evaluations from a wide range of people that they work with. This feedback usually is anonymous. These can include their managers, peers, direct reports, suppliers, and even customers. The review is used as part of the wider performance management process and will typically form part of that employee’s career plan and pay review.

A 360 degree feedback typically uses both qualitative and quantitative feedback to provide a rounded picture of how that employee has performed over the relevant period. In the past, HR professionals carried out these reviews on an annual basis. However, some companies have made it a more continuous process where feedback is collected from various sources throughout the year and then used as part of the performance appraisal process at a set point during the year.


Why do companies use them?


360 degree feedback are meant to be used as an objective way of assessing the performance of individuals within a business. This formal process allows employees to receive unbiased feedback on their performance from their work colleagues, which they would typically not have access to. Feedback is often more constructive when it is anonymized. If this type of review was given too freely without proper context, it could damage relationships between staff members within a company.

The 360 degree feedback, usually made by reporting staff members (most of the time from the human resources department) is an opportunity for employees to get unbiased insight into how they are performing. Some of the benefits that may be seen include:

  • It helps managers understand how their team feels about working with them and provides some complex data on what others think of them. This may help to highlight strengths or weaknesses in particular areas.
  • As well as providing more information on an individual, it also allows managers to see trends across teams or the organization as a whole, which can help provide context on performance issues.
  • Managers can use the feedback alongside other formal processes such as performance appraisals and targets set by managers to improve performance wherever possible genuinely.

Managers are usually responsible for preparing performance development plans that include objectives that can be measured against each employee’s KPIs so there needs to be documentation of all performance issues with managers being held accountable for the appraisal process. It is also helpful in identifying potential future leaders or rising stars.


Why is it essential to use the 360-degree review in your company?


A 360 degree feedback is essential because it provides employees with an opportunity for focused feedback and input to help them develop professionally and individually. It’s otherwise rare for someone to receive so much anonymous feedback about their actions and behaviors. Feedback providers should use performance reviews for employees regularly to follow collaborators in their career development.

Performance reviews are also an opportunity for employees to learn how their direct reports feel about working with them, which can be used as part of the development plan to help them progress. Employees can also use those reviews to give actionable feedback to their employers.

In addition to this, 360 degree feedback provides the opportunity for both managers and employees to have a more objective view of an individual’s performance by collecting input from a wide variety of people. This helps managers identify any patterns in behavior or effectiveness across teams more efficiently and reduces subjectivity in performance assessment.

By allowing employees to receive and react to this feedback and linking it to the broader performance management process, you can help develop their skills and help them become more accomplished in soft and hard skills.


What are the advantages for a company of using a 360-degree review?


360 degree feedback gives individuals a broader view of their performance improvement. The fundamental one is the fact that the feedback goes beyond inputs from their direct manager. This can be helpful because it limits the biases managers may hold towards their direct reports. It’s vital in roles where a manager’s location is different from its employee and can’t see their behavior.

Other ways in which 360-degree feedback can benefit a company are:

  • By placing a greater emphasis on how employees work, rather than just whether or not they deliver their targets.
  • By promoting more vital teamwork. Individuals will make more effort to work well with others if they know other employees will be rating their performance in the future.
  • Improving employee performance. If well implemented, 360 degree feedback can help employees strengthen their performance, increasing the potential for organizational success.


How do you conduct a 360-degree review?


There are some key points to bear in mind when setting up a 360 degree feedback:

  • Collect responses from a wide range of people who have worked with the employee for at least six months. Some experts recommend a minimum of 20 people. You should aim for no lower than ten different inputs. Feedback from too few individuals makes the process less representative. 
  • Collect feedback from a full range of individuals – managers, peers, direct reports, clients, and suppliers.
  • Make it confidential. This means individuals will be more truthful, which in turn makes the process more valuable.
  • Be clear that only constructive comments are allowed.
  • Ask the employee to carry out their self-review to provide a starting point.
  • Evaluate responses before sharing with your direct report. Provide positive and constructive feedback that will help your employee grow and develop. Unhelpful criticism or praise that doesn’t carry a bold action doesn’t need to be shared and can derail the review meeting and create problems in your team.


Types of questions that are typically asked in a 360-degree review 


The questions you ask in a review process should be designed to gain feedback to help your employees progress in their careers.

Some examples of the types of questions that are commonly asked are:

  • How well does the manager communicate with their team?
  • To what extent do team members work well together?
  • How is the manager at coaching their team?
  • Is the manager open to new ideas and feedback from their team?
  • Does the manager set clear goals with their team?

The type of questions you ask will depend on the nature of your business and the individual you are reviewing.


What are the challenges of a 360-degree review?


The main challenge with performance reviews is that it takes time.

Collecting feedback from many different people can be time-consuming. You need to give employees at least two months between receiving their assessment and holding their review meeting.

There’s also an issue of confidentiality. Although it’s essential to make sure as many people as possible give feedback, you need to be careful not to share the details of other individual employees with your collaborator.

While multi-rater feedback provides a more holistic assessment of how an individual is performing, your personal development within the company should also consider potential problems.

For example, some managers may become defensive because they feel that other employees give them negative feedback for personal reasons rather than poor performance. This can result in further conflict between team members and make it difficult for people to work together. 

Another issue is asking too many questions in one review session or questions that aren’t targeted at development. This can lead to an employee feeling defensive or questioning the validity of the feedback they are receiving.


Tips for giving an effective interview


Here are some simple tips that will help you give an effective interview during a 360 degree feedback:

  • Give your employees time to prepare their self-review by telling them about the process at least one month before the meeting.
  • Make sure you schedule plenty of time for the review. The person providing feedback should allow at least 90 minutes to two hours for each person being reviewed.
  • Ask questions that will help assess how people work together and evaluate the individual’s performance and professional development needs.
  • Make sure you don’t ask specific individuals what they think of your employee because this can be unbalanced in their performance feedback.
  • Make yourself available for your team between the review meeting and the follow-up session so they can discuss any aspects of the review that are causing them stress or anxiety.
  • Keep in mind that you’ll be learning more about how an individual works when conducting a 360 degree feedback, rather than what they specifically need to do to improve themselves in the future.

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