What is 360-degree employee feedback?
Sometimes referred to as 360 reviews or 360 assessments, 360-degree employee feedback provides a holistic view of an employee by gathering feedback from an employee’s manager, peers and direct reports. Occasionally, external consultants or vendors who work regularly with the employee are included as well.
How are 360-degree reviews different from traditional performance reviews?
This multi-rater feedback differs from what most employees get in an annual performance review in several ways:
- Well-rounded look. Most performance reviews involve the employee getting feedback directly from their manager. While a manager’s perspective is invaluable, it’s inherently limited. 360-degree feedback involves feedback from many additional sources, providing a well-rounded look at an employee. After all, people may act differently around their boss than around their peers and direct reports.
- Forward-looking. While there is some debate on the role of 360s and performance reviews, a general rule of thumb is that performance reviews are evaluative and backward looking – how have employees performed in relation to their goals. In contrast, 360-degree feedback is traditionally non-evaluative and forward-looking – what are employees’ strengths and weaknesses, and what developmental steps can help them become even better.
- Broader view. Some argue that keeping 360-degree assessments non-evaluative is essential to getting honest feedback. An employee’s peers, they’ll argue, are much less likely to provide negative or even constructive feedback if they think it will negatively impact someone’s bonus or promotion potential.
Why are 360s important?
Simply put, 360-degree multi-rater assessments address important competencies and provide opportunities for managers, peers and direct reports to provide important developmental feedback that they may not otherwise share.
When it comes to measuring valuable employee skills and attributes, few things are as important or effective as 360s. They measure things like leadership, teamwork, communication, decision-making and collaboration. Given the continual demands of work, it is easy to get caught up in only looking at how well employees get their jobs done, instead of taking the longer term view to make sure they are developing into the most productive employee they can become. 360s help managers and employees look at competencies that will help make them and their organizations better.
In addition, with more and more Millennials in the workforce, providing regular feedback has never been more important. Millennials want feedback more than any other group. While providing ongoing multi-rater feedback is important, 360s provide a formalized opportunity for a holistic view of strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for development. The results should be put into action plans to give employees the tools they need to develop into better employees.
Who should get a 360 review?
Traditionally, 360s have been limited to the top leadership at a company. But the tides are shifting. Organizations are beginning to recognize the need to develop all of their employees and they’re using 360s as an integral part of their employee development plans. As previously noted, Millennials want feedback – and they don’t want to wait until they are senior managers to get it.
Technology is making it easier, faster and more affordable to deliver 360 feedback than ever before. More organizations are choosing to provide this feedback and the associated development opportunities for all of their employees, from the C-level to entry level. It goes along with the fabled conversation between the CEO and the CFO. The CFO asks, “What if we train all our people and they leave the company?” To which the CEO responds, “What if we don’t and they stay?”
360-degree employee assessments are important to organizations, managers, and employees. Managers benefit from having the opportunity to get feedback from a variety of sources which both helps them improve and allows them to help their employees learn how they can capitalize on their strengths and improve where they are weak. Employees benefit because, for the most part, they are eager to improve and want feedback. And the organization as a whole benefits because 360s foster a culture of feedback and continuous improvement that leads to a stronger, more engaged workforce.
How Qualtrics makes doing 360 assessments easy
Employee development is essential to the success of every organization. Qualtrics makes it easy for organizations get the insights they need to develop their employees.
Check out qualtrics.com/360 to learn more.