What is 360 Degree Feedback?

3 min read
360 Feedback - aka Multi-Rater Feedback - is a type of performance appraisal. Here's how it works: the person getting appraised is reviewed by someone senior to them, someone junior to them, and someone at the same level. Plus, they log a self-assessment.

Here’s a short guide to the feedback program and how it can fit into a bigger performance management process.

Breaking down the 360 Feedback process

360 Degree Feedback is a way for managers to get a fuller picture of someone’s strengths and weaknesses. Instead of a 2-way conversation, where the manager reviews the employee, this widens the lens.

For example, someone may be a superb manager whose team members adore them, but peers and senior managers don’t see much of them or have visibility of their day-to-day work. You’d get a very different idea of this person’s performance if you only spoke to one of these 3 groups.

You can do a number of things to create the best 360 Feedback survey and process:

  • Limit who a person can select to appraise them – they might only be able to select people within their department, or not be able to pick their direct manager
  • Set the questions people can answer – to keep feedback focused and constructive, you can select questions that encourage the right kind of comments
  • Have teams review each other – you could make it so that every employee has to select someone from another team they frequently work with, to get an idea of cross-functional collaboration

The 360 Feedback process – where it fits in

Running 360 Feedback surveys can form part of your overall performance management system. It can be one part of your overall effort to improve employee performance and employee experience, along with personal objectives, development plans and other feedback programs.

Your human resources (HR) department can gather the data and integrate it with other feedback systems to get a fuller picture of an employee’s performance, feeding that information back to managers and identifying development opportunities.

You can also tie your 360 feedback software into other elements of your performance management system and training offering. For example, you may see different engagement levels depending on which onboarding process someone went through; or perhaps you’ll see a link between 360 Feedback and those that have taken a specific training course, one on management maybe.

Is it a good idea to run 360 Feedback surveys?

There are pros and cons to 360 Feedback – some say it’s a great way of painting a fuller picture of an employee’s performance; others say it skews appraisals, because if a reviewer doesn’t know the person very well, their inclination is to leave positive comments.

Read more pros and cons of 360 Feedback

Best practices: 360° feedback eBook