A comprehensive guide to 360-degree feedback

Streamline your performance review and feedback process with 360-degree feedback. Learn the art of 360-degree evaluation and 360-degree appraisal.


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What is a 360 Degree Feedback?

360-degree feedback is a process designed to anonymously receive feedback about an employee from their immediate manager(s), peers, colleagues who are working closely with him/her. Also, the employee being reviewed gives feedback to self and these feedbacks are then compared to find similarities and differences.

360-degree feedback is a completely different process to traditional performance review. Performance management is another aspect that is usually referred to when we talk about employee feedback. However, 360-degree feedback is a more comprehensive mechanism and hence, gaining extreme popularity in organizations.

Since it is done anonymously, it can be an awesome way to find out the blind spots, more like SWOT analysis, where the strengths and weaknesses are identified and worked on areas of improvement to see immediate better results. And that’s the entire purpose of 360-degree feedback is to help the employee(s) learn things about themselves that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

In this article, we will take a deep dive into other related processes like 360-degree evaluation and 360 appraisals at a later stage. But first, let us understand the goals of 360-degree feedback.

The Goal Of 360-degree Feedback

Leadership, communication, a drive for results, commitment and teamwork; these pillars of a great team can only emerge when employees begin to set their own benchmark and help each other reach it!

Below are six popular goals of 360-degree feedback:

  1. It lets peers, seniors, managers, and supervisors rate an employee based on key performance indicators.
  2. It informs an employee about the team’s core competencies.
  3. It is a form of evaluation that notifies an employee about areas of improvement and rewards their strengths.
  4. It offers an employee his/her peer’s perspective on their approachability and soft skills.
  5. It offers insight on performance to a coworker which is relevant to the team.
  6. It assists a team member to uncover blind spots in their performance.

Reasons Not To Ignore 360-degree Feedback

360-degree feedback offers employee assessment from multiple sources working within the organization. It promotes an open and proactive work culture.

Ignore these seven benefits of 360-degree employee feedback at your own risk:

  1. As evaluation is offered by peers, managers, subordinates and reporting staff it delivers multi-rating feedback.
  2. It makes employees become self-aware and aspirational in their pursuit of improvement.
  3. It highlights strengths and rewards it while offering constructive feedback on weaknesses.
  4. It boosts the collective confidence of a team and builds team morale.
  5. It promotes inclusiveness and transparency within an organization.
  6. It empowers employees within the hierarchy and encourages participation.
  7. As it offers multi-point feedback, it does away with the ‘he said-she said’ defensive knee jerk, usually associated with the top-down management style of feedback.

360-Degree Evaluation- What to watch for

To grow personally and professionally, it is important we receive periodic feedback and evaluations. 360-degree evaluation is a constructive process that lets an individual evaluate himself/herself constructively.

Organizations often use this popular method of evaluation to improve employee performance. When done right this process can shed light on the areas of improvement and a probable solution to speed up the process. Here are some of the attributes you need to watch out for if you're wanting to conduct a 360-degree evaluation:

  1. Define your purpose: This process should be conducted or implemented when you mean no harm to your employees. This is not a process to glorify their mistakes or shortcomings, let’s be honest, nobody is perfect. If you ever find yourself in this position, question the purpose of the process. If the intention and purpose is to help your workforce perform better, this process can do wonders.
  2. Keep it completely anonymous: Whatever the feedback is always keep it anonymous else the entire purpose of conducting the feedback is defeated. If this process is not kept anonymous feedback will not be honest. On the other hand, if you are giving feedback you would want to mix and strike a balance between being constructive and cautious.
  3. Keep the data confidential: Once you have collected the responses, keep it confidential and not expose the details of the respondents and who has responded or rated in what ways. You will need to pick the strengths and weaknesses of the individual and have a detailed discussion around that. One simple way of doing this- construct the right survey questions. Without confidentiality, reviewers may provide less genuine feedback and those being evaluated may not take the process seriously!
  4. Constant follow-up: A well-implemented 360 program will offer you great benefits. This is a wonderful opportunity, make the most of this opportunity. Most organizations still feel that the traditional review process serves their purpose, however, they are clearly missing out on something their competitors are mastering- a better review process. Keep a constant follow-up with the managers and their team members about the implementation of the solution drawn from the review process.

360-Degree Performance Appraisal

The 360-degree performance appraisal system is an advanced performance appraisal system which is used in many organizations in place of traditional performance reviews. In the traditional process, it’s the manager’s word against the employee. But 360-degree performance review is a more robust process that involves a minimum of 7 to 12 people reviewing an employee for his/her appraisal.

The people involved in the process are obviously the ones who are working directly with the employee and who can easily identify the strengths and weaknesses of the employee being reviewed. The employee also participates in the review and this makes the process transparent and fair.

There are 3 important reasons why organizations prefer 360-degree performance appraisal:

  1. To get a fresh perspective on an employees performance, thus, identifying future leaders.
  2. To deep dive into human resources development and it's need.
  3. To get a fair and transparent process rolling, to establish the importance of every employee in the organization.

360-Degree Performance Appraisal Process

Every organization may have their take on 360- degree performance review. However, there are some steps that are common while conducting the process. Experts in the subject matter claim, if the process if followed in a holistic manner, makes employees more comfortable with the organization and are open to constructive feedback.

Following are the steps to conduct 360-degree performance appraisal:

  1. Effectively communicating the process: It is important that everyone involved in the process know the process correctly. For this, the process needs to be communicated with the utmost transparency. The purpose and objective of the process should be clearly mentioned. Also, the process through which the feedback will be collected and utilized should be clearly communicated, with no hidden agenda.
  2. Development needs of an employee: An organization where effective communication is given importance is able to understand the developmental needs of its employees. Developmental needs could be as simple as getting trained for a new tool or software, but at times it is essential.
  3. Reviewers: The selection of reviewers is one of the most important steps in this process. It is important relevant people are selected to review particular people as they would know the ability of an individual to work and perform. The number of reviewers will depend on an employees job profile. The reviewers will generally include supervisors, managers, peers, subordinates, etc.
  4. Deploying the survey: A 360-degree feedback survey is an amazing tool to receive unbiased responses. As an organization, your aim should be a quicker deployment of the survey and the survey should be open to responses only for a limited period of time. If the timelines in this process are not followed, then it no longer remains comprehensive and you might want to avoid that negligence.
  5. Creating a report: Once the review is completed it’s time to create an in-depth report for the responses received. QuestionPro Workforce is a software platform that excels in end-to-end 360-degree feedback software- survey and reports. With our platform, you can create and deploy surveys in under five minutes and can obtain detailed reports through comprehensive analytics. You can also download and share reports in multiple formats like Excel sheets, PDF format, PPT, etc.
  6. Coming up with a development plan: Once the report is obtained a development plan should be created for each participant individually. Remember this process enables individual growth and development keeping the greater goal in mind- organizational development. It is essential that the improvement plan is based on an individual’s capabilities. This for sure will yield better results.

360-Degree Feedback Software-QuestionPro Workforce

Creating and deploying a survey is a matter of minutes with QuestionPro Workforce. All you will need to do is follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Login to your QuestionPro account >> Workforce


Step 2: Create a new study


Step 3: Click on GrowXo/360-degree feedback survey


Step 4: Choose from the pre-defined frameworks


Step 5: Once your survey is ready it is ready for deployment