Many companies avoid conducting a 360-degree employee evaluation because of its complexity. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about 360-degree feedback, which is unfortunate, because it can be a powerful tool for people to improve their performance, particularly at the higher levels in an organization. Let’s get a quick check-in on understanding, then review 4 practical ways your business can benefit from 360-degree feedback.
What is 360-degree feedback?
Whether you’re using a 360-feedback tool or organizing your own 360 feedback survey, the basic goal is the same: Collect feedback on an employee’s performance by gathering insights from multiple team members who interact with this employee. This usually includes the employee’s manager, any direct reports, and peers. In most cases, the employee also completes a feedback form. Because all participants are responding to the same set of questions, a report allows the employee to see where his or her own perceptions differ from the perceptions of colleagues. A 360-degree survey is organized around key goal areas, asking participants to provide responses on a rating scale as well as in open-ended responses. Responses to 360-degree appraisals should always be completely confidential or even totally anonymous.
What are the benefits of 360-degree feedback?
- Opens the Channels of Communication
Adopting the 360-degree feedback practice allows employees in the company to comment on each other’s work. This opens an environment rich in communication and allows problems to be addressed and resolved. Companies and organizations that communicate effectively are many times more likely to retain the best employees.
- Better Feedback from Multiple Sources
Receiving feedback from peers, supervisors and oneself proves to be more beneficial compared to receiving feedback from one individual. Employees receive feedback more frequently, and peer feedback (and feedback from direct reports) is just as beneficial as feedback received from superiors.
- Improved Team Development and Communication
Team members that give each other feedback create a sense of accountability, and team communication is important, with 33% of employees saying a lack of open, honest communication has the most negative impact on employee morale.
- Career Development
360 appraisals provide employees with valuable feedback about what they need to do to further their careers (98% of employees will fail to engage when they are given little to no feedback). With a 360 process, an employee is given multiple opportunities to learn what they are doing well and what needs improving.
Ready to go 360?
- 360-Degree Feedback and Leadership
360-degree feedback is powerful because it helps leaders align themselves with the requisite competencies for success: continuous learning, authentic team-playing, and personal awareness. Seeing themselves as others see them, leaders spot and ways of improving productivity. Often insulated by their positions, they discover truths that others lack the courage to tell them in person. The results include improvements in how they interact with their people and increases in employee engagement, morale, and productivity. If you are not sure what to ask for the most insightful data, you can look at 100 useful phrases you can include in your 360-feedback surveys!
- Finding the Right Tool
Because today’s 360s require minimal technical skills, the project organizer can set up a survey quickly from a desktop computer. Responders reply via the Internet from work or home—a big advantage for those with little privacy at work. But like any tool, it must be implemented by capable, trained professionals.
Immediately after the last reply has been submitted, the organizer can print out a detailed report. That means as little as a week between the initial design of the survey and compiling the final reports. Users appreciate the ease of set-up and customizing questionnaires; they also like the fast turn-around that provides an immediate return on investment.
Keep In Mind: 360-Degree Feedback is Not a Performance Review
A 360 review is primarily for the benefit of the employee being reviewed, but it should not take the place of regular performance reviews or feedback. If a manager has specific performance issues with an employee, they should discuss those issues immediately and candidly. Additionally:
- A 360-degree appraisal is not a way to measure performance objectives
- It is not a way to determine whether an employee is meeting basic job requirements
- 360 feedback is not focused on basic technical or job-specific skills
When carefully implemented, 360-degree performance appraisals give leaders a refreshing lift— improving morale, contributing to productivity, and increasing the organization’s competitive advantage. To avoid mistakes, managers must have a clear vision of implementing the process and the person who analyzes the results must have the experience to interpret the feedback accurately. Beyond that, the analyzer must keep in mind everyone responds differently in different situations.
What are the four parts of 360-degree feedback?
The 4 parts, or steps if you prefer, of a 360-degree performance appraisal (another name for 360-degree feedback), go like this:
- Select your group – decide whom you want to get feedback from and why. Is this going to be peer-to-peer, manager-to-subordinate, departmental, or everyone? Deciding which group will help you build focus into the feedback. The variety you can find in group selection is a major advantage of 360 degree feedback (as it’s also sometimes called).
- Have reviews complete 360-degree evaluation – your group will need data (feedback) to learn from and use to make action plans to move forward. Make sure you think about ways to boost participation rates to have as much clean, accurate data as you can.
- Use powerful software with deep analytics – you’re going to want to go with software, like Sogolytics, that can help you make sense of the data with Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Sentiment Analysis, for example, to help your reviewees gain invaluable insights from the 360-degree feedback.
- Meet to close the feedback loop – have time for your reviewees to be able to review their results, be it with their supervisors or HR personnel. This is an important step to help internalize the information presented, work through improvements if needed, and highlight strengths.
How do you give good 360 feedback?
Honest feedback is the best 360 feedback you can give. One of the benefits of 360-degree feedback is it’s for progression and improvement. You want the person you’re giving feedback to get better. If you keep that in mind, you’ll do great!
What is a 360-degree evaluation review?
A 360-degree evaluation is often confused or used interchangeably with performance evaluations. To take the pressure off employees, understanding that the 360-degree evaluation is more about introspection and improvement for the employees themselves and not performance or promotion opportunities is necessary. You use a 360-degree evaluation to gather feedback from multiple sources—peers, managers, leadership, and subordinates—to find areas of improvement and strengths. While it can also have questions about performance, it does not have the same intention as direct performance evaluations.
Sogolytics’s 360-degree survey templates are completely customizable to meet your needs.
So, if you’re ready to gain 360-degree insight into individual and team performance, sign up for a free trial account and start gathering important feedback on employees’ performance from managers, co-workers, peers, and subordinates.