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
- Better Feedback from Multiple Sources
- Improved Team Development and Communication
- Career Development
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.
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.
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.
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 morale and productivity.
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:
- 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, 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.
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 exploring. Download our sample survey template to start gathering important feedback on employees’ performance from managers, co-workers, peers, and subordinates.