What is 360 Degree Feedback: Benefits & Examples

| May 19, 2018

updated on June 23, 2021 at 9:10 pm

360 degree feedback

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Do you want to make people anxious at work and create chaos in your organisation? How about making your employees feel plain old uneasy and create an atmosphere of dread and despair? 

You might be thinking that we’re talking about laying half of them off, right?

Nope. We’re talking about a shabbily managed feedback system in your company. Though traditional feedback system is being used widely, it has quite distinct disadvantages.

Since there is no element of anonymity in traditional feedback system, the honest feedback is not always shared. However, when you implement 360-degree feedback in your organization, the situation seems to vary.

In 360 degree feedback, the feedback is shared not just by the reporting managers but also by your peers and others working with you. The feedback is kept anonymous so that everyone can share their response objectively.

What is 360 Degree Feedback?

360-degree feedback is a system or method whereby employees receive feedback from different entities, namely their reporting manager, peers, and direct reports. The feedback is private and anonymous. All one has to do is fill an online feedback form answering queries about their work-related competencies.

The form includes rating-based questions supplemented by a comments section wherein respondents give their feedback. Even the person about whom the feedback is given fills out a self appraisal form, wherein he or she answers the same questions as answered by the respondents.

Organisation leaders and managers use 360-degree feedback surveys to provide a safe and reliable way of understanding their strengths and weaknesses. For example, 360-degree feedback for managers provides company profits by gaining valuable insight into 360 feedback questions, leadership, teams and overall health of the organisation.

The top leaders are then able to identify what’s working and what’s not. Furthermore, the 360 feedback for employees gains an honest appraisal of their abilities and deficiencies.

Check it out now : Best HR Software for Employee Feedback Management

Why 360 Degree Feedback is Important?

360-degree feedback system allows leaders to become more self-aware and identify their blind spots or strengths that they were not aware of. Of course, it is improbable that the top management would have reached their position without having a pretty good idea about their qualities.

However, honest and reliable feedback is crucial to test one’s self-perception. Becoming self-aware is the first step towards bringing about (hopefully) a positive change in oneself.

How can 360-Degree Feedback Improve Performance?

360-degree feedback process helps employees can analyse their own performance and get to know about the view of others about their contributions to any project.

As the feedback is kept anonymous, employees get an overall idea about where they stand. There is no scope for them to hold grudges against anyone, as the entire review process is kept anonymous.

Further, the overall qualitative and quantitative performance review is based on the feedback from multiple people. This minimizes the chance of biases.

Above all, the 360 review is an ongoing process where employees can improve and deliver better. This review process makes employees accountable for their performance and encourage the idea of learning.

How 360 Degree Feedback Works?

360 degree feedback process works in an anonymous manner where an employee receives feedback from peers and their supervisors who work with them. Also, employees can fill their self-appraisal form where they get to analyse their own contributions to the company’s growth.

Based on the perspective of multiple employees, both quantitative and qualitative review is shared. As the review is not based on one person’s biases, it is likely to be fair and honest.

When is a 360-Degree Feedback System Most Useful for Companies?

360 degree feedback process is being used by organizations to assess the development needs of employees and align the support to improve their skills and behavior. However, this feedback approach gives better result when used for the overall performance review process.

Any big organization can adopt this approach to have a fair idea about the performance of an employee based on qualitative and quantitative reviews from colleagues, subordinates, supervisors, customers, etc.

Top 5 Benefits of 360-Degree Feedback for Organisations

  • Helps Increase Self-Awareness

360 feedback helps employees gain a true insight into where they stand vis-à-vis their performance. This feedback is less prone to being biased and one-sided, helping them become more aware of themselves.

  • Creates an Open Culture

Since one gets feedback from their peers, subordinates, and managers, the employee is exposed to a more open culture, leading to enhanced employee productivity among teams.

  • Empowers Leaders and Employees Both

It’s essential for employees to feel empowered that they have a voice, and they can air their concerns lest they become detached and feel the organisation does not value them.

  • Lessens Employee & Managerial Turnover

Carrying on from the above point, open and positive communication helps expose issues that may have been simmering under the surface. When employees feel important and empowered, they’re less likely to jump ship.

  • Increases Accountability

360 feedback also helps raise the accountability of the company employees. When an organisation reinforces accountability, it helps increase employee engagement and happiness.

Furthermore, if you put an employee in the driver’s seat, giving them the ownership of the task and making them accountable for it, they’re more likely to see that task through to completion.

Try Now : Best Performance Management Systems for Effective Employee Performance

How Does 360-Degree Feedback Help Organisations?

Companies typically use 360-degree feedback in two ways – firstly, as a development tool to help employees become more adept and proficient at their work by helping them identify their core strengths and weaknesses. Secondly, a performance appraisal tool to help measure and rate employee performance over the year.

360-Degree Feedback Examples

360-degree feedback has been around for a while and has been introduced and implemented in various degrees by several prominent enterprises.

Take, for instance, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Back in 2015, RBS introduced a new business strategy wherein they outlined a plan to become the world’s leading bank in delivering quality customer service, trust, and advocacy. In addition, they recognized the need for bringing about wholesale changes in their culture to help empower their employees to make their vision a reality.

RBS took steps to ensure that employee development was a continuous process rather than an annual process when employees got appraised. They put in place systems wherein employees get consistent feedback to aid in their personal growth and development.

In addition, RBS initiated a leadership programme known as ‘Determined to Lead’, which focused on encouraging a recurrent approach to feedback geared towards self-development. The purpose was to enable leaders and other employees et al. to seek feedback and improve themselves. This feedback tool was available to all employees.

Other leading organizations like Goldman Sachs, HCL Technologies, IBM, Amazon, GE and Ab Inbev have also implemented the 360 degree feedback process to create a culture of learning and growth. These organizations use this feedback process to assess the leadership skills of their team leads and the performance of employees along with suggesting ways to improve.

Tips to Consider When Conducting 360 Degree Feedback Reviews:

Certain guidelines should be adhered to while conducting 360-degree feedback helping you get the maximum bang for your buck!

  • Recognize and understand the purpose behind carrying out 360-degree feedback
  • Convey the purpose and explain the process of 360-degree feedback to your employees
  • Test 360 feedback on a pilot group
  • Keep the 360-degree feedback survey short and precise 
  • Gather the perspective of around 10-12 people for every employee. This will help supervisors to have a fair idea about the performance of their individual team members. 
  • Conduct both quantitative and qualitative survey to get objective review results
  • Self-appraisal form is important for employees to assess their strengths and weaknesses.

Conclusion

Typically, 360-degree feedback is an inclusive feedback system wherein employees at the executive, managerial, and leadership level can come together and engage in honest and open feedback.

Herein, all involved parties can identify areas where they’re excelling and where they need to put in more work, leading to overall improvement and growth among employees and leaders.

FAQs

  1. What is the purpose of 360 degree feedback?

    360 degree feedback helps in assessing the performance of an employee based on reviews and ratings from multiple people, such as, supervisors, subordinates, peers and external stakeholders.

    This type of an all-round feedback approach helps in analysing an employee’s contribution to your company’s success in a holistic manner. Also, 360 degree review process prevents any scope of biases and subjectivity in performance management.

  2. What should be included in 360 feedback?

    360 degree feedback often includes employee self-appraisal, and the qualitative and quantitative feedback from all those who are associated with an employee for tasks. Those include immediate supervisors, peers, subordinates and even the external associations.

  3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a 360 degree feedback system?

    The 360 degree review process ensures a balanced feedback based on multiple perspectives. This type of holistic review prevents any chance of biases and also highlights development areas.

    However, if the review is based on grudges from your peers, it may not serve the purpose. Also, it seems more relevant in bigger organizations where there are enough people to share feedback for every employee.

  4. What companies use 360 degree feedback?

    Most of the bigger organizations and Fortune 500 companies use 360 degree feedback process to create a process of an ongoing learning and growth.

  5. How does 360 degree feedback work?

    360 degree feedback works on pre-set criteria for different job roles, structural hierarchy and complexities of the tasks performed. For example, a supervisor would be reviewed for their people management, crisis management and leadership skills.

    However, a subordinate would be reviewed for their team work, rapport with customers, technical skills, etc.

  6. What is 360 Degree Performance Appraisal?

    360 degree performance appraisal is based on how an employee appraise themselves and how other view their contribution.

    Performance review criteria can be set on parameters like team work, internal communication, communication with external stakeholders, job accountability and the impact on company’s growth.

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