360 Degree Feedback : A Guide To Get It Right

by Kylee Stone Jul 22,2021

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

What Is 360 Degree Feedback?

Although considered to be new, but 360 degree feedback has been there for almost around 40 years! 85% of all the Fortune 500 companies use it as a building block for their leadership development process (Source: Forbes). Global organizations such as PepsiCo, IBM, GE, Amazon, etc.

360 degree feedback is a type of feedback wherein employees receive performance feedback not only from their managers but also from colleagues, vendors, customers, etc. It is an intensive type of assessment which involves collating a lot of data and is subjective in nature. There are numerous effective software available in the market with the multirater module that can help you conduct them with great ease.

6 Tips To Get 360 Degree Feedback Right

Do It With A Purpose In Mind

One of the biggest mistakes that organizations make regarding 360 degree feedback is not having a clear purpose in mind. Don’t do it because it is the ‘in’ thing to do, instead, do it if you actually believe in it. An important question to ask yourself before running a 360 degree feedback is what do you hope to achieve?

More information about employees? Accurate feedback from a variety of sources? A structured feedback process, etc.

Once the purpose of the process is clear, it will be easier to have a successful 360 degree feedback.

Also Read: 5 Benefits of Employee Recognition Software

Set Guidelines For The Process

Giving feedback during a 360 degree feedback quickly becomes a vague activity if there are no rules beforehand.

Before you invite employees to participate in the process, share a set of feedback guidelines with everyone who is taking part. That way, they know what to say, what they shouldn’t say, how they should frame the feedback, what phrases they should avoid, etc.

Controlling how feedback is shared (not necessarily dictating the terms of what one has to say) goes a long way towards ensuring that the 360 review process smoothly.

Practice Constructive Feedback

The main aim of a 360 degree feedback is to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each employee, and work towards a wholesome growth, professionally and well as individually. So criticisms are definitely an integral part of them. Only worry is, criticism is one of the places where performance reviews tend to go horribly wrong. An employee is entitled to their opinion but before you begin the process, lay down the ground rules for what counts as fair criticism and what does not. For example:

  • Good criticism: Mark is not very punctual to work. However, I have noticed that he completes all of his assigned tasks on time.
  • Bad criticism: Mark is not punctual and spends a lot of time in the office doing nothing.

If you look at the first example, you will see that while Mark’s tardiness does not please the reviewer in question, he or she notes that Mark is dedicated and works efficiently. The criticism has some value to offer. The second example offers no information except for what seems to be a malicious observation. Mark does not have much to learn from it.

So train your employees and managers in such a way that they practice giving constructive feedback only. That is one of the most important things you need to keep in mind when carrying out performance reviews.

Also Read: 7 Video Conferencing Etiquettes For You To Follow

Ensure Confidentiality

Confidentiality is not the same as anonymity. If participants of a 360 degree feedback are not sure of how confidential their feedback is going to be or have previously been subjected to a breach of confidentiality, then naturally the results of the program will be skewed. You will get feedback that is tempered or diplomatic because quite naturally, employees are fearful about being pulled-up for the feedback they have shared.

If you want a 360 degree feedback to run smoothly, ensure that the participants’ feedback will remain confidential.

And more importantly, that you need to make that bit of information expressly clear to them.

Make It A Regular Process

360 degree feedback is not that impactful if they are not done frequently. Reviewing your employee less frequently makes them think that their work doesn’t need any improvement, and the organization is happy with their current working style.

When a 360 degree performance review finally happens, your employees might be astonished to find that everything is not alright. This usually leads to disengagement. If you decide that you are going to have a performance review yearly or quarterly etc, then do make sure that you have been having frequent reviews until then.

Also Read: Crucial Conversations: Strengthen Relationships and Contribute Better

Develop An Action Plan

When employees hear that 360 degree feedback is going to happen, they expect there to be some changes after the program is done. 

There is no point in carrying out a 360 degree feedback if there is no follow-up action plan after the program. It simply becomes a useless exercise. Before the program begins, state how you expect to tackle potential problems or blind spots. And once the program is done, take action and invite employees to participate in offering solutions as well. Guide them on how to overcome the problems.

Want to know how Engagedly can help you with 360 degree feedback? Request for a demo.

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Kylee Stone

Kylee Stone supports the professional services team as a CX intern and psychology SME. She leverages her innate creativity with extensive background in psychology to support client experience and organizational functions. Kylee is completing her master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational psychology at the University of Missouri Science and Technology emphasizing in Applied workplace psychology and Statistical Methods.

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