Getting 360 Degree Reviews Right

by Kylee Stone Jan 12,2019

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

360 degree reviews when done well can render insightful results and improve overall employee engagement as it allows for comprehensive feedback and not just managers feedback.

But, more often than not managers and HR administrators who attempt to administer it get bogged down by its various aspects and tend to complicate the approach rendering it useless.

An important thing to remember is what the 360 degree review was intended for, to begin with. Most 360 feedback programs are used for self-development and to help employees know more about themselves.

What 360 degree reviews should not be used for is measuring progress. Measuring employee progress is something that can only be achieved by the performance review process.

That being said, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you get the 360 degree performance appraisal process right.

Have A Clear Purpose

One of the biggest mistakes that organizations make with respect to 360 degree programs is not having a clear purpose. Organizations tend to carry out 360-degree programs because it is the ‘in’ thing to do, not because they actually need to carry out a program. An important question to ask yourself before running a 360 degree review 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 360 review process that is actually successful as well.

Ensure Confidentiality of Information

Confidentiality is not the same as anonymity. If participants of a 360-degree review process 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 program to run smoothly, then you need to ensure that the participants’ feedback will remain confidential.

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

Set Parameters for Feedback

The process of giving feedback during a 360 degree review process can very quickly become a vague activity if you don’t establish a few rules beforehand.

Before you invite employees to participate in the process, share a set of feedback guidelines with everyone who is participating. 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.

Plan of Action After the Program

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 program if there is no follow-up action plan after the program. It simply becomes a moot 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.

If you want to get 360 degree reviews right at your organization, Engagedly can help you. Click on the link below to request a live 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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