The Downsides Of 360 Degree Feedback And How To Fix It

by Kylee Stone Jul 14,2020

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

It is that time of the year again. Many organizations have started implementing 360 degree feedback in their performance management systems. While this is a very beneficial approach and helps the management to understand various perspectives of an employee’s performance, there are also a few downsides to it.

How can you implement 360 degree feedback in your organization without having it backfired in your face? Let’s understand the downsides of 360 degree feedback first.

What Is 360 Degree Feedback Anyway?

360 degree feedback is the feedback that employees receive about their performance not only from their managers but also from colleagues, vendors, customers, etc. It is a fairly intensive type of assessment because it involves collating a lot of data, which in turn is also subjective because that is the very nature of feedback.

In traditional performance reviews, it is commonly seen that the entire feedback process is handled by the superior employee, which can sometimes be biased.

It is also a known fact that as the rank of an employee rises in an organization, he receives less information about his performance. 360 feedback offers an opportunity for both superiors and subordinates to give and receive accurate feedback, which in turn improves the superior-subordinate relationship.

360 degree feedback is said to have many advantages:

Multiple sources of feedback

It provides a well-balanced view of the behavior and skills of the employee. It helps employees to know themselves from others’ perspectives and bridges the gap between what they think of themselves and what others think of them. This feedback is constructive and more acceptable to the employees.

Also read: A 7 step guide to a 360 feedback program

Valuable insights about self

Self-awareness is one of the best qualities a leader can possess. And 360 feedback assessments feed into that. Through the lens of 360 feedback, leaders can see how they are viewed by employees whom they interact with on a daily basis, peers with whom they share an equivalent relationship and of course, any other higher-ups.

Open Culture

360 degree feedback helps in promoting a sense of an open culture in the organization where it is implemented. Every employee feels that their opinion is valued as they take part in the review of their peers and managers. The feedback process becomes the medium to share their opinions without having a fear of getting repressed.

Increases Accountability

360 degree feedback helps you understand your responsibilities and expectations and hold you accountable for them. Leaders and peers can hold their employees accountable for something in a positive and productive way by utilizing 360 degree feedback.

While all these advantages make 360 degree feedback a valuable tool for an organization to improve its productivity, there are also a few downsides to it.

It is said that a performance review is about the job someone is doing, and a 360 review is about an employee’s strengths and weaknesses and how skilled they are in handling their responsibilities.

Also Read: 4 Competencies to include in your 360 degree feedback

Here are a few disadvantages of 360 degree reviews and ways to overcome them.

Time Consuming

360 degree feedback can be really time consuming, both for the employees and the HR. And what requires more of the HR’s time and attention is preparing 360 feedback templates, distributing them, and utilizing the feedback from multiple sources to integrating that information into a comprehensive document.

Employees don’t necessarily give 360 degree review for one employee. One employee can be assigned to give 360 feedback about multiple employees. This can be a very stressful and time consuming process for employees themselves.

Engagedly’s Solution –

Using a 360 degree feedback software can be advantageous in this situation. These software are designed with in-built templates and customizable review cycles that help HRs save time and energy. 360 feedback software also help you keep track of the results easily and integrate the data into a c0mprehensive appraisal document. 

Inaccurate Feedback

Because of multiple sources of feedback, there is a possibility for inaccurate feedback. 360 degree feedback can also be given by anyone who hasn’t really worked with the employee, and this might result in inaccuracy and ineffectiveness of the feedback. If a manager completely relies on 360 feedback to assess their employee, the review could be ineffective.

Engagedly’s Solution – 

As an HR manager, it is important to understand which employees are eligible to give 360 degree feedback to a specific employee. Give the reviewers the choice to decline the 360 feedback if they feel that they aren’t eligible to give feedback to someone. Also, it is important for employees who receive 360 feedback to decide which feedback to act upon.

It is recommended to give 360 feedback which is actionable instead of mere opinions. If an employee receives multiple feedback which do not align with each other, it is important to choose to focus on the right ones with actionable plans. 

Negative Culture

Many organizations have started using 360 feedback as a measure for the annual/quarterly performance reviews. With 360 degree feedback being so important, employees cannot afford to get negative review from their peers. So, more than helping the employees improving themselves, 360 degree feedback sometimes ends up ruining the culture at workplace.

Engagedly’s Solution – 

It is important to train employees about the importance of 360 degree feedback and about the consequences of the results of feedback. Train employees to implement the 360 feedback in a positive way. Ask appropriate questions that do not trigger any sorts of negativity within the team. 

Find out more about Engagedly’s 360 feedback software by requesting for a free demo!

Engagedly is offering a suite of products part of its Remote Work Toolkit free to any organisation, until Sept 30th, 2020. 

The Coronavirus has affected the way we work today and for months to come. Unprecedented events require unprecedented measures. We at Engagedly believe it is our responsibility as socially conscious corporate citizens to help equip organisations with additional tools and resources during this time of crisis.

Get in touch with us to know more about the free remote working tool-kit. 

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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