360-Degree Feedback: What It Is and Why You Need It

360-degree feedback is a term that's thrown around while discussing employee performance management. It's a review process that's used by more than 90% of Fortune 1000 companies but many still aren't sure how and why they should consider using it.

What is 360-Degree Feedback

According to Digital HR Tech, 360-degree feedback is an instrument or tool to get employee performance ratings and feedback not only from managers, but also from subordinates, peers, customers, suppliers, and/or supervisors. It is also called multi-source feedback.

360-degree feedback is most often gathered digitally and anonymously. Tied to performance management software, it asks multi-choice and open-ended questions about an employees' communication skills, conflict resolution skills and how they work with others. This type of feedback allows for anonymous input from other team members, managers and direct reports, to give the employee an all-encompassing review of their performance.

What 360-Feedback Does for Your Business

Company culture is one of the deciding factors for why a candidate accepts a job and why your employees stay. Companies with a great culture see fewer turnovers, increased revenue and positive employees. Disengaged, catty and hostile employees can negatively affect your company culture. Using 360-degree feedback gives managers an idea of how an employee acts with their co-workers, which could be widely different how they at around their manager.

It can also be developed to solicit feedback that's linked to the company's core competencies, like teamwork, conflict resolution, communication skills and emotional intelligence that develop your workforce. With 360-degree feedback, your company is able to determine if additional team-building training is needed or more employee recognition.

Performance Reviews and Goal Setting

What 360-Degree Feedback Does for Your Employees

It's not often you get the chance to see how you're perceived by those around you. We naturally think of ourselves in a certain way and are genuinely surprised when someone disagrees with our perception. Think of it like hearing a recording of your own voice and being shocked because it sounds nothing like you. The anonymous feedback from 360-feedback offers your employees honest, balanced feedback without embarrassing them. This type of feedback can help your employees identify personal development and professional growth opportunities.

It also allows the employee to have more than just their manager to judge their behavior, eliminating any accusations of an unfair or biased assessment.

What 360-Feedback Can't Do

360-degree feedback is just one part of the feedback process. It shouldn't take the place of annual performance reviews as this 360-degree feedback doesn't rate the quality of work an employee does or how advanced their skill set is. But it does help managers and employees get a well-rounded view of how the employee is performing at the company.

When conducting 360-feedback surveys, it is a good idea to:

  • Remind employees to give honest, unbiased feedback
  • Emphasize it is completely anonymous
  • Be prepared to help the employee see beyond negative comments and focus on improving

Performance management software not only helps managers track employee performance, but also allows for 360-degree feedback that multiple stakeholders have access to, making it an integral part of your employee management process.