Advantages and Disadvantages of 360 Degree Feedback

In HR there are all types of feedback - formal, informal, positive, negative and 360-degree. They all serve a purpose to inform an employee of his or her job performance. The biggest difference between 360-degree feedback and the rest is 360-degree feedback is given by more than just a manager. Co-workers, direct reports, customers and even CEOs anonymously give their input to give the employee an idea of how their performance is viewed by others. Think of it as getting feedback from all sides or 360 degrees around you. So why should your HR department use it?

Advantages of Using 360-Degree Feedback

360-feedback is a useful tool to give employees, and managers, a well-rounded view of how an employee works with others and other performance indicators.

  • Encouraging Team Development: The 360-degree feedback approach can help teams work together more effectively. Teams of employees depend upon each other to get tasks completed. They know better than anyone else who is, and who isn't, pulling their weight. Using 360-degree feedback helps employees hold each other accountable and may improve communication.
  • Eliminating Biased Judgement: Because more than just a manager provides feedback, any accusations of unfair or biased feedback from an employee's manager are eliminated. The reality is some co-workers don't get along, whether it's between manager and employee or employee-to-employee, and having multiple opinions about behavior helps the decision-making process come time for promotion or dismissal.
  • Improving Professional Development: This type of feedback allows employees to take control of their own professional development and do something that helps them improve. Positive 360-degree feedback can propel employees to improve in areas their co-workers find lacking. No one wants to hear how they're lacking at their job but done correctly, 360-degree feedback can not only push an employee to improve but in some cases shine a light on areas an employee didn't know was a weakness.

Performance Reviews and Goal Setting

What You Need to Consider with 360-Degree Feedback

While 360-degree feedback certainly has its advantages, for it to work properly, it must be properly executed.

  • Work out the particulars beforehand: The feedback needs to be given anonymously and questions should be well thought-out before given to staff. The Balance Careers suggests asking direct questions with yes or no answers along with an opportunity to elaborate to keep data concise. The questions should refer to an employee's leadership skills, interpersonal skills, the ability to problem-solve, motivation and efficiency.
  • Ask participants to give honest, objective feedback: A 360-degree feedback process is not the time to air grudges. Participants should be aware that while all comments may not be positive, they should be constructive.
  • Don't rely solely on 360-degree feedback: This type of feedback should only play a part in the review process. Problems can arise if this type of feedback is solely used for promotions or dismissal as only a direct manager is qualified to review how well an employee does his or her job.
  • The process can be a lot of work if it isn't automated: A typical performance review, between an employee and manager, requires a lot of work. With 360-degree feedback, the amount of feedback to sort through increases from two participants to possibly eight. A great performance management system should be able to automate this process, so it works as smoothly and efficiently as a one-on-one review.

BirdDogHR's Performance Management software helps managers track employee performance, including an integrated 360-degree feedback option, giving managers a better understanding of their employees' strengths and weaknesses. See a demo.