Inside the crazy world of 360 Degree Feedback

employee 360 degree review

As leaders search for ways to build healthy office cultures and high productivity among their employees, most are missing a pretty basic point: how their employees respond to performance stress.

To fasten the development of your employees, you can choose from a variety of solutions available in the market. However, for improvement of overall employee performance, adopting a 360 degree feedback process instead of a traditional one is a great way to start.

What is 360 degree feedback?

Surveys were used for the first time in the 1950s to fetch information on employee performance. The Esso Research and Engineering Company did this, and it led to a big push for the adoption of 360 degree feedback. By the 1990s, the majority of the HRs and development professionals at organizations knew about this concept of reviews and started using it frequently in their work life.

Modern organizations are focusing on setting up competencies and laying a roadmap for goal alignment (individual goal, team goal, organization goal). It is a good start, but everyone wants to know ‘How he/she is doing right now?’

Among the workforce are the ‘Hippo’ employees who get their hands dirty by working on different fronts in the office every single day. Sometimes this work is accounted for, whereas other times it’s not.

Instances of employees not getting full credit and recognition for their hard work can have a significant impact on the performance.

To solve this challenge, organizations use surveys to gather 360-degree feedback from people all around the organization. The 360-degree feedback system is multi-dimensional. An employee can receive feedback from every possible angle and direction.

The possible participants

participants of 360 degree feedback

Anyone who’s ever worked with the said person can participate anonymously in the review process. It allows people to share their opinion for a well-rounded view of the individual.

Mostly, when we hear 360-degree feedback, we think of peer assessment. While that is a vital part, a successful 360 degree feedback definition includes other elements like perspectives, coworker inputs, and self-assessment as well.

What’s the point of having 360 Degree Reviews?

To take employee productivity to the next level, organizations need to listen. Listen to their employees not once a year, rather every day/week/month.

Give employees a meaningful opportunity to learn about their strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement through 360 degree review.

They matter because people are tired. They are tired of receiving vague feedback that too once a year and only from the manager.

For example, ‘Raj is a Rockstar!’

This statement is the kind of review that doesn’t give you any useful information, and you really think Raj brings a guitar to work and plays it continuously. Hell Noooooo!

That’s why 360 degree review process is important because it combine all the stakeholders regularly to provide crystal clear feedback to people like Raj. When specifics are highlighted, people tend to understand better and work on their progress quickly.

Difference Between Traditional Performance Appraisal and 360 Degree Reviews

Performance appraisals are one dimensional. They mostly happen quarterly (every 3 months) or yearly (every 12 months) and focus on one aspect: results.

Still thinking about what is 360 degree review?

The 360 degree process as we’ve explained is much more continuous than that and focuses on the development of employees. It’s relevant and therefore organizations are looking to drop traditional appraisals in favor of a 360 degree review system.

The differences between the two:

Goals & Results

Performance appraisals are about pre-set objectives and the final results. 360- degree feedback is about the process and development of employees.

Follow-ups

A key part of the 360 degree feedback process is constant follow-ups between the stakeholders. If performance isn’t up to the mark during a certain week, instant discussions can happen and plans can be laid to improve on it.

Confidentiality

360 degree reviews allow all participants to provide feedback anonymously. This is done to remove bias and hesitation towards speaking the truth. Performance appraisals are straightforward and generally messy and biased.

As you can see, you can’t replace one with the other because both have a slightly different purpose.

Advantages of 360 Degree Performance Reviews

  • Builds a close-knitted culture: Because the feedback is from sides (managers, peers, supervisors, etc.) there is going to be a lot of communication between everyone to keep the development process up and running. This communication from different sources is going to be full of different perspectives, which means total feedback.
  • Development Opportunities: Continuous feedback from different people will help individuals to sort their shortcomings in the least time possible.
  • Core Competencies: Every organization has a different set of competencies to identify the kind of behavior they like to reward. 360 degree reviews help to set up standards for behaviors, interactions, and performance. Because the process is regular, it helps the organization to reach the next level.
  • Self-awareness: When people regularly get positive feedback, they are surprised because they aren’t used to it. 360 degree feedback identifies the good things, recognizes efforts by individuals, and highlights areas of improvement. Most employees love it as it develops self-awareness of ‘Where exactly they stand?’
  • Better Engagement: Regular feedback means more action on progress. More action leads to more interaction between the workforce.
  • Focus on the path, not the results: It’s better to focus on doing things the right way, the results will anyways follow.
  • Great for Large Teams: This type of feedback works like magic for teams with many individuals that work with several other people at a given point in time.
  • Career Development: Remember when the new employee joined and you asked, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”- individual goals can be better tracked via 360 degree evaluation and promotes employee development in the best way possible.

Pitfalls to Avoid

  • Don’t Give Conflicting Feedback: So many people are involved, and they might all give different feedback. There is no way to know which is more accurate. So, it’s better to give honest feedback.
  • Stop Showing Lack of Interest: Having too many people in the process might lead to a lack of interest from the leaders at the top. The truth is their feedback matters the most, and every employee deserves it.
  • Don’t Implement on Small Teams: This feedback becomes less effective for small teams as there are fewer sources to contribute to the evaluation.
  • Don’t Ask Vague Questions: 360 degree feedback questionnaires are designed by organizations according to their needs. A questionnaire full of vague questions will lead to ineffective feedback leading to no help for the development process.
  • Tell the Truth: Reviews might be anonymous but people still feel scared to write negative things about people that can change the course of their career at a particular organization. There is no way to know how honest the feedback is, and that’s a challenge.
  • Solve The rating scale problem: Reviewers stay away from giving full ratings because they think that it makes a person look perfect. Everyone has a different view towards the rating scale, so the final feedback can be incorrect at certain times.
  • Show Involvement: For 360-degree feedback to work, everyone involved has to engage and do their part. If a part of the team isn’t giving feedback on time, then the process loses its value and effectiveness.

Do This Before You Start Planning for 360 Degree Reviews

Pros and Cons can be daunting to compare. Now that you are aware of them, we want to help you out the right way in case you’re starting with implementing a system of 360-degree reviews at your organization. Because without prior planning, the process is destined to fail.

Understand your organization

Spend time on understanding the history, background, and work pattern of your company. Make sure the workforce has spent significant time with each other (preferably 18 months or more) before you introduce them to the 360 degree feedback process.

The key thing is to establish trust, loyalty, maturity, and commitment among the team before you are encouraged to participate in an activity like this one.

Set the right structure

Employees are already tired of the bias in most of the processes at workplaces. In case you are just getting started, your employees will fear 360-degree reviews. Some of them might not even know what they have to do. It’s your job as the leader to remove that fear and set the process in place.

Clear the doubts and let them know that this process is for their development. The entire process is anonymous, and the focus will be on competencies and behavior. The feedback generated will allow the team to assign action plans for the future with ease.

Remove the bias

To maintain fairness in the process and for the employees to trust the process, you need to agree upon a number of raters beforehand to protect anonymity. The usual number is 5 raters across a group, but feel free to decide the number based on your requirement and availability.

Set questions that will give you the desired results instead of data that you can use. Short and direct surveys are a great way to start. It will help everyone to believe that they are being rated honestly.

Create a positive culture

Unlike traditional reviews, 360 degree reviews aren’t focused on the final results or performance-based upon end goals. So, focus on creating a positive culture in your workplace. It promotes transparency and self-awareness among the people at your organization.

Ultimately the purpose of 360 degree feedback is to collect data on employee behavior, growth, and competencies. Data you are gonna collect a lot.

Leverage this data. How?

Check if the feedback is consistent. Multiple sources are giving it, so you do want to regularly check this data to get a holistic view of things. For example, if an employee receives a particular type of negative feedback regularly, then that issue needs to be addressed.

Out of the blue, at times, you might receive feedback that you weren’t expecting. Be open and accept that it’s the right feedback for the development of your employees and organization.

Lastly, remember although 360 degree feedback is multi-sourced, it’s not meant for employee comparison. Use the data to grow, not show everyone better than whom. Instead, use it to create an action plan for the development of your employees.

360 Degree Feedback Example

You’ve been looking for this, haven’t you? Well, here’s an example:

Situation- A coworker helps you or other employees

To start, this is absolutely great. A true definition of what teamwork looks like in the modern world. In any good team, not everyone is doing a great job every second. It becomes paramount that everyone is eager to help teammates who’re in dire need of help. Encouraging this good behavior is the key.

Whenever you notice that a teammate took extra efforts to help someone, recognize and point it out. For example, this is what you can write in your 360 degree review:

“Raj, you are awesome! Thank you for helping Simran with her article the other day. You made her feel she belongs to a real team. Your efforts are appreciated, and you’re an integral part of the team.”

That’s all. Your teammate will love this kind of feedback.

360 degree feedback Questionnaires

Before we see a sample, let’s understand ‘what to ask in your questionnaires and why?’

Asking the right questions requires an understanding of what questions are required, and what will be the course of action once you receive the answers for those questions.

The way the questions are asked and the answers are organized in the form of data will have an immediate impact on your feedback process. In fact, it will decide the fate of 360 degree reviews in your organization.

The questions are primarily built around competencies, skills, and behavior. Questions can be prepared depending upon the needs of the person/team being reviewed and also the relationship the person/team has with the reviewers.

The methods of answering can involve rating scales to bring together both qualitative and quantitative forms of assessment instead of only objective assessment.

Every organization has a distinct culture, characteristics, and a wide variety of needs. You need to understand what fits your organization and act accordingly to design your feedback process.

If done, well 360 degree feedback can change the path of growth of the employees at any place.

Goals, competence, Questionnaire in feedback

How Keka Can Help

Keka is the one-stop solution for all your 360 degree evaluation needs. Here’s why:

Streamline everything

With Keka, set up reviews across roles, bands, and departments with simplicity. The UI is easy to understand, employees can nominate their peers or managers for feedback, there are a lot of sample questionnaires to choose from, and rich analytics provide you accurate data instantly.

Keka 360 degree feedback

Push notifications

With Keka, you don’t have to spend your time remembering WHEN to give feedback. Our push notification will help managers and peers to provide feedback on time.

Analytics

Not just the time, you don’t even have to manage or collect excel files, responses, or anything related to the feedback process. Keka will automatically do it for you on a bird’s eye view dashboard that you can access anytime you want. The cherry on the top, this data is 100% accurate.

HR analytics screen of Keka
Succession planning

Your best-performing employees will one day leave or retire. Your new employees who try to improve constantly are the first ones in line to be the next leaders. Keka’s holistic approach allows you to identify shortcomings and helps you close the gaps, so talented individuals develop skills, company knowledge, and a holistic understanding of the organization.

However, it’s not only the above features but the action-oriented approach that Keka takes towards employee feedback that makes it unique.

  • Flexible and highly scalable
  • Performance management is the primary focus
  • Support is always available
  • Ownership is easy to assign
  • User experience takes the front seat
  • Employee development is given utmost attention
  • The right type of content with sample questionnaire and surveys
  • Keka understands your goals and needs

Learn more about Keka’s 360 degree feedback platform or directly get in touch for a Free demo, and we will support you in the best way possible.

Contributing Author
Keka Editorial Team

A bunch of inspired, creative and ambitious youngsters- that’s Keka’s editorial team for you. We have a thirst to learn new subjects and curate diverse pieces for our readers. Our deep understanding and knowledge of Human Resources has enabled us to answer almost every question pertaining to this department. If not seen finding ways to simplify the HR world, they can be found striking conversations with anyone and everyone , petting dogs, obsessing over gadgets, or baking cakes.