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What Is a 360 Review?
Definition and Examples of a 360 Review
What Is the 360 Review Process?
How does a 360 review work, pros and cons of a 360 review, frequently asked questions (faqs).
Jon Feingersh / Getty Images
The 360 review is a professional feedback opportunity that enables a group of coworkers and managers to provide feedback about a fellow employee’s performance. Unlike a typical employee performance review in which an employee's work performance is evaluated by only their manager, a 360 review takes into account feedback from peers and reporting staff—even customers and other people who interact with the employee.
In a 360 review, feedback about an employee's performance, skills, and contributions is solicited and then shared with the employee.
Coworkers who participate in the 360 reviews usually include theemployee's manager, several peer staff members, reporting staff members, and functional managers from the organization with whom the employee works regularly.
The term is called a "360 review" because performance feedback is solicited from all directions in the organization. The objective of the feedback is to give the employee the opportunity to understand how their work is viewed in the total organization by coworkers in any position.
The 360 review tends to focus more on how the employee affected the work of other employees than on whether the work was accomplished, which is the goal of a typical performance review. In those reviews, the manager may seek additional informal, often verbal, feedback from other employees, especially managers, about the employee's performance, but that's different from a formal 360 review.
The 360 review focuses directly on skills and the contributions that an employee makes. The goal of the feedback is to provide a balanced view to an employee of how others view their work contribution and performance in areas such as leadership , teamwork, interpersonal communication and interaction, management, contribution, work habits, accountability, and vision, depending on the employee's job.
The review allows coworkers to assess the employee’s impact on furthering their goals, objective accomplishments, and positive customer results as observed by team members.
- Alternate names : 360 feedback, peer feedback, multi-directional feedback
Organizations use a variety of methods to seek 360 feedback about employees, depending on the culture and climate of the organization.
In many organizations that use 360 reviews, the manager asks for and receives the feedback. The manager then analyzes the feedback looking for patterns of behavior to note as well as positive and constructive feedback.
The goal is to provide the employee with the key and important points without overwhelming them with too much feedback data. Often the manager has sought feedback in response to specific questions so the feedback is easier to organize and share.
Some organizations use instruments that tally results electronically and give employees a score in each area assessed, while others rely on open-ended questions. Online processes make the feedback easy to tally up and share.
Organizations may also hire external consultants to administer the surveys, usually when managers are receiving a 360 review. The consultants then analyze and share the data with the manager, or with the manager and staff in some cases. In the best of these circumstances, themanager and staff join together to plan improvements for both the manager and the department.
This process is strongly recommended as the best chance of improving the overall organization as well as the performance of the individual employee. Sharing the 360 feedback received as well as goals for performance improvement can help a team unite in their efforts to help a manager achieve their performance improvement plan.
In more progressive organizations that have built a climate of trust, employees provide 360 feedback directly to each other, without the manager as a filter or go-between.
No matter how you collect and share the 360 feedback, you must always ensure that the feedback is as descriptive as possible so that the employee has something tangible to improve on. When sharing is open, make sure also that you solicit frequent employee feedback about how the process is working and affecting employees.
Take a look at sample questions for 360 reviews for ideas about what questions will solicit solid, actionable information in a 360 review process. In any case, remember that how you introduce, monitor, and evaluate the effectiveness of the 360 review process is critical to its success or failure.
Gathers feedback from multiple sources
Improves productivity and morale
Various survey methods exist
Can be vague and unstructured
Less effective if too few raters
Can fail without follow-up or willingness to change
- Provides feedback from multiple sources. The data collected and questions can include employees, their colleagues, co-workers, and customers. As a result, a significant amount of data can be gathered to help understand how an employee or person impacts the organization and those around them. From there, steps for improvement can be developed.
- Leads to improvements in productivity and morale. An employee's review by a manager can be inadequate for many organizations. By conducting a 360 review, employees receive and give feedback that can help lead to positive change. The process can inspire employees to work on improving their weaknesses, making them more well-rounded and productive. Also, the process can empower workers since they have a more effective way of reviewing their colleagues and manager. A 360 review can lead to positive results and a sense of teamwork, boosting morale when implemented properly.
- A 360 review can be done online. The 360 review process can be instituted in several different ways. Some companies opt for an online survey to collect the data through a third party. Others use their human resources department, while other companies use a consultant.
- Can be vague and unstructured. The 360 review process can vary depending on the company or industry. Since there is no exact standard for the review, it can lead to a vague process in which the survey has little to no structure. As a result, the company might gather reams of data with little ability to create actionable steps for improvements.
- Too few raters. If there's not a wide range of people performing the ratings of the person, the results can be too narrow and inaccurate. For example, if the raters are friends of the rated employee, the feedback might be positive but incomplete. Conversely, if the raters don't get along with the employee or are not constructive, the results can be skewed negatively. By selecting a larger number of raters that interact with the employee at various levels—e.g., customers, colleagues, and support staff—a better understanding of the employee's strengths and weaknesses can be achieved.
- No follow-up to make improvements. It isn't enough to do the 360 reviews, receive feedback, and compile the data; the company must follow through to make the needed changes. The company should have an employee's manager review the findings or hire an internal or external consultant to help, particularly if the manager is the one being reviewed. Also, employees must be open and willing to cooperate and change.
- The 360 review is a type of performance evaluation that gathers a wide range of feedback from an employee's co-workers, reporting staff, colleagues, and customers.
- The goal of a 360 review is to measure an employee's effectiveness and performance to help enhance employee development.
- The 360 review includes questions about an employee's leadership qualities, interpersonal skills, efficiency, and problem-solving ability.
- A 360 review's findings can inspire employees to make positive changes by improving on their weaknesses, making them more well-rounded and productive.
What should a 360 review include?
The 360 review typically includes a series of questions surrounding topics such as leadership qualities, interpersonal skills, efficiency, problem-solving, and motivations.
What is the purpose of a 360 evaluation?
The 360 review provides employee feedback by surveying a wide range of people who interact with the employee, including managers, co-workers, reporting staff, colleagues, and customers. The goal is to gather data about the employee's effectiveness and performance that lead to employee development.
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Los Angeles County Department of Human Resources. " 360 Feedback Assessment RATER Guide ," Pages 4-6.
American Psychological Association. " Do 360 Evaluations Work? "
Los Angeles County Department of Human Resources. " 360 Feedback Assessment RATER Guide ," Pages 6-12.
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Run » human resources, what is a 360 performance review .
A 360 performance review involves members across the organization offering constructive criticism for the betterment of the entire team.
Performance reviews are a valuable part of the employee experience. They offer an opportunity to help your team members further their professional development, provide two-way feedback, and set new performance goals. When done correctly, performance reviews can boost employee engagement and motivation.
There are many tools and methodologies to choose from when conducting performance reviews. A 360 review is one that’s comprehensive, soliciting feedback from many different stakeholders within the company. Here’s how a 360 performance review works, and why you might want to try this approach at your business.
What is a 360 performance review?
Also called “multi-directional feedback,” 360 feedback refers to a performance review that asks for constructive feedback about an employee’s work performance from several people, including the employee’s manager, peers, and customers or clients, as well as a self-appraisal. The goal is to get a holistic understanding of the employee’s impact on the overall organization.
“The goal of the feedback is to provide a balanced view to an employee of how others view their work contribution and performance in areas such as leadership, teamwork, interpersonal communication and interaction, management, contribution, work habits, accountability, and vision, depending on the employee's job,” wrote The Balance .
Benefits of a 360 performance review
A 360 performance review offers benefits for both the receiving employee and the organization as a whole. For the employee, a 360 review can provide insight into their performance from all angles . This style of feedback is valuable when someone may want to shift to a different role or take on responsibilities outside of their job description.
For the organization, a 360 review process can help uncover organizational hiring and development needs. This process will illuminate areas in which more support is needed or there’s a skill set missing.
“For example, you may discover a policy, procedure or approach that needs adjustment to help employees work more successfully, or receive insight on training needs, resulting in better planning for cross-training and cross-functional responsibilities,” wrote Indeed .
The goal is to get a holistic understanding of the employee’s impact on the overall organization.
The employee and your company also benefit from improved individual accountability and trust. Employees who know they will be evaluated by their peers have more incentive to work together responsibly.
The 360 performance review can be one of the better ways to provide feedback, as long as you follow a few best practices to make the most of this process.
[Read more: Employee Reviews: 6 Steps for Success ]
Who should participate in a 360 review?
Ideally, you’ll want reviewers who have worked with the employee for six months or more . You should also choose people who work with the employee consistently. Look for people in a diversity of roles and relationships with the team member to get information on all aspects of their job performance. For instance, a client will be better positioned to describe an employee’s customer service than a manager.
How to conduct a 360 performance review
This style of review takes careful management to avoid potential pitfalls — anxiety, low morale, and stress are just a few challenges of 360 reviews. To ease the process for reviewers and recipients alike, consider the following best practices:
- Structure your reviews . Qualtrics recommends creating a set of competencies that reviewers use to provide feedback. These competencies should be shared with your employees at the beginning of the review period so they know how they’ll be evaluated. Then, make sure these competencies are scored on a frequency scale (e.g., rarely versus all the time) to create action-oriented feedback.
- Consider making reviews anonymous . Especially when asking for peer reviews, it can be helpful to make feedback anonymous. Reviewers may feel more comfortable sharing constructive feedback. The downside is that this can generate some distrust among your team.
- Keep it constructive . You may need to provide some training to make sure the 360 review process is constructive and helpful. Worst case, the feedback is vague and unstructured. The goal of this process is to help everyone identify ways to work better together. Make sure your team is focused on what it needs from everyone to continue reaching its goals.
Make sure that the employee reviewed takes the time to fill out their own self-assessment. This reflective period can help them determine where they might need support. And it puts them in a growth mindset for reviewing the feedback from others in the organization.
[Read more: 5 Alternatives to Employee Reviews ]
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Getting 360-Degree Feedback Right
- Maury Peiperl
360-degree feedback is all the rage in companies big and small. But it is frequently bureaucratic, politically charged, and agonizing. The good news is that by understanding four paradoxes inherent to peer appraisal, managers can take some of the pain out of the process—and get better results in.
If a single e-mail can send the pulse racing, it’s the one from human resources announcing that it’s time for another round of 360-degree feedback. In and of itself, this type of appraisal isn’t bad. Indeed, many businesspeople would argue that over the past decade, it has revolutionized performance management—for the better. But one aspect of 360-degree feedback consistently stymies executives: peer appraisal. More times than not, it exacerbates bureaucracy, heightens political tensions, and consumes enormous numbers of hours. No wonder so many executives wonder if peer appraisal is worth the effort.
- MP Maury Peiperl is a pro-vice-chancellor of Cranfield University, in England, and the director of its School of Management.
what is 360 degree feedback ?
360 Degree Feedback is an assessment system or process in which employees receive confidential, anonymous evaluations from the people who work around them. This typically includes manager, peers, and direct reports.
How do you do a 360 DEGREE SURVEY ?
A mixture of about eight to twelve people fill out an anonymous online form that asks questions covering a broad range of workplace competencies. The 360 questionnaire includes questions that are measured on a rating scale. This questionnaire also asks raters to provide written comments. The person receiving the evaluations also fills out a self-rating questionnaire that includes the same survey questions that others receive in their forms.
What is the most important benefit of a 360 FEEDBACK review?
Managers and leaders within organizations use 360 degree evaluations to get a better understanding of how others perceive their strengths and weaknesses.
How does the 360-degree evaluation method work?
After conducting the evaluation process, the system automatically tabulates the results and presents them in a format that helps the feedback recipient create a development plan to improve leadership skills. Individual responses are combined with responses from other people in the same rater category (e.g. peer, direct report, manager) in order to preserve anonymity and to give the recipient a clear picture of their greatest overall strengths and weaknesses.
What does a 360 survey measure?
They provide information on how others perceive a coworker, direct report, or manager. The focus of a 360 evaluation should be on subjective areas such as teamwork, character, communication, and leadership effectiveness. It's an opportunity to build connections and trust.
- 360 performance appraisals measure behaviors and competencies
- They provide information on how others perceive an employee or manager
- They help workers recognize strengths and development opportunities to become more effective
- Evaluations address leadership skills such as listening, planning, and goal setting
- 360 questionnaires focus on subjective areas such as teamwork, character, and leadership effectiveness
360 Evaluations can also be useful development tools for people who are not in a management role.
Strictly speaking, a "non-manager" 360 assessment is not measuring evaluations from 360 degrees since there are no direct reports, but the same principles still apply. 360 surveys for non-managers are useful to help people be more effective in their current roles, as well as help them understand what leadership areas they should focus on if they want to move into a management role.
SEE HOW 360-FEEDBACK CAN HELP YOUR ORGANIZATION
Managers and leaders within organizations use 360 surveys to get a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. It's a management evaluation tool for better performance. CustomInsight's Focal 360 provides managers with the opportunity to take advantage of feedback, listen, and improve.
How is 360 Degree Feedback Used?
Companies typically use a 360 evaluation system in one of two ways:
As a Development Tool to help contributors recognize strengths and weaknesses and become more effective
Are 360 reviews effective and what are their benefits?
When done properly, 360 evaluations are highly effective as leadership development tools. The advantages of the process include giving people an opportunity to provide anonymous observations to a coworker that they might otherwise be uncomfortable giving. Recipients gain insight into how others perceive them and have an opportunity to adjust behaviors and develop leadership skills that will enable them to excel at their jobs. Addition benefits include the fact that strong leadership is critical to employee engagement . Research shows that ineffective managers are one of the principal causes of employee disengagement.
360 Feedback as a Performance Appraisal Tool to measure performance
Using a 360-degree system for Performance Appraisal is a common practice, but not always a good idea. It is difficult to properly structure a 360 process that creates an atmosphere of trust when you use evaluations to measure performance. Moreover, a 360 survey focuses on behaviors and competencies more than on basic skills, job requirements, and performance objectives. These things are most appropriately addressed by an employee and his/her manager as part of an annual review and performance appraisal process. It is certainly possible and can be beneficial to incorporate 360 appraisals into a larger performance management process, but only with clear communication on how the information will be used.
How often should 360 feedback be used?
CustomInsight recommends repeating 360 degree evaluations every one to two years to allow people to work through their leadership development plans. The goal of a 360 review process is to provide actionable feedback to improve performance. This cannot happen overnight.
Best practices to maximize your process
Benefits of a 360-degree performance review include improving teamwork and accountability, identifying organization needs, understanding leadership challenges, establishing skills and leadership development programs, implementing meaningful manager training programs , reducing biases and discriminatory practices , among others. The impact of a successful 360 review practice can benefit companies of all sizes.
What a 360 Degree Survey Does:
- Measures behaviors and competencies
- Provides actionable feedback on how others perceive an employee
- Addresses skills such as active listening , planning, and goal-setting
- Focuses on subjective areas such as teamwork, character, and leadership effectiveness
What a 360 Degree Survey Does Not Do:
- Measure employee performance objectives (MBOs)
- Determine whether someone is meeting basic job requirements
- Focus on basic technical or job-specific skills
- Should not be used to measure strictly objective things such as attendance, sales quotas, etc.
How It Works
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Prepare your organization, communicate the reasons for conducting the survey, and share the results with your teams.
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“I've been in the employee feedback business for 30 years and this is the cleanest app that I have ever seen. It's so easy to use!”
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“CustomInsight has probably been the most helpful and responsive vendor partner we have worked with in all our thirty plus years in business.”
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“Your employee feedback system has been transformational for our business. We have come back to it again and again and would have made bad decisions without it.”
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“We had an awesome response from our employees, saying this was the best survey they've taken. Our CEO was blown away by the data he now has at his fingertips and how actionable it is. We are very impressed and will definitely recommend the platform.”
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“We were really impressed by CustomInsight's feedback tool and strongly recommend it to other organizations that are serious about continuous improvement. The ROI has been huge!”
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360 Reviews: The Ultimate Guide (Free Template)
Oct 27, 2022 | 360 Degree Feedback
Considering launching a 360 review process —or upgrading your current one? This can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to.
We’re about to take an in-depth look at the 360 review process. We’ll walk you through best practices, pitfalls, and great questions to ask. And we’ll also share some success stories!
In this guide, we provide guidance for three groups of people:
- Reviewers: The people who provide reviews on their coworkers.
- Leaders and HR: The people who set up 360 reviews and communicate the feedback.
- Employees: The people being reviewed.
By the end of this guide, you’ll have in-depth knowledge of all elements of the process. You’ll then be able to approach the 360 review process with confidence.
Table of Contents
Understanding 360 Reviews
Best practices for 360 reviews, free 360 reviews template, 360 reviews success stories.
Before administering a 360 review, understand its purpose clearly. Learn the key steps and benefits as well, so you can convey them to everyone involved.
What Exactly Are 360 Reviews?
A 360 review asks for input from multiple reviewers on an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. Reviewers typically include coworkers, a manager, direct reports, and anyone else who knows the employee’s work.
This feedback serves a strictly developmental purpose. Reviewers provide crucial input that shows coworkers where they need to grow. They also highlight strengths.
What 360 Reviews Are Not
Importantly, 360 reviews are not performance evaluations. Organizations should never use them to make decisions on promotion, termination, or salary.
Why? That would instill a spirit of unhealthy competition. And it would almost certainly cause deep-seated resentment. Employees would likely become suspicious of one another, wondering who gave feedback that harmed their career prospects.
In contrast, using the 360 review as a developmental tool promotes honesty. Employees don’t need to fear the consequences of giving candid feedback. When used well, the 360 review will only benefit each reviewee.
The 360 Review Process
How do 360 reviews work? We’ll examine the process step by step.
During 360 reviews, organizations administer a survey about a given employee’s strengths and weaknesses. They ask a wide range of people to complete it. The results provide a clear perspective of strengths and areas for growth.
Here are the key steps of the process:
- Defining the key areas to measure
Determine the main skill areas you’ll assess in your 360 reviews. These may differ by role and level.
- Identifying reviewers
HR, and/or the employee’s manager, identifies reviewers who will complete the survey. The employee may also make suggestions.
- Administering the survey
Reviewers receive the survey. This can be done electronically, via a 360 software program.
- Completing the survey
The reviewers complete and submit the survey.
- Interpreting the results
HR interprets the results after all reviewers have completed the survey. Often a software program will help with this analysis.
- Creating a plan for growth
The employee discusses the results with his or her manager. Together, they create a development plan to address areas for growth.
The sixth step is crucial and must be prioritized. Without creating a plan for growth, all of this effort will go to waste.
Pros and Cons of 360 Reviews
A 360 review can bring many benefits. We’ll discuss them in detail, followed by potential pitfalls to avoid.
Benefits of 360 Reviews
What makes 360 reviews successful? Here are 6 key benefits.
- A 360 can highlight strengths that managers may not have noticed. Coworkers might point out a challenge the employee helped the team overcome, for instance.
- They help employees set goals for personal growth. This benefits both new and seasoned employees. During the onboarding process, 360 reviews can help new employees understand their progress.
- 360 reviews provide feedback an employee may not normally receive. For one thing, a 360 asks for feedback from direct reports. Ordinarily, direct reports may feel hesitant to give candid feedback. A 360 encourages their honest input, since it will support their manager’s growth.
- They convince people of the need for change, creating buy-in. “A 360-feedback process, when done right, greatly increases the chances that change will occur,” write Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman in HBR. “For example, if others tell me that I’m rigid and don’t listen to a different viewpoint, the next time I’m in a discussion about a controversial topic, I’m more inclined to catch myself and listen.”
- A 360 can also help employees connect behaviour with outcomes, say Zenger and Folkman. Managers can see how direct reports’ engagement relates to their own leadership, for instance.
- 360 reviews can alert leaders to skills gaps in the organization . Then, you can work to fill them.
Do 360 reviews really work? According to Gallup, employees who receive this type of feedback improve their performance by 8–18% . Engagement can increase by 7–23%. And attrition can drop from 20–73%. In short, when done well, they can bring impressive results.
Potential Pitfalls of 360 Reviews
Where can 360 reviews go wrong? They can backfire for a few key reasons:
- The organization has a toxic workplace culture. Employees lack trust and may make mean-spirited comments on reviews. Such companies should make improving their culture first priority.
- Employees believe the review is a competition. This isn’t a zero-sum game, and it doesn’t directly determine performance. But if managers don’t make that clear, employees might believe otherwise.
- The review is so long that employees have trouble making time to complete it. So, a number of reviewers never turn it in, which skews results.
By following the best practices we’ll discuss, you’ll get valuable results from your 360 reviews.
Download Now: Free 360 Reviews Template [Get Your Copy]
Common 360 Review Variations
Often a 360 review focuses on performance in the current role. But some look into the future, tailoring the 360 to assess fit for an advanced position. Again, the 360 should not be used to directly make promotional decisions. However, it can be used to design a development plan geared toward a specific outcome.
Some organizations look at their succession plan before launching the process. Then, they use the 360 to evaluate employees’ readiness for advancement. Authors from the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) explain that this helps identify the competencies these employees need. In turn, it allows organizations to fill the leadership talent gap.
Let’s now go over some best practices for 360 reviews. We’ll address what managers, leaders, and employees need to know.
Defining Skills to Measure
360 reviews are only valuable when they measure the right competencies. This will vary by role.
Fortunately, 360 survey software can help define which skills to measure.
How can you give valuable feedback during 360 reviews? Here are several guidelines to follow. Share them with all reviewers so you’ll get clear and valuable input.
- Focus on behaviour. Don’t share unfounded opinions—stick to the facts. Being objective will help the reviewee to accept your point of view . Otherwise, they’ll be more likely to push back.
- Be specific when giving feedback. Giving clear examples will help the reviewee understand your points. Plus, they’ll help you stay objective.
- Skip any questions that aren’t relevant. If you don’t have a meaningful opinion, don’t answer them .
Being too vague in feedback can also feel hurtful. Vague statements are often generalizations that can feel more harsh than clear, specific comments. They may even feel like an attack on character—which should always be avoided!
Examples of Good 360 Feedback
Here are some examples of helpful responses to open-ended questions.
Feedback for a Manager
- “I would like more feedback from you. More frequent one-on-ones would really help me understand my progress.”
- “You listen extremely well. I always feel heard when I talk with you. And you provide valuable guidance in overcoming challenges.”
- “In meetings, you frequently talk over me when I try to share an opinion.”
Feedback for a Coworker
- “You often sound overly critical when people voice an idea you don’t like. When brainstorming, try to entertain new ideas before discounting them.”
- “You always show up on time and prepared. You almost always complete tasks on time (or check in about schedule changes). I feel I can always rely on you.”
Examples of Bad 360 Feedback
Responses like the following are less concrete—and therefore, less helpful.
- “You’re not very communicative.”
- “You’re very compassionate.”
- “I feel unheard in our team meetings.”
Now, these opinions could still point to important areas for growth (or strengths). But such feedback would be strengthened by adding specific behaviours. Otherwise, the reviewee might feel demoralized, not knowing how to improve.
For instance, a reviewer might say, “When I have a critical concern, you seem too busy to talk to me.”
- “You’re not committed to our success.”
- “You’re unreliable.”
- “You’re a team player.”
Without naming behaviours, feedback will feel very subjective. That’s important even when describing strengths. Employees need to know exactly what is working—and what is not!
Getting Great Feedback
Let’s examine how to get the best feedback for 360 reviews.
- Keep the length manageable. The survey should take about 20-30 minutes max to complete. That will help ensure all reviewers complete it in a timely manner.
- Avoid bias by sending the 360 survey to a balanced range of people. Don’t just send it to those with mainly positive or negative things to say.
- Explain the 360 review’s purpose and your policy on confidentiality. Also share guidelines for giving feedback. Go over these points in a team meeting and share them in writing.
- Follow up to make sure all reviewers have submitted their surveys. A good software program will send them automatic prompts. Plus, it will alert you when results are in.
Conducting a 360 review begins with defining roles. Let’s review the main roles and key responsibilities for each one.
- Administrator : An HR manager who spearheads the review process.
- Raters : The people who complete the survey on a given employee.
- Reviewee : The person being assessed in the review.
- Manager : The reviewee’s manager, who helps the reviewee understand the results and create a development plan.
The reviewee’s manager often communicates the results to him or her. In some cases, HR may do so instead. But either way, the manager must understand the results and help design a plan for growth.
Let’s briefly review how to select the right reviewers. We recommend inviting 8 to 12 people to review each employee.
Who Should Participate in 360 Reviews?
The reviewers should include all of the following people:
- The reviewee’s manager
- Several of the reviewee’s peers
- The reviewee’s direct reports (if applicable)
Peers should include immediate team members who work closely with the reviewee. But colleagues on other teams can also be invited to participate. They may offer a valuable perspective as well. By including them, you can assess how the reviewee collaborates between groups.
All reviewers should have worked with the reviewee for at least several months. This ensures they have a well-rounded understanding of his or her work.
Who Should Determine the Participants?
The manager, or HR, should consider who to include. Invite colleagues who have worked with the reviewee in a range of contexts.
The reviewee should also suggest participants. Often reviewees have the best idea of who knows their work. They can suggest colleagues they’ve worked with closely on projects and tasks.
Who should not participate in 360 reviews? Anyone who hasn’t interacted substantially with the employee. For instance, say a colleague from another team has interacted only once or twice with the employee. This colleague may not have well-rounded feedback, so she should not be included.
Consider Whether to Opt for Anonymity
Most companies opt to make 360 feedback anonymous. After all, anonymity can ease any anxiety from sharing tough criticism. When employees review superiors, that’s particularly true.
But other organizations feel anonymity doesn’t fit their culture . For the sake of openness, trust, and transparency, they opt to leave names attached to reviews.
Neither way is inherently wrong. We tend to favor anonymity, but we understand why some organizations avoid it.
If you opt for anonymity, consider letting HR see respondents’ names. Then, HR can ask follow-up questions if needed.
Choosing the Right Software
The best 360 feedback tools streamline the process, saving you from handling tedious process elements. You can then focus on delivering and acting on the feedback.
The right program expertly highlights areas of strength and areas for growth. It gives you well-designed questions that provide the input you need. Primalogik has designed its customizable 360 software to provide the most relevant feedback to all your employees. Plus, you can customize your rating scale and ensure complete anonymity (if desired).
You can also compare reviewers’ rating styles to identify bias.
Customizing a survey allows you to incorporate your vision, mission, and values , notes John Behr in HBR. You’ll then get the feedback that’s most relevant to you.
Further, you can use Primalogik’s 360 software in combination with our performance management platform . This allows you to track progress after the review. You can also use our analytics to compare results from one review cycle to the next.
Using the Right Rating Scale
A good rating scale will give you nuanced input. “Yes/no” options obviously won’t provide that detailed level of feedback. Letting people select an option on a scale of 1–6 provides much stronger results.
You can use either numerical or descriptive scales. For instance, a descriptive scale could read, “Never,” “Occasionally,” “Sometimes,” “Often,” “Nearly Always,” and “Always.”
Asking the Right Questions
Questions on a 360 review typically focus on how a person contributes to a team. This includes how they relate to others, how they participate in team projects, and how reliable they are. Many questions also relate to emotional intelligence, which supports every aspect of work.
What subjects are not covered on a 360 review? Reviewers usually don’t directly address technical skill or project outcomes. They are better positioned to assess areas like interpersonal abilities.
Read on for 75 questions to ask during 360 reviews! Obviously, you don’t need to ask them all on a single survey. Rather, choose the ones that are most important to you.
Collaboration and Communication
These questions assess ability to effectively cooperate and communicate.
Does the employee…
- Listen carefully to others?
- Ask for clarify when needed?
- Participate actively in discussions?
- Ask thoughtful questions?
- Explain ideas clearly?
- Check on whether others have understood his or her ideas?
- Communicate tactfully, showing sensitivity toward others?
- Take accountability for mistakes?
- Work to build strong relationships with coworkers?
- Show respect for others?
- Spearhead collaborations with coworkers?
- Resolve conflicts effectively?
- Write in a clear, concise manner?
These questions reveal how dependable a person is.
- Reach out frequently with project updates?
- Follow instructions well, adhering to an established plan?
- Complete tasks and projects on schedule?
- Show up to team meetings promptly?
- Work well under pressure?
- Manage stress effectively?
- Prepare adequately for meetings?
- Proactively work to solve problems?
- Check in with team members about unavoidable delays or changes?
- Produce a high quality of work?
- Address any issues in a timely manner?
- Pay attention to details?
These questions address how well a person both gives and receives feedback.
- Share criticism in a straightforward manner?
- Provide feedback in a timely manner?
- Show empathy when delivering feedback?
- Share gratitude with others when appropriate?
- Request feedback from others?
- Listen actively to feedback?
- Receive constructive criticism well?
- Integrate feedback into their behaviour?
These questions assess how well a person responds to change.
- Work to embrace change when necessary?
- Look for more effective ways of handling things when needed?
- Set a strong example of how to courageously accept change?
- Welcome innovative solutions or ideas?
- Embrace process improvements, even if there is a learning curve?
- Look for new ways to approach a problem?
- Strive to learn from people with different backgrounds and perspectives?
- Listen to everyone’s ideas—not just those of leaders?
These questions address the employee’s level of engagement and motivation.
- Convey enthusiasm for his or her work?
- Stay focused on achieving goals?
- Strive to continuously improve performance?
- Share creative ideas?
- Strive to surpass expectations?
- Bring a high level of energy to projects and meetings?
- Share skills and expertise readily?
- Willingly tackle challenging tasks?
- Demonstrate strong awareness of organizational vision and mission?
These questions can be used for a manager . They are also useful for employees who act as project managers. Use them if they apply to the role (or a role the employee aspires toward).
- Show concern for others’ wellbeing?
- Ask thoughtful questions to help others arrive at solutions?
- Maintain an approachable disposition?
- Guide team discussion in productive ways?
- Foster an inclusive workplace?
- Keep team projects on track?
- Motivate team members (and direct reports)?
- Share the necessary resources to allow team members to work effectively?
- Trust employees’ ability to carry out tasks and projects?
- Provide the right coaching to team members?
- Check in with team members (or direct reports) regularly?
- Encourage team members to share their strengths?
- Solicit everyone’s ideas and insights?
- Model organizational values?
These questions examine whether a person takes a proactive approach to development.
- Strive to learn from team members?
- Seek to learn from mentors?
- Work to develop abilities over time?
- Seek new opportunities to learn and grow?
- Network with others who can expand their knowledge?
- Use new knowledge for the benefit of the team?
- Strive to better understand roles that overlap with their own?
Do you feel certain questions are more important than others? The best 360 software can let you weigh rating questions differently . This helps prioritize key areas while gaining well-rounded input.
Also include a handful of open-ended questions. Here are several important ones:
- What are this person’s three greatest strengths? Number-one strength? (Provide examples if possible.)
- How does this person most need to improve? (Please share examples.)
- What would strengthen your relationship with this person?
- What else would you like to add?
A balanced mix of questions on these topics will lend well-rounded results. In other words, it will boost accuracy.
Preparing for 360 Reviews
Use this handy checklist to get ready for a 360 review. It’s based on points we’ve already discussed.
What to Do Leading Up to a 360 Review
- Establish a team and point person to manage the process.
- Choose a 360 software tool to streamline the process.
- Consider whether to opt for anonymity.
- Explain the 360 process and its purpose to all staff.
- Decide who will review each employee and leader.
- Customize your list of questions to each role and level.
- Administer the survey!
Be aware that employees may have questions. So, make sure they know who to ask! Appoint an HR person on the 360 review team to field questions.
What to Do After 360 Reviews
Let’s explore what HR and the reviewee’s manager must do after the results come in.
Interpreting the Feedback
HR will typically handle this step. Here, you’ll interpret the data from all the surveys for each employee. 360 software can help with this.
Delivering Authentic Feedback
The manager often takes it from there. When delivering feedback, the manager should present both “positive” and “constructive” criticism. However, it’s important not to skew the balance of criticism that was presented. If it was mainly constructive, don’t downplay the tough feedback.
There might be a lot of input to take in. So, share a written outline of the feedback to structure this conversation. The employee can refer to it later to recap.
Designing a Development Plan
Next, the manager should create a customized development plan with the employee. Use the key feedback from the survey for guidance. Tailor the plan to the competencies required by the company and role, as Zenger and Folkman write.
Then, the manager should follow up during regular check-ins. Assess progress using performance management software and personal observations. Have conversations in weekly one-on-ones about progress.
Encourage leaders to share their own personal development plan with their teams. Summarizing their results and next steps will promote accountability and transparency.
Review the Reviewers
This final step will help ensure the integrity of your process. Compare reviewers’ rating styles (particularly managers’). Did they assess employees fairly? Good analytics can help you detect bias, so you can address it.
Below is a basic template for 360 reviews. You can send a customized version of it to reviewers. SHRM also offers a helpful 360-review template , geared toward assessing managers.
360 reviews are a powerful feedback tool for your people and business. But with so many potential questions to ask, don’t you wish you had a better idea of exactly how to implement your reviews? That’s why we created this easy-to-follow template. Download yours.
Countless companies have benefited from conducting 360 reviews. Here are just a few examples of companies that have used 360 survey software with great success.
Kinsa creates smart thermometers, leading the development of this technology. Through pulse surveys, they learned their employees wanted more in-depth feedback. So, they sought a tool that would let them implement 360 reviews . They also wanted a streamlined way to send pulse surveys and interpret all their data, as well as conduct performance reviews.
Now, they can more accurately track their progress not only as individuals, but as an organization. The dovetailed approach of using pulse surveys and 360 reviews has provided crucial insights on engagement and performance.
“Primalogik has saved us a ton of time and has given us a better understanding of where our employees excel the most,” says Lauren Davis, their VP of Marketing. “And our completion rate is consistently at 99% – 100%.”
Sensiba San Filippo
Sensiba San Filippo was initially looking for an efficient performance management solution, which it found in Primalogik. Their review cycle included several components, including a 360 review. So, it could be quite time-consuming, requiring up to 8 hours per employee.
Using our software solution allowed them to merge each of these components while providing reviewees with outstanding feedback.
They also loved how they could compare results from one cycle to the next. And the staff’s enthusiasm for 360 reviews skyrocketed. “We just used the 360° Feedback Surveys for the first review cycle to ease people into the system, but once we started getting comfortable with it everyone became enthusiastic about putting forward good information,” Alex Chan, Director of Development and Learning, told us.
The CEO of Thumbtack wholeheartedly believes in the value of 360 reviews. In fact, he shares his results with the whole organization.
In Fast Company , he writes : “Without thinking too much about it, I opted to share my own review with, well, everyone. After I did, the entire leadership team followed my lead and also wanted to share theirs.” So, they compiled their reviews into a single file, sending it to all employees. “In this simple act, we wanted to show that everyone, including me, has opportunities for growth and self-improvement.” By acknowledging their weaknesses, they made everyone feel safer naming their own. And it helped create a culture of striving toward personal growth—supported by 360 reviews.
As you skillfully implement 360 reviews, you’ll provide employees with input to shape their growth. And by following best practices, you’ll promote thoughtful and enthusiastic participation. Use 360 reviews periodically for best results, so employees can observe their progress over time.
Want to explore how Primalogik’s 360 reviews software can benefit your feedback process? Request a free 15-minute demo!
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