Nancy is aspirational and ambitious and wants to understand how well she is performing. She grinds every day to improve her skills and is achieving every milestone. She is continuously receiving feedback on her work from her managers.
But what about her overall performance?
How is she perceived by others?
How well does she work in a team, with her peers?
What kind of a culture is she bringing into the organization?
This and many more behavior traits evaluate the overall performance of the employee and not just the skillset or competency in their work.
But, how can you measure it or share feedback with an employee like Nancy so that she can work on it?
That’s where 360-degree feedback kicks in!
So, what is a 360-degree feedback system?
360-degree feedback, also known as a 360 assessment program or 360 reviewer program, is a multi-rater feedback system that gives anonymous feedback to each employee on their overall performance from their peers, managers, and subordinates – that’s why the name ‘360 degree’.
The survey is taken from everyone around and about everyone so that even managers get to know their strengths and weaknesses and their peers’ opinions towards them.
But, how does it work?
After everyone shares their feedback, the 360-degree feedback software compiles the results and comprehensively tabulates them into bar graphs or line charts so that everyone can understand them clearly.
So, what does a 360-degree feedback program actually measure?
What does a 360-degree feedback system measure?
A 360-degree feedback system measures the following things.
- It measures employees’ behavior and competency to work with others.
- It tells you what everyone thinks of everyone and how strong is the culture in the organization.
- It focuses on subjective areas like character, teamwork, and leadership effectiveness.
- It also addresses listening, planning, goal-setting, teamwork, and leadership skills.
Alternatively, what does 360-degree feedback NOT measure?
Here are the things that 360-degree feedback does not measure.
- It does not measure the employees’ skill sets.
- It does not tell if an employee is meeting the basic job requirements.
- It doesn’t measure objective things like attendance, sales quotas, etc.
Note: If you are using 360-degree feedback for performance measurement, use it carefully. Plus it can be quite risky if used for appraisal purposes. Why? Because 360-degree feedback gives you a behavior assessment and not a skill set assessment.
But why use a 360-degree feedback system at all? Why not traditional performance reviews?
How is 360-degree feedback different from traditional performance reviews?
Team A says that you don’t talk to everybody.
On the other hand, your manager says that your overall performance has been really good so far.
However, your manager doesn’t know what the team thinks about you and your performance and gives you a bonus.
Don’t you think that the manager should consider the feedback from the team before making this decision?
Here, the 360-degree feedback system comes kicks in.
The 360-degree feedback system is different from traditional performance reviews because traditional performance reviews take place between a manager and a subordinate. However, in the 360-degree feedback system, everyone in the team/organization is involved.
As 360-degree feedback gives you overall feedback about employees’ overall performance anonymously from other employees. This diverse feedback can help them identify what is working and what is not so that they can work on it accordingly.
Now the question is, where does 360-degree feedback help?
What are the advantages of 360-degree feedback?
Once your organization starts conducting the 360-degree feedback system, the following are the changes you will observe.
1. Increased self-awareness amongst employees
A 360-degree feedback system helps employees can get to know a lot about themselves from diverse perspectives. This helps them to know themselves much better and can improve on things that they are lacking.
For instance, if someone gets to know that they don’t really listen to others in the meeting, after receiving the feedback, they start working on it.
2. A culture of open communication
360-degree feedback helps you generate a flow of open communication between every level, such as from manager to subordinates and vice versa. This feedback offers an equal platform to everyone where they can honestly communicate and put their thoughts on the table – especially for organizations where the team size is huge.
3. No more discrimination or partiality
Who doesn’t want to work in an unbiased workplace? As the feedback comes from multiple employees anonymously, everyone can easily share their honest feedback building healthy culture in the organization and eliminating any kind of discrimination.
4. Bridges training gaps
360-degree feedback helps you to grow personally and professionally. This feedback, when analyzed, helps HR identify the common skills that most of the employees are lacking. They can then organize training sessions for the employees to boost their skill set, and this helps in employee retention.
What are the disadvantages of 360-degree feedback?
360-degree feedback comes with its own limitations. Let’s have a look at it.
1. Inexperienced respondent leading to useless feedback
The people new to this survey may not understand or answer all the questions clearly. They need to be trained on how to answer these questions constructively and not be biassed towards one person.
2. Lack of communication gap
The best thing about 360-degree customer feedback is that it is anonymous. However, it can be an issue if an X employee (who has received negative feedback) wants to clarify their feedback with someone. That’s why it is advisable to take the feedback in a supporting spirit, improve what you can, and not worry about the rest.
3. Not so reliable data
Many employees in some organizations game the system. They collaborate and plan to give positive feedback to one another instead of being honest. This way the survey is useless. That’s why communicate the objective of the survey clearly to everyone and ensure that everyone understands the importance of this survey.
4. Focuses on the negative feedback
One should not only focus on the negatives. And that goes for the 360-degree feedback as well.
Post analyzing the feedback, some organizations highlight only the negative traits of the employee. Dont do this. The employees will be discouraged and with time, will lose their trust in the feedback.
5. Not apt for small organizations
360-degree feedback isn’t apt for those organizations where there are few employees or sources.
Pros and Cons of 360-degree feedback – Summary
We have covered what 360-degree feedback is, what it measures and what are its pros and cons. But to launch a 360-degree feedback system efficiently, you’d need feedback management software that helps you create and share the survey and gather and analyze the feedback. And there are many other reasons for it.
Let’s discuss some of them!
Why should you go for an efficient 360-degree feedback software?
The 360-degree feedback software helps you to track the success rate or growth of an employee if done continuously. There are many advantages to it. Some are shared below.
1. Comprehensive results post analysis
The 360-degree feedback software helps you analyze all the thousands of feedback and provides you with a comprehensive result with a visual effect. It uses a bar chart or line graph to show the results of all the feedback with a summary, making it easier to understand. Also, it can deliver individualized reports, team reports, or of the entire organization while protecting everyone’s identity.
2. Multiple templates
The 360-degree feedback software also offers multiple survey templates making it easy for HR to create and share the surveys across the organization. These templates have sample questions that can be customized by the HR as per the objective of the survey.
The entire process of launching 360-degree feedback is tedious and time-consuming. But the feedback management software makes it easy. It automates multiple processes like sending surveys, setting up reminders, managing a contact list, and more.
But that’s not it! There are a few things that you should keep in mind for an effective 360-degree feedback system.
Tips to launch an effective 360-degree feedback survey
Here’re the 8 things that you should keep in mind.
- Dont forget to create and communicate the objective of the survey.
- Give training to all the employees.
- Involve managers and leaders to know what things are asked from their teams.
- Ask managers or leaders to set behavioral goals for the teams.
- Inform your team/organization about the importance of conducting this feedback.
- Know what questions to ask and how and customize accordingly.
While creating the survey
- Ask open-ended and straightforward questions.
- Try not to make all the questions compulsory, add optional questions as well.
- Make sure that each question instantly communicates its purpose.
- Try to ask questions that fit your rating scale (like agree or disagree, rarely or every time, and so on).
Examples of 360-degree questions survey
Here are some of the examples of 360-degree questions that you can use in your survey.
How to create a 360-degree feedback survey with SurveySensum – Step by Step process
Here is the step-by-step process that should be followed to create a 360-degree feedback survey with SurveySensum.
STEP 1: Visit surveysensum.com and create a free account from the top right corner.
STEP 2: On the left panel, go to the Employee Experience tab and choose 360-degree feedback survey.
STEP 3: Customize the questions as per your brand and employees.
STEP 4: Share the survey across your organization through any medium you prefer.
STEP 5: All the feedback gathered is stored in one place and analyzed automatically in just a few minutes.
A few more words..
360-degree feedback if used efficiently, can increase communication and foster employee development. It can also increase the productivity and efficiency of the team.
360-degree feedback indeed provides valuable insights that you might never have explored before, as it not only gives you an honest or unbiased rating but also promotes change in work culture and brings self-awareness.