The Purpose of 360 Degree Feedback

A common question that we hear is “should we use 360 degree feedback to do that or performance reviews?” Well, that depends on what you are doing. Are managers expected to conduct performance reviews on their employees? Is this an official review? Or do you want multiple raters? Is this just a benchmark and not the official review? Are you wanting to create a feedback mechanism for coaching purposes?

360 degree feedback allows you to use multiple raters such as supervisors, peers, direct reports, subordinates and external raters (clients or vendors) to leave feedback on an employee. The feedback is often used as a benchmark within the employee’s development plan. In a team-focused atmosphere, 360 degree feedback surveys can be very effective. It lets the employee know how his/her team members view the effectiveness of their performance.

It is important that the feedback remain anonymous to the person who was rated. If employees are allowed to see the comments and ratings and who left them, feelings of resentment can arise along with tension among the employee and the raters.

If you plan to implement the 360 degree feedback process, make sure that you have a strong performance management system in place before doing so. 360 degree feedback and performance reviews are often used in conjunction with one another to form a powerful one-two punch for employee coaching and development.