Tips For a Great 360-Degree Performance Review Process

The most successful companies are made up of people who work well together and support one another. That means great employees not only produce quality work, but they also collaborate with their colleagues, effectively lead the people they manage, and positively represent the company at all times.

However, standard performance reviews don’t take all this into account. A typical 1-on-1 review between an employee and manager usually focuses strictly on the individual’s ability to accomplish their job responsibilities. That’s a great place to start, but it’s important to collect a variety of perspectives when assessing performance.

What is a 360-degree performance review?

A 360-degree performance review consists of multiple assessments provided by different people an employee works with. Instead of simply being reviewed by their manager, feedback is also given by colleagues, direct reports, and members of the senior leadership team. In some cases, it can even include assessments from people outside the company, like a customer or vendor. The employee not only learns how they’re doing at accomplishing their main job responsibilities assigned by their boss, but they also get an idea of how they’re performing as a manager, team member, and general employee of the company.

Let’s look at how a marketing manager can get deeper insight into their performance with a 360-degree review. Their main goal is to raise awareness about the company and generate interested potential customers for the sales team. In the course of their work, they’ll likely collaborate with various departments in the company, while managing marketing specialists.

A 1-on-1 review conducted by the marketing manager’s direct supervisor will likely focus on the quantifiable results that were delivered, which don’t tell the whole story about job performance. A 360-degree performance review, on the hand, will also account for the marketing manager’s cross-functional collaboration and management abilities – both of which contribute to their ability to successfully market the brand.

Keys to successful 360-degree employee evaluations

Anonymity is a must when gathering 360-degree assessments. Everyone should feel comfortable giving feedback, both good and bad, without worrying that it will affect their working relationship with the employee being reviewed. For example, if the marketing manager’s direct reports know their feedback is visible to their boss, they’ll be inclined to only say good things. And that doesn’t make for an effective performance review that can help the employee grow and improve.

It’s also important to gather consistent, yet wide-ranging feedback from each group that participates in a 360-degree performance review. Each of the employee’s managers, for example, should review them using criteria that pertain specifically to their job responsibilities. Colleagues from other teams should focus on their peer’s ability to collaborate. And every direct report should give feedback on their manager’s leadership qualities. This approach ensures that everyone who participates gives feedback they’re qualified to provide, and the employee is presented with a complete review that takes full advantage of the 360-degree format.

At this point, you might be wondering how you can effectively gather a variety of assessments from multiple people, while also guaranteeing everyone’s identity remains anonymous. At the very least, you should use an online survey tool to capture each participant’s feedback. It will be less cumbersome than managing the process through email or shared docs and no personal details will be attached to an individual’s assessment.

However, opting for a performance management solution with built-in 360-degree review features will be far more beneficial. You’ll be able to easily create a variety of assessment forms for multiple positions in your company. You can invite team members to participate simply by entering their email in the system. Once the feedback is collected, you’ll be able to present all the feedback to the employee in an easy-to-understand format that protects the identity of the people who provided it.

Here are few more tips for conducting successful 360-degree performance reviews:

  • Gather a variety of perspectives from different people the employee interacts with. Assessments from 8-12 people generally result in a well-rounded assessment.
  • Strive to give a combination of quantitative and qualitative feedback. Ask the people giving the reviews to rate the employee on a numerical scale for different criteria, as well as provide general thoughts.
  • Allow the employee to complete a self-assessment. Then compare their results to the feedback provided by others to learn if they’re making strides in the right areas.
  • Don’t rely entirely on 360-degree feedback when conducting performance reviews. Salary issues, for example, should focus on the employee’s ability to accomplish job-related goals and not the opinions of their colleagues.


Help your employees grow through 360-degree feedback

Assessing your employees using 360-degree feedback helps your team members improve in various areas. Follow the tips outlined in this article to get the most out of your company’s employee performance reviews.