360 degree feedback

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What is 360 degree feedback and what role does it play in performance reviews? Used within organisations, 360 degree reviews can be a useful way to add objectively to the performance management process.

Overview360 feedback examples

A 360 degree appraisal is a comprehensive feedback exercise involving many different people that you work with, such as your manager, peers, direct reports or even clients and customers. A 360 survey can become the foundation of your performance management process; providing people with well-rounded feedback on many aspects of their performance in the workplace. The Thomas International 360 will provide you with a user-friendly system to manage the appraisal process and provide individual, group and team reports to help you better-understand your people.

The process

The individual will firstly evaluate themselves from a pre-defined questionnaire, the same questionnaire is then shared with their manager, peers, team and customers as appropriate. The anonymous results are organised and displayed using the type of respondent. By comparing their own evaluation with those of their appropriate respondents, individuals can identify performance gaps, develop self-awareness, confidence, motivation and an understanding of how to improve personal effectiveness.

360 feedback definition

360 feedback is the process by which an individual receives structured feedback from not only their manager, but a range of people with different viewpoints on their work. This gives the individual a well-rounded analysis of how others perceive them, in comparison to how they perceive themselves.

What is a 360 review

A 360 review focuses on the competencies and behaviors of an individual in comparison to a standard review which looks at an individual's basic job requirements. Competencies are aligned with the core values of an organisation and focus on subjective areas such as focusing on the future, involvement, empowering others, decision making and drive for excellence.

During a 360 review, because feedback is received from a variety of perspectives and in a confidential manner, new information can easily be gathered from across an organisation that wouldn't otherwise be shared. 360 reviews also help managers save time and stress, as it is a combined effort which can bring quality and targeted feedback on an individual's developmental areas. A 360 review can help to improve interpersonal relationships within teams and performance throughout an organisation by nurturing a culture of continuous reflection and improvement in-line with an organisation's goals.

What is a 360 performance review

A 360 performance review incorporates 360 feedback into a performance appraisal. The purpose of a performance review is to create a personal development plan (PDP) for an individual by documenting and evaluating their performance. The PDP is designed to focus an individual’s development and during a 360 performance review, will utilise elements of the 360 review. It is even more important to have a robust and structured 360 feedback process when using 360 evaluations to measure performance in order to maintain trust within an organisation.

Exploring 360 feedback examples is a useful way to understanding the applications of this type of feedback process. A 360 degree feedback assessment provides targeted information on an individual which can be used to help for improving their performance at work. A 360 feedback review can also help to improve interpersonal relationships within teams and performance throughout an organisation.

360 feedback normally comprises of both numerical (quantitative) feedback data and also written (qualitative) responses from the respondents. These responses are compiled into a report which enables the participant to compare their responses to others' perceptions of them. In most cases, the feedback will align to a company's competency framework to encourage focused development conversations.

360 degree feedback sample

360 feedback questionnaires should be designed to measure observable and behavioral examples of how an individual performs in the workplace. These behaviors are normally grouped into competencies. In this section, we explore some sample content which might appear in a 360 questionnaire.

The numerical feedback data comes from rating the individual’s performance against behavioral statements.  Below is an example of how these questions might appear in the questionnaire:

Please respond to the extent that you think this person demonstrates the following behavioral statements:

  • Encourages staff to find their own solutions to challenges
  • Demonstrates awareness of workloads and pressures upon team members

The qualitative/free text responses are normally collected from asking questions as outlined below:

  • What two strengths do you perceive this participant to display, and how have you observed this being demonstrated in the workplace?
  • What would you like this individual to START doing in the workplace?

Some 360 degree feedback questionnaires also ask the respondents about how important they see each of the competency areas for the participant’s job role. This is normally referred to as the 'competency ranking' section.

360 feedback sample answers

This section will explore sample feedback answers which could be collected from a 360 degree feedback questionnaire. 

The numerical (quantitative) feedback data comes from rating the individual's performance on a Likert scale. The rating scale is normally 1-7 where 1 means 'Not much' (low) through to 7 meaning 'Always' (high). These can be flexible depending on the organisation. The ratings from the participant and their respondents are compiled into an anonymous feedback report. The numerical information is presented in a graphical format, showing gaps in perception of how well the participant displays each behavioral competency in the workplace. The graphical output of the 360 feedback normally focus on the average scores for the competency areas, the top five and bottom five rated statements for the participant and details of the statement responses. 

Normally the responses are grouped together so that individual responses are not identifiable. This means that the respondent responses are anonymous and confidential, providing greater opportunity for honesty in the 360 feedback.

The free text questions provide more in-depth, specific examples of the participant's behavior and how they display certain competencies in the workplace. These responses would be considered alongside the quantitative data to look for patterns of where the individual might need to focus their development. This would be discussed at the 360 performance review session and a targeted development plan would be created. 

The competency ranking section displays differences in the respondents’ perceptions of what the participant's role focus should be. Significant differences in these perceptions are normally highlighted within the report for discussion at the 360 review.

Individual 360 feedback can be compiled into group reports with other members of the team to understand combined trends and identify collective development needs. If the 360 feedback process is repeated year on year, then comparative data can be collected and progress towards development goals tracked.

Probably the most important part of the 360 feedback process is in the review of the report. Having a structured 360 review template can help ensure feedback delivery is effective and that the process is consistent for every employee.

Feedback enables the participant who has gone through the 360 to gain a better understanding of their performance and focus their future development plans effectively. The 360 performance review will often be completed with either the participant’s manager of a member of the learning and development/HR team. 

360 performance review template     

The 360 performance review should be structured effectively to enable the participant to explore their 360 feedback report and gain insight from this. When completing the 360 review, there are certain key elements which should be included in the discussion:

  • Scene setting – the facilitator should initially set the scene and focus for the feedback. They should explain the purpose of the 360 performance review with a positive, constructive focus. The facilitator should explain their role and confirm about confidentiality and processes for how the feedback and review outcomes will be used. The process is normally unique for each business based on how they wish to use the 360 results
  • Report interpretation – the facilitator should guide the participant through the different report sections and support them with interpreting the content and identifying trends and development focuses
  • Development planning – the facilitator should help the participant to build a personal development plan (PDP) with specific development targets to work towards

‚Äč360 feedback template

360 feedback is normally delivered in a compiled report with various sections of data created from the responses collected from the participant and respondent. This is often discussed in a 360 performance review.

The purpose of a 360 performance review is to create a personal development plan (PDP) for the participant.  This PDP is designed to focus the participant’s development objectives using elements of the 360 review. These will be aligned with the competencies measured in the 360 and therefore to organisational goals. The feedback outcomes often take the form of a development plan using specific techniques such as SMART targets.