What is 360 degree feedback?

If you are thinking about using a 360 feedback process for yourself or for others here are a few things you need to know. It can be a fantastic tool to promote self-awareness but too often it isn't implemented the right way.

Wikipedia defines 360 degree feedback as follows:-

In human resources, 360-degree feedback is employee development feedback that comes from all around the employee.

360 Degree Feedback is also known as multi-rater feedback', 'multi-source feedback', 'multi-source assessment' or 360 Degree Appraisal.

360 feedback has been used by learning and development professionals for many years to help individuals and organisations improve their performance, effectiveness and profitability.

360 feedbacks are not usually statistically valid or reliable and they are full of biased perceptions and rating errors.

If that is true why would you use a 360?

The bottom line is your current behaviour probably makes sense to you. You will only change something if firstly you are aware of it and secondly, if it makes sense to you.

Simply a 360 degree feedback allows you to check in on your views of the world and provide a mechanism for you to test and challenge your own thinking.

This is a critical part of the action learning process and due to busy work enviroments and often poor quality conversations it can be a challenge for many managers to get open and honest feedback.

If you think about your team perspectives hopefully most of them (hopefully) want you to get better and a 360 process offers a potential "safe" way to give critical feedback back to you.

It can however be a bit tricky

Related 360 Feedback Posts

9 Classic 360 Feedback Mistakes
Based upon 25 years expereice here are my 9 classic mistakes organizations make when trying to implment a usuccessful 360 feedback process.

Make Your 360 Feedback Process Constructive
When you add the uncertainty, ambiguity and lack of control inherent in a full 360 degree feedback process, it is understandable to see heightened levels of anxiety in participants. And that heighted level of anxiety is bad news for the learning process! So what can you do to manage these factors and get the most out of any 360 degree process?



More information on 360 degree feedback at Wikipedia

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The use of 360 Feedback Approaches

If employees receive feedback from other co-workers - a 360° feedback assessment -- they gain a more complete picture of performance, than they would from feedback just from their manager. Many 360 degree assessments now include performance feedback from suppliers and customers, on top of the traditional sources within the organization such as, direct reports, peers, managers and team members.

Since 360 degree evaluation reporting is generally broken down into specified relationships, the people being rated can understand the viewpoints from different types of co-workers. Adding open-ended comments can be really useful for participants thinking about the 360 feedback report.

Modern organisations are often "flatter organisations", and often have a greater emphasis on teams. This makes them more conducive for collecting feedback from a range of sources. Especially now since web-based technology has dramatically simplified the administration process and brought down the costs.

Most major companies now use 360 degree feedback as part of their appraisal and development process, and increasingly medium and small businesses are participating in this type of 360 assessment on a regular basis.

Companies use these leadership assessments for executive level coaching, leadership development, leadership assessment, employee evaluations and peer reviews.

What has been your experience with 360's?
Any do's and don'ts others can learn from?

Why not share your 360 war stories here?

What are the advantages of 360 Degree Feedback?

To the individual:


• It can help you understand how your behaviour influences your own personal effectiveness, and how you impact the smooth running of the organisation
• Helps you gain a realistic view of how others perceive them, and can uncover hidden lights and blind spots
• Most people generally perceive a 360 process to be a useful and valid process
• Feedback coming from a number of different people is more likely to be accepted
• It can improve communication within the organisation, and encourages a more open culture where giving and receiving constructive feedback is the norm.
• It can be a powerful driver for change, both for individuals and organisations as a whole.
• It supports self-directed learning, and can inspire people to take ownership of their own learning and development
• It can help clarify desired behaviours that the organisation is looking for
• Provides feedback in a quantifiable form on a structured range of behaviours

To the team:


• Supports teamwork by involving team members in the development process
• Can develop higher levels of trust and better communication, as individuals identify the causes of breakdowns
• It helps people understand how their behaviour influences both their own personal effectiveness, and how they impact the smooth running of the organisation.
• Can increase team effectiveness if, the team sees a desire and action for change from the leader.

To the organization:


• Reinforces company vision and plans, by linking survey items to organizational leadership competencies and company values
• Better career development planning and implementation for employees
• Can impact positively on customer service relationships, by having customers contribute to the evaluation process
• Helps with training needs analysis


How Does It Work For Those being Rated?

1. You generally receive an invitation and or briefing about the 360 degree feedback process, its purpose and benefits, and how it it going to work in your organisation.

2. You complete your own self-assessment, which is compared against feedback from your colleagues. Direct reports, peers, managers, customers or clients, in fact anybody whose opinion you respect and who is familiar with you and your work can be included in the feedback process.

3. You get a report and ideally a guided feedback session with a trained facilitator, whose job is to help you get your "head" around the results.

4. You get an opportunity to reflect on the results, and discuss them with your manager.

5. You start to refine the key areas that you want to focus your development on, and you may formalise this thinking in a personal development plan.

Read about more ways to make 360 add value for you

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