Evaluation At Multiple Levels: What Is 360-Degree Feedback And Why Is It Important?

360-Degree Feedback: Multi-Source Evaluation
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Summary: In this fast-paced corporate world, communication is everything. Feedback is essential but it has to be at multiple levels. Therefore, feedback must be elicited from multiple sources. Hence, we have the 360-degree feedback that solicits feedback from multiple audiences.

360-Degree Feedback: Multi-Source Evaluation

Often, there are times an organization's supervisors are biased towards their employees. Not always, but sometimes. An employee may feel that he is being underrated, probably because the supervisor or the manager does not like him. In such a scenario, it is always better if the rating is done by several people rather than just the supervisor. In order to prevent such problems, we use 360-degree feedback in organizations.

A 360-degree review is a feedback mechanism through which feedback is solicited from multiple sources apart from just the manager, in order to analyze the effectiveness of an employee and develop the overall productivity and the managerial effectiveness of an organization. 360-degree feedback is also called multi-rater feedback or multi-source feedback. The point is to get a comprehensive perspective on employee performance from multiple sources.

Who Are The People Involved In The 360-Degree Feedback?

  • Self-ratings
  • Peer evaluation
  • Feedback from immediate supervisor
  • Subordinates
  • External stakeholders: customers, vendors, and mentors

What Are The Benefits Of 360-Degree Feedback?

  • Overall productivity in employee performance
  • Effective employee engagement
  • Accurate performance reviews, free from individual prejudices
  • Easier Performance Management
  • Increased business success and productivity
  • Less room for perception gaps
  • Better leadership and team management
  • Increased collaboration among employees
  • Effective strategic training programs and developmental plans
  • Self-development and individual counseling

Benefits For The Employee

  • The multitude of reports gathered gives the employee an insight into his performance
  • The feedback that is given is often considered accurate and free from biases
  • Reports that are given are kept confidential in order to prevent any individual biases
  • Employees are motivated and they work better because they perceive themselves as others perceive them
  • Employees can also give anonymous feedback to their managers or supervisors

Benefits For The Organization

  • Facilitates openness in communication and constructive feedback is given to the employees
  • Encourages continuous comprehensive evaluation of employee performance
  • Improves leadership and team development at the managerial level
  • Increases adherence to the values of the organization and sets managerial expectations clearly
  • Helps to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the organization as such to develop strategic plans
  • Communication flows from multiple directions other than from just the employer and the employee

Components Of Multi-Source Feedback

  • Upward feedback
    The organization solicits feedback from the employees maintaining the anonymity of the employees. Feedback is given for a manager or superior to analyze his leadership and team development skills. It also helps them to understand how well they can delegate responsibilities to their employees.
  • Self-evaluation
    The feedback is generated from the employee himself about his performance and capacities. This can be done through self-feedback forms.
  • Peer evaluation
    The feedback is elicited from an employee's peers where the peers rate the employee on various parameters such as interpersonal relationships, employee behavior, adherence to core values, etc.
  • Downward feedback
    The feedback is given to the employee on his performance by the supervisors or the managers

Though there are a lot of benefits to 360-degree feedback, however, it does come with lots of disadvantages if not implemented properly. There is a slight possibility that the feedback can become inadequate because, sometimes, it is not 100% honest. Sometimes managers will try to solicit feedback from the employees, and not many people realize that feedback is supposed to be constructive and not personal.

There are occasions when managers, in the process of getting continuous feedback, will only focus on the weaknesses. Then, there is little room for improvement because there is a lack of constructive dialogue. By constructive dialogue, I mean that there is nothing being done to improve the employee’s performance. There are no developmental strategies for employee performance.

Although there are a lot of pitfalls when it comes to the 360-degree feedback, little do we realize that these issues can be prevented. Everything is contingent upon the communication and implementation of all these systems. Employees deserve to receive proper guidance and training on how to deal with these problems and use the system effectively. This way, we can eradicate a lot of the problems that come along the way.

360-degree reviews bring in numerous benefits to the organization, but it requires immense dedication and openness from the organization itself. Only then, will 360-degree feedback be successful.