Why 360 feedback is the key to great performance reviews
Updated: Apr 16, 2021
Performance reviews fill both managers and staff with dread.
On one side of the table, employees anxiously await feedback and hope they receive a fair review. On the other side, managers don’t want to upset employees with biased or negative feedback.
Despite attempts to objectively measure performance, bias creeps into most performance reviews.
this is why we need 360 feedback
360 feedback is a system for gathering anonymous insight from multiple people who interact with an employee to determine his/her performance.
It is often sourced from people who frequently engage with an employee in different ways. This includes managers, teammates, and even clients and third parties.
In this post, you’ll learn why 360 feedback is a great tool for assessing strengths and weaknesses while measuring performance.
360 feedback is more accurate and reliable
Unless you work very closely with each of your employees, all day every day, gathering an accurate idea of how they perform is hard.
Even if you’re with them for a couple of hours per week, how do you know what their performance /behaviour is like throughout the rest of the workweek?
In this case, making a fair assessment is difficult because there isn’t enough reliable data.
The same is also true when an employee reports to you directly every single day. The strong manager-employee relationship, combined with frequent interactions invites bias; your one-sided view of an employee’s performance will probably look different when compared against their colleagues’ perspectives.
By combining the input of multiple people, 360 feedback mitigates bias to provide credible, qualitative feedback.
360 feedback helps reveal hidden internal problems
Manager input is still considered when using 360 feedback, but it’s supported with or compared against the views of other people who interact with an employee under different circumstances. This paints a more accurate and detailed picture of an employee’s expertise, performance and behaviour.
Example #1: Marco the sales rep
Let’s imagine you have a senior member of your sales team called Marco. Marco always reports excellent sales figures, and in your eyes, is a star member of your team due to his ability to close deals consistently.
After collecting anonymous 360 feedback, however, several of Marco’s customers reveal that Mario sold them on features that weren’t fully fleshed out in your product.
Feedback from anonymous customer success staff voiced the same complaint. They’re not happy because they have to deal with Marco’s upset or angry customers.
The result: You can now sit down with Marco and bring this up in your performance review and ensuing check-ins. Doing so will improve customer satisfaction and ease the pressure on the customer success team.
Example #2: Marie the marketing assistant
Marie is a marketing assistant on your team who helps out with technical tasks.
She doesn’t report to you directly and is shy, so you haven’t noticed much about her.
In her 360 feedback review, you’re pleasantly surprised to see colleagues praise Marie for her expertise in technical topics, positive attitude and passion for helping out.
The result: You have positive, unbiased feedback for Marie. And seeing that you’ll have a position opening up on the marketing team, you’ve found a suitable candidate for promotion.
collecting 360 feedback through an open culture
360 feedback is critical for comprehensive and impartial performance reviews. But such valuable feedback is only accessible if your employees are comfortable providing it.
This means creating an open culture of feedback that encourages employees to speak up about issues in the workplace. Here are some ideas to encourage that:
Ensure that all reviews are truly anonymous. Nobody wants to feel like they knocked another employee down
Gather feedback throughout the year, ideally every quarter
Avoid only gathering feedback 2-3 months before a review, as it will often skew results
Focus on overall trends and patterns, not one-off comments or anomalous actions.
using 360 Feedback To Boost Workplace Performance
After collecting 360 feedback, you’ve completed a critical step towards a fair and fruitful appraisal process. But you still need to tie feedback to competencies, skills gap analysis and check-ins.
An all-in-one adaptable performance management system, such as Totara Perform, makes connecting these critical dots a breeze.
More and more customers are turning towards a performance management system that is fully integrated to their learning management system.
Totara Perform allows you to control how and when you collect 360 feedback. You can create your own questions and store feedback using an integrated, agile performance management process that empowers you to boost workforce productivity.
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Written with contribution from the team at Totara HQ. Find the original post on the Totara blog.