Employee Experience

360-Degree Feedback: Pros & Cons

5 Mins read

Any good performance management strategy must include reviews. Traditional performance reviews, which let managers comment on their direct reports, can be beneficial. But, getting input from a variety of sources across the organization might be a more powerful strategy for employee development.

According to Brianna Inoa, organizational psychologist and Senior Manager of Talent Development at app database MongoDB, “Specific, real-time feedback dialogues in all directions — upward, downward, and peer — are tremendously critical.

This way, 360-degree reviews are a great approach to getting input from stakeholders. This includes all organizational levels which use that feedback to boost individual and team performance, development, and growth. 

But, what are 360-degree evaluations exactly, and what pros and cons might they present for your company? Read the following article to learn everything you need to know about 360-degree feedback.

What is a 360-Degree Feedback?

The term “360-degree feedback” refers to the process of gathering input on your strengths and weaknesses from everyone.

To illustrate, if you were the manager getting the 360-degree reviews, you would gather comments from:

  • your direct manager (if you have one),
  • your staff, your coworkers,
  • and perhaps even your customers.

Frequently, the procedure also includes a self-evaluation step.

It’s crucial that the evaluation process be anonymous and that you receive identical questions from everyone who rates you. One person (often your boss) will aggregate all the data at the end and look for any patterns that indicate areas where you could improve. In a 360-degree review, the focus is on both strengths and weaknesses.

A 360-degree review focuses on an employee’s skills, whereas a performance evaluation focuses on the work they are doing. The objective is to assist everyone in the organization—from senior executives to staff members—in developing their individual competencies and professional conduct. You can gain a more full picture of the employee by mixing comments from several sources.

The Pros & Cons Guidelines of 360-Degree Reviews

Pro 1: A Fuller Evaluation

You have a broader evaluation because you are gathering feedback from so many diverse sources. You should pay attention to any recurring themes and patterns that you find.

Officevibe findings show that 18% of employees believe their feedback is not precise enough.

You are more likely to have a better understanding of your employee’s work and relationships by introducing 360-degree feedback and increasing the number of responders, which will make the feedback more specific. Additionally, you’ll obtain a full view of your employee’s strengths and flaws because it’s likely that co-workers or customers have comments that you don’t.

Con 1: It could be inaccurate

It’s possible that the feedback is not entirely correct. Your coworkers might be acting more kindly than they actually are, or perhaps they are being dishonestly cruel because of office politics.

Can we really give and receive feedback or critics from each other when we’re a small group and everyone gets along? On the other hand, if you work on a vast team, are the folks evaluating you truly familiar with you enough to make a fair judgment?

Recall that feedback frequently concerns perceptions. It may not be the whole story just because a certain employee has some negative feelings regarding a certain team member. To ensure that everyone is on the same page in the event of negative feedback, be sure to take the time to talk it over with the affected employee.

The key message here is to be cautious when gathering data.

Pro 2: Understand how others view you

It’s wonderful to learn how other people view you. Coworkers have the opportunity to anonymously share their opinions about one another during the 360 review, which is unusual in the workplace.

You’ll want to know how other people perceive you if you can take criticism without getting upset about it. The secret to handling criticism is to adopt a development mentality and see it as a chance to advance.

360-Degree Feedback Pros&Cons

Con 2: Anonymous feedback cannot be tracked

Anonymous feedback is excellent for encouraging your staff to express their ideas, but it occasionally has a downside. It is impossible for you to identify the employee who provided unfavorable feedback if it occurs during a 360-degree feedback loop. This makes it more difficult for the management to effectively address and resolve the conflict.

Pro 3: Improve the teamwork

In theory, everyone will become a better coworker and the team will be happier and more effective if they can identify their strengths, flaws, and behaviors that they need to work on.

Con 3: It could get preoccupied with complaints

Being overly kind or generous can sometimes lead to some people holding grudges against others or focusing only on the negative. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that with 360-degree feedback –  instead of being the root of a poisonous business culture, feedback might reveal its symptoms.

Pro 4: Determines training needs

Individual personnel and their organization as a whole may be impacted by skills gaps. The 360-degree performance review helps identify training shortfalls at both the individual and organizational levels. Feedback identifies specific areas with training concerns so management may put training programs in place and gives an overall view of the individual, departmental, and organizational skill competency.

Con 4: Poor performance

Organizations frequently implement and use the 360-degree assessment approach incorrectly. It’s crucial to use the assessment method the right way, which includes effectively and positively introducing the approach and maximizing the value of the feedback. When switching from one sort of performance feedback to another and when it can have an impact on employees’ salaries or positions, this is especially crucial.

Should you start implementing 360-degree feedback within your team?

360-degree input has several benefits and a few drawbacks, as were elaborated. The decision to implement 360-degree feedback on your team depends on numerous aspects – if you’re wondering whether to do so.

As a manager, you are aware of the best course of action for your team, which faces a variety of obstacles.

Every 6 to 12 months, 360-degree feedback is fantastic for getting a high-level picture of your team’s performance via many eyes. However, collecting frequent continuous feedback is crucial for real-time understanding of your team’s struggles and thoughts.

Here are some scenarios where your team might profit from 360-degree feedback:

  • When you observe problems with team relations and need to understand how employees are working with their colleagues;
  • In advance of performance evaluations or pay modifications to ensure you get a complete picture of their contribution;
  • Before the internal promotion, evaluate the employee’s performance to see what needs improvement before changing jobs.
360-Degree Feedback

Conclusion

Employees benefit from 360-degree feedback practices because they give a complete and accurate picture of their abilities and habits. In this model, the employee receives input from a variety of people within the company in addition to their supervisor. The employee’s exhibited behavior is presented in a fair and more accurate light in this way.

As it encourages self-awareness and increases transparency in communication, implementing a 360-degree feedback process is a wise company investment. The advantages of 360-degree feedback include improved internal team transparency through enhanced trust, sharing, and clarity around desired behaviors and objectives. The method and a well-designed 360-degree feedback tool can improve a team’s performance as a whole.

Further Reading:

Managing Overqualified Employees: The Why and How
Models of Change: 7 Main Models
Digital Employee Experience: The Complete Guide

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About author
Fatjona Gërguri is the content writer for Employee Experience Magazine, covering the relevant topics about employee experience, organizational culture and general HR topics.
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