360 Feedback and Performance Reviews

360 Feedback and Performance Reviews

What Are 360 Feedback and Performance Reviews?

Sometimes it can be tricky giving constructive criticism to a colleague, employee or manager. Also, it can be frustrating if you can see that if they could just adjust that part of their behavior, they would soar with success.

360 feedback and performance reviews are a great way for a person to learn about their business and interpersonal skills so they can develop areas that need improving.

360 feedback and performance reviews is a method of gathering information anonymously about an employee from his direct reports, managers, work colleagues and peers.

Its aim is to identify strengths and weaknesses in order to formulate a strategy to improve performance.

Traditionally, feedback is given by a line manager. 360 feedback by contrast, is given anonymously by peers and external colleagues from other organizations.

How Does 360 Feedback Work?

360 feedback can be gathered digitally using online surveys or face to face interviews. A list of colleagues and peers who have worked with the employee concerned is put together. The list must consist of people who have worked with the person for at least a year to deliver accurate results.

Equally, people who have worked with the person for many years are excluded from the list to prevent bias.

It is often recommended that the coachee draws up a list of questions to ask. That way, they can show that they genuinely want feedback on their performance. 

When the interviews have been conducted, the answers are compiled into a report. Survey respondents will have rated various skills such as leadership, time management and flexibility for instance.

The Power of Feedback

Feedback is essential for learning. To be able to accept constructive criticism about one’s skills and personality is arguably the most valuable skill you can have.

It’s easier to learn a programming skill than it is to learn business soft skills. That’s because it’s either correct or incorrect. When you get it wrong it doesn’t work. Social and business skills are trickier to learn. We don’t often receive feedback and are often left second-guessing what others are thinking.

We typically rely on our own self-reflection to learn whether we are learning in our work environment, that is if we do engage in self-reflection.

360 reviews are an invaluable way to gain an insight into where your strengths lie and where you can improve.

The Limits of 360 Reviews

360 reviews are useful, but it pays to be mindful that in some situations they might be limited. The system only works if it’s correctly implemented.

Unfortunately, as feedback is given anonymously, it encourages a respondent to focus on more negative performance factors, which can give rise to suspicion and resentment.

If people feel that the reviews could influence their own performance ratings in the company overall, it could tempt them to rate some higher and others lower in order to dishonestly influence their own performance rating.

Ultimately, though, some kind of feedback system is necessary for people to improve and develop in their role.

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