A 360° review (sometimes called multi-source feedback, multi-source assessment or multi-directional review) is a voluntary performance evaluation process designed to get feedback from an employee’s manager, peers, colleagues, direct reports, and other stakeholders, such as clients.
The purpose of the 360° review is to allow everyone to understand their performance based on diverse perspectives and home in on strengths and growth areas.
Everyone benefits from these reviews because employees can use the feedback to develop their skills, set goals and improve their performance. The company can use the feedback to identify high-potential employees they may not have identified through traditional performance reviews.
Traditional performance reviews are where a manager assesses an employee’s performance by looking ‘back’; any feedback sought during this process is not shared with the employee. More often than not, the process is closely linked to compensation and promotion.
360° reviews help individuals understand what they should be doing more and, conversely, less. Ultimately, It’s about informing learning and growth opportunities.
One of the most significant advantages of these reviews is that they provide a well-rounded (hence the name) of an individual’s performance. Since the feedback is coming from multiple people, there’s often less bias and an ability to identify trends in feedback – whether it’s improvement or recognition.
Other benefits of these reviews are that they strengthen relationships and a feeling of belonging and recognition for an individual if they’re getting positive feedback from different stakeholders. The other benefits are that this process can help teams and individuals work productively and effectively, clarifying expectations that promote objectives and values and increasing conversation transparency.
360° reviews are also an excellent tool for seeking feedback from senior leaders because they are confidential. If the leader takes follow-up actions following the review, there’s a chance to build better relationships and ultimately grow as a leader.
Generally, the employee will nominate at least two people per group to make it a confidential process. So that means two peers, two indirect reports, two direct reports, two clients and so on. The employee would complete a self-assessment, and then the rest of the reviewers would answer the same questions, along with the employee’s manager. Once all the feedback has been submitted, a report is generated and shared with the employee. There would usually be a debrief session between the manager and employee, but more of a conversation rather than a review.
Mappit is one system that visually displays the results and feedback to guide the conversation. As with all other surveys, it focuses on the conversation rather than the administration. It’s simple to set up and straightforward to interpret. You can get started in no time.
Once the feedback has been shared with the employee, it’s up to them to decide the next step. It might be as simple as asking themselves what areas they should focus on for the next period and what they should continue doing.
Ultimately, 360° reviews are an excellent tool to support the development of employees and can only have positive consequences in the long term.