What is a 360-degree review?

A 360-degree review is a feedback system that enables designated staff members, colleagues, and managers to evaluate an employee’s work performance and competencies. Involving those who regularly collaborate with the employee, rather than the usual senior managers, provides a panoramic perspective of the employee’s progress, strengths, and weaknesses. Ideally, gathering responses from the surrounding staff will help the employee sharpen every angle of their work performance.

Why should HR leaders care about 360-degree reviews?

HR leaders can implement the 360-degree review in different contexts, such as:

  • Performance reviews
  • Assessing job candidates  
  • Training and development

The 360-degree review can provide a holistic and impartial perspective on the skills, knowledge, contributions, behavior, and work performance of the employee or manager. A properly-designed 360-degree review can boost:

  • Productivity
  • Engagement
  • Retainment 

What can HR leaders do to implement effective 360-degree reviews?

To ensure smoothly-operating 360-degree reviews that drive motivation in the workplace, HR leaders can incorporate these practices: 

  • Align 360-degree reviews with performance review objectives. The integration of 360-degree reviews into the performance evaluation system can promote upward career progression. Emphasizing growth and development as the end-goals of the 360-degree review can ultimately help employees score higher on their performance evaluations. 
  • Determine which competencies to review. Designing a 360-degree review based on evidence-based, job-specific competencies contributes towards accurate, applicable results. HR leaders can involve employees in this process to encourage their contributions and autonomy.
  • Prepare the participants in advance. Conveying the objectives of the 360-degree review to participants in advance encourages them to take it seriously and provide honest answers.
  • Create a user-friendly survey. Ensure that the survey is at maximum, 20 minutes to maintain participant engagement. Additionally, spell out the questions so participants understand exactly which behavioral characteristics to rate. For instance, “Does this manager treat others with respect and nurture relationships in the workplace?” Or, “Can you trust this employee to fulfill tasks promptly?”
  • Ensure confidentiality. Maintaining the anonymity of the participants and protecting the privacy of the employee under evaluation is vital. Ruining an employee’s reputation or relationships between people, can destroy trust in the workplace and damage the company culture. 
  • Use the results for employee development. Managers should utilize 360-degree reviews to uncover strengths and build employees up. Assembling the data and incorporating it into an empowering action plan can fuel employees’ motivation.
  • Build trust in the workplace. The employee under assessment is in a highly vulnerable position during the 360-degree review. Nurturing a work culture that prioritizes integrity, kindness, and empathy can help maximize the nature of the 360-degree review system.

How can properly implemented 360-degree reviews improve company culture?

A well-planned 360-degree review can spur transformations among employees. Delivering easily digestible results to employees can enlighten them on their strengths and reveal areas for improvement. Providing this career-development opportunity can boost employee engagement, motivation, and performance, ultimately contributing to a thriving company culture.