Everything you Need to Know about 360 Feedback

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Moving from traditional reviews to employee 360 feedback can be a game-changer, offering countless benefits on an individual as well as company-wide level. Research shows that healthy feedback culture and 360 reviews, when managed correctly, can have hugely positive effects on individual career development, employee engagement, employee turnover, productivity, profitability and more. 

There’s just one problem. Performance reviews can be somewhat offputting - in fact, in one study, 80% of Gen Y employees said that they preferred real-time feedback over formal reviews (1). So how do we get our people on board with performance reviews in a way that makes them really valuable and impactful? The answer is 360 reviews - a holistic mash-up of the most effective elements of formal performance reviews and modern 360 feedback principles.

Today, we’re sharing a crash course on 360 feedback that will help you and your teams tap into the potential of 360 reviews. Any questions we’ve missed? Let us know over on LinkedIn!

A walkthrough of the process of creating a review cycle in a software platform called Frankli
Creating a review cycle in Frankli

Employee 360 Feedback: Frequently Asked Questions

What is 360 Degree Feedback?

Sometimes known as multi-source or multi-rater feedback, 360 degree feedback is the process of gathering feedback on someone's performance from those who work closest with them. It may include feedback from their manager, direct reports and peers, as well as a self-reflection. This helps build a well-rounded and detailed picture of how the employee is performing.

What is the Purpose of 360 Degree Feedback?

There are three key objectives associated with 360 degree feedback;

  1. Support individual career development
  2. Gather and understand the perspective of others
  3. Build a feedback culture

What is Feedback Culture and Why Should we Strive for One?

Feedback culture is a culture that enables everyone in the organisation to give honest feedback in all directions, for example, employees feel comfortable providing feedback to leaders. This can be a huge change from the more traditional, top-down approaches to feedback that many employees are used to. 

Some of the benefits of feedback culture;

  1. Continuous, real-time feedback can make the review process more efficient and the reviews themselves more powerful
  2. The more feedback is exchanged in an organisation, the more data you have to assess areas like performance and employee engagement
  3. Consistent feedback has been linked to lower turnover rates - one study by Gallup found that turnover rates were 14.9% lower in organisations with a healthy feedback culture (2)
  4. Healthy feedback cultures can lead to stronger relationships
  5. All of these factors combine to have a positive effect on performance - in one study, teams who exchanged regular, strengths-based feedback showed 12.5% greater productivity and 8.9% profitability (2)

How do you Build a Feedback Culture?

There are a couple of things to bear in mind when looking to create a culture of feedback;

  1. Leaders and managers need to understand the importance of feedback and champion feedback across their teams 
  2. It can help to invest in feedback training, particularly for managers
  3. Teams need supporting tech tools, like Franki’s Feedback space, to simplify the process of giving, receiving and requesting feedback, and to ensure the feedback is documented in such a way that employees and managers can access it 

How do you go About Collecting 360 Degree Feedback?

360 feedback is usually gathered, collated and analysed as part of a regular 360 review process. Because of the number of recipients involved, these types of reviews can be incredibly time-consuming to carry out, which is why many teams automate them through performance tools like Frankli. Of course, you can gather 360 degree feedback manually, but do bear in mind that preparing 360 feedback survey questions as part of a review, distributing them to the correct people, and compiling the responses into a meaningful report may take weeks or even months.

Frankli simplifies the 360 degree review process by making it easy for people at all levels of the organisation to deliver powerful feedback in real time.

Are 360 Reviews Effective?

When done correctly, 360 reviews can have really positive effects on employee development, productivity, turnover and even profitability (2). 360 reviews help teams gather better and more diverse feedback than other systems, so they benefit employees, managers and leaders. They help identify room for improvement across the organisation, as well as on an individual level. 360 reviews can be less intimidating for participants than in-person feedback sessions, particularly when they’re conducted through a digital tool like Frankli. They also usually offer a good amount of anonymity.

Are There Any Disadvantages to 360 Reviews?

The main downside to a 360 review is that, if not crafted carefully, the results can be skewed or ineffective, and the process can have a negative effect on employee engagement. For example, if people give their time and energy to participate in the review, but there’s no follow-up on any issues raised, it can be really disheartening. The time commitment involved is another disadvantage - that’s why choosing the right software for reviews is a must.

How Does a 360 Degree Review work?

360 degree reviews can be done manually or using supporting software. In Frankli, it takes just a couple of minutes to set up a new review cycle. You can create sequenced or open review cycles, depending on whether you’d like to gather information on the review subject’s past performance, or whether you prefer a more holistic, continuous approach to performance reviews. During the creation process, you’ll be asked to include the following steps; self-reflection, peer review, upward review and manager-led review. For a 360 degree review, you’ll likely select all four steps. You’ll then be prompted to choose some participants, approve or edit the 360 feedback survey questions, and preview the review before publishing. 

Who Should be Included in a 360 Review?

When seeking out feedback on an individual’s performance and future development, it’s customary to include the subject’s manager and direct reports. When selecting peers, it’s best to select participants that work closely with the review subject, and ideally, choose a range of people that they interact with for different reasons. In Frankli, review subjects are invited to choose the participants for the peer review step themselves, so they should be encouraged to do the same.

Who Should I Choose to Participate in my Peer Review?

When choosing participants for your own peer review, it’s best to choose participants that you interact with regularly. If possible, try to choose a broad range of people that you interact with for different reasons. 6 to 8 is a good number to aim for.

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Is there Anything I Need to Do Before Running a 360 Review?

Before running your review, it’s a good idea to;

  1. Ensure everyone on your teams is familiar with the purpose of 360 degree feedback
  2. Encourage people to be honest and detailed in their feedback, to provide specific examples where possible, and to focus their responses on the subject’s future development. This article is a great resource to share with managers.
  3. Brief them on the time commitment involved and any deadlines that need to be met.

What Happens After a 360 Review had Been Completed?

Once a 360 review has been completed, it’s time to analyse the responses and share them with the review subject. This is best done through a dedicated one-to-one with the subject’s manager in which they can discuss the feedback, discuss opportunities for development, and create and implement an action plan. 

How do I Ensure that 360 Reviews are Successful?

There are a few things you can do to make sure you’re getting the most out of the 360 review process;

  1. Encourage participants and managers to focus on the review subject’s future development
  2. Use a tech tool like Frankli’s Reviews space to simplify the review process, minimise the time commitment for participants and organisers, and store and report on responses
  3. Select a wide variety of participants for peer reviews
  4. Ensure there are steps in place to support development after the review, so managers and participants can act quickly on the responses

Frankli simplifies the 360 degree review process by making it easy for people at all levels of the organisation to deliver powerful feedback in real time. Find out how.

1. Deloitte, The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey. 2. Gallup, The Secret of Higher Performance.

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