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Performance ManagementNovember 21, 2022

What is 360 appraisal – and how can it improve performance?

360 appraisal

Constructive feedback unlocks growth, both on an individual and organisational level. A structured feedback process including 360 appraisals provides valuable insights and can help you identify potential areas for development.

360 appraisal surveys are growing increasingly popular within Human Resources and people teams, and for good reason! Integrating multi-rater feedback in your performance development strategy can be a game-changer, and can help improve both employee performance and the employee experience as a whole.

What is 360 degree appraisal?

360° appraisal is a process where individuals in an organisation receive anonymous feedback from the people they interact with at work. A 360 degree appraisal system allows managers, peers, and direct reports to give feedback on the performance and behaviour of an individual.

360 appraisal, also known as 360-degree appraisal, 360-degree feedback, 360 surveys, multi-rater appraisal, or 360 assessment, is a powerful tool for individual and professional development. It can help your leaders develop their leadership skills and support your teams in developing their strengths. When done well, 360 appraisals help managers and employees understand both their strengths and weaknesses better.

Benefits of 360 appraisal surveys

The advantages of 360 feedback appraisals are many, both on the individual and organisational level. Implementing a 360-degree appraisal process can help you achieve the following outcomes. 

  • A higher level of self-awareness

  • Focus on the “How” as well as the "What"

  • Improved communication 

  • Improved workplace relationships

  • Increased accountability and transparency

  • Personal and professional development

  • Improved team performance

  • Improved  individual performance

  • Improved leadership skills

  • Increases self-leadership

360 appraisal example questions

What questions should a 360 feedback form include? Best practice is to include both so-called closed questions, where participants rate different statements with numbers on a scale, and open-ended questions, to bring in more qualitative responses.

We’ve written extensively about 360 appraisal example questions in this blog post: Examples of 360 degree feedback questions

Are 360-degree feedback appraisals anonymous?

360-degree surveys are typically anonymous. This is to ensure honest responses from the people participating in the survey. In 360 surveys, it is often direct reports that are asked to give feedback on their managers, and not everyone would feel comfortable doing this in an honest way without anonymity.

Is 360 appraisal a kind of performance appraisal?

No, we strongly advise against this way of looking at 360 feedback. The 360 assessment is not a performance review, and should not be viewed as such. Instead, it should be viewed as a tool for development, that everyone benefits from. For example, it's a valuable tool for setting development goals, and for identifying where individuals may need additional support and training.

Why do you need a 360 appraisal tool or software?

A holistic platform that not only runs the 360 appraisal surveys, but also allows you to connect the results to 1:1s, action plans, performance management, and impact analytics, gives you the power to truly transform your organisation. Having the right tools in place will allow for a proactive approach to the 360 appraisal results, so you can turn the insights into meaningful action.

Key takeaways

Implementing a feedback culture is an important step to building a workplace where people thrive and can fulfill their potential. HR teams are increasingly implementing 360 appraisal processes, to ensure everyone regularly gets access to relevant feedback that helps them grow and develop.

A well-structured 360 feedback process will help you develop your employees, your teams, and your leaders in parallel.

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