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A guide to 360 degree feedback: Is it outdated?
Blog //19-07-2022

A guide to 360 degree feedback: Is it outdated?

by Advanced PR, Author

360 degree feedback has long been considered a valuable tool for assessing performance and providing comprehensive insights. Organisations across the globe are readily adopting modern tools and techniques to develop employees holistically. In the conversation of employee development, the question that keeps popping up is – “Is 360 degree feedback still relevant, or is it slowly becoming obsolete?”

Join us as we explore the concept of 360 degree feedback, its benefits, limitations, and potential alternatives. This article will also cover the new and upcoming feedback methodologies and what they entail for the world of performance evaluation.

What is 360 feedback?

Sometimes called multi-rater feedback, 360 degree feedback is a method of employee appraisal that takes information from multiple sources to create a well-rounded view of a person’s performance.

Whereas traditional appraisal systems tend to be based solely on the input of managers or team leaders, 360 feedback may include perspectives from colleagues, direct reports and even customers. This means that an individual is able to receive more in-depth information about their skills and working relationships, as feedback is provided by multiple people who witness them throughout different aspects of their working day.

360 degree feedback example questions       

Some examples of good 360 feedback questions include:

  • Does [appraisee] consider other team members’ opinions before making a decision?
  • Is [appraisee] responsive to their team’s needs and questions?
  • Can [appraisee] work under pressure to meet deadlines?
  • Does [appraisee] demonstrate leadership on a daily basis?
  • Does [appraisee] listen well to other team members’ suggestions?
  • Does [appraisee] communicate effectively with customers?

You can follow up some or all of your closed questions with an invitation for respondents to include more information about their response if they wish.

At the end of the questionnaire, you may want to include some more open questions, such as:

  • What else would you like to share about [appraisee]?
  • What would make [appraisee] more effective in their role?
  • What has [appraisee] done particularly well?
  • Are there any attributes that [appraisee] demonstrates that have not been covered in the questions above?
  • What other comments do you have?

Remember to tailor your 360 feedback template to your specific organisation, as well as to each role or department where necessary, to ensure the most beneficial feedback.

Tips for writing 360 feedback questions

Rather than using a single 360 feedback template for all employees, make sure that the questions asked are relevant to the appraisee. Individualised questionnaires yield better results.

Remember to focus the questions on the appraisee’s attributes rather than their performance. Standard KPIs may be easier to quantify, but they are less helpful in terms of personal development. Having a singular focus helps extracting the most detailed insight from each question.

Make sure questions aren’t leading or accusatory; try to be clear and unbiased in your phrasing. When providing a set of responses to choose from, make sure the language used doesn’t influence respondents to answer a certain way.

The pros and cons of 360 degree feedback

Advantages of 360 degree feedback:

  1. Data gathering for goal setting: 360 degree feedback serves as a valuable tool for collecting data to set SMART goals at both the departmental and company-wide levels.
  2. Balanced and comprehensive feedback: By incorporating multiple perspectives, 360 degree feedback provides a more well-rounded and accurate picture of an appraisee's behaviour, impact, and skills.
  3. Self-awareness and skill identification: The feedback process helps appraisees develop self-awareness by identifying their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for skill improvement.
  4. Morale boost and improved relationships: Feedback from peers can contribute to increased morale and enhanced working relationships among team members.
  5. Support for personal development: The insights gained through 360 degree feedback support continuous personal growth and development.

360 degree feedback limitations and disadvantages

  1. Time-Consuming process: Gathering, analysing, and delivering feedback through 360 degree assessments can be a time-consuming endeavour.
  2. Trust and anonymity concerns: Ensuring accurate and constructive feedback requires establishing complete trust and maintaining anonymity throughout the process.
  3. Potential bias and skewed results: The opinions shared in 360 degree feedback may be biased, and obtaining a diverse range of respondents is necessary to avoid skewed results.
  4. Negative feedback focus: Appraisees may tend to fixate on negative feedback rather than recognising and celebrating their achievements.
  5. Ongoing effort and management support: Implementing 360 degree feedback effectively requires continuous effort and support from management to drive meaningful change and improvement.

Consider these advantages and disadvantages to determine whether 360 degree feedback aligns with your organisational goals and values. These limitations have somewhat taken the limelight away from the concept of 360 degree feedback, newer and more effective feedback mechanisms such as Feedback Circles have entered the market.

Does 360 feedback ever include self-assessment?

Incorporating self-assessment in 360 degree feedback structure empowers individuals to evaluate their own performance, gain self-awareness, and take ownership of their growth. It adds a valuable perspective to the overall feedback gathered from various sources and promotes continuous learning and development within organisations.

Are 360 reviews effective?

While 360 degree feedback can be a powerful tool for evaluating performance and fostering growth, it is not immune to potential challenges and failures. There are several reasons why 360 feedback may fail to deliver expected results. One common issue is the lack of clear goals and purpose behind the feedback process, leading to confusion and ineffective implementation.

Additionally, insufficient training and support for participants can hinder their ability to provide meaningful and constructive feedback. Trust and confidentiality concerns may also arise if individuals feel uneasy about sharing honest opinion in the process. Furthermore, the absence of a well-defined action plan to address feedback can render the entire process futile.

To ensure the success of 360 degree feedback, it is crucial to address these factors and establish a clear purpose, provide adequate training and support, foster a culture of trust and confidentiality, and prioritise the implementation of actionable steps based on the feedback received.

Is 360 feedback outdated?

360 feedback can be a time-consuming and cumbersome process, especially for HR who have to facilitate the process. The process consists of collecting and collating data from various sources, the collated data then has to be analysed meticulously. Hence, this process requires dedicated resources to invest considerable time and effort which can be utilised in more productive places.

Secondly, 360 feedback can be unreliable and subjective. The anonymity of the feedback process can lead to vague, unhelpful feedback that does not provide specific areas for improvement. As a result of these subjective evaluations, the feedback generated might be askew. Sometimes, the feedback process might result in aiding and abetting an unpleasant atmosphere with tension and conflict among colleagues.

Lastly, 360 feedback fails to prioritise employee development. The focus of this feedback method is on evaluating performance, usually once a year, rather than providing opportunities for growth and development. This can result in a lack of clear goals for employees to work towards, leaving them feeling directionless and unmotivated.

So, as can be seen, in today's fast-paced and dynamic workplace, the traditional 360 feedback method is seen as outdated and no longer suitable. This method can be time-consuming, unreliable, demotivating, and fails to prioritise employee development. As a result, HR professionals need to explore more efficient and effective ways of evaluating employee performance and creating opportunities for growth and development.

Feedback circles are rapidly gaining traction over the traditional 360-degree feedback model. This innovative approach to performance feedback is more inclusive and holistic, involving a wider range of stakeholders in the feedback process. Unlike the 360-degree model, which typically includes feedback from superiors, peers, and subordinates, feedback circles extend this to include customers, suppliers, and other external parties who interact with the individual or team. This broadens the perspective and provides a more comprehensive view of performance, encouraging teamwork and fostering a culture of continuous feedback.

Furthermore, feedback circles promote authenticity and simplicity, making the feedback process more relatable and less intimidating. They highlight strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement in a balanced manner, leading to more effective performance management strategies

How Advanced Clear Review can help

At Advanced, we have long recognised the limitations of the 360 feedback method and advocated for a more modern approach through continuous performance management. However, what if we could revolutionise the traditional 360 feedback method to work seamlessly with continuous performance management, bringing an outdated HR process into the 21st century? That's why we're excited to introducea new and completely employee-led feature in Advanced Clear Review capable of uncovering the strengths, weaknesses and blind spots in the performance of an employee.

To know more about our Feedback Circles, get in touch with our team today.

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