by Kate Russell

360 degree assessment

The 360 degree assessment/appraisal involves collecting data from a variety of sources, which can give a broader outlook on the employee’s performance and capabilities.

Typically, feedback will be collected from the employee’s manager, peers, subordinates (where this applies), suppliers and customers. The latter may be internal or external customers.

Feedback is normally gathered by means of a questionnaire, asking participants to rate the individual according to observed behaviours – usually managerial or business-specific competencies.

Presenting the results of the appraisal to managers in a constructive way is critical to the success of the process. All feedback, positive and critical, should be presented, with the aim of highlighting and acting on areas for development.

Results can be aggregated to give you some feedback on organisational strengths and weaknesses in relation to your business objectives and training strategy.

You can see further information in 360 Degree Assessment.

This type of appraisal has some advantages over other methods.

  • The quality of the feedback tends to be higher because it comes from a range of people.
  • Employees are more likely to change behaviours when they receive feedback from a collection of different sources.
  • There is less personal involvement for the appraising manager, so the discussion is more objective.
  • The process sends a message to employees that performance management is taken seriously and encourages a culture of constructive feedback.

There are, however, certain disadvantages.

  • The process is time consuming and expensive.
  • Demands on the information sources can be heavy.
  • There are some questions that the sources find difficult to answer: for example, those related to the employee’s objectives.