What is a 360 review/360 degree feedback?
A 360 review (also commonly called 360 degree feedback) is a multi-source review process where an individual employee receives feedback from a variety of sources e.g supervisors, peers, direct reports, and other invested parties. By having a variety feedback sources, this minimizes the risk of individual bias and enables the employee to have a more comprehensive view of their strengths and weaknesses.
How are 360 reviews used?
360 reviews are typically used in three key ways: to replace the annual review process, to augment professional development, or to identify key patterns and discrepancies across multiple groups.
Traditional top-down performance-review processes limit feedback to a direct supervisor. While efficient, this runs the risk of individual bias. Expanding the annual performance review to include feedback from others--such as team members or direct reports--minimizes the risk of individual bias and also. However, 360 feedback reviews have a lengthier set-up time and requires careful management. Because the performance review is often tied to compensation, without proper communication and training, the feedback process may devolve into personal criticisms and/or active sabotage. Hence, some companies restrict 360 feedback to a professional development exercise that is wholly separate from the performance review process.
Professional development exercises are removed from the compensation-based performance review process and are strictly used to help an employee's growth in hard and soft skills. 360 feedback is useful for understanding and managing peers' perception on core skills.