360 Degree Performance Appraisals

360 Degree Performance Appraisals

Regular and formal performance appraisals of managerial staff is one of the most important determinants of successful and well performing teams since ALL staff, managers or otherwise, need performance feedback in order to learn and grow. There are few “learning” experiences in life quite like making mistakes and having your manager or supervisor bring such mistakes to your attention in a professional and positive manner.


Most performance management systems are geared to annual or project-specific outcomes such as revenues, budget controls, gross margins, or timelines, etc. These measurable outcomes represent the “what” of performance appraisals and are generally straightforward – you either meet or exceed the measured outcomes, or you don’t (quite simple really). So why then do so many organizations fail to provide regular performance feedback? We suggest that meaningful feedback often does not occur because, in most cases of poor performance, the root cause is not what employees did or didn’t achieve, but rather it’s the how they did or didn’t do their job. The how or the behavioral causes are extremely difficult to identify and even more difficult and uncomfortable for supervisors to articulate and communicate. This is where 360 feedback can be enormously useful and effective.


360 Degree Feedback is an evaluation tool whereby an individual evaluates themselves based on a determined set of criteria, and then is evaluated by their peers, colleagues, direct reports and supervisor (where applicable) on the same criteria. A detailed gap analysis is then completed, to see how the individual perceives themselves versus how they perceived by those around them.


360 Degree Feedback is an effective tool in collecting broad-based input and reporting on how effectively a manager is demonstrating the behaviors and skills that are considered to be important to the organization. As such, the tool addresses what is often the most important component of a Performance Appraisals. As mentioned earlier, performance appraisals must also assess, using other measurable means, the “results” component of performance; i.e., the achievement of the objectives and goals of the organization.


360 Degree Feedback is generally undertaken annually in combination with other performance appraisal measures, or, occasionally, independently as a stand-alone feedback tool. The information derived from the process is intended for use in future planning and goal setting, for example, based on the 360 Feedback received in the first year, a manager may be expected to prepare and deliver on an Action Plan (Personal Development Plan) designed to address perceived weaknesses and continue to exploit strengths.


In the following years or evaluation periods, the same survey is used. There may be specific questions added or deleted as a refinement if deemed necessary. This consistency will allow for easy comparison from evaluation period to evaluation period, as well as to highlight identifiable successes or areas in need of continued growth. In terms of the global performance appraisal, there are two key elements:


  1. Subsequent 360 Degree Feedback reports provide a comparison of behavioral improvements from year to year. This provides an assessment of the extent to which the manager has “improved” his performance according to knowledgeable colleagues and clients.
  2. Performance appraisals provides a measure of how successful the manager has been in executing his Personal Development Plan from the year before.


Although the individuals responding to the 360 Degree feedback survey may change from year to year – as staff come and go – we have found that the year to year comparison remains valid.


The popularity of 360 Degree Feedback has gone through its’ ups and downs over the years. But at myHRpro, we believe that with a properly designed tool, correct tool administration and with the diligent implementation of follow-up procedures, your managers will learn and grow based on the results, not only benefiting themselves but also contributing to the success of your organization as a whole.