The 360 degree appraisal method involves your manager seeking feedback from a number of individuals who work with you. Ideally feedback should be drawn from a range of people, not just direct colleagues, such as senior staff and customers.
In this blog post I am going to discuss how I have seen this process work in practice and how I have used this feedback to aid my professional development.
The 360 degrees appraisals I have been involved with have tended to focus on feedback from colleagues as not all staff members have direct client/customer relations in their role, so including it could inadvertently introduce unfairness in the process. However, informal client/customer feedback was incorporated where available.
To gather feedback you can design a questionnaire or you can simply ask for a few things that the person does well and three things that they might want to consider doing differently or improving on. The latter is the approach I have experience of.
The benefits of getting such feedback from colleagues includes:
- balance of positive and negative feedback – in an appraisal it is important to recognise what someone does well, whilst providing suggestions for improvement – although I am not an advocate of the positive-negative sandwich technique
- greater objectivity – not just your manager’s opinions
- more representative – your appraisal is not based solely on your manager’s perception of your work, this is especially important if you work on projects which your manager does not have direct involvement with
- constructive criticism – the phrasing of the question encourages those feeding back to offer solutions rather than simply criticising
The potential disadvantages of 360 feedback:
- looking for criticism – 360 could be seen as encouraging colleagues to look for things to criticise, if carefully worded then it need not be, especially where an emphasis is placed on making constructive comments
- support – people respond differently to feedback so it is important to support them, especially where negative feedback is concerned. Managers should read through all feedback ahead of the appraisal to ensure that they understand it and that they have considered practical ways in which the individual can address this feedback