What is it?

360 degree feedback is a specific type of multi-source feedback which focuses on observable behaviours. Over recent years the use of 360 degree feedback has greatly increased due to the popularity of leadership development programmes, flattened hierarchies and the increased importance of peer input.
360 degree feedback is performed by a variety of stakeholders who can be both internal (subordinates, peers, self, supervisors, managers) and external (suppliers, customers). The feedback providers would typically answer a number of survey questions that relate to the behaviours relevant to the role of the feedback recipient. This feedback can then be used to demonstrate strengths of the individual and identify areas of development.

What can it be used for?

360 degree feedback can be used for a range of development and assessment purposes. Organisations are using 360 degree feedback to support a range of projects including executive assessment and development, competency assessment, performance appraisals and team development.
It is also recognised as a key step in succession planning projects. As 360 degree feedback can be tailored to survey the organisation and role specific competencies, it makes it a suitable tool for identifying and developing talent for succession planning projects. 360 degree feedback can also be used in conjunction with psychometric testing to provide even more of an in depth insight into employee’s strengths and weaknesses.

How can 360 degree feedback be used to develop role competencies?

Many organisations have a competency framework in place. A competency framework allows an organisation to define the key behavioural requirements that are required to successfully perform any role within the organisation. A 360 degree feedback questionnaire can then be customised for your organisation to encompass the observable behaviours relevant to each competency. The results of the 360 degree feedback will show perceptions of behaviours relating to role specific competencies. The self perception and perception of others can highlight both areas of strength and areas in need of developing. As behaviour can be changed through coaching and training, 360 degree feedback can inform training and development programmes.

How can 360 degree feedback be used in conjunction with psychometric testing?

360 degree feedback can be used in junction with a range of personality tests. By combining the two tools, the individual can gain an in depth self-understanding that would be hard to gain in other ways. Self-awareness is a key component of both individual and team development. The combined personality and 360 degree feedback can help individuals understand their behaviours. This understanding and exploration can provide individuals with the insight to be more effective in a range of work situations.
The combined 360 degree feedback and personality tools will also provide a much deeper insight for any practitioners using the results for assessment and development purposes.
Personality testing will show an individual’s typical performance and provide a prediction of what the individual may do in a given situation. They results are often used to determine an individual’s potential fit to a role and to understand what motivates the individual. 360 degree feedback will show the behaviours that the individual has displayed in their role and demonstrates any differences in behaviours across different groups of people.
The combined perspectives based on predicted and actual behaviour offer a number of benefits including:

  • Individuals gain self-awareness of their personality, motivations, strengths and weaknesses
  • Individuals gain understanding of how others perceive their behaviours
  • In depth information for feedback and interpretation
  • The combined assessments make a strong basis for assessment and development decisions

Factors to consider to ensure successful implementation of 360 degree feedback

If a 360 degree feedback system is insufficiently introduced it has the danger of having a detrimental effect on employee performance and motivation. To ensure the successful implementation of a 360 degree review system it is important to give consideration to the following factors:

  • Communication of purpose and process
  • Training
  • Survey development
  • Feedback delivery