360 degree feedback provides a strong foundation for performance appraisals. Here is how you can set up 360 degree feedback for performance appraisals 

  • Inform all stakeholders the purpose and benefit of using 360 degree feedback for performance appraisals.
  • The subjects should have spent at least 6 months in the organisation.
  • The raters should be working closely with the subjects.
  • The parameters should be set clearly before beginning the process.
  • The feedback should be anonymous always.
  • The survey should be kept short and to the point.
  • Follow up after the survey should include all the feedback.


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360 Degree Feedback is a method or process in which confidential feedback is shared with the employees by the people who work around them for performance appraisal. The feedback is usually collected by filling out surveys which contain questions ranging from work performance to attitude and behaviour. About 8-12 people fill out the survey for one employee, which could be the employee’s manager, colleagues, direct reporters and even customers. The employee also fills the same survey for themselves as a practice of self-assessment and are able to gauge their performance across different benchmarks to understand where they lack. The survey contains questions that can be answered using a rating scale and asks for additional comments where necessary.

There are different methods which could be used for performance appraisals. An organisation could use self-evaluation for performance appraisals. Here, the employee rates themselves against a list of criteria provided. However, it is extremely likely that the employee may rate too high or too low. Another way could be to use a behavioural checklist. The supervisor can check ‘yes’ or ‘no’ against a checklist of desirable traits that were exhibited by the employee. While it is a quick method, there is no detailed analysis of the employee’s performance. Supervisors could also use Management by Objectives (MBO) approach wherein, supervisor and employee set objectives and evaluate performance on the basis of completion of those objectives. This can get tricky in terms of prioritising if there are too many objectives.

360 degree feedback provides a strong foundation for performance appraisals. Since it is collected by multiple sources who are reliable and know the employee well, there is no bias and you get a more comprehensive view of the employee’s performance. Moreover, 360 degree feedback helps us to focus on ‘how’ a task was completed, rather than whether it was completed or not. Thus, providing basis for a detailed discussion and shed light on the employee’s behaviour as well as attitude and team dynamics. This leads to clear and open communication with supervisors and managers, which helps in enhancing overall performance of the organisation and promotes team work.

Here is how you can set up 360 degree feedback for performance appraisals –

Step 1: The Purpose

It is important to inform all stakeholders the purpose and benefits of using 360 degree feedback for performance appraisals. It is key to talk about how 360 degree feedback will be used and how to interpret the results for improvement.

Step 2: The Subjects

It is vital that the subjects (employees for whom the feedback is being collected) have spent at least 6 months in the organisation and have spent a considerable amount of time with the people who will be giving feedback.

Step 3: The Raters

The raters provide feedback for the subjects. Thus, it is important that the raters work closely with the subjects to provide comprehensive feedback.

Step 4: The Parameters

360 degree feedback survey has questions regarding work competencies, behaviour, productivity, team work, etc. This makes it important to set out the parameters beforehand itself.

Step 5: The Confidentiality

It is key to keep all the feedback confidential since it ensures fairness and guineuine feedback. Biases can be avoided when there is confidentiality.

Step 6: The Survey

Nobody likes lengthy surveys. It is better to keep the survey short and crisp. Make sure the questions are framed clearly and there is no ambiguity. Ideally, it should take the rater 15-20mins to finish the survey.

Step 7: The Follow-Up

Arguably, the most crucial step in setting up a 360 degree survey is the follow-up after collecting all the feedback. It is necessary to collate all the feedback and turn them into action points. This can be discussed with the subject to set new goals as well.


While the bulk of the responsibility falls on the employee, employers are responsible for providing an environment in which employees are encouraged and supported in their growth and development needs. 360 degree feedback can provide excellent information to an individual about what he or she needs to do to enhance their career.

360-degree feedback is one of the best methods for understanding personal and organizational developmental needs . You may discover what keeps employees from working successfully together and how your organization’s policies, procedures, and approaches affect employee success. In many organizations that use 360-degree feedback, the focus has switched to identifying strengths. That makes sense for employee performance development.

However, performance appraisals require prior planning and need to be on a regular basis. Transparency is key and so is setting realistic goals. As explained earlier, there are many methods which may be used for performance appraisals – self-assessment, behavioural checklist or Management By Objectives (MBO). These methods may fall short at some point. There could be recency effect, wherein, the rater focuses only on the recent events and evaluates the entire performance based on that. Primacy effect occurs when managers do not interact with employees as often and thus, rate based on their last interaction. 360 degree feedback is able to avoid such errors and that is what sets 360 degree feedback apart. It provides a holistic overview of the employee’s performance from multiple and reliable sources.

Furthermore, there are many practical applications of using 360 degree feedback for performance appraisals. For instance, for the employee – they are able to analyse their performance, learning assistance, their skills, areas for improvement and career development. For the organisation – 360 degree feedback can aid in succession planning, enhanced efficiency and achieving organisation goals.

In conclusion, 360 degree feedback ensures the performance appraisals are accurate and timely. By taking ratings from multiple raters about the subject, there is no room for bias and you get the whole picture of how the employee performs and interacts with others. This helps in analysing strengths and weaknesses and make action oriented plans. This further aids in personal development and improves teamwork. Open and clear communication sets responsibilities for all and provides the basis for correct accountability. While performance appraisals are an integral part of an organisation, doing them correctly is even more important. Thus using PW to keep a proper record of all your 360 degree feedback is a great way to start.

Wondering why your performance management system may need fixing? PW helps in easy integration of 360 degree feedback for performance appraisals. Read more to find out how you can fix your performance management system –

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