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360 degree as part of the annual performance process


I know this is more of an HR kind of thing but I am posting it here too as I think this forum is more lively! 

We currently use 360 feedback as part of our leadership and management training to help people with their development. For the next development step of our individual performance appraisal system we are looking at introducing a 360 element for managers. Do any of you have experience of using 360 feedback as part of the appraisal process and if so how would you answer the following -

How does the company go about deploying it?

What do you measure through 360? How are the raters chosen?

Does it have an impact on their overall performance score for the year?

Regards Craig

2 Responses

  1. keep them VERY seperate

    Hi Craig

    360 degree feedback used for leadership development and feedback collected/given/used for performance reviews are entirely different beasts.

    360 feedback IMHO should only be used for development purposes.  This needs to be clearly outlined in your code of practice and supported by strict rules of confidentiality and skilled, facilitated feedback of the report.

    Collecting feedback to ‘prove’ you’ve been doing a good job for a performance review is totally different to using feedback to discover/validate strengths and development needs.  If you use feedback in both ways and describe them in similar ways it is likely that your 360 development process will be undermined.  Why?  Well once feedback gets linked to performance review (and perhaps bonus or merit pay) then people tend to be less candid in their feedback, they only seek feedback from those that will give them a good report or those that will tell them what they want to hear.

    There is also the potential to overload the business with requests for feedback during performamnce review time.  If this coincides with your year end it can be disatrous.

    Having said all the above, my company does have a process of collecting ‘multi-rater’ feedback for performance reviews.  Manager and employee agree who feedback should be sought from and an email listing perhaps 3 questions only is sent to these selected ( 6 – 10) people.  These questions are agreed between employee and manager and may focus on specific key result or development areas for example.  Feedback is then discussed as part of the end of year/mid-year review.

    and yes – it can and does impact performance ratings.


  2. 360 for performance appraisal

    Hi Craig

    I’d be inclined to agree with the other respondent. As a provider of 360 solutions, we find that when things go wrong is when there is a lack of clarity around the purpose of asking for feedback. It sounds like you have it working well for development purposes and there’s a danger that adding performance into the mix that it confuses messages about what and why you are measuring. I feel that you could end up diluting something that’s working well for a different purpose when there are other ways of providing performance feedback.

    If you are going to go down the route of using 360 for both development and performance, here’s some suggestions to think about

    1) How are you going to communicate to ensure clarity of purpose for both sets of feedback

    2) How are you going to design the questions for the performance review – my view would be keep it to 3 to 5 questions only that are totally distinct from the development review questions you use

    3) How will you ensure that the person being appraised doesn’t just select their friends and therefore set themselves up to get positive feedback (a big temptation if performance= pay rise/bonus/promotion)

    4) How will the feedback be used. Are your line managers fit for purpose in interpreting and giving constructive feedback on performance?

    5) What other sources of information would a manager use to determine performance? Make sure this is clearly communicated and understood

    6) Make sure that the people responding are clear whether they are responding for development or performance reasons. I’d also think about keeping the potential number of respondents reasonably tight as you could end up overloading staff with questionnaires and then getting non-compleitions or poor feedback which would be unfair to the appraisee.

    We’ve a free factsheet on how to roll out 360 programmes which provides a checklist which might be useful in mimimising any potential pitfalls – see

    Hope this helps and good luck


    — Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher Director, Celodus


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