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What is 360 Degree Feedback and why it is must in an organization?


Imagine you have come to audition for a reality show. You are on the stage all set to give your best. The music begins and you start your performance. While you perform, you see the reaction of the audience. They seem happy and appreciative. You finish your performance and turn to the judges for their comments and feedback. Now, a performance will have to be judged on several criteria. Therefore, the process of assessment will only be complete only when you receive a 360 degree feedback by the panel of judges.


What does 360 degree feedback mean?

In a 360 degree feedback process, an employee receives feedback from his immediate work circle. It includes direct feedback from subordinates, peers and superiors, and in some cases even from the external sources like the customers, suppliers or other important stakeholders. 360 degree feedback is also termed as "multi-rater feedback" for it holds different perspectives of a group of concerned people. 

It’s a common misunderstanding that 360 degree feedbacks are beneficial only for the management and it makes the evaluation process rigid and difficult. However this statement can be true to some extent, this is not exactly true. Looking from an optimistic perspective, we would be able to observe that 360 degree feedback can give more benefits to the employees as well than what we actually think.

Why there is a need for 360 degree feedback?

  • 360 degree feedback sometimes include the external customers also especially for front line employees, sales representatives and people of middle and higher management who handles clients. Getting a feedback from them and reacting to those would increase the customer satisfaction and it may also gain customer loyalty.
  • It can be seen as a tool that explores the efficiency of an employee over different roles like manager, peer member, reportee and so on.
  • Many peers and reportees may not be ready to openly express the problems and suggestions they face with the particular employee. In such a situation, having a 360 degree feedback where the appraiser name is not revealed would be more efficient. This way of appraisal also paves way to get more honest feedback which would be helpful in understanding their expectations and it also may create a good rapport at work place.
  • The suggestions given by various appraisers can give ideas to the employee for developing oneself in that particular area they lag behind

What we gain doing 360 degree feedback?

360 degree feedback is a positive element for an organization's performance management.

  • It provides employee an opportunity to receive performance feedback from his team, supervisor, reporting staff and his customers. 
  • It allows an individual to understand his effectiveness as an employee and as a team member. 
  • It helps employees recognize their strength and areas where they can improve-helps employees to be more successful.
  • It helps employees in developing a proper plan of work.
  • Focuses on personal and career development.
  • Helps create personalized action plan.
  • Gets the employees together on the goal and work better as a team.
  • It acts as a great motivator for change.
  • It helps an employee to develop professionally and be effective at work. 

360 degree feedback is an overall performance rater for an employee. However, for an effective 360 degree feedback, it is very essential to have a properly designed performance management system. Having a better performance management system completes the process of 360 degree feedback.

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