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Learning and Development | 6 Min Read

All you need to know about 360 Degree Feedback

What is 360 Degree Feedback?

It’s a modern feedback mechanism wherein the employees receive 360 degree feedback from peers, superiors, subordinates, and customers. The feedback helps employees in improving their performance, skills, behavior, and organizational culture. It is then shared with respective team members through one-on-one meetings with the supervisors.

The modern performance appraisal method is conducted to enhance employee personal development goals. A 360-degree evaluation report is created by the supervisor that is kept anonymous to prevent any personal difference between the feedback seeker and provider. Besides that, the report provides individual development plans for each individual.

360 feedback works as a development tool. One of the unavoidable benefits of 360-degree feedback makes it easier for the employees to provide feedback, anonymously. When it comes to providing feedback, most of the employees either remain silent or try to be politically correct in the office environment. Subordinates usually avoid giving any negative feedback about their reporting managers, candidly. Their views may change in personal feedback. 360-degree feedback is a way to access all those unheard opinions. Every individual employee may have their views and ideas that can improve the overall health of the organization.

How is 360 Degree Feedback Used?

There is a critical need for 360-degree evaluation in organizations as every team member needs to be aware of their work performance and team contributions. Employees feel connected and a sense of belongingness if they are appreciated and motivated at work. There should be regular feedback sessions within the team so that employees are aware of their growth trajectory and personal development.

Some companies use 360-degree feedback for performance appraisal. But if the 360-degree process is not structured then it is not easy to create an atmosphere of trust for measuring the performance of the individual employees. It gets more important to focus on the skills in the individual employees that cater to the job requirements and achieve the company goals. A company should have clear objectives on how to use the 360 feedback to maintain a productive environment in the company. 

360-degree evaluation is the most comprehensive appraisal where the feedback on the employees’ performance is received from every source who is in touch with them. This method was employed in Maruti Suzuki Motors and HCL Technologies. It was highly beneficial, cost-effective, and time-saving.

It is, at times, taxing for HRs to adopt 360 degree reviews other than performance tracking, mainly due to employees’ resistance. However, when employee reviews are gathered from colleagues, other than managers, the overall performance of an employee from different stakeholders is evaluated.

The Competency Framework of 360 Degree Feedback Tool

The competency framework essentially provides you with a list of behaviors that are valued, recognized, and rewarded as part of a 360-degree feedback system in some organizations. It is a critical business performance metric that measures the organization’s capabilities and its people.

It is very important for any organization to know the strengths and weaknesses of their employees. This is why the 360 feedback is a very good way to gauge the employees in terms of their individual performance. The 360-degree feedback lists all the essential parameters. These parameters can be based on skills or performance. The results coming from the collective analysis of these parameters help make a development plan for the organization. 

360-degree feedback is also important to get the feedback of those individuals who are not in the managerial roles. A competency framework is built by working on all the individual employees and how they stay motivated and driven towards their work. 360 feedback brings a clearer picture of where to focus in order to make your organizational culture healthy and balanced.

Also, it drives up business performance. The competency framework helps in generating higher employee and organizational effectiveness, resulting in efficient training needs analysis and career management.

The subject matter experts work in coordination with psychometricians to understand your needs and to improve the overall employee performance. The competency framework model is designed by psychometricians for various business positions differently.

Let’s have a look at the competency behavior model for a senior management leader:

  • Team worker
  • Developing self and others
  • Leader
  • Motivational
  • Critical Thinking Ability
  • Decision-Maker
  • Innovative
  • Adaptability
  • Strategic, Commercial, and Financial Know-How
  • Exceptional Communication Skills

Behavioral Indicators at the Workplace

360-degree feedback is an effective system to collect feedback about the individual employees for their work performance and overall presence in the company. It is also called multi-rater feedback which means it provides multiple parameters to rate an employee, anonymously. The name 360 clearly suggests that it includes feedback from all the people around an individual. They could be seniors, peers, and subordinates. The 360 feedback should be designed with work-related competencies, personality, and behavioral traits. Some of these traits are,

  • Takes ownership
  • Ensures commitments are met on time
  • Does not blame
  • Provides mentoring and opportunities to improve
  • Motivates the team
  • Formulates a vision
  • Sets a strategy
  • Engages people towards common goals

What to Consider while Administering a 360-degree Survey?

Compartmentalize people and respondents around a person in different sections such as managers, peers, and subordinates. One should ensure some of these points given below to improve the overall result of the 360 degree survey.

  • It should be very confidential.
  • Give clear and constructive comments.
  • The survey should be based on behavioral competencies that can be quantifiable.
  • The subject should also be given the same questionnaire.
  • This whole process should be done under external supervision.
  • Keep follow-up in your plan
  • Keep the survey short, simple, and specific in questions.

What is the Purpose of 360 Degree Feedback?

If the 360 feedback is done properly it solves many purposes for an organization. Every organization has a scope of improvement. Once implemented 360 degree feedback brings many productive ideas to the organization:

  • Effective Way for Development: The 360 degree feedback is a very good method to help individuals understand how others perceive them. The 360 feedback helps in understanding their personality, strengths, weaknesses, and beliefs. It proposes needful changes in the behavior of an individual and also helps in understanding if there is a need for professional training. 
  • Objectivity- Variety of opinions from different people make the 360 degree feedback objectively sound. For example, if multiple people have the same opinion then one can validate the particular point about the individual. 
  • Motivation- 360 degree feedback is an effective process to help individuals work on their weaknesses and make them stay motivated towards their work. 
  • Competency Framework- The collective opinions of all the employees in 360 degree framework help improve the overall competency framework of the company. It works in the company’s progress as people are given an opportunity to look at those points that make a company successful by individual contributions.
  • Customer Experience- The opinions from the customers and the clients provide some important facts to improve the overall customer experience.
  • Scope of Improvements- The 360 degree feedback brings a scope of improvement to the company’s culture. It gets much easier to understand what all areas should be worked upon to bring significant changes. The analysis of the 360 degree provides such pointers that can be used purposefully.
  • Autonomous and Remote Workers- 360 degree is an effective way to improve the quality of work of the remote as well as autonomous workers. It is very helpful in making the most out of the available resources as the 360 feedback is directly related to the productivity of the organization.
  • Confidential Procedure- The procedure for the 360 degree test is very confidential so it makes all those employees give their feedback who are passive or reluctant in giving their opinions, openly.
  • Better Communication among Teams– 360 feedback is equally helpful in making an individual understand how to connect with people around them and avoid any possibility of communication gap.
  • Personal Traits- 360 feedback provides essential feedback so that one can work on personality improvement with key points in their minds
  • Employee Development- The propositions coming from the 360 degree feedback make a favorable scenario for the employees for personal as well as professional development.

How Does a 360 Degree Feedback System Help Organizations?

There are multiple benefits of 360 degree feedback which are listed below:

Identifies Strengths & Weaknesses

Does 360 Degree Feedback Work?

As per the Gallup Study, organizations that have conducted 360 degree evaluation had 15.9% better employee turnover rates than employees who received no feedback from superiors.

360-degree evaluation is an excellent practice by organizations to provide overall performance feedback to the employees. The employee gets a clear understanding of his/her strengths and weaknesses by the supervisors, peers, and subordinates. The employee on the basis of that can improve his/her productivity and performance and hence, can contribute to the organization’s growth effectively.

Improves Productivity & Work Relationships

As per the Gallup study, managers who have received feedback from employees showed a profitability increase of 8.9% and 12.5% productivity in 530 organizations.

360-degree feedback system helps in building healthy relationships among peers, superiors, and subordinates and enhances the overall productivity of the team. There is no hierarchy mandate in 360-degree feedback tool as anyone can give feedback to any team member among the internal team. Apart from that, the feedback helps in increasing the frequency of communication within the team.

Determines Performance Appraisal

As per the reports by OfficeVibe, 69% of employees would work harder if their efforts are better appreciated and recognized.

Employees survive in organizations if their work is appreciated and reviewed by the superiors at regular intervals. They are driven to work not only through smart paychecks but a sense of encouragement. A 360-degree feedback system helps employees to stay on track and provide valuable insights into their performance. Apart from that, the feedback plays a crucial role in determining the performance appraisal of employees as the supervisor has a proper 360-degree evaluation report in hand. The manager can study the employee’s strong and weak points carefully and on the basis of that appraise them.

Creates an Open Culture

Another significant benefit of 360-degree feedback tool is that it creates a sense of open culture in the organization as subordinates, peers or managers are free to share their opinions about each of them. Employees do not hesitate to share their feedback about their managers or supervisors. They can approach them anytime and share their concerns. The feedback tool also gives rise to new suggestions and review points that can be discussed between the subordinate and the manager mutually to improve the team performance.

Identifies Skill Gaps for Training Needs Assessment

A 360-degree feedback tool helps you in identifying the skills gaps among employees and other team members. The employee receives a list of skills and competencies that needs to be improved and brushed upon. The manager gets a clear idea of which employees should be imparted training and development sessions. Besides that, the feedback tool enables the training team to register only those employees for the classes that actually need training. It also saves time and money for the instructor.

How Mercer | Mettl Can Help?

Mercer | Mettl has a one-stop solution for all your 360 degree evaluation needs. It offers 3 effective tools to evaluate employee’s potential and abilities. They are listed below:

Performance Appraisal

The evaluation tool provides you overall employees’ perspective in the form of a seamless platform, intuitive reports, and customizable surveys.

  • Seamless Platform: Eliminates operational hassles from the 360-degree evaluation and appraisal process by the quick set-up, effortless administration, and automated reminders.
  • Intuitive Reports: Mercer | Mettl helps in preparing beautiful reports and dashboards with clear and actionable information. It consists of comprehensive feedback reports, group reports, and easy-to-understand dashboards.
  • Customizable Survey: It helps you customize questions to competencies to reports. Mercer | Mettl will help you build custom questionnaires, an exhaustive competency library, and multiple question types.

You can visit the link for more details on Performance Appraisal.

Training Needs Identification

The assessment tool helps in identifying gaps in the behavioral traits of an employee as perceived by other stakeholders.

It Is Divided into 3 Pillars:

Why to Train

Mercer | Mettl identifies and develop key competencies in employees to achieve business goals

Who to Train

It helps in identifying the skill gap for each employee based on the competency levels

What to Train

It helps in designing a customized training plan based on individual skill gaps and training needs

Apart from that Mercer | Mettl helps you in curating the right training program for your organization. It is divided into 3 parts:

Skill-based: It helps in identifying employee’s unique skill sets required to succeed in every job role and function.

Behavior-based: It identifies behavioral gaps that need to be worked upon employees. They are basically the dominant predictor for most roles.

Future-Proofing: It augments the learning agility within the organization by identifying upcoming skills to develop in the workforce.

For more details on this, visit the link.

Succession Planning

This tool understands behavioral dynamics observed on-the-job and improves the developmental steps.

Mercer | Mettl can help you plan Succession Planning in the following way:

Identify: It defines key competencies required to succeed in critical roles and nominate candidates.

Assess: Valid and reliable tools such as Psychometric, Aptitude Assessment, Assessment and Development Centers, and 360 Degree Feedback System are used to assess candidate readiness on key competencies.

Plan: Customized reports are used to shortlist suitable candidates for succession.

Act: There is a check on the growth of selected candidates.


Implementing 360 degree feedback system in organizations is a smart investment and a business decision as it promotes self-awareness and creates transparency in communications. The feedback tool creates transparency among the internal team via trust, sharing, and increased clarity towards expected behaviors and goals. A well-crafted 360 degree feedback tool can boost overall team performance.

About Mercer | Mettl

At Mercer | Mettl, our mission is to enable organizations to build winning teams by making credible people decisions across two key areas: Acquisition and Development. Since our inception in 2009, we have partnered with 2900+ corporates, 31 sector skill councils/government departments, and 15+ educational institutions across 90+ countries.

Mettl was acquired by Mercer in 2018, a global consulting leader in advancing health, wealth, and career, and a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), the leading global professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy, and people.

Originally published December 24 2018, Updated July 20 2020


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