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360 feedback tool for appraisal   | 4 Min Read

Simplifying Performance Appraisal Using 360 Degree Feedback

Written By Megha Singh

Effective management of employee performance goes miles in achieving long-term business success. But the practice should not stay restricted to mere rewarding of high performers. Management also implies maintaining and further improving the performance of average employees. Keeping a tab on performance involves making unbiased decisions and treating everyone equally, even if it takes having uncomfortable conversations with the underperforming workforce. Striking this balance is what propels organizations to stay on track with their vision.

22% of employees have called in sick rather than face a performance review.

This was revealed in the TriNet Perform Survey conducted by Wakefield Research on 1000 millennials. The staggering number stands contrary to what performance review conversations are meant to do – help people express and reflect on how they have performed over the past six months or a year. Instead, the reviews become dreadful to the employees.

As the performance appraisal time nears, employees become nervous and prefer avoiding it altogether. In such cases, it becomes the responsibility of human resources to familiarize employees with the feedback software beforehand so that employees can rest assured that the feedback will be used constructively.

One such software that resolves your performance appraisal woes is 360 degree feedback. A majority of companies that focus on employee development use 360 degree review to analyze performance and latent potential of staff members. This lets employees map their career trajectory and undertake personal development based on the feedback received from multiple sources. On the other hand, organizations consider the results before taking major decisions regarding employees’ career, annual appraisal, or promotion.

360 degree feedback is the most comprehensive appraisal where the feedback about the employees’ performance comes from all the sources that come in contact with the employee on his job. This method is being used in Maruti Suzuki Motors and HCL.


Originally used for L&D alone, the use cases of 360 degree tool have significantly evolved over the past decade. The popular application of the tool can be found in using the feedback for half-yearly or annual performance appraisal. Whether one agrees with it or not, economic reality has caused an increasing number of organizations to begin using 360-degree feedback for appraisal rather than exclusively for development.

A blog by ClearCompany reveals that 72% of respondents felt that their performance would improve with corrective feedback.

Read Our Blog Pros and Cons of 360 Degree Appraisal to Know More

Tips to Use 360 Degree Feedback for Performance Appraisal

Adopting 360 degree review other than performance tracking can become a taxing decision for HRs, especially because of employee resistance. However, it should be remembered that reviews from colleagues other than managers shed light on the overall performance of an employee in relation with different stakeholders.

Research has shown that employee performance drops 10% when ratings are absent from the review process, largely due to the inability of managers to effectively manage talent without ratings.

360 performance appraisals are a great way to collect genuine data related to employee performance. Since a number of employees are involved in the rating, the feedback results are reliable and unbiased. However, to further simplify things for you, we have created a short list to help you easily use 360 degree review for performance appraisals.

1. Reflect on the Culture

Before rolling out the survey in your company, it is very important to be mindful of the existing work culture. If your organization, along with the stakeholders and employees, have not used 360 appraisals before, they will not instantly trust the software. In such a scenario, it is best if 360 degree tool is initially used for developing leaders. Once the staff begins to have trust in the system, you can roll the survey over a period of time so that the culture eventually gets used it with appraisals too.

2. Hold a Briefing Session

Even though this step sounds cliché, it is an important one for familiarizing the organization with something new. Before you expect employees to take up the survey, hold a briefing session where you give pointers as to how to use the tool. This will make the process simpler during implementation. As employees will begin to understand 360 appraisal software, they will be able to use it better.

3. Communicate the Purpose

You need to be clear in your mind before addressing your employees. Employees will have a number of questions regarding the use of a new tool for performance mapping. There will be apprehensions regarding the reliability of the tool. To shun all misconceptions away, HRs should clearly communicate the purpose of the exercise – employee development, identification of skill gaps, and data backed performance appraisals. The interactive session will act as an open forum where employees can ask questions one on one.

Read our Blog The Basics of 360 Degree Feedback & Why is it Important in 2019? To Know More

4. Keep the Survey Short

A pre-requisite of making your employees effortlessly and diligently fill the feedback survey is keeping it as concise as possible. Employees will not tend to delay filling the survey if they know that the number of questions that they have to mark candidates on is less. If the survey is a long one and takes an hour or so, there might be a possible delay or hasty and skewed ratings. This will ultimately impact the final report.

5. Pilot the Survey

Testing the survey on a small group of people is the best way to know the long-term implications of 360 degree appraisal for the organization. This will be a chance to figure out the loopholes in the system which can then be improved before actually rolling out the survey at all job levels. As knowing the kind of water one is going to dive in enables swimmers to prepare better, understanding the impact of 360 appraisals on employees helps employers in taking better employee decisions.

6. Keep the Feedback Anonymous

Keeping the ratings and comments anonymous will save you a lot of trouble. At times, while positive feedback is celebrated, negative feedback is not taken in the right spirit. If feedback seeker knows the opinions of his peers and subordinates, it may infest feelings of contempt between employees. To keep the office environment congenial and healthy, the administration should be careful in keeping the feedback ratings anonymous so that employees don’t take the review personally.

Advantages of Using 360 Assessment for Appraisal

Once used almost strictly for development, 360 reviews have proved to be a valuable asset for organizations. 360 performance appraisal gives an edge over traditional appraisal methods in the following ways:

  • Provides a comprehensive picture of employee performance
  • Measures effectiveness of employees with different sets of people
  • Gives unbiased data-driven reviews
  • Structures your appraisal process
  • Organizations already using 360 evaluations for development find it a logical step in assessing performance.


The key to the success of 360-degree appraisals is to look at them as a tool to help employees reach their potential. Done right, they can make your workforce a highly motivated group of people who are ready to do whatever it takes to get better—including acknowledging their mistakes. Organizations that implement 360 degree feedback as part of their performance appraisal process report higher levels of completion, fairer evaluations, increased accountability, more personal growth, and a more open corporate culture.

Topics: 360 Feedback Tool For Appraisal

Originally published May 27 2019,updated October 12 2019

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