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360 Degree Appraisals: A Comprehensive Guide to Effective Performance Evaluation

Kate Williams

14 May 2024

9 min read

How exactly can an employee 360-degree appraisal make your company more profitable?

Well, the more you value your employees’ opinion and invest in their growth, the more productive they’ll be. And 360 degree appraisal surveys are a powerful tool to achieve that. 

In this article, we will:

  1. Learn what is a 360 degree appraisal
  2. The difference between 360 appraisals and feedback
  3. Why you should use a 360 appraisal system
  4. How to build an effective 360 degree appraisals system
  5. How SurveySparrow can help you with 360 degree appraisals
  6. Six things you must follow in 360 degree feedback

What is a 360 Degree Appraisal?

The 360 degree performance appraisal is a way to measure your employees’ performance in a full-fledged way. With 360 degree appraisals, each employee gets the opportunity to receive useful feedback from their superiors, peers, co-workers, staff members, and customers. 

The 360-degree performance appraisal offers a holistic approach toward your employees’ performances. It focuses on improving your employees’ leadership, collaboration, and teamwork skills.

Now you’re asking “Why we should use 360-degree performance appraisal in our organization?” Here’s the answer.

360 degree appraisals will help your employees to develop their work skills, improve their overall performance, and invest their productivity for the growth of your company.

Related: How to create a thriving workforce with 360 assessments

Difference Between 360 Degree Appraisals and 360 Degree Feedback

A 360-degree appraisal is not the same thing as a 360 review or 360-degree feedback. There are some differences present in these three feedback processes.

We’ve already described 360-degree appraisal. So let’s lay down the difference between 360-degree review and feedback.  Here’s an example of a 360-degree feedback survey created using SurveySparrow.

Side-note: Survey templates like this can help cut down on errors in data with expertly researched questions. Create a free account to try them out.

360 degree feedback:

  • Helps to get inputs on your employees’ performance (based on different criteria like competencies, behaviors, skills) from different people (manager, customers, co-workers).
  • Provides a rich input on how your employees can improve their skills to serve your company better.

On the other hand, a 360 degree review works in a similar way, but its results are different from the feedback. The 360-degree review is:

  • A decision-making process for your employees. It determines their promotion, short, their future within the organization.
  • The reviews and ratings help to decide who should have a reward or get promoted in your company.

Now that we’ve ended the confusion between 360 degree appraisals, reviews, and feedback, let’s move on to our next point – why use these feedbacks anyway?

Why You Should Use 360 Degree Appraisals

As we discussed in the earlier pointers, employee performance appraisals help to increase productivity and the skill set of your employees. The employees can use appraisal reviews to invest in their and your organization’s growth.

Basically, 360-degree feedbacks are a win-win situation for everyone.

Here are some more reasons to convince you of the value of 360-degree appraisals:

  • Boost Self-Awareness: One of the most significant benefits of 360 performance reviews is enhanced self-awareness among the employees. These performance appraisals provide insights into your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. It gives a better understanding of their behavior and how they can grow within the company. With the help of these insights, you can invest in their improvement, and your employees will become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Skill Development: According to the young employees’ development and learning is considered as one of the main factors to stay with a company. So, you can use feedback and appraisal reviews to understand your employees needs to provide them with actionable skill development programs. 
  • Enhanced Communication: Once your company adopts the 360-degree appraisals practice, it’ll enable the gateway to clear communication. When you care about the feedback of each individual in your company and focus on employee growth, it creates a rich organizational environment. Thus, your employees won’t hesitate to share their ideas and thoughts about the company’s future.
  • Advance Employee Engagement: Companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable than other companies. If your employees receive feedback, recognition, and promotions from the company, they’ll feel valued. 360-degree appraisals system helps to provide them with both constructive and negative feedback about their performance. Therefore, it will create better employee engagement for the long run.
  • Balanced View: 360 appraisals gives a balanced view of your employees’ performance from the managers, staff, and peers. Similarly, you can understand the blind spots with the performance review. 360 appraisals help to improve the overall performances of the employees.
  • Open Work Culture: The 360-degree appraisals report gives a reflection about the company culture. It helps to build a culture where employees remain loyal to each other. They know about each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and work as a team to benefit the company.
  • Retain Your Employees: 360-degree appraisals give your employees ownership and control over their own professional growth. It encourages them to stay in the right direction in their career.

360-degree performance reviews boost employee engagement and improve organizational culture. Thus, it gives employee satisfaction. When employees are engaged and satisfied, they stay in with the company for the long-term.

The 4 components of 360 appraisals: Self, Peers, Supervisors, and Subordinates
The 4 Components of 360 Degree Appraisals

A 360 degree appraisal example

Do you know what makes brands like Google, Apple, Starbucks so popular? Well, here’s the answer – their employees. 

Let’s take Google’s example to understand these a bit more. At Google, an employee’s performance quality is reviewed on different scales such as “below expectations” to “exceeds expectations”. 

These companies invest their time to give an excellent employee experience constantly. They conduct regular feedback surveys, appraisal surveys to learn their employees better.

For instance, Apple conducts NPS surveys to track its employees’ performance and experience. As rated by 736 employees Apple’s Employee Net Promoter Score is 24. NPS score tracks employees feedback on a scale of 1-10. According to Comparably, 49% of Apple employees will recommend their friends and family to work at Apple. 

In another example, Minneapolis based food distributor and producer company Cargill shifted their focus into an everyday 360-degree employee performance review. They helped their employees to receive feedback and motivation on the job. The results? 70% of the employees reported that they’re happy to receive valuable feedback from their superiors and peers.

Businesses like yours can also provide an excellent employee experience with some simple steps. And the steps are not that hard too! 

What are the types of 360 appraisal?

Here are some common types of 360-degree performance appraisals:

  1. Manager-led 360-degree appraisal: Here, a manager assesses the performance of their direct report using feedback from multiple sources – including the employee, peers, subordinates, and sometimes even customers.
  2. Self-led 360-degree appraisal: In this type of appraisal, the employee assesses their own performance using feedback from the same sources mentioned above.
  3. Peer-led 360-degree appraisal: In this appraisal, your colleagues assesses your performance – using feedback from the same sources mentioned above.
  4. Customer-led 360-degree appraisal: This appraisal type involves collecting feedback from customers about your performance, then using that feedback to evaluate your strengths and areas for improvement.
  5. Team-led 360-degree appraisal: Your team members evaluate your performance in this type of appraisal, again by collecting feedback from the same sources mentioned above.
  6. Hybrid 360-degree appraisal: This is a mix of the above methods where multiple stakeholders, such as managers, peers, customers, and team members, provide feedback on your performance.
4 Ideal Candidates for 360 Degree Performance Appraisals
Who is the 360 degree performance appraisal most appropriate for?

How to Build an Effective 360 Degree Feedback System

A company can implement different methods to gain 360-degree appraisals reviews about its employees. Here’s how:

  • Generally, the manager gathers feedback from their employees and analyze it later to give a constructive opinion to the employees. You can create successful 360-degree employee appraisals by defining the aim of the program to your employees. Then you can design the program workflow and write an assessment. While designing the workflow, ensure it aligns with the purpose of your appraisal program. 
  • When you organize a 360-degree performance appraisal program ensure the anonymity of the feedback process. And, encourage your employees to give constructive and honest opinions. 
  • You can use 360-degree feedback tools to understand your employees’ performance and track assessment. As these tools work online, you can get plenty of benefits like rich data collection, engaging surveys, and quick and easy analysis.
  • With an online 360 performance appraisal tool, you don’t have to write surveys manually or worry about designing workflow. Online feedback software are accurate, fast to give responses, and affordable. You’ll get real-time reporting so you can analyze, create graphs, and export data quickly from the online software.
  • A company can also hire consultants to collect, manage, and analyze the feedback process. 

Here’s a heads up, 360-degree performance appraisal surveys should be engaging. Your goal is not to bore your employees but to make them share their opinion freely.

How SurveySparrow Can Help You with 360 Degree Appraisals

SurveySparrow is one of the ideal 360-degree feedback tools out there. From outstanding data collection, engaging survey templates, to advanced automation, SurveySparrow offers multiple features for its users. 

Here are some features you can expect from our 360-degree feedback tool:

Engaging, Anonymous 360 Degree Survey

You can conduct 360-degree appraisals easily with SurveySparrow’s 360 degree feedback software. This software will let you create engaging, conversational, chat-like surveys. You can align your personal brand with the surveys using features like custom params, variables, contact params, and piping. 

SurveySparrow’s employees feedback software is designed for multiple devices. With different types of survey questions, you can personalize your employees’ 360-degree appraisals surveys team and department wise. 

Improve Productivity with 360 Degree Reports

With SurveySparrow’s 360-degree feedback software, you can gather rich insights about your employees’ performance and review reports. This feedback tool offers different filters such as self-assessed, partially evaluated, evaluation complete, report ready, report pending, etc. These filters allow you to track the assessment status without any hassle. You can focus on improving your employees’ productivity and growth by getting question-wise responses from each employee.


Customize 360 Reports and Emails 

Personal branding is the most important thing in every aspect of your business. You can customize your employee 360 performance appraisal reports and 360 evaluation emails with company logo, colour, fonts, and style. A signature colour can increase brand recognition by 80% (Reboot, 2018). With SurveySparrow’s feedback software add new sections in the emails and 360 appraisal review reports, and manage them with efficiency.


360 Degree Feedback Data Collection

You can use this software to collect your employees’ 360 degree appraisals data and feedback. With constant sum and matrix type question types, you can get finer data in short and crisp surveys.

You can make 360 performance appraisal programs fruitful by backing it up with 360 performance review data. These data will help you to evaluate your employees’ strengths and weaknesses and their growth within the company. 

In-depth Analysis  

You can analyze the employee data using robust reporting modules to get rich insights. Simply perform a 360 review using filters and cross-tabulation to export the data. You can easily export the rich data using SPSS and PDF for further assessment. 

Track Assessment

It’s easy to track and manage all the employee performance with this. You can use the employee portal in the 360 feedback software. The admin and manager of the portal can check the evaluation and open, closed task status of each employee.

Automate Feedback Loop

Employee 360 performance appraisals are not a one-time thing; it’s a commitment for the entire employee journey. According to Documentmedia approximately 69% of businesses are using or looking for workflow automation software. That’s why it’s necessary to use tools with advanced automation. With 360 feedback software, you can automate the 360 appraisal process to determine how often you wish to send feedback surveys to your employees.

For example, you can automate the feedback surveys for quarterly or bi-annually. The automation feature of this 360 degree feedback tool allows you to get responses in real-time. With the automated recurring survey feature, you don’t have to worry about follow-up on feedback surveys. 

Multi-Department Feedback

Manage diverse feedback requirements of the departments in your company with different features like sub-accounts and audience management. Also, sort your employees into different teams using folders. With this feedback software, you can share surveys for the HR and marketing department and access them using a parent account.

Invite Employee for 360 Degree Evaluation

SurveySparrow lets you import employee data using CSV and integrate through LDPA in Active Directory. You can invite your employees easily via email by adding their contact information. On top of that, set approvers for your employees so that they can reject\accept the review reports.

With all these amazing features, you can easily opt for SurveySparrow’s 360 degree feedback software. And don’t just go by the words, with the free seven days trial you can test these features all by yourself! 

Six Things You Must Follow in 360 Degree Feedback (Bonus Tips)

#1. There are differences in the purpose and use of performance appraisal, reviews, and feedback. Understand the differences before conducting 360 feedback surveys. Good knowledge about the use and benefits of these feedback systems will help you to create surveys with quality results.

#2. If you’re going to use the 360 degrees feedback software for the first time, make sure to wait before taking an appraisal survey. The ideal time is usually the start of the year and midway through the year.

#3. The best way to conduct 360 degree appraisals is to use a 7 point Likert scale. It will give you clear data about the feedback. 7-point rating scales are easy to use, accurate, and give better survey experience to the employees. 

#4. Always keep the 360 degree feedback surveys short and precise. According to many research reports, the ideal survey length should be between 10-15 minutes – but people’s attention spans are shorter. You can view the survey completion rates on SurveySparrow’s reports, and use that as a benchmark of engagement. 

#5. The best hack to create perfect 360 degree appraisals surveys is to use 360 degree feedback software. Feedback software like SurveySparrow has multiple themes and templates with pre-filled questions to create engaging surveys. 

#6. With a busy work schedule, work goals, and pressure, it’s natural to forget about the follow-up surveys. It’s important to follow-up your employees while conducting 360 degree appraisals.

Let’s Wrap Up

When implemented carefully, 360 degree appraisals are the most useful system to improve company growth. With the 360 performance appraisal, you can increase your employees’ performance, morale, and productivity.

However, while measuring performance ensure you’re implementing the feedback system accurately. SurveySparrow’s 360 degree feedback survey templates are perfectly customized to match your expectations. So go ahead, try and test all features and choose the best according to your preference. And, don’t forget to let us know which feature you liked the most, in the comments.

Till then, keep taking wonderful surveys!

Kate Williams

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow

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