What is 360-Degree Feedback?
360-degree feedback is a development process that allows a person to receive candid feedback from peers, supervisors, subordinates, and other individuals with relationships key to his or her success.
360-degree feedback has been in use since 1940, and has evolved to become a very effective management tool in employee development. The term "360" refers to the 360 degrees of a circle, with an individual figuratively in the center of the circle. Feedback about a person's behaviors and performance is provided by subordinates, peers, and supervisors. 360-degree feedback also includes a self-assessment and, in some cases, feedback from external sources, such as customers and suppliers or other interested stakeholders. Today, most 360 feedback assessments are conducted online. They typically provide both numeric (5-point or 7-point scales) and qualitative feedback (written comments).
A 360 assessment can be designed to measure behaviors most important to an organization or to an individual's success. By comparing self-perceptions to the perceptions of others, an individual is able to clearly see how his or her behavior both impacts and is impacted by those with whom he or she works.
When an individual receives his or her 360 degree feedback results, he or she is typically provided some type of coaching in which the individual analyzes the report, identifies strengths and areas for improvement, and develops action plans. DecisionWise research (as well as supporting academic studies) has found that those individuals who receive some type of coaching on their feedback, and set goals for development, experience significantly greater improvement than those who simply participate in the 360 degree feedback process and receive their feedback reports.
As organizations rely more heavily on teamwork, cooperation, and communication to improve productivity, 360 degree feedback has become an increasingly useful tool.