As an employee, you must have been asked to provide feedback about a co-worker as part of a 360 review. Your accurate and honest feedback can help the manager to use it to improve employee performance. Thus, it becomes your responsibility to give as objective and unbiased feedback as possible about your colleagues.
What is 360-degree feedback?
360-degree feedback refers to a feedback system where employees receive anonymous feedback from people who closely work with them. This primarily includes the employee’s manager or supervisor, co-workers, team members, direct reportees, and even clients. Some eight to twelve people are asked to fill out a feedback survey with questions about the employee's workplace competencies, work ethic, areas of improvement, etc. These feedback questions are measured on a rating scale, and written comments can also be provided. Moreover, the employee receiving feedback also does a self-assessment by filling out the survey form. Thus, 360-degree review works as a performance management tool for the employee by taking the perspectives of different people into account.
360-degree feedback is a vital development tool that gives employees a clear idea about their strengths and weaknesses. The feedback system maintains anonymity and tabulates the results for the employee. The results give them a complete picture of their capabilities in the different roles and functions they perform. In addition, such frequent reviews give access to honest feedback and constructive criticism from different viewpoints. This helps in the personal and professional growth of the employee.
A co-worker’s 360 feedback for colleagues provides a better picture since they work together daily and are more aware of each other’s issues and strong areas. An employee is more frequently in touch with his peers than his manager. So, peer review forms an essential part of a 360 review.
Benefits of 360-degree feedback
360 feedback system is primarily used in two ways:
- Development tool: One of the major reasons to conduct 360 reviews for an employee is to help them recognize their strengths and weaknesses. This feedback tool allows people to give anonymous feedback that they might not give otherwise. Therefore, the employee can adjust their behavior and develop skillsets according to multiple perspectives.
- Performance appraisal tool: 360 reviews are used to measure employee performance. It evaluates the behavior and competencies of the employee. It provides feedback on how others perceive them. It, thus, helps the manager to form a well-rounded opinion about them. 360 feedback improves employee accountability and strengthens company culture.
Tips for giving 360-degree feedback for colleagues
You should take the task of giving 360 feedback for a colleague seriously since the manager uses your feedback for the employee's performance review.
Here are some helpful tips which should be kept in mind while giving 360 feedback for colleagues:
1. Give straightforward and honest feedback
If your feedback is biased in any manner, be it excessive admiration or extreme criticism that does not portray the accurate picture, you are hindering your colleague’s development. Use very specific words and simple language to convey your message. Praise your peer where it is deserved and be critical of their actions where they miss the point.
2. Don’t write a book
Keep your feedback short, crisp, and to the point. Give the feedback keeping in mind that the review is to improve employee performance. So, be specific to prove your point, whether it's praise or criticism. Just state the facts and don’t go on and on with unnecessary details. Lengthy feedback will only make the manager frustrated and make your input ineffective.
3. Don’t forget to mention your main points
There might have been many interactions between you and your co-worker being assessed. But you are supposed to highlight only the key interactions that emphasize their strengths and weaknesses. Since the manager has feedback from other people, you should also try to focus on the most critical aspects of the employee’s performance. Therefore, giving a maximum of three strengths and three weaknesses is advisable.
4. Prove your points
It would help if you gave examples to illustrate your points about your co-worker. When you provide an example to make your point, the employee will be able to understand better what you’re implying. As a result, they will not act in the same manner in similar situations in the future.
5. Don’t expect the employee to act immediately
360-degree review about an employee is taken from many people. This helps the manager to find patterns in the employee’s behavior and solve problems. You should not expect the employee to immediately act on your feedback since the more important issues identified by the manager would be addressed first.
6. Don’t think your criticism will demoralize your peer
You are responsible for giving honest feedback, even if it means being critical of the employee. Your feedback will help the manager form a fair opinion about the employee, and the feedback will be presented in a balanced way to the employee.
Examples of 360-degree feedback for colleagues
Here are some potential question types to guide human resources in creating an effective 360-degree feedback system.
Close-ended questions: Such questions have a yes/no response or a rating. They are objective and can be easily interpreted. These structured questions are helpful when you have to gather extensive information in a short time.
- Rate your level of motivation from your current work from 1-5.
- Do you think that your ideas are taken into consideration? Yes/No
- Do you feel your manager gives you the opportunity for growth? Yes/No
Open-ended questions: Such questions allow the employees to give more detailed answers. These answers can better understand an employee and the motivation behind his actions.
- What motivates you at work?
- How is collaboration and cooperation among your team members?
- What are the significant obstacles in the way of achieving your goals?
It is recommended that you prepare a mix of both types of questions to gain a holistic perspective of the employee’s performance.
360-degree feedback assesses an employee on their soft skills, such as leadership, communication, ability to work in a team, and many more.
Here are examples of both positive and negative feedback and comments by category:
Communication skills are vital for an employee to convey their ideas and contribute to discussions.
- You listen to others very patiently and allow them to make their points. Great job!
- You are unable to communicate your ideas clearly in team meetings. It could help if you write down your thoughts before the meeting.
- I feel you don't listen to me. It would help if you could make more eye contact and give your opinion.
Interpersonal skills help you to form a great bond with your team members and interact effectively. These skills help in developing strong personal and professional relationships.
- Many people have felt that you have been abrupt with them. Please soften your approach towards your co-workers.
- You need to be more assertive and show your dominant side if you want to be a leader.
- I think your interpersonal skills have improved a lot. You have been more patient with people and sensitive to their problems.
It is essential to feel motivated at work to improve employee engagement and productivity.
- I feel that you have been most productive recently, looking at your quality work.
- I think you should ask your manager to give you projects outside of your comfort zone. Challenging tasks will make you feel motivated.
- I think you will feel more motivated if you have more autonomy and independence in your role.
The Bottom Line
The 360 feedback system is highly effective as it gets input from several people who have a close work relationship with the employee, rather than relying only on the manager's opinion. However, it is helpful only when administered in a way that provides fair, unbiased, and balanced input. Creating such a feedback structure can be daunting. To ease out the task for you, the team at Mesh is there to support you. Reach out to us for all your employee performance and engagement needs.