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Impact of 360-Degree Feedback On Employees And Organizations

Akshit Dangi

Let’s get real for a moment here—in a manager’s life, is there anything more gratifying than seeing their team members grow and progress on their career ladder? Arguably not, but what if we tell you that something here may just be amiss?

The thing is, exchanging feedback with your team and having them work on it is satisfying, but the feedback you provide may be a little incomplete and subjective. To counter this, it’s best to implement a 360-degree feedback system in your workplace for a comprehensive take on the matter. 

It’s safe to agree that with a system like that, your team members get to receive fuller and more objective feedback. It helps your team be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and  ultimately plays a great role in building a culture of recognition and feedback.

With all that said, though, you may wonder how 360-degree feedback influences your workplace. If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place. Let us unpack and analyze the impact of implementing a 360-degree feedback system on your organization.

Impact of 360-degree feedback on employees

360-Degree feedback can bring a ton of stuff to help your team member’s career progression, development, and performance. That is why, many managers recommend identifying all the elements hidden within the process. What we mean by this is that it is important to understand the overall impact of 360-degree feedback on your people and the behavioral changes it can cause. So, let’s explore that, shall we?

1. Boosts self-awareness among your people

As 360-degree feedback is developed in collaboration with an individual’s primary points of contact in the workplace, the feedback highly reflects their key strengths, weaknesses, and development opportunities.

This, in turn, allows every individual in your workplace to be fully aware of their abilities, providing them with more insights into their work—everything they did right and wrong—and helping them see themselves from others’ lenses.

2. Builds transparency and openness

By having your team members provide feedback for each other, you enable them to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This results in the development of transparency and openness within your team, where everyone knows what everyone is best at and can help elevate each other’s efforts further.

When giving 360-degree feedback, everyone is going to be responsible for everyone, which in turn, would also bring a high level of accountability in the workplace. It also builds a culture of openness within the team, making 360-degree feedback one of the most effective ways to build healthy and meaningful workplace relationships.

3. Encourages upskilling

With the help of 360-degree feedback, your team members will find themselves in a better position to work with you in strategizing and developing plans to help them acquire the right skills, enhance their performance, and pursue the career path of their choice. It helps them identify the areas in which they need an upgrade and give them a direction to proceed towards making improvements.

Impact of 360-degree feedback on organizations

1. You and your people develop a clearer understanding of critical objectives

One of the biggest ways in which 360-degree feedback assists you is by providing a ton of insights into the values and behaviors that are critical for your team’s success. 

Not only that, but it is also a great way to evaluate and setting expectations around your organizational objectives and key results. Ultimately, you’ll be much better positioned to set and realize achievable goals and results.

2. Any workplace bias gets eliminated

A workplace is seldom free of all forms of bias. However, with the help of 360-degree feedback, you can minimize any of the following biases that may be hiding in plain sight:

  • The Halo Effect: You will no longer let your first impression of an individual govern your feedback on their work.
  • The Contrast Effect: With the help of 360-degree feedback, you can provide a complete analysis of your team members’ performance without drawing any kind of comparison between them.
  • Similarity Bias: As 360-degree feedback encompasses feedback from more than one source, you’ll be free of making any assumptions about an individual based on any shared similarities.
  • Confirmation Bias: Again, with the help of other points of contact of an individual, you’ll be able to form feedback that is complete, objective, and in no way favors any belief alignments with your team member.
  • Pattern Recognition Bias: By having people that have worked with the reviewee for a fair bit of time give feedback, all anomalies will surely be eliminated from the feedback.
  • Expedience Bias: With the help of 360-degree feedback, you can easily overcome this bias by prioritizing less apparent signs of success or failure, and get a complete picture by talking to everyone involved with your team member.

3. The effectiveness of training and development programs increases

With the awareness of your team member’s strengths and weaknesses that 360-degree feedback brings you, you’ll find yourself better equipped to create development programs that cater to each individual's needs. Not only would this help reduce the cost of developing such programs, but it would also increase their effectiveness in developing your people.

4. A culture of feedback takes root

Lastly, another great strength of 360-degree feedback is how it includes everyone into the feedback process. Not only does this make the feedback more objective and complete, but it is also a great way to develop a high-performance culture that is rooted in everyone being accountable and responsible for everyone.

Challenges of using 360-degree feedback in organizations

1. It requires a lot of time and planning

From notifying every single reviewer to developing all responses into cohesive feedback and delivering it to the individual, creating 360-degree feedback can be time-consuming. It can hamper your regular activities and slow everything down to a crawl until the next cycle begins.

2. It puts a lot of responsibility on the raters’ shoulders

A sizable level of responsibility comes on your shoulders when rating your peers during a 360-degree feedback. When trying to rate someone in as objective and honest a manner as possible, people tend to approach their analysis from different angles and has different biases and expectations, thus forming differential views on the quality of performance or outcomes. This in turn, leads to the birth of the idiosyncratic rater effect in reviews.

That is why, the raters need to come from an honest place and use their judgement correctly, without any biases, to rate the individual.

3. People may focus too much on the negatives

Due to some unnecessary connotations attached to the word “feedback,” people tend to interpret it as focusing on weaknesses and things the individual lacks. This, however, can easily be overcome by giving just as much attention to recognizing an individual’s efforts and praising them for work well done.

4. Can create a negative culture of distrust

Whether it be anonymity or the exchange of negative feedback, the biggest impact of mismanaging 360-degree feedback is that people may begin to lose trust in each other. This, in turn, may spread throughout the organization as a plague and develop into a negative culture of wariness and skepticism—something that is quite literally the opposite of what we’re trying to build with such a feedback system.

5. Find the right people to provide feedback can be challenging

Lastly, it can be pretty difficult to find the right people to give the right feedback on an individual’s work. For example, if you ask people who have only recently collaborated with your team member to give feedback on their work along with providing insights on their strengths and weaknesses, chances are that their feedback may be biased or simply inaccurate.

5 Best practices for implementing 360-degree performance feedback

1. Know whether 360-degree is the best option for your team

Before going ahead with implementing a 360-degree appraisal system, it is important to identify whether your team needs it or not. While 360–degree feedback has enough advantages to warrant its implementation in every workplace and team, sometimes, it’s simply not what the team requires. So, thoroughly evaluate your team’s needs and background to determine whether to move forward with the system.

2. Pre-establish a structure for collecting and developing feedback

As we’ve previously mentioned, the process of collecting and developing feedback in a 360-degree system can be quite cumbersome. As such, it is imperative that you pre-establish the process and system of carrying the process out seamlessly.

3. Ensure that the reviewers are well-acquainted with the reviewee

To ensure that your feedback is accurate and well-representative of your team member’s work and performance, make sure only to include people that have worked with the reviewee for more than 3 or 6 months as they have a much clearer picture of the individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

4. Communicate the feedback well and schedule follow ups with the individual

When communicating the feedback to your team member, make sure that they get a clear picture of the feedback and the reasoning behind each pointer. Alongside this, provide strategies to help them take away actionable steps from the feedback. Also, ensure you follow up with the team member regularly to track their progress and realign things if required.

5. Invest in the right tools for the process

While conducting 360-degree feedback manually is fine as long as you have the appropriate systems in place, automating things with the use of the right tools and software can make a night and day’s difference. Not only would your overall costs of conducting the feedback process go down, but your day-to-day activities will also remain unhampered.

Now that we’ve learned about the challenges, impact, and implementation of 360-feedback, let’s understand how Mesh can assist you and your organization in implementing a 360-degree feedback system. Let’s unravel that, shall we?

How Mesh can assist you with your 360-degree performance feedback and reviews

1. Nominating peers for 360-degree feedback

When your team members head into the reviews section of their profile, they get an option to start a 360-degree feedback process by nominating you and their peers to provide objective and constructive feedback and rate them on their performance.

Selecting peers for 360-degree feedback

Alongside this, you can work together with your team member to pre-establish the number of feedback givers for 360-degree feedback. Remember to nominate only the peers that have worked with your team member for at least three to six months.

2. Conducting self-reviews

Mesh provides its users with the ability to conduct self reviews during their 360-degree review process. Your team members can find the option to initiate a self-review in “My reviews” section of their profile.

Initiating self-review for 360-degree feedback

You can also work together with your team members to establish SMART goals and competencies that can serve as the foundation for your reviews. This will also allow you to efficiently track your team member’s progress along with promptly identifying and overcoming roadblocks.

Setting goals for a review period

Establishing job-specific competencies

3. Analyzing your team member's performance

Upon a successful 360-degree review, you can check your team member’s overall performance in their review section. An average score of their performance along with a competencies spider chart will be created to help you and your team member discuss areas of improvement and craft strategies for their future development.

Summary of 360-degree feedback and competency review
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