How to conduct a 360 degree appraisal

Organisations and employees can benefit considerably from the outcome of professionally-conducted 360 degree appraisals involving all of its staff members.
360 degree appraisals are built around anonymous feedback collected from a representative group of employees who are quizzed on the behaviour of their co-workers.
A 360 degree feedback survey will gather information on areas such as: customer focus, teamwork, communications, leadership, technical know-how, ethics etc.

Perception rather than reality

It’s important to remember that 360 degree feedback only provides a general perception of how an employee is performing and cannot be used as a measure of competence.
To this end, 360 degree appraisals should be used to complement the annual appraisal system between a line manager and an employee, with the outcomes being used towards the employee’s self-improvement and professional development.
360 appraisals can be outsourced to an external company but many HR departments are equipped to carry out the task.

Here are some key tips on how to conduct and evaluate feedback from 360 degree appraisals:

  • Collect feedback from a representative group of between 15 to 20 people.
  • Collect feedback from the employee’s superiors and more junior staff members.
  • Assure respondents that their anonymity is guaranteed.
  • Ensure that all employees know why the 360 degree survey is being carried out and don’t exclude anyone.
  • Ask the employee to complete their own survey for a broader view.
  • Ensure that respondents have been working with the employee for at least six months.
  • Compile and analyse feedback data and generate a summary of the data to discuss during appraisal.
  • Use the data to identify patterns and trends of perceptions of behaviour.
  • Provide positive, constructive criticism and don’t focus on negative findings as these are just perceptions.
  • Ensure that both the organisation and employee learn from the experience and that both work towards improvements for the company’s good.