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How to use a 360-degree appraisal process to improve performance

3 min reading time

Are you still relying on annual reviews to provide feedback on job performance, employee development, or training progress? It’s time to explore better options. 55% of employees say yearly reviews don’t improve their performance, and they’re right. Annual appraisal meetings can be beneficial for reviewing big-picture goals and objectives, but they often fail to focus on targeted development opportunities that will help improve daily job performance and outcomes.

If you’re searching for a feedback mechanism that will produce better results, 360-degree appraisals are an excellent choice.


What is a 360-degree appraisal?

A 360-degree appraisal is a holistic feedback mechanism that gathers insights into an employee's performance from a variety of sources. Rather than the traditional approach to appraisals, which typically involves a manager providing feedback to an employee, 360-degree appraisals require input from more than just two people.

The objective of a 360-degree appraisal is to cast a wider net across the entire team or organisation in order to provide a well-rounded and unbiased assessment of employee performance and development. Who better to provide insights into employee performance than the people they work closely with every day? Although managers will always have oversight of high-level activities, they may not always work directly with each employee on a daily basis so gathering insights from peers will strengthen the feedback process.

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Who is involved in the 360-degree appraisal process?

When gathering input for the appraisal process, you should look to involve people who work directly with the relevant employee. These may include colleagues, managers, supervisors, and even clients or customers. Additionally, to achieve a true 360-degree approach, you can ask employees to submit a self-assessment of their own performance and development.

The important thing to remember is to keep feedback anonymous. This encourages honesty while discouraging bias and hostility.

Who is involved in the 360-degree appraisal process


What are the benefits of 360-degree appraisals?

  • Highlight any areas of strengths or weakness that managers are unaware of
  • Capture feedback from the people who work with an employee closely every day
  • Look at more than just job role-based performance, but also employee communication, soft skills, teamwork, interpersonal skills
  • Some employees respond better to feedback from their peers
  • It gives employees, clients and managers an opportunity to voice any concerns and thoughts in an anonymous environment


How to acquire feedback for the appraisal process

Gathering anonymous feedback from multiple sources can be challenging, especially when delivering appraisals for entire teams. However, with the right performance management tools in place you can streamline and automate the entire process.

Using Totara Perform, our comprehensive performance management system, you can create bespoke surveys, share them with users to complete in their own time, gather anonymous feedback, and automatically collate results in one system. By using this platform, you can rest assured that data is secure, mitigating any risk of anonymous feedback being shared with the wrong people.

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What kind of questions can you ask?

  • Do you enjoy working with this employee?
  • Are they a team player?
  • Can you rely on them to get their work done in a timely manner?
  • What strengths does this employee bring to the team?
  • Would they benefit from training opportunities and if so which skills and topic areas should they focus on?
  • Do you feel they have retained information acquired from compliance training courses?

While many questions will be appropriate for all employees, you can achieve better outcomes when questions have been tailored to each individual. Try to think about an employee’s role, strengths, weaknesses, and training history. Keeping these factors in mind when creating surveys and questions will allow you to address specific development goals unique to each employee.

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What should you do with the data?

Once data has been gathered, you can conduct the appraisal. Much like a traditional appraisal, managers will typically lead the session during a 360-degree appraisal. They may wish to assess any data prior to the appraisal or with the employee. The important thing is to avoid simply relaying the feedback to an employee but to analyse it and use it to form a development plan.

For example, if an employee received feedback from multiple sources indicating that they display poor communication skills, this employee would benefit from completing an e-learning course that focuses on improving communication skills. Once they have completed the course, the 360-degree feedback process can be started again to assess whether these skills have improved, thus creating a cycle of continuous development and feedback.

360-degree appraisal process

Looking for a platform that can support your employee development processes?

Our Totara platforms are the ideal solutions for supporting employee growth and development, offering everything you need to facilitate detailed appraisals and empower employees with learning and development opportunities. Get in touch to find out more or read our ultimate guide to Totara here.

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