What Is 360 Degree Feedback?

360 degree feedback

360 Degree Feedback (also known as multi-rater feedback, multi-source feedback, or multi-source assessment) is a way for employees to receive anonymous, confidential feedback from those who work around them. This normally includes an employee’s managers and direct reports.

A number of employees will fill out a survey that provides confidential, electronically submitted feedbacks that asks a variety of questions. Employees can select answers, make ratings, and provide written comments. Those receiving feedback will also fill out a self-rating survey that includes the same survey questions.

360 Degree Feedback allows leaders and managers within organizations to get a better feel for their strengths and weaknesses.

The 360 Degree Feedback system will automatically aggregate the results and provide them in a digestible format. Individual responses will be combined with those in the same rater category to preserve anonymity.


Not only for managers

360 Degree Feedback can also be useful for those not in management or leadership roles. While those in non-management roles are not getting feedback from a “360 degree” perspective given there are no direct reports, the reports can nonetheless be effective for non-managers looking to become more effective in their current roles and for those looking to move into management positions down the line.


Main uses

Broadly there are two main uses to a 360 Degree Feedback tool:

1. As a performance appraisal tool

2. As an employee and/or manager development tool


Performance appraisal

360 Degree Feedback systems focus on behaviors and skills rather than job requirements and performance expectations.

They are not meant to be used to replace performance reviews (often done on a monthly, quarterly, and/or yearly level) or as an overall appraisal system. They are designed to be a supplement into a broader performance appraisal process.


Development tool

360 Degree Feedback gives the opportunity for employees to give anonymous feedback to a co-worker they might otherwise be reluctant to give directly.

Such feedback systems are helpful to obtain insight into how managers and company leadership are being perceived by other employees. This can help develop skills, adjust actions or working relationships, and help management see different perspectives of their performance to help achieve goals and excel at their jobs.


Pros to 360 Degree Feedback software

– 360 feedback help managers and company leadership understand how other employees perceive them and their performance

– 360 feedback focuses on behaviors, basic skills, character, and leadership effectiveness

– Such systems can help improve areas such as planning, goal-setting, and teamwork


Cons to 360 Degree Feedback software

– 360 feedback should not take the place of overall performance appraisals

– 360 feedback will not be able to assess specific skills and whether an employee is meeting his or her performance expectations and job requirements

– 360 feedback is not a good fit for measuring things like performance quotas, attendance, and so on.