How to Implement a 360 Performance Review

Traditional performance reviews are old news. Learn how to implement a 360 performance review in this article.

If you manage a team or an entire company, the chances are that you are quite familiar with performance reviews. Delivered at regular intervals, these are usually one-to-one meetings between a staff member and their line manager, during which the latter discusses the weak and strong points of the former.

Luckily, this is not all there is to performance reviews – not in 2023, at least. Today, more and more companies are realizing the incredible advantages of conducting 360 performance reviews.

Have you ever heard of them? If not, or if you know only the basics, then let our guide help you understand what 360 performance reviews are, why they benefit companies, and how to organize one.

Understanding 360 Performance Reviews and Their Benefits

A 360 performance review – also known as 360-degree performance review – is a type of performance review that involves evaluating an employee from (you guessed it) as many different angles as possible.

This means that the employee will no longer have to sit through a potentially lengthy and stressful one-on-one meeting with their superior. Instead, lots of other people will have a say in how well they are performing, what areas they are strong at, and where they could improve. So, you can simultaneously improve stress management while giving employees well-rounded feedback.

Typically, the parties involved in a 360 performance review can be the employee’s co-workers, their subordinates, their superiors, and in some cases even their customers.

Having to collect (and make sense of) feedback coming from such varied and potentially conflicting sources may feel daunting. Nonetheless, there are many advantages to conducting this type of performance review, including:

  • Improving employee engagement: By involving several employees in the 360 performance review process, you promote more valuable interaction, demonstrate that you genuinely care about your entire team’s ideas and opinions, and boost overall employee engagement.
  • Fostering a positive working culture: Typically, employees fear traditional performance reviews. 360 performance reviews, on the other hand, can be a much more informal, relaxed, and unbiased way to discuss an employee’s strengths and weaknesses without putting too much pressure on the reviewed employee.
  • Optimizing resources: A standard performance review can end up costing a lot of time and money, particularly if you run a large organization. By opting for a 360 performance review, you can streamline your process, collect data faster, and access different points of view that might end up being extremely valuable.

For these reasons, 360 performance reviews can become a useful addition to your HR toolkit. They may also help you to educate your less HR-savvy employees and answer questions such as “Why are 360 performance reviews crucial for excellent workforce management?”, or even “What is WFM, exactly?”

Your Five Step-Plan to Implementing a 360 Performance Review

Now that we have set the groundwork for crafting a solid 360 performance review, it’s time to get down to business.

1. Set Up Criteria for Rating Performance

You’ll first need to decide what criteria you’ll want to include in your performance review. Generally speaking, most people use 360 performance reviews to analyze soft skills, such as interpersonal communication, problem-solving, and crisis management.

However, the exact features you’ll want to uncover through these reviews are entirely up to you, and could well be much more focused on individual tasks, programs, or projects.

2. Assign Responsibilities

To avoid chaos, it’s vital to put together a performance review team. Once you have identified your team members, you’ll also want to assign specific responsibilities to each.

For example, if you include your employee’s customers, you probably won’t ask them HR-specific questions such as “What does HRIS stand for in HR?”. They might not know what it means and would probably find the whole exercise a waste of time.

Ensuring that each participant is presented with a relevant set of questions is, therefore, paramount.

3. Share Surveys

To streamline your performance review, you can create and share feedback forms. These can be surveys or questionnaires, and should feature the right topics and questions for the right participants. It’s also important to share these documents on reputable websites, such as those with an OnlyDomains domain.

Preferably, you’ll want to use open-ended questions as opposed to those that require simpler and more binary answers. This can help you better gauge your employee’s performance while at the same time showing your participants that you value their opinion and are eager to listen to their detailed feedback.

4. Analyze Feedback Results

Earlier, we mentioned that you should tailor your feedback questions and topics to the relevant participant. However, at the same time, you’ll also want to keep these feedback forms anonymous to limit biases and other similar issues while reviewing the results.

Feedback results should be collected and analyzed by your HR department. HR staff should, ultimately, be able to paint a clear, objective, and comprehensive picture of your reviewed employee, based on the findings obtained from all the different parties involved.

5. Craft a Plan of Action

Equipped with these insights, you are now in a great position to think about any next steps that might need to be taken. If the feedback highlights mostly positive qualities, you may want to consider offering your employee a bonus or other reward.

If, on the other hand, several participants pointed out a range of issues spanning your employee’s character, behavior, and skills, you might want to schedule a one-to-one meeting with them. If you notice lots of skill gaps among your employees, you might even build a master schedule to optimize your employees’ learning and development delivery.

Remember, though, that you should also take this as an opportunity to review not only your individual employee but your entire 360 performance review strategy. What worked well? What could have been done differently? Should you introduce a remote device management tool to make feedback collection more secure?

Ready for Your 360 Performance Review?

If you are interested in learning more about your employees’ skills, expertise, and performance, then a 360 performance review might work better than a standard one.

Incorporating 360 performance reviews into your broader employee review strategy, in fact, can be a useful way to uncover interesting aspects of your workforce, boost employee engagement, and reduce the use of resources.

Start creating your next 360 performance review using the tips outlined in our guide, and get ready to reap the results.

Jesse Liszka
Jesse Liszka is the senior communications specialist at Paylocity, a provider of cloud-based payroll and human capital management software. She is a communications, client marketing, and content specialist with more than 12 years of experience.