Q&A: What Is the 360-Degree Review Process? (With Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 20, 2022

Published January 22, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

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Employees can receive regular feedback from employers via several methods. One of these methods is a 360-degree review, which involves assessments from an employee's peers, supervisors and other collaborators. Understanding what a 360-degree review is can help you implement the results of it more effectively and improve your interpersonal, leadership and client-facing skills.

In this article, we discuss answers to common questions about the 360-degree review process and provide some tips to fully utilize your feedback.

What is a 360-degree review?

A 360-degree review is the process of collecting, interpreting and delivering employee feedback. In the 360-degree review, people from all company levels, including your supervisors, coworkers and the people you manage, evaluate your performance. Other important collaborators, such as clients, may also participate. A neutral party aggregates all relevant feedback and presents it in the form of a survey with written comments.

Related: 360-Degree Appraisal: Pros and Cons of Multi-Rater Feedback

What is the purpose of a 360-degree review?

The primary purpose of the 360-degree review is to provide you with actionable feedback. This system clarifies your strengths and areas for improvement by surveying multiple people representing different perspectives within the company. You can use this feedback to develop a plan for your professional and personal development.

Related: Giving and Receiving Feedback: Definitions and Examples

What are the benefits of a 360-degree review?

There are many advantages of the 360-degree review, including the following:

It promotes feedback from various sources

The feedback you get from a 360-degree review doesn't come from a single person. Instead, you get the insight of people from different areas within your organization. For example, your supervisor may not get to see you interact with customers regularly. Your fellow peers can provide observations on how you work to build ongoing customer relationships.

The results of the 360-degree review can give you a more accurate account of your performance. You might find that the combined feedback from people in various positions feels like a more accurate assessment than traditional feedback from a single manager.

It encourages conversations within the workplace

One of the advantageous elements of a 360-degree review is its anonymity. A participant can provide honest feedback because their status as a contributor remains anonymous to the recipient of the review. You can study your results and request advice from everyone within your workplace on how to improve your performance.

The conversations that a 360-degree review can stimulate are often open-ended and productive. If your employer asks you to provide anonymous feedback for another employee, you can note areas of improvement to make your workplace a more constructive environment.

Related: Questions To Ask During 360 Feedback

It can guide your professional development

After receiving the results of your 360-degree review, you may gain a better understanding of which soft skills you excel in and which ones you may want to improve. Before your next 360-degree review, you can take some time to develop in those necessary areas and continue to exhibit your strongest skills so that you can advance your career.

For example, you may determine ways to improve your communication style and continue to build strong working relationships with employees inside and outside of your department.

Read more: 4 Ways Feedback Improves Performance in the Workplace

What does a 360-degree review measure?

The 360-degree review focuses on interpersonal and business skills. It's common for the questions on a 360-degree review to request someone's perception of their coworkers. Due to the nature of a 360-degree review, the results may not be quantifiable. Here are examples of skills that a 360-degree review may measure:

  • Communication skills like listening, comprehension and presentation delivery

  • Planning and organizational skills

  • Teamwork skills like willingness to help and reliability

  • Leadership skills like decision-making and accountability

  • Skills that relate to your personal character like approachability and the ability to deal with stress

  • Customer service skills

Related: Top 10 Communication Skills for Career Success

What doesn't a 360-degree review measure?

A 360-degree review often doesn't measure whether you've successfully met your performance benchmarks. It also doesn't evaluate whether you possess the necessary technical skills for your position. Other types of feedback programs, like performance reviews, are better for measuring specific quantifiable achievements.

Who completes a 360-degree review?

People from various levels within your organization can complete a 360-degree review, including people that report to you, your peers and your supervisors. Other people can also complete your 360-degree review, including your customers or clients and other people you interact with for work, such as managers at partnering businesses. Your employer may also ask you to complete a self-evaluation so that you can reflect on your own performance.

Read more: Employee Self-Evaluation Examples and Tips

How can I take advantage of a 360-degree review?

A 360-degree review is an excellent opportunity to enhance your current skill set and improve your chances of receiving a raise or a promotion. Here are some tips to optimize the feedback you receive and leverage it for career growth:

Be receptive

The goal of the 360-degree review is to provide you with an accurate picture of your performance. This allows you to take advantage of your strengths and develop areas of improvement. Try to see the process as an opportunity for growth rather than as a critique. Prepare yourself mentally for receiving feedback so you can control your emotions and be receptive to helpful comments.

Related: How To Take Constructive Criticism Like a Professional

Understand that the feedback is anonymous

The 360-degree review's anonymous nature is essential because it allows everyone who participates to feel comfortable being honest. Consider this as an opportunity to learn how others perceive you. If you find that your feedback doesn't match how you want to present yourself, you can have the chance to change your behavior or communication style.

Read more: The 4 Main Communication Styles You'll Find in the Workplace

Look for repeated comments or themes

If you receive the same feedback from multiple people, consider that it's probably genuine. A single outlier score or comment may not accurately reflect your performance. Also, notice if your scores are significantly different for one group of evaluators.

An example would be if an employee receives excellent feedback about their written communication skills from all groups they work with directly but a subpar rating from their clients. This might indicate that they need to evaluate their writing tone when emailing clients.

Read more: Top Email Etiquette Examples for Professional Communication

Identify your strengths

Pay attention to the skills for which others praise you. These are areas where you can continue to improve. For example, you might learn that the people who report to you appreciate your approachable demeanor. You could leverage this strength to develop and lead a mentorship program.

Read more: Why Is Social Intelligence Important in the Workplace?

Determine areas of potential growth

Look for areas where feedback suggests the potential need for improvement. When you identify areas where you can do better, you can begin to seek professional advancement opportunities. Once you've identified skills that need more development, you can think of specific steps to capitalize on what you're good at and work on those areas that need improvement.

Try to focus on a few areas and actionable steps so that any changes you make are manageable. You can discuss your plan with your supervisor and request additional coaching or support if necessary.

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