360 Degree Feedback as a Tool for Employee Development

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360 Degree Feedback as a Tool for Employee Development
Paula Kokare, Project Manager, Switzerland

Increasing globalization and quick technological changes in the current business environment demand organisations to achieve greater results in shorter time. How and when can continuously monitoring employee improvement metrics and individualsí performance using 360 degree feedback help organizations in this challenge?
  • EXTERNAL INVOLVEMENT: while subordinates, peers and supervisors are the most common stakeholders involved in the feedback rounds, 360 degree feedback will not help improving companyís competitive advantage if it does not consider insights from internal and external customers. Additionally, several authors suggest involving family or other related parties outside the organization for each individual being rated.
  • BENEFITS TO INDIVUALS AND ORGANISATIONS: implementation of 360 degree feedback encourages cultural change towards team work and empowerment; this feedback process can serve as an executive development tool, help succession planning and reinforce development of organizational values. On the individual level 360 DFB enables individuals to obtain a comprehensive view of their current abilities, identifying their weaknesses and highlighting strengths.
  • DRAWBACKS: managersí negative attitude towards the feedback received from subordinates and their inability to interpret the received feedbacks can undermine the results of the process. Likewise, subordinatesí incompetence to provide constructive job related feedback, their fear of being identified and/or pressured can undermine subordinatesí ability to provide objective feedback
  • CONTENT: the questions contained by the questionnaires should contain specific current and desired future behaviours instead of general personal characteristics which are hard for the raters to assess objectively. The behavioural questions should be directly linked to organisationís vision and values and should not take over 15 minutes for the raters to complete. Employees, where possible, should be involved in the development process of the pilot questionnaire.
  • FOLLOW-UP AND FOLLOW-THROUGH: the key for HR is to match organisationís needs to the strengths and weaknesses identified in individualís performance and feed these back to individuals. The performance development along these points should ideally be monitored over time. Further, the rated individuals should be given a choice to share the results with their supervisors to serve as the basis of own performance improvement guidance.

  • Following 2 assumptions of the 360 degree feedback approach should be noted:
    (1) Awareness of the differences between one's own and othersí perceptions of oneís performance enhances self-awareness;
    (2) Improving self-awareness is key for success in any role.
Source: Thomas N. Garavan Michael Morley Mary Flynn, (1997),"360 Degree Feedback: Its Role in Employee Development", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 16 Iss 2 pp. 134 - 147 12-10-2016


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