360 Feedback – A Field Guide for Managers

Interested in using 360 feedback for your annual performance reviews? Here’s a handy, comprehensive field guide for managers that lays out what they are, how to decide whether to use them, tips for getting them right, and tools for getting started.

Here’s a quick summary:

A 360 review is…

  • A process of getting feedback on an individual’s performance and/or potential from their manager and others who interact with them regularly (such as peers and direct reports).
  • A coaching and development tool.

360s help managers…

  • Gather additional input. As more and more staff work in cross-functional teams without their direct manager overseeing every aspect of their work, 360 feedback is a good way to round out a manager’s evaluation of their staff.
  • Promote equity. 360 reviews can help offset manager bias by bringing broader perspectives. They also help the manager spot patterns or inconsistencies across lines of difference.

Keep in mind:

  • 360 reviews are NOT a substitute for your (the manager’s) judgment in writing performance reviews.
  • 360 reviews can impose a real administrative burden, and it’s important to get the process right. The trick is to find the lightest-weight process that provides useful insight into staff performance.
  • 360s work best when the CEO or ED clearly communicates the intent to all staff and assigns a leader (ideally, the head of HR) to oversee and manage the process.

View the full guide