8 reasons to love 360° Feedback

The what, the why and the how. And why on earth wouldn’t you?

By: James Blair on

Blogger’s honesty time… I was a little reluctant to write this particular entry. Let me tell you why.

Well, partly because it’s one of those topics that can generate an eye-roll from weary workers or sceptical managers who don’t understand its benefits. But mainly because I’m never sure where to find the ‘degrees’ symbol on a keyboard.

But, as I’ve found it, I will proceed onto the what, why and how…

Most of us know the “what”. Simply put, it’s collecting feedback from everyone - our supervisors and managers (standard practice), our peers (possibly less standard) and even, if we’re important enough to have any, our subordinates (highly unlikely most of the time).

Why? Because how we perform and influence those around us is so much more than our cold, hard performance data. Steering a team to great numbers is usually a necessity for a successful business, but achieving this is not so admirable if half the team are driven to distraction, the nearest jobs board or sick-leave-through-stress as part of that journey.

But let’s save (low) self-awareness and the impact of poor people management for another time and focus on some of the many wide-reaching benefits that can come out of positive 360° feedback.

  1. It promotes positivity and dialogue between staff.
  2. It can shine a light on staff who are not key players in terms of generating the tangible results that a busy Ops Manager needs to see, but are fundamental in helping those that do.
  3. It boosts confidence. Research frequently shows that, when asked to rate their skills and performance, workers generally score themselves lower than their supervisors and their direct reports do. Is this modesty or low self-esteem? Either way, how affirming would it be to learn that people think more highly of you than you think of yourself?
  4. It enhances performance by encouraging the repetition of recognised productive and positive behaviours.
  5. It boosts morale. And that means greater staff loyalty and lower staff turnover.
  6. It recognises more than just numbers can. You know, for that busy Ops Manager in point 2.
  7. It gives a leadership team an honest view of how their team players recognise and appreciate them and each other. This can be in terms of both who is bringing the most positivity and what behaviours are most appreciated and beneficial.
  8. It can help leaders to understand how things get done to complement the what gets done.

That’s eight easy positives for 360° feedback.

…or 45° per positive! But enough with the meaningless but Vorderman-worthy mental arithmetic! Quick, let’s move on to the “How” conundrum…

Well, you can run a formally structured and carefully engineered 360° feedback survey. If done well, this can be highly beneficial for all of the reasons outlined above. You may also learn about some of the not-so-positive feelings, (perceived) behaviours and practices that go on in your business. This can be a tough read but a good starting point for improvement plans.

But this will take some careful planning and execution (most likely using complicated tech-ey stuff that might upset your HR manager or GDPR lead. And that I don’t understand. And it will be a snap-shot at a single point in time.

Or you could use an employee recognition scheme. One that’s always open and always running. One that’s always spreading the love, shouting about what’s working, and shining a light on who’s performing and supporting and bringing positivity. And one that’s constantly boosting morale, confidence and interpersonal (and inter-departmental) relationships. All without any effort from the leadership team.

If I was more social media savvy, I’d probably put something like #NoBrainer at the end of this article. But as I’ve only just found the ‘degrees’ symbol on my keyboard, let’s take it one step at a time…