Companies increasingly understand the limitations of the traditional annual performance review. Generally speaking, such reviews involve one boss assessing their employees’ progress over the last 12 months — which, depending on how hands-on that manager is, usually doesn’t provide a complete picture of a year’s worth of work.
To provide better feedback for their employees, some organizations have started using 360-degree performance reviews. These reviews include feedback from managers, colleagues, subordinates, and even customers. They also require employees to evaluate their own performance themselves.
While 360-degree performance reviews certainly have their limitations, they also provide companies with a number of benefits. These include:
01. A more balanced assessment
Even the best managers in the world aren’t privy to everything their employees do. An employee’s minor action could really help make a coworker’s job a lot easier without the boss finding out about it, for example. Because more perspectives are involved in a 360-degree review, the assessment should be more balanced. An employee who consistently delivers will be rewarded for their efforts because their contributions won’t go unnoticed by everyone.
02. Employees are honest with themselves
Self-evaluation is a central component of any serious 360-degree review. Employees are forced to look inward and think about their strengths and weaknesses. Because many of their colleagues are involved in the process as well, this forces them to be honest with themselves.
03. Working relationships get better
Because colleagues play an integral part in a 360-degree review, employees are forced to treat their coworkers cordially all year long. You can’t play nice with your boss and be a jerk to your coworkers and expect to get away with it. Since colleagues are responsible for assessing their peers, better working relationships develop as coworkers support each other and care about how they’re perceived.
04. Employees can review their superiors
In many organizations, employees are never given the chance to review the performance of their bosses. So if a boss is completely uninspiring and doesn’t appear to be contributing much to the team’s efforts, employees are forced to hold their tongues, put their heads down, and dig into their work. When companies use 360-degree reviews, it’s a whole different ballgame. Workers can review the performance of their superiors. In addition to likely forcing lazy managers to pick up the pace a bit, this benefit may also increase happiness and engagement as employees feel more valued by learning that their input matters.
05. Opportunities to develop new skills
Once a 360-degree review is completed, employees will know exactly where their bosses and colleagues expect them to improve. They can then begin taking steps to sharpen their skills and bolster their weaker areas to become better employees.
Some people swear 360-degree performance reviews are incredibly helpful. Others say they don’t work at all. Neither opinion is right or wrong.
If your organization reviews employee performance once a year and they’re proving ineffective, switch things up to see whether a 360-degree review makes sense. If not, go back to the drawing board.
Bottom line: Find the review tool that works best for your company. That way, employees will continue to develop new skills and grow in their careers. Your company will be stronger and your customers will be happier.