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360 Degree Performance Reviews Explained (with Examples)

5 min read
360 degree feedback

The 360 feedback system has the potential to benefit all kinds of businesses. 360 feedback reviews, also known as multi-rater reviews, help employees and managers understand their personal strengths and weaknesses.

This method of evaluation is used to guide employees towards constant improvement and professional development. HR teams worldwide are adopting this review process as an effective assessment technique. But of course, like any evaluation method, there are benefits and limitations.

In this article, we will define what 360 feedback is, its purpose and its impact on employee performance.


What is 360 Feedback?

Typically, this type of performance appraisal is measured and delivered using around 7-12 raters, whose responses are kept anonymous.  These multi-raters may be all or a selection of the following people:

  • The employees’ supervisors
  • Employees peers
  • Internal reports
  • External raters, such as clients or vendors

Those who are chosen to participate work directly with the employee in question, whether that’s internally or externally. The method is called a 360 performance review as the feedback is gathered from all angles of the company, rather than just one individual opinion.

Full circle feedback defined

Another word for 360-degree feedback performance reviews is multi-rater feedback. Other names include multi source feedback, multi source assessment, and full circle feedback, because it can be considered a combination of “downward feedback” and “upward feedback”. Downward feedback is the traditional feedback employees receive from supervisors or managers, as they would during a performance appraisal, while upward feedback given to managers by subordinates.

What is the purpose of 360 feedback?

Ultimately, these evaluation methods help employees to understand how their fellow employees or customers view them on a professional level. This is not limited to their work quality. They are also used to evaluate how they are perceived by their coworkers, and how their performance affects others.

These appraisals usually focus on the following skills:

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Management
  • Company Alignment

Eventually, this feedback can be used to form a development plan for the individual.

How to Gather 360 Review Feedback?

When conducting 360-degree evaluations, the feedback is collected in the form of reviews, evaluating the competencies of the employee.

An effective way to gather these evaluations is to use a performance review tool. These tools are extremely dynamic and enable you to digitally assess the employees’ scores. These tools often use closed questions, with a specific answer range such as yes and no questions or a rating scale of 1-10 etc. By using closed questions, you can easily gather quantitative results and make clear comparisons.

Alternatively, you can use open-ended questions. This gives the employee a deeper understanding of the results they have received from each individual.

Pros and Cons of 360 feedback

While 360-degree reviews serve as a valuable method for familiarizing yourself with and evaluating your team’s performance, it’s important to acknowledge that like any tool, they come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

What are the Benefits of 360-degree Feedback?

As well as providing employees with a broader, more accurate overview of their performance, there are several other benefits:

  • Involves multiple raters: A variety of people are asked to contribute to the review, therefore the feedback provided is more valid and objective.
  • Improves communication: Communication increases between the team because the subject understands how others perceive them which in turn assists with teamwork.
  • Encourages personal development: This type of assessment gives the employee an overview of how they see themselves and how others see them too.
  • Increases employee motivation: Receiving feedback from a number of people (who may share some similarities) gives the subject the motivation to improve.
  • Reinforces core competencies: When giving feedback the respondents are reminded about the fundamental competencies of the company.
  • Addresses personality and behaviour: It gives the employee an understanding of how their behaviour affects themselves and the people around them.
  • Promotes career development: This feedback model helps to improve career development planning and guides employees through this process.

Disadvantages of using 360 degree feedback

The pitfalls of using 360-degree feedback include:

  • Bias and Subjectivity: Feedback from multiple sources may contain biases or be influenced by personal relationships, leading to inaccurate assessments.
  • Misinterpretation of Feedback: Participants may misinterpret or feel overwhelmed by the feedback, leading to confusion or demotivation instead of constructive improvement.
  • Focus on Weaknesses: Overemphasis on areas for improvement may overshadow recognition of strengths, leading to disengagement and decreased morale among participants.
  • Limited Effectiveness without Follow-Up: Without clear action plans and ongoing support for development, the benefits of 360-degree feedback may be short-lived, failing to drive meaningful improvement.

360 feedback example

360 assessment examples help understand how this type of evaluation works.

Here are some examples of questions commonly included in 360-degree feedback surveys:

Communication Skills

  • Does the individual effectively convey ideas and information?
  • How well does the individual listen to others’ perspectives?

Leadership Abilities

  • Does the individual inspire and motivate team members?
  • How well does the individual delegate tasks and responsibilities?

Teamwork and Collaboration

  • How effectively does the individual work with others to achieve common goals?
  • Does the individual contribute positively to team dynamics?

Problem-Solving Skills

  • How well does the individual analyze problems and propose solutions?
  • Does the individual demonstrate creativity and resourcefulness in addressing challenges?


  • How well does the individual respond to changes in the work environment?
  • Does the individual demonstrate flexibility in adjusting to new circumstances?

Time Management

  • Is the individual able to prioritize tasks effectively and meet deadlines?
  • How well does the individual manage their workload?

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Does the individual build and maintain positive relationships with colleagues?
  • How effectively does the individual resolve conflicts or disagreements?

Professional Development

  • Is the individual proactive in seeking opportunities for learning and growth?
  • How receptive is the individual to feedback and constructive criticism?

These are just a few examples of 360 degree feedback. These types of questions may be included in a 360-degree feedback survey. The specific questions can vary depending on the organization’s goals and the individual’s role within the company.

360 assessment template

Try this easy-to-use 360-degree feedback template designed to help you gather feedback from different viewpoints. Whether you’re evaluating one person or a whole team, this template makes it simple to collect valuable insights. Download now to start using 360-degree feedback effectively!

360 degree assessment

How to Deliver 360 Feedback Results

When delivering 360 feedback, the goal should be to provide constructive feedback to the employee. Therefore, you should focus on the key points and avoid information overload. Remember, this should not be a negative experience for the employee, it should be viewed as a source for professional development.

Try to provide actionable feedback by focusing on the strengths of the employee and then the career progression plan going forward. This helps employees remember the goal of the feedback. Lastly, when presenting this feedback, you should keep the focus on the future. Next, you can start forming an action plan or development plan with the subject.

How to Create a 360 Development Plan

Your professional development plan strategies define how your employee will achieve their goals in the future. The best technique is to organize them into small stepping stones, that are ordered by level of priority. This helps the subject to clearly visualise their goals and objectives.

Here are a few tips to help you write a professional development plan:

  • Make the goals specific and actionable
  • Make sure they are aware of any available resources, eg. training, coaching and mentoring.
  • Set clear measurable milestones

How often should you conduct 360 reviews?

Stay consistent with your employees, by conducting 360 evaluations on a regular basis. You may choose to conduct these annually or quarterly. Conducting 360 reviews on a regular basis helps you to ensure that your employees are working towards their performance goals. Ultimately, this enables you to provide any support if needed.

Furthermore, we recommend enforcing a feedback culture so that your employees are used to giving and receiving constructive feedback. This also helps to improve the communication between your employees from all levels of the business.

Related videoComplete Guide to Performance Management In this video, we explain the how and why of managing the performance of your teams and employees.

To try performance management software with 360 degree features, click on the banner below! Factorial is one-stop-shop for all things performance management. The best part is that besides conducting employee reviews, launching custom surveys, and having access to live data analytics, you can also use our paid time off management modules, as well as our time tracking features to centralize all of your HR processes. Book a demo call now and choose the tools you need to automate your HR department today!

360 review software
Did you like this article? Benjamin McBrayer has been a Content Writer for 5 years. He specializes in HR strategy and workplace trends. Check out Factorial's blog for more of his posts on time management in the office, productivity, and HR news.

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