Employee performance evaluations are a standard aspect of managing employees and are a key factor in decisions about promotions and salary increases. Traditionally, appraisals have been conducted based mainly on the opinion and perspective of an employee’s supervisor, but an alternative method is becoming popular.
A 360-degree appraisal or "360" incorporates input from people in different relationships to the employee being appraised, and not just from the individual’s boss. Direct reports, peers, and even customers may be asked to contribute their feedback.
These appraisals may be part of the performance review process, whereby employees are formally evaluated and considered for promotions and raises. They may also be used as part of an employee development program, separate from the formal review process.
Appraisals based on input from a variety of colleagues provide more comprehensive data for review and development purposes. Their use can help create a culture where constructive feedback is valued, and employees learn to effectively give and receive feedback.
Gathering and incorporating input from other people increases the complexity and time investment for business leaders conducting employee reviews. In addition, employees may be unwilling to provide honest opinions of bosses and others of influence due to fear of retribution.
Training employees in effective performance evaluation and effective feedback increases the likelihood of a successful 360 process. Introducing different aspects of the process gradually can also help employees adjust to a system that is different from what they have known.