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Why 360 Degree Feedback Works

360 feedback works

Misunderstanding can reinforce prejudice, distrust, and poor communication, leading an organization to produce results which do not align with an organization’s bottom line. This “vicious circle” (Fisher, 2012) can produce counter reactions, tension, and inefficiencies in a company. 360 degree feedback puts effective communication and a collective vision at the heart of an organization so that consistent goals can be enforced and improved upon.

360 degree feedback is successful in an organization because it quantifies the organization’s objectives in a straightforward, concise manner. This leaves less room for interpretation, therefore, helping to produce more accurate results an employee can rely on. Since this feedback is also derived from a variety of stakeholders, the aggregate of these results is also perceived as extra trustworthy to the person being reviewed.

As the feedback is detached from the individual directly, it leaves more room to be honest since it pushes some personal rater bias aside. Peers get the chance to view performance objectively, leading to increased empathy and understanding. When all employees are evaluated on the same scale, it helps to compare them in terms of their output, which is measured by the company’s standards and not personal interpretations.

The self evaluation component is also very valuable in ensuring progress through 360 degree feedback since it draws attention to the gap scores, not exclusively the feedback of others. This means that there are always details to draw attention to, and therefore, no resources wasted. A 360 degree feedback review will always bring attention employee performance data and help to set new goals. A self evaluation is always perceived as credible since it is based on personal interpretations. Then measuring your own perception against peers is insightful since it is already derived from data the employee has agreed upon.

Furthermore, by participating in the process, an employee is given the opportunity to participate in the process of developing themselves and their peers. It is an inexpensive, worthwhile way for a company to show employees that they care and want each individual voice to be heard and respected. As an employee can play a part in this step, they are likely to feel more invested in the process, leading them to put more effort into inspiring change. If all parties take a role in the feedback process, they are likely to see 360 degree feedback as a community mission rather than a standard performance review.

Ultimately, if an employee feels active in a company’s goal to develop their employees, they are more likely to feel engaged in the 360 degree feedback process. The organization’s underlying interests are enforced through the eyes of an employee, ensuring that a collective vision is upheld. Employees are then able to view 360 degree feedback as accurate since all parties view the feedback as credible.



Fisher, R., Ury, W. & Patton, B. (2012). Getting to Yes; negotiating an agreement without giving in. Random House Business Books. ISBN 9781847940933.


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