360 Degree Feedback Checklist: Are You Prepared?

Written by Kayla Brehm | Jul 20, 2015 2:45:57 PM

About the survey:

What is it?

Perhaps the most involved performance management system out there, 360 degree feedback uses anonymous feedback from your manager, peers, and at times customers, to get a holistic view of an employee’s performance. Meant to democratize the process by including information from all sides- 360 degrees- companies have started to rely upon it to identify leadership qualities and team strengths.

Know all about 360 degree feedback? Scroll ahead to our checklist!

Who is involved?

  • The Monitor: An uninvolved party responsible for collecting and maintaining data throughout the process. Usually Human Resources or a 3rd party/ contractor.
  • The Subject: The 360 degree feedback process begins with an employee’s review of him/herself.
  • The Manager/ Boss: Direct manager/ boss
  • The Peers: Team members who directly interact with the subject
  • The Customer: Customers are sometimes chosen to review customer service team members who are participating in the process.


How is it different than other performance review systems?

Simple - it’s not a performance review system. 360-degree feedback programs aren’t meant to look at an employee’s past performance. Leave quota and KPI targets for review time. 360 degree feedback is meant to take a peek into the employee’s future. Are their most promising skills being utilized? Are they struggling? The program is meant to discover these key factors and design how to move forward from there.


Why do it?

Reviews of the process are often polarized. When done well, it creates evangelists. When done poorly, it can wreak havoc on your company. So why take the risk?

It Identifies leadership strengths and weaknesses-  Companies champion 360 degree feedback because it helps them identify employee qualities that identify with customers and single out pain points for struggling team members. By evaluating each team member, you may find qualities that you really value in leaders. If you find similar qualities in up-and-coming staff, you can help pave the way for their success.

Increased Employee Engagement- Gallup recently conducted a survey that revealed that Millennials aren’t as engaged at work as they’d like to be. As the least engaged--and largest--group in today’s workforce with an engagement rate of 28.9%, millennials are “less likely than other generations to say they ‘have the opportunity to do what they do best’ at work”. 360 degree feedback allows employers to pinpoint individual team member strengths- and utilize them.

Better team communication- 360 degree feedback forces teams to take a hard look at how they communicate. If a problem is discovered, you now have the opportunity to fix it. It allows each team member to better understand how they’re contributing to the team and, when possible, increase efficiency through developmental training.

Organization transparency- The Wall Street Journal reported  on how an HTC Technologies executive benefited from 360 degree feedback. By sharing his feedback results, he discovered that he needed to communicate and delegate more effectively. Because he changed his behavior, his team and personal performance improved.


What does it look like?

Below is a portion of a supervisor evaluation from Survey Monkey. As pictured, the questions tend to evaluate the effectiveness of the managerial style of your supervisor. Fully customizable, each organization can tailor the questions to target a specific area of concern.


360 Degree Feedback Checklist:
Now that you’re armed with knowledge about 360 degree feedback programs, you’re ready to move forward. Are you prepared? Use the below checklist to help access your personal and team readiness.


✓ Team Size

Is your team large enough for this program to make sense? The more information you gather, the better. Because of such, smaller teams may not be as well-suited for 360 degree programs than those a bit bigger.


✓ Right Team Culture

Before moving forward with implementing 360 degree feedback, it’s important to access your existing team culture. Do you give feedback regularly? Constructive criticism? How transparent are you with your employees? It’s important to take everything into consideration. 360 degree programs promote feedback of all types, so it’s important to not go from zero to sixty in a short period of time. You don’t want to overwhelm or frustrate your employees.

Netflix, a company known for it’s unique and transparent culture, relies on informal 360 reviews to make sure their teams are structured with the best people with the right skills. They let employees know from the get-go what they’re getting into.

 ✓ Choose a Platform

360 degree feedback programs are involved, so you need to invest in a platform that can help you keep track of each moving piece. The following are a few platforms that can help get you started.

  • Namely - A comprehensive HR platform that will grow with you
  • Qualtrics- An advanced, metrics-drive survey platform
  • Survey Monkey- Highly customizable, user-friendly, online survey platform

✓ Address Goals

What are you hoping to achieve internally from the process? Why are you doing this? Address this company-wide and within your team. Ashley Pelliccione, Director of People at Namely, the HR platform that grows with you, has first-hand experience on the importance of addressing goals right off the bat.

"The core of Namely's performance review process is cascading goals. We start by setting company-wide goals at the start of every quarter. Those goals feed into department goals and individual team member goals. All goals are tracked and you can view anyone's goals at any given time (we are big on transparency!).

Aside from quarterly face-to-face reviews with your manager (often conducted far more frequently in most departments), peer reviews are also invaluable to our culture.”

✓ Confidentiality/ Anonymity

Perhaps one of the most important factors to take into consideration is how confidential the feedback will remain. Netflix’s unique practice of informal 360 degree feedback has team members verbally giving their survey to the subject. While they’ve seen great success with their method, a lot of companies prefer complete anonymity during the process, leaving it up to the individual to share their results.

Namely believes that communicating throughout the process is imperative. Ashley continues:

“What it boils down to? Communication. We're growing super quickly as a startup, so communication between coworkers is key. It's easy for things to get lost in the shuffle as a company scales rapidly, so often feedback has to do with learning to communicate better as a team and adjusting project management strategies.

As far as implementation, of course employees should be reminded to keep comments constructive and focus almost exclusively on employee development. Constructive feedback really speaks to the health of any team as a whole. At Namely, we hire people we know have great personalities. Put simply, people we know are nice. We trust them with the responsibility of giving thoughtful feedback that will help their peers."


✓ Define Rating System
Continuing using Netflix as an example, they keep their process fairly simple. By asking the following, they address all sides of an individual's performance.

  1. What should the individual stop doing?
  2. What should the individual start doing?
  3. What should the individual continue doing?

Surveys are usually no more than five questions and should only take about 15 minutes to complete. If the survey is measured 1-5, or 1-10, make sure to clearly define what each rating means. Some employees may be more prone to hand out 10’s for excellent performance, others may relate 8 to high quality performance.


✓ Establish Follow-Up Plan

Any review or feedback process means nothing if you don’t plan on acting on the discovered information. Make sure to define internally an actionable plan that your team can work from to better their individual performance.

As managers, work with your team to develop individual action plans for the areas that they want/ need to improve. For example, if a customer experience team member wants to be more productive with how they spend their time (no procrastinating, finishing projects timely, etc), create a weekly to-do list. Try developing an internal agile board using Trello or Asana to follow their progress. As always, follow up!