Before coming to any other point it is important to know what is a 360-degree feedback. A 360-degree feedback which is also known as the multi-source feedback is generally a process by which feedback of an employee is received from his colleagues, supervisors or his subordinates regarding an employer’s behavior. This feedback can also include self-evaluation by an employee himself. A relevant 360-degree feedback can also include feedback received from other external sources that interact with the employee on regular bases such as a customer or suppliers or any other third party sources.

Many organizations use 360 degree feedback software for its development. It helps the employees in improving their overall working skills and behaviors. This feedback software is greatly utilized in the evaluation of the performance of the employer and also for making employment decisions.

Importance of 360-degree feedback

A 360-degree feedback is known to benefit any organization. It provides a confidential as well as a safe way for all the employees to provide feedback. By doing this, any organization is capable of gaining valuable insight into the teams, leadership and the health of an organization. This system also provides knowledge to the leaders of an organization about what is working and what is not. With relevant information in hand and using each feedback data appropriately, the leaders of an organization can even take action quickly. This also helps the employees in improving their work and also enables them to become better leaders so that they can contribute to the future deals of their organizations.

Sometimes receiving honest feedback about the performance of an employee is difficult. Also sometimes candid feedback about an employee’s performance goes down. Many employees are often afraid that they might displease people in a higher rank and a face to face feedback method is capable of not giving genuine feedbacks.

Thus, a 360 degree feedback survey gives an opportunity to the leaders who can get accurate and helpful feedback which will be constructive as well as confidential in every manner. In the process of a 360 feedback survey, the leader and a group of other raters which mainly includes people with whom the leaders work on a regular basis like customers, suppliers, supervisors, and other peers to answer specific questions about the leader’s performance.

Pros

When used correctly, there are many benefits of a 360-degree feedback system. It is an amazing tool for receiving feedback in a confidential manner. Following are the pros:

1. A 360-degree feedback is capable of increasing self-awareness which means understanding the personality of an employee like his strengths, weaknesses, potentials, beliefs, thoughts, and emotions. This is an important fact when it comes to leadership. Leaders are often capable of making mistakes with good intentions as they make improvements in the wrong way. Often it is good seeing how others see us. This feedback gives each colleague a chance to express their feeling about an employee anonymously. The employee should be able to handle each feedback that he receives and should not get upset about any negative feedback. It encourages an employee to look at himself the way others see them and helps them to develop a mindset and take it as an opportunity to grow.

2. Collecting feedback from different sources, it is possible that the leader of an organization will have a broader assessment. He will most likely notice themes and patterns that will reoccur and they can focus on it. The employee can also have a good and clear picture of his strengths and weaknesses.

3. If everyone is able to identify their individual strengths and weaknesses and also their behaviors, they can focus on working in these factors more accurately and thus at the end of the day, the employees will end up becoming a much better co-worker and his team leaders will become happier and productive.

4. One of the most important issues that each employee faces in his or her workplace is a lack of enough and frequent feedback. 360-degree feedback is capable of giving each employee a chance to get more feedback from more number of people. And since, these feedbacks come from multiple sources the employees are more likely that they will also perceive the feedbacks in a positive way.

Cons

If an organization implements a 360 degree feedback system in a wrong way, it will bring about many disadvantages. It is very important to be very careful when doing this. If anybody has an issue of trust or if the team is not getting along properly then there is a chance that it might bring about more problems.

1. If negative feedback is received, then it can create much resentment among the team members. The receiver might get upset or angry at their fellow colleagues or customers and in this way it might induce emotions such as fear and anger inside them.

2. The feedback that is received might not be 100% true or accurate. The colleagues of an employee might become nicer or express their feeling in a good than what they originally felt. Maybe internal politics of an organization might make the colleagues give more dishonest feedback. If there is a small team then there is a possibility that everyone will be friends with each other and thus increases the possibility of giving positive feedback to each other. Whereas, on the other hand, being a part of a larger team, the people reviewing an employee may not know him well enough in order to give accurate feedback. So, while collecting the feedbacks, and while assessing them, one should be very careful.

3. The feedbacks that an employee receives can be more focused on his weaknesses instead of focusing on his strengths. This, in turn, can be quite discouraging for any employee who is receiving the feedback. So, ultimately it is okay to highlight areas of improvement but also keeping in my mind the strengths and implementing it in the right manner is very important.