360 Survey

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What is a 360 Degree Survey?

A 360 degree survey is a process by which an employee receives confidential feedback from various colleagues. The raters may be a mix of people who work with the recipient in different capacities. They can be the employee’s supervisor, manager, subordinate, or peer. If the role requires them to engage with external stakeholders, raters can also include vendors, suppliers, and clients. Whoever the raters may be, it is crucial to note that they remain anonymous to the recipient. A self-assessment is also part of the 360 degree survey process. 

How is a 360 Degree Survey conducted?

Once the feedback raters have been determined, they fill out an online feedback form. The survey is composed of multiple questions on different workplace competencies and other behaviors. They give feedback via a rating scale and a written comments section. The employee also answers the same set of questions as part of a self-assessment. 

To maintain anonymity, the employee does not receive feedback on a per rater basis. Instead, the individual answers are automatically consolidated per category and combined. This format presents the recipient with a clear view of strengths and areas for improvement. 

What is the 360 Degree Survey used for?

The 360 degree survey is primarily a development tool. Through the feedback provided, employees become aware of their strengths and weaknesses. The employees gain honest insight into their performance and can develop a concrete plan to make adjustments. Improving their behavior means an opportunity to excel at work. The 360 degree survey process can help managers monitor the employee’s self-development plan and check their progress.

As with other performance feedback processes, using the 360 degree survey should be aligned with the organizations’ performance management philosophy. While the 360 degree survey offers valuable insight into an employee’s performance, it differs greatly from a traditional performance review. 

A performance review is concerned with an employee’s performance against predefined targets and goals. It is geared towards measurements, objectives, and job requirements. On the other hand, a 360 degree survey is more focused on behaviors and how the employee is perceived by others. 

Overall, using the 360 degree survey alone as a performance appraisal tool may not prove to be beneficial for an organization. Instead, the 360 degree survey should be part of a larger performance management system. 

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