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360-Degree Feedback: what is it, benefits and disadvantages

360-degree feedback, peer feedback, informal feedback… nowadays, the word feedback is on everyone’s lips. People use it even in foreign...
18 July 2022

360-degree feedback, peer feedback, informal feedback… nowadays, the word feedback is on everyone’s lips.

People use it even in foreign languages like Spanish, where they almost replaced their original word (retroalimentación) with the English version.

Could you give me feedback on this? I need feedback on that. Have you gotten feedback from customers? But what does feedback mean

Practically speaking, it is the expression of an opinion, the demonstration of a point of view, or even the analysis of something.

Feedback is used, for example, to evaluate a person, a company, a product, or a service. Thus, feedback is the diagnosis that makes it possible to identify positive and negative points of what is being evaluated.

And what happens if what is to be evaluated is an employee of an organization or institution?
That we should use specific techniques such as 360-degree feedback.

360-Degree Feedback: what is it, benefits and disadvantages

What is 360-degree feedback, and what can it be used for?

Internal communication in companies has changed dramatically in recent years. In the past, when a leader or manager wanted to give you feedback, he did it unidirectionally: you have done this well, this badly, and this great without anyrebuttal optionl.

Fortunately for the business community, these evaluations have broadened their scope and are now omnidirectional, or at least that’s how the most successful companies do it. This is where 360-degree feedback comes in.

To summarize a bit, 360-degree feedback is a feedback process. You receive feedback from your direct supervisor (90 degrees) and colleagues in your charge if you have them (270 degrees). Internal, external customers or suppliers you work with. All aspects count to detect areas for improvement, hidden talent, or any factor that can contribute to your company.

It is one of the most widely used performance evaluation models by companies because: 

  • It is an agile process that requires technological tools. 
  • It is fair, constructive, and promotes self-evaluation.
  • It offers a broader perspective on employee gaps and opportunities.

What are the benefits of 360-degree feedback?

360-degree feedback encourages a culture of self-evaluation and constructive criticism, which makes all members of the company participants in its process.
But beyond these benefits, many others make this an ideal model to implement in your company. 

Helps to solve team problems and improves communication

As we have mentioned previously, as it is a model that uses omnidirectional channels, there is always room for an answer, which may improve communication and avoid some problems. As we always say, people can understand each other by talking.

360-degree feedback should be a constructive process between all the agents involved to encourage transparent, respectful, and effective communication. This helps the team to be able to recognize its successes and mistakes, which promotes conscious decision-making.

Reduces blind spots

As all company members who have direct contact with the employee are involved in the evaluation, different perspectives are obtained from the various tasks and processes performed by the employee. This allows for a broader view and a complete analysis of the entire operation and avoids biases. 

Encourages autonomy and self-perception

Through self-perception, an individual understands his emotions, state of mind, and sentimental situation. In this way, the employee becomes aware of his process and how others see them, not only in terms of performance but also regarding reactions to certain situations.

Reduces employee turnover

A 360-degree feedback system allows us to detect gaps and opportunities in the employee’s performance and competencies, which helps them become better professionals. This promotes employee commitment and job satisfaction and, consequently, a positive branding for the company generated by its employees.

Recognizes opportunities for development and improvement

Identifying successes and mistakes allows us to take improvement actions and detect development points. It is essential that after a feedback process, an individual development plan is made together with the employee so that they can explore their full potential.  

What is 360-degree feedback, and what can it be used for?

Disadvantages of 360-degree feedback: do they exist?

Although it may not seem like it, the 360-degree feedback system has some drawbacks when it comes to putting it into operation, especially if it is an organization that has just adopted it and is not used to this type of omnidirectional communication.

So, just as we have told you about its benefits, we will also tell you about its disadvantages (although you won’t find any impossible ones).

  • There is a possibility that it may cause tension among employees by taking the evaluations of others personally.
  • Receiving 360-degree feedback from so many sources can be overwhelming for the employee, especially if the person cannot handle negative criticism. This can result in a decrease in motivation and productivity.
  • It could encourage non-objective evaluation and criticism in a way that takes advantage of anonymity to make accusations. 
  • Not giving an honest opinion due to fear of retaliation.
  • As it is an overall qualitative evaluation, obtaining concrete results and data is more complex. 
  • Requires more planning and training to ensure a consistent process throughout the organization. 

Conclusion: 360-degree feedback is a handy evaluation tool with more benefits than disadvantages

To achieve optimal performance and accelerate the business results, you need a solid team which you will gain through constant evaluation and feedback. Models like 360-degree feedback will help you in this task. 

It is one of the most complete evaluation tools available today, and even taking into account its disadvantages, the balance ends up tipping on the side of the benefits that your institution can obtain. 

At Smowltech, we believe that evaluation processes, with a solid and reliable basis, can help any organization grow. And you could use tools such as SMOWL for corporations to make this process reliable and safer. So why not give this model a try? 

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