Anyone involved in business is probably familiar with the term ‘360 feedback’. But while it has gained a lot of traction over recent years, there are still many misconceptions surrounding it. Here is a brief overview for anyone who is curious about how it can help to improve their business.

The 360 Process

A good starting point is to revisit the idea of what 360 feedback entails. Unlike other forms of business feedback, this isn’t just a top down review. Instead it’s about gathering data from the individual as well as a manager and a group of peers to give a greater awareness of a person’s qualities. Data gathering involves rating a series of straightforward statements about an individual’s behaviour and traits, based on a relevant competence framework. This data is then collated into a meaningful picture of an individual’s behaviour, which they are then made aware of in contrast to their perceptions of themselves. The aim is to build a picture of how well the employee is performing in key competencies, rather than just analysing performance.

The Benefits

Everyone in business knows that personal traits in business aren’t something that you can develop overnight, and can be difficult to train in the traditional sense. In addition to this, there aren’t that many opportunities to reflect on your perceptions of yourself in contrast to others, and directly address your own development in key behavioural areas. By formalising the process of receiving feedback and presenting it as data, you minimise the negative associations of peer review and provide valuable pointers for self development, without having to take a lot of time out of the work at hand.

The benefits of this process are obvious to anyone who is serious about striving towards better skills, especially in areas that are hard to assess objectively yourself. 360 feedback can identify new areas that could be developed, provide positive information about an individual’s progress in their role, and pinpoint areas an employee may not be aware of.

It is worth noting that there are good and bad conditions for 360 feedback. If a person is not receptive to criticism it may be difficult to get them to engage with this kind of process. Also, employees that have only recently started in their role are less likely to benefit from this kind of 360 approach. But in general, businesses interested in cultivating the potential of their employees will find 360 feedback to be an invaluable tool. Find out more about what 360 Feedback can do for your business .