1. Decide what to focus on
A 360 review during a team member’s probation period shouldn’t comprise the same questions included in their one-year performance. At three or six months, you may still want to assess whether the employee is a culture fit; at one year, you’ll have a much better understanding of their performance, skill set, and development goals.
2. Choose the recurrence
While traditional reviews are usually done once a year, we advise increased recurrence for 360 performance appraisals. To reap the benefits of effective feedback, we suggest running biannual reviews — that is, unless your questionnaire with qualitative questions is very extensive.
3. Set a timeline
Define a timeline for all participants to answer the questions and provide their feedback. Once all feedback has been collected, a time should be scheduled for a feedback talk between manager and reviewee.
4. Define the scope
A successful 360 performance review must include all perspectives:
- Manager assessment (may include more than one manager, e.g., in cases of solid-line + dotted-line reporting)
- Direct report assessment
- Peer assessment (our recommendation: 2–7 peers)
5. Set up the questions
Choose questions that align with your culture, but don’t forget to address team-specific skills.
Team-specific: Make sure you understand the core competencies related to a specific department.
General: Decide on general, development, and culture-oriented questions to be answered by all employees — including those being evaluated. Examples:
- What should I/they continue doing?
- What is the most important development goal that I/they should work on?
- What support do I/you need to move forward on individual development goals?
- What support could you offer them to further develop in their role? (not included in the self-assessment)
- How am I/are they doing regarding our company’s value of listening to and respecting each other?
- What are the three biggest challenges you’re currently facing? (self-assessment only)
When setting up questions, define which ones are relevant to each perspective (i.e., reviewee, peers, managers, reports).
Very important: Ensure that the questionnaire is not too long! 15–20 questions should be the limit — and the upper end might already be too much for some participants.
6. Invite all participants
And don’t forget to give them a deadline. If you decide to implement a platform to prevent you from drowning in paperwork, you can use best-practice templates and set up automated reminders.
You should also communicate the following guidelines:
- Be frank, but empathetic, and also focus on strengths. We can’t stress enough how critical it is to keep feedback constructive.
- Ensure that constructive feedback is actionable.
- Be careful not to overwhelm someone with too much information. Focus on key points and illustrate your evaluation with facts.
- No feedback should be a surprise for the reviewee. A feedback culture promotes continuous feedback throughout the year, which can be done in opportunities such as 1:1 meetings.
7. Result analysis
Ask managers to analyze results and pay attention to discrepancies to guarantee a more focused feedback talk with development suggestions and support.
8. Feedback talk
Manager and reviewee schedule a meeting to discuss the feedback. The focus on development should be top of mind — and that should also include reinforcing strengths the reviewee already has. Unlike traditional performance reviews, 360 reviews are about growing together and focusing on the future, not pointing fingers.
Finish review talks by discussing and aligning development goals. This makes reviews catalysts for change, leaving employees motivated.
Follow-up best practices for 360 performance appraisals
Support your report as a mentor by drafting a development plan together
The next time around, revisit results from previous reviews to track development and roadblocks. This will also help you be consistent with ratings while taking development expectations into account.
Keep nurturing a feedback culture in your company
Encourage your people are used to giving each other open and constructive feedback.
— Interested in learning even more about feedback? We’ve got you covered: Check out our free template on how to give feedback.
And how about offering your employees even more support when it’s time for their 360 performance review? See our guide on how to write a self-assessment for your next performance review (with infographic). 😉