4 minute read – Posted by – May 30, 2018

Common 360 feedback pitfalls & best practice checklist

For any useful business strategy, there are disadvantages if it is not appropriately used or implemented.

This can be avoided with the awareness of possible pitfalls. Here are some pitfalls to avoid when using 360 feedback to ensure success.

Using it as a performance review system

360 feedback is not meant to replace existing performance review processes your company has in place. It’s easier to view it as a development and growth strategy for your employees. It offers valuable data throughout the year that can be used to analyze performance when it comes time for assessments or reviews. It is most appropriate to use 360 feedback as a part of your performance management system for optimal success.

Generic feedback templates

For a team to really leverage the benefits of the 360 feedback process, it’s important to avoid the pitfall of using generic feedback templates. 360 feedback is meant to be a more personalized way for employees to learn more about how they can improve on what they’ve done and continuously working on.

Those that are connected to give feedback should be aware of what this employee’s competencies are and more importantly, their long-term goals. Generic feedback templates may only do so much as to save time but not give the right feedback or collect the right performance data.

It isn’t a part of your performance management process

The use of 360 feedback can often come at the recommendation of a strategic leader in the organization. Just as any other change will require effective planning, the implementation of this feedback process also requires employee buy-in in order to make it a part of the entire performance management system.

When it’s not part of the performance management process, employees will find it difficult to see how it adds value to their day-to-day work. Of course, as an employee-driven process, when there’s no buy-in, it defeats the purpose of using 360 feedback in the first place.

Too much focus on the negatives of the past

While feedback should be constructive, this doesn’t mean the focus should be on weaknesses. Focusing feedback on employee strengths and the direction they want to grow in can add more value to the overall accomplishments of the team.

A simple checklist to great feedback

While 360 feedback is often spearheaded by HR and managers for employees to use, alternatively, companies can choose to reverse the process and make it from bottom-up.

Company-wide feedback: Request for feedback from employees about the company and learn where they need the most support.

Team-level feedback: Request for feedback from teams about their direct managers and what they can do provide support where they need it most.

Here’s what you should run-through when conducting 360 feedback:

  1. Determine company-wide objectives for which 360 feedback will achieve.
  2. Set the scope and cadence for which 360 feedback will occur.
  3. Decide who will facilitate the 360 feedback exercise (i.e. direct managers to their employees)
  4. Plan how feedback data will be collected. Are you a small company with 5 employees?
  5. Use a Google Spreadsheet! How about a company of 100? Consider a feedback software to automate the process and save time!
  6. Figure how to use employee feedback data most effectively.

Also published on Medium.

May Chau

May is a Content Strategist contributing to the improvement of modern performance management at 7Geese. Connect with her via may@7geese.com