360 Reviews: Definition, Importance and Helpful Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Cultivating a love for learning can encourage development as you mature in your career. 360 reviews are a great opportunity to use your employer's feedback to improve your performance at work. Understanding this type of employee performance review can help you develop professionally and achieve your personal career goals. In this article, we discuss what 360 reviews are, why they're important, what they measure, what you can learn from one and how to apply your employer's feedback in your daily work life.

What are 360 reviews?

360 reviews are a type of performance review tool, whereby people from different levels of a company may evaluate you, including your supervisors, colleagues and the people you manage, if you're in a leadership role. Other important stakeholders that you interact with may also participate, such as customers or business partners. A neutral party, such as a human resources manager, collects the data for a 360 performance review from various professionals anonymously. Then they compile it together and present it to you.

This process allows people to give you honest yet constructive feedback, so that you can realise your strengths and weaknesses, and can identify areas for improvement. The purpose of a 360 performance review is to provide you with actionable feedback. By consulting various stakeholders, the data gathered can be more accurate and gives you a better sense of your performance in different factions of your work life. You can use the results to create your own personal development goals so that you continue to progress in your career ambitions.

Related: What Is an Internal Audit and What Are Its Primary Objectives?

Why is a 360 performance review important?

A 360 performance review is important because it encourages you to reflect on your performance and improve your knowledge, skills and approach to different situations or people. Here are some reasons why the feedback from this type of performance review is extremely beneficial:

You receive feedback from various sources

If you serve many roles at work, it's important to receive feedback from various perspectives. Gathering feedback from your team members can teach you how to be a better leader and co-worker. Listening to the feedback from your supervisor can help you determine how to secure your next promotion. Since a 360 performance review collects data from various sources, it can give you a more accurate representation of your attitude and actions. Thus, employ it as a tool to further your potential.

You can gain honest feedback

Since a 360 performance review is anonymous, your co-workers are likely to feel more comfortable sharing their honest opinion about your performance and behaviour. Any constructive criticism that you may not receive in a face-to-face conversation with them is a great opportunity for you to realise gaps in your understanding. This is especially important if you see a pattern in people's comments about you.

Try to take criticism with a positive attitude and adapt your approach. When people see that you have learnt from their observations, it can lead to more lucrative opportunities, such as better relationships at work, a promotion or even a pay rise.

You get an idea of how others perceive you

A 360 performance review gives you some insight into how people perceive your communication and interpersonal skills. If you notice consistent observations about the way you give or follow instructions, reflect on how you can be a better communicator. Similarly, if people talk about your attitude or motivation, consider changing your approach to others.

Related: How to Create KPIs to Boost Performance

What does a 360 performance review measure?

A 360 performance review focuses on your character and your business acumen. By consulting those closest to you at work, it gives you a reliable overview of how others perceive you. Similarly, their expertise in your industry can elicit practical feedback on how you can bridge gaps in your existing knowledge. Here are some examples of what a 360 performance review can measure:

  • Communication skills, such as listening and comprehension, including nonverbal communication

  • Planning and organisational skills

  • Teamwork skills, such as willingness to help and reliability

  • Leadership skills, such as decision-making and taking responsibility for the team's performance

  • Personal character, such as approachability, response to changing situations or stress and accountability

  • Customer service skills, such as attitude and mastery of products and services

What can you learn from a 360 performance review?

A 360 performance review can help you improve your existing knowledge and skills. Thus, it's best to approach your results with an open mind so that you can maximise their benefits. Applying your co-workers' feedback can greatly enhance your efficiency and productivity. It also shows your respect for their opinion. Here's a list of some of the major learning outcomes of a 360 performance review:

Maintain a humble attitude

Before you can learn from the feedback of your performance review, you may create a space to accept comments from others, whether they be positive or negative. Maintain an open mind. Rather than reacting defensively to criticism, remain calm and analyse its validity and how others may have come to this conclusion. A humble attitude can help you detect areas of improvement and respond to them in a timely and efficient manner.

Look for patterns

The best way to derive learning outcomes from your performance review is to look for persistent patterns. For example, you might find that your co-workers often mention a certain personality trait you possess or a certain approach you employ regularly. These patterns can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. It's especially important to identify weaknesses that impact various areas of your work life so that you can rectify them immediately.

Identify your strengths

Performance reviews aren't just an opportunity to identify areas for improvement, but they also allow you to discover your strengths so that you can apply them more intentionally at work. This way, you can rely on them more regularly and intervene in situations that require your expertise more confidently. Continue to invest in these talents as they can make you more employable as you progress in your career.

Identify your places for growth

When you receive criticism from others, avoid taking it personally and use it for your personal growth. It's important to develop a growth mindset as a professional because it can help enhance your productivity and progress towards your career ambitions. Business leaders often recognise professionals that learn from others' feedback as it shows their potential to take on greater responsibilities and their ability to respond to change.

Make an actionable plan

Once you receive your 360 performance review and determine its necessary points, create an actionable self-development plan to work on your places for growth. For your plan to be effective, make sure your list quantifiable goals, state exactly how you intend to practise them and give yourself deadlines. This way, you can be more accountable to yourself. As you achieve your goals and check them off your list, it can give you a sense of personal satisfaction that can motivate you along your self-development journey.

Related: How To Write a Self-Appraisal

How to apply professional feedback in the workplace

After you receive your 360 performance review, it's important to put your feedback into action. The following are a few steps describing how you can apply feedback from your review in your daily work duties:

1. Listen attentively to your co-workers

It's important to pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues, such as body language and tone of voice, when interacting with others. This is especially important when you get feedback about your communication style. Listening attentively shows your co-workers that you're willing to learn from their observations and improve your behaviour.

2. Make a list of priorities

If you notice feedback about your organisational skills in your performance review, you can use organisational tools, such as to-do lists and work diaries, to help you prioritise your tasks in order of importance. When your co-workers notice you attending meetings on time and submitting work before the deadline, they're likely to appreciate your effort to improve. Remember that being considerate towards your co-workers' time and effort can help you maintain positive relationships in the workplace.

3. Remain calm in the face of challenges

Performance appraisals are a great way to learn about how others perceive your character. Thus, any discussion about your attitude, especially your ability to manage your emotions, is an important area to focus on. If you find yourself feeling frazzled amidst a conflict, it's important to learn coping strategies that can help you manage stress. Attending a workshop or studying meditation techniques can help you improve your emotional intelligence. Staying calm in a crisis can help you think clearly and respond decisively.

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