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Use surveys instead of a traditional performance review to learn more about behavior, productivity, collaboration efforts, and more.

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When it comes to how your employees view their leaders, managers and co-workers throughout your organization, it’s important to get the full picture. You want honest and candid feedback about an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, and potential blindspots that may be impacting employee performance or morale.

A great way to get that depth is through 360-degree feedback surveys. 360 degree feedback surveys can be a powerful tool to help everyone grow. This type of employee survey captures comprehensive insights from those working closely with an individual whose performance is being evaluated. That means it gathers feedback from managers and peers.

Through feedback, team members can gain an understanding of their actions and behaviors and how they affect the greater team. This can vary considerably from how they view themselves. By receiving useful insight into what others see, they can take action to enhance their strengths and improve upon their weaknesses.

Of course, it’s important that these reviews are presented in a thoughtful and constructive way and employees are willing to incorporate the feedback they receive in their professional growth and efforts to achieve organizational goals. When that does occur, 360-degree surveys can be a real game changer for the success in your organization.

SurveyMonkey Enterprise can help you build an award-winning workforce with survey tools for employee satisfaction, 360-feedback reviews, training, and more.

Unlike traditional performance reviews, a 360-degree feedback survey is aimed at gathering anonymous feedback about an employee from the people working most closely with them, including direct reports, peers, and managers. 

During a 360-degree review, a team member can expect to receive feedback from a wide range of perspectives, with supervisors, direct reports and peers sharing their views on that person’s skills, behavior, and impact on the rest of the team.

The data collected via 360-feedback surveys is then combined into a report that identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the individual being assessed.

It’s important to keep in mind that this type of feedback doesn’t actually focus on performance, rather, it assesses the full range of aspects that can be attributed to an employee’s behavior. The feedback can be eye-opening—or at times, alarming— to the individual being assessed. But it truly is one of the most effective ways to help the person improve their interactions, their communication, and ultimately, their job performance.

The approach to developing a 360 review is relatively straightforward, starting with the development of a questionnaire and concluding with sharing the results with the individual being evaluated and discussing an action plan for maximizing strengths and addressing weaknesses or blind spots. Here are the steps the process:

1. Develop an employee questionnaire

Rated on a point scale of 4 to 7, this questionnaire asks about a range of aspects of an individual’s behaviors and interactions, specifically communication, teamwork, leadership, initiative, and judgment. It also includes open-ended questions so others can provide additional feedback.

2. Ensure confidentiality of participants

Protecting the confidentiality of your participants is important if you want to collect their most accurate and candid feedback. While the purpose of the survey isn’t to bash or make anyone feel bad about the feedback they receive, sometimes even providing constructive feedback can cause awkward break room encounters.

Therefore, to ensure that participants are protected and no one is singled out, you may consider summarizing feedback responses. This can mask the participants whose answers stand out and helps to ensure that the results are genuine —but won’t create problems.

3. Provide training and orientations

Training is important to the feedback process because it takes the results and helps employees understand how to apply it to their professional growth. Therefore, it is key to provide some kind of training where employees can learn and ask questions about 360-degree feedback surveys. Most importantly, having this understanding will give them the confidence to answer the questions openly and honestly.

4. Start to elicit feedback from the survey

When distributing the survey, be sure to provide clear instructions, so that employees know what exactly is expected from them. If possible, post the questionnaire to your company website, so that employees can access it conveniently.