360 method for personnel evaluation

Ted Scott
Ted Scott
29 January 2024
9 min

Every business manager periodically needs to conduct personnel assessment. For this purpose, various methods and tools are used in practice. You can set mandatory key indicators and monitor their fulfillment. Or you can rely on your own subjective opinion. But, neither in the first nor in the second case it does not reflect the full picture of the employee’s effectiveness. A person can masterfully cope with a given plan, but be completely unbearable in the team. A person may periodically delay the delivery of his or her current part of the work, but still manage to help colleagues in their competencies. The 360-degree method is used to assess the suitability of personnel for their positions, determine their potential, and make various managerial decisions regarding bonuses, training, and transfers. How does it help to understand the effectiveness of employees? Is it suitable for all companies? Let’s tell you more about this method in the review and try to figure it out.

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What is the essence of the method and how it works

The name 360 performance review is a way of assessing personnel performance, built in the form of a survey of management and colleagues, which allows you to accurately determine how well an employee meets certain competencies, identify his or her characteristics, pros and cons. It is an easy way to see yourself from the outside. To find out what your coworkers think of you. After all, we often evaluate ourselves incorrectly, downplaying or exaggerating our professional qualities and merits. For example, some people may think that public speaking is their specialty, but in reality, it is not.

A 360-degree assessment helps performers objectively evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. They can get a clear picture of where they should develop. This technique is often used to eliminate conflicts in the team and prevent valuable specialists from leaving the company. Its essence is as follows:

  • The first step is to assemble a group of people who will be evaluating the professional.
  • Explain the purpose of the questionnaire and the criteria to be followed in the evaluation.
  • Hand out questionnaires, take a survey.
  • At its end, it is summarized, conclusions are drawn, and stakeholders are told.
  • Identify growth areas, create individualized business development plans for the employee.

A 360-degree 360-degree evaluation goes beyond analyzing performance. It is a more holistic, multifaceted process. It is aimed at developing employees, examining the quality of their work. This method should not be used to replace regular staff appraisals. It is ideal to conduct these studies in a comprehensive manner, taking into account actual performance, compliance with job descriptions, behavior and interaction with other parties involved in the work process.

Pros and cons of the method

Using the rule of the 360 degree method for personnel evaluation, it is possible to get a comprehensive picture of the activities and capabilities of each employee. Other advantages of the methodology include:

  • Identify growth points for the team and each team member.
  • Effective assessment of soft skills – communication skills with others.
  • No need to engage the services of external experts to conduct the study. Necessary information can be collected with the strength and experience of the HR department.

Since the survey is conducted anonymously, nothing will prevent other members of the work team from objectively and honestly assessing the work of a colleague. In addition, the use of 360-degree techniques contributes to better staff development. Eliminates possible obstacles in teamwork. Forms a friendly and comfortable working environment.

There are disadvantages to this method of assessment as well:

  • It requires time to develop questionnaires, inform the participants, process and analyze the results.
  • Limited to competencies, without taking into account the real achievements of the employee.
  • Invariably accompanied by stress in the evaluated professional.
  • Does not provide sufficient information to predict his future employment with the company.
  • If the conditions of anonymity are not met, it can cause discord in the team. In addition, employees are not always candid when evaluating their supervisor and may focus mainly on negative aspects when describing colleagues.

The 360 degree technique is not the only method of evaluating personnel when dealing with employee promotions or terminations.

When to use this technique

When to use 360 technique

The main purpose of HR analytics is to study the different qualities of employees depending on their career, functions and company needs. Surveys are usually based on communication skills and abilities needed in a particular workplace. In the process of questionnaires, the following are investigated:

  • Ability to communicate with other participants in the work process (listening and hearing skills, manner of speech, non-verbal behavior).
  • Interpersonal skills (positive attitude, courteous communication, negotiation skills).
  • Organized (logical thinking, planning, attention to detail).
  • Creative capabilities (creative approach to solving difficult situations).
  • Leadership skills (ability to lead, decision-making responsibility, delegation).
  • Strategic vision (understanding of values, enterprise mission, long-term planning).
  • Customer success (sales skills, consideration of customer opinions and wishes).
  • Management capabilities (staff organization, responsibility for the team, interaction with colleagues).

When assessing the head of a department or subdivision, the questionnaire will be dominated by questions related to leadership, managerial competencies. The questionnaire will also contain information related to his/her loyalty to subordinates, ability to show empathy.

A 360 assessment is appropriate:

  • As a powerful motivational factor contributing to the development of a person as a person and a specialist in his/her environment. It perfectly stimulates to work on one’s “weaknesses”. Needed to take a sober look at oneself from the outside.
  • To form a personnel reserve. Using this method, you can find out which performers will be able to work effectively in a team when launching new projects. Which of them can apply for management positions. Who is able to “pull” the company in difficult or critical situations.
  • Assessments of the company’s management model. Based on the anonymous survey of subordinates, conclusions can be drawn about the need to adjust the management style in the company.
  • Plan employee training and development. Using information from surveys, develop a training program for the staff. Select courses and trainings to be attended by the company’s specialists.
  • Increasing the self-esteem of employees. Sometimes competent specialists are afraid to take on the responsibility of project management because they think they do not have enough leadership skills to do so. Peer debriefing helps such employees to gain self-confidence and not to doubt their abilities.

If there are no competencies for the position under study, no clear patterns of behavior of importance to the company, it is not reasonable to spend time and resources on a 360 assessment.

Conditions required for a 360 degree assessment

When choosing this method of HR-analytics, it is important to choose the right assessment focus. Unlike the assessment methodology, which is a psychological portrait of an individual, the 360 technique allows you to assess the behavior of an employee in specific work situations through the eyes of his colleagues, supervisor, and subordinates who encounter him at work on a daily basis.

But in order for the assessment to be true and objective, in addition to the internal readiness of the team, it is important to comply with a number of conditions in the organization itself. These include:

  • Low staff turnover. Employees who have worked together for less than a year can hardly be expected to provide truthful information regarding the abilities, qualifications and personal qualities of their colleagues. Their circle of communication is limited to the work environment. They have not had the opportunity to get to know each other better in informal situations. Therefore, the picture will be incomplete and biased.
  • Flexible company management style. In an authoritarian regime, employees will not be frank for fear of subsequent sanctions and repressive measures. Especially if they have to evaluate their immediate supervisor. Or they may use questionnaires for “revenge” against undesirable colleagues.
  • Lack of established interest groups in the team. In this case, interested parties will easily agree to act on the principle of “you to me – I to you” during the survey, which will reduce its effectiveness and objectivity to zero.
  • “A healthy psychological and working environment”. If a company practices nepotism, “sucking up” to colleagues to advance in their careers, the 360 methodology will do more harm than good. Since it will turn from an effective way to develop the organization into just another way to “eliminate” inconvenient people or bring closer the “acceptable” ones.

The methodology will be effective in companies with a democratic management style, practicing the development of teamwork, with a well-formed corporate culture.

What you need for a 360-degree assessment

What you need for a 360-degree assessment

First of all, they determine what qualities, skills, abilities are important in an employee. They represent a model of competencies. For example, for a sales specialist, it is important to be able to communicate with customers, listen, quickly make balanced and rational decisions. The competencies of a secretary include attentiveness, thoroughness, ability to multitask, friendliness, personal charm and ability to interact with others. Employees who have been with the company for at least six months are evaluated using the 360 degree method.

After the competency model is approved, the survey participants are informed about the purpose, progress and nature of the survey. They should understand that this method of assessment is aimed at the development of the employee, obtaining possible prospects in the company. They should be informed that the survey will be anonymous.

Next, a list of questionnaire questions is developed. The questionnaire consists of two parts. One of them contains the questions themselves, and in the other part the participants of the study put scores. Two scales can be used for evaluation: indicator and level scales. An example of indicator scoring is given in the table below:

Level 0Any goals are missing, achieving a reduction in the amount of work.
Level 0,5When setting goals from superiors, strive to adjust them downward.
Level 1Fulfills leadership objectives but gravitates toward simple, easily attainable goals.
Level 1,5Sets specific goals to work towards.
Level 2Ready for active independent work, makes efforts to realize challenging goals.
Level 2,5Achieves serious results and continually raises the bar by setting the “tone” of work for other employees.

The level evaluation of personnel is as follows:

Work for a common result, attitude towards common interests is evaluated.

  1. Manifests itself on a regular basis, without exception.
  2. Observed daily, but there are exceptions.
  3. Two or three times in the last quarter.
  4. No more than twice in the same period.
  5. Does not show interest in the company, such actions are absent.

After compiling the questionnaires and approving their form, select a platform for conducting the research, taking into account confidentiality, secure access to information, round-the-clock technical support and the possibility of uploading reports for the customer. Inform all survey participants about the survey.

Ensure complete confidentiality of the study. You can do this in one of the following ways:

  • “Closed boxes for questionnaires”. It is used when completing a paper-based questionnaire. This method is not very convenient as it covers colleagues exclusively from the employee’s immediate environment.
  • One-time email accounts on popular portals (yahoo mail or gmail.com). But, in this case all results will have to be processed manually.
  • Online assessment in automatic mode with the involvement of special services saves time and money of the company. Ensures complete anonymity and trust on the part of the interviewees.

After data collection, analyze the information obtained and provide feedback, communicating the importance of the findings to employees. Provide detailed recommendations for improvement and development with the selection of individual training programs.

Evaluating employee performance with LeaderTask


The modern digital application LeaderTask can help you evaluate the efficiency of each employee or the staff as a whole. The program keeps detailed statistics on employee activity with analytical reports on their workload, efficiency and functionality.

The online application provides the manager with constant communication with employees, provides an opportunity to delegate tasks with subsequent control over the degree of their fulfillment. He can visually assess what work has been done, what needs to be completed by the near future, and what processes are still “hanging in the air”.

Thanks to the visual display of employment, productivity and successes of performers working on a common project, all team members have an excellent incentive to “reach for” the best indicators in order not to be in the lagging link. Any questions about the project can be discussed in a convenient corporate chat room.

In the program it is convenient to create tasks and assignments for yourself and your colleagues, to control their execution, to make corrections, to send them for revision. You can check the progress of tasks realization by the tags: “Ready for delivery”, “Unread”, etc.

The functionality of the online service includes many options useful for the manager and executor, including: an order execution control program, an organizer, a kanban board, and a task scheduler. The application is compatible with any digital platforms. It works efficiently in offline mode, without internet.


360 degrees is an effective method of employee assessment and development, suitable for companies with a stable headcount, developed corporate culture and open relationships in the team. It should not be used for the distribution of bonuses, during instability or crisis of the company. It is also not suitable for assessing employees with less than six months of service.

Before conducting the survey, it is important to convey to all participants of the event the need for evaluation, the criteria by which it will be carried out, its scale, and objectives. The best platform for the survey would be a specialized digital service.

The study should end with a mandatory meeting with the evaluated employee. During this meeting, the results are discussed and an individual development plan program is selected.

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