4 Reasons Why 360 Feedback Surveys Should Not be Used for Performance Assessments

Written by Explorance.

In our last post we took a brief look at 360 degree feedback. As you will recall, 360 degree feedback is an evaluation method that incorporates feedback from an individual themself, from peers, subordinates, and potentially even customers. Results of these confidential surveys are then tabulated, and shared with the employee in question, more often than not by his/her own manager.

The primary reason for using 360 degree feedback is to give an individual a number of different perspectives on key criterion, thereby giving it far more validity.  With this feedback, the individual is able to use this information as a basis for development over the long term, especially as it is imperative to have periodic followup surveys sent out. However, the fact is that some organizations use 360 reviews for strictly performance evaluations.  In our opinion, this is not an ideal practice for the following four reasons.

  1. Employee performance evaluations are often tied to specific goals or metrics: 

    The fact is that 360 feedback is designed to give an employee an idea of how he or she is perceived by those around him or her.  With performance evaluations, more often that not you are measuring something that relates to job performance, which usually requires interpretation from your supervisor alone (if at all). There is no developmental aspect other than to see how you improve with respect to your performance metrics.

  2. Performance evaluations are one time events with no followup: 

    On a related note performance evaluations are meant to measure your progress on specific job related metrics at one particular instance in time.  However, 360 evaluations are meant to measure softer perception related skills that relate to organizational values and how they evolve over time.

  3. Repeated criticism from your supervisor can sting: 

    Part of the reason that multiple sources are used in 360 degree evaluations are the fact that a criticism comes across as less personal or an affront when it is revealed in a neutral setting

  4. Inability to provide customized coaching or backup feedback services:

    Obviously when you are measuring growth and development over time, it is imperative to provide the means to counsel & coach individuals on how to improve on certain aptitudes.  Given that performance evaluations are a one time endeavor, there is no need to evaluate feedback over time.


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