Advantages and Disadvantages of 360-Degree Feedback Programs


What are the advantages and disadvantages of 360-degree feedback programs?


Firstly, what is 360-degree feedback?


360-degree feedback, used by many firms, is a form of feedback (would you believe) which caters to leadership development. In essence, it’s a system that helps to determine behavior and performance of an employee.


The feedback which is garnered from numerous sources can prove to be particularly valuable – valuable to the organization and valuable to the employee.


The information is then used to cater to employee development through different processes, including engagement and retention.



Advantages of 360-Degree Feedback



1  Leverages on employee strengths

When the competency areas of an employee are identified, additional training and development is provided to the employee to fit in with need.

In doing this, the organization is contributing to the employee’s career growth and encouraging employee retention/ growth of the company.



2  Encourages accountability

Feedback received on individual performance enhances accountability. Further, each individual employee is able to take a key role with regards to their own personal development.



3  New skills are developed

Gaining feedback on behavior and workplace performance helps an employee to learn new skills which are based on the creation of customized development programs.



4  Offers a diversity of information

360 feedback helps in reducing any potential workplace bias. This is achieved through the provision of data points. These data points are used to measure employee performance objectively.



5  Increases self-awareness

With feedback the employee becomes more self-aware and can then focus on  improving any weaknesses while, likewise, complimenting their current strengths.



6  Determine “blind spots”

An employee’s “blind spots” (behaviors) are determined via 360-degree feedback. This helps the employee to become aware of behaviors that perhaps previously they were unaware of.



7  Identification of gaps in behavior and performance

Traditional employee development processes place more emphasis upon objective achievement, irrespective of how these achievements are going to be made. This allows for gaps in behavior and performance.

Through 360-degree performance programs, gaps in behavior and performance are also addressed.



8  Offers a more balanced view

Via 360-degree feedback programs, a more rounded view of the skills and behaviors of employees is established. This is achieved since there are many sources from which the information about employees is collected.



9  Agreements on employee expectations

Employee performance is provided in a framework format through a 360-degree questionnaire that is well structured.

In turn, and because of the framework, it’s relatively easy to compare and contrast feedback that has been collated from numerous sources.





Disadvantages of 360-Degree Feedback



1  Poor leadership

If there is little support shown for the 360-degree feedback program, there’s little chance that it will be correctly implemented.



2  Managers may not offer honest feedback

There are two elements here: Employees may prefer to avoid providing honest feedback for fear of retribution.

Management may prefer not to offer truthful feedback for fear of harming a colleague.



3  Incorrect feedback

Feedback on employees may not always be best placed: If a manager provides feedback for employees they don’t know too well, it can prove to be of little use.



4  The questions impact the outcome

The questions formulated in order to garner feedback play a large part in determining the outcome of the research.

If the questionnaires are poorly formulated, this will adversely impact the overall result.



5  Devoid of 100 percent accuracy

Every organization has internalized politics. As such, 360-degree feedback can consist of numerous inaccuracies due to bias, etc.



6  Collection of data and follow-up process is lengthy

Any well-structured 360-degree questionnaire will take time to piece together.

Further, the implementation of the processes involved are, likewise, time consuming, since a lot of follow up is required.



7  Negative workplace culture

Understandably, if much of the feedback which is collected is more negative than positive, it can serve to create resentment and disrespect.



8  Unsuited to every requirement

360-degree reviews focus on the determination of the strengths and weaknesses of an organization’s employees. General workplace performance is not taken into consideration.



9  Employee input required

Of course, encouraging employee feedback should be a positive thing.

However, in order for 360-degree feedback programs to be fully effective, employee feedback to the fullest extent is a must.

Thus, for this feedback system, depending on the working environment, it may not always prove to be particularly effective.

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