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360-Degree Feedback Concept Essay

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Updated: Apr 17th, 2020


All organizations dream of being successful in all its actions. To achieve this, organizations have to realize that success stems from the people employed to work for it. If these people are not motivated, they lack the morale to work hard. Motivation comes in many ways; recognition, incentives, promotions, or salary increase.

However, many organizations fail in assessing their employees, and many are the times when they make biased decisions and reward employees who do not deserve to be rewarded. This paper will introduce a new concept called 360-degree feedback that I believe should be used by my organization in assessing the employees to be rewarded.

360-degree feedback is a recognized evaluation of employees based on input from people who work for and with them, sometimes including customers and suppliers. It’s called a 360 degree because the input stems from an examination by a handful of people. The numerous inputs become another way of determining leadership effectiveness. The information gained from the feedback can be used to help leaders refine their attitudes and behaviors.

For best results, it is really important that 360-degree feedbacks reflect on those behaviors and attitudes that the organization values most. Care should also be taken to ensure that the dimensions measured reflect important features of leadership execution. This paper will take at the importance of using 360-degree feedback, how it relates to HRM, and how it is being used by organizations. It will also look at the relationship between 360-degree feedback and goal setting.

Using 360-degree feedback

This feedback is referred to as 360-degree feedback because evaluations come from all the stakeholders in the organization, forming a circle with the person being evaluated is at the center. It is a concept that has been in existence since the late 20th century, although its importance has been discovered recently.

With the advancement in technology, the use of 360-degree feedback as an evaluating tool has become easy, and now employees can assess their coworkers over the internet. Before the discovery of the internet, the use of 360-degree feedback was quite hectic because it involved a lot of paper work. For it to be effective, the person assessing an employee must have known him for a reasonable period to be able to give unbiased results.

However, this assessment technique has been found to result in conflicting opinions because people tend to perceive others differently. To ensure that, it gives accurate results, personal assessments have to be incorporated. Also, the period that the rater has known the person in question determines the level of accuracy of the results. The most accurate results are believed to emerge from raters who have known the assessed for a period of two to three years, followed by less than one year and then above three years.

Importance of using 360-degree feedback

360-degree feedback gets off the use of single-source assessment and tests for employee promotion, salary increment, training and development, and selection and recruitment. Getting feedback from varied sources, for example, from peers, coworkers, supervisors, and reporting staff can lead to definite improvement as compared to getting feedback from one person. Also getting to know how coworkers see some one is an important process that helps people to understand how their work is viewed by other employees (Kandula, 2004).

The use of 360-degree feedback helps in team development in that; team members learn to work together efficiently. Members become more accountable to each other as they work to perk up their performance. It also helps an organization to understand the personnel and developmental requirements that need to be put in place. Many organizations no longer take the responsibility of career development for their employees and have left it to the employees.

360-degree feedback provides good information that helps an individual to recognize the areas that he needs to advance in terms of career, and what he is best at. It also reduces the supervisor’s discrimination based on race, gender, or age. Before the introduction of the 360-degree feedback, many supervisors relied on their interactions with the employees in rating their performance, which was a biased approach (Peacock, 2007).

Harris et al. (2003) observe that the human resource practices, for example, development and training, selection and recruitment, performance appraisal, performance contracts, among others in HRM improve HR efficiency. These traditions are not only used by Human Resource Managers but also used by line managers. The use of HR practices by line managers has been increasing over the years due to the complexity involved in HRM.

Line managers play a very crucial role in the development of the workforce since they contact directly with employees. Their work is to act as a bridge between the HR managers and the workforce. They are better placed to understand the employee’s performance and frequently experienced problems such as turnover rates and absenteeism, which can be used by the HR managers.

The first furtive to efficacy is to understand the people one works with and depend on so that you one can make use of their influence, their tradition of working, and their values. HR managers may not be in a position to learn this, and therefore, they rely on line managers to provide them with precise information of individual employees.

It is the duty of line managers to receive any new member of staff into the corporate organization. Shortly after the line managers are supplied with information about the engagement of a new member of staff, they should ensure that the work place is suitable, fully effective and well equipped, notify team members about the new employee, assign one member to act as the employee’s adviser and inform him of the new employee’s duties (Harris, 2004).

The results of 360-degree feedback can be used by HR managers in planning. Human resource planning is the establishment of approaches that are to be used in matching the workforce skills to the needs of an organization.

It is the procedure that is used in recruitment, employee retention, and optimization of human resources employment that is needed to achieve organization goal. Human resource planning involves an analysis of skills of the current workforce, forecasting manpower, and being responsive to customers demand.

The information provided by 360-degree feedback can be used to set up the training needs in an organization, thus helps in planning for the same. For a 360-degree feedback procedure to be effectual in meeting its goals, it is important to determine organizational readiness.

One critical factor is the level of trust in the organization. For the process to be successful, there first must be a background of trust and openness in the organization. Otherwise, people will not feel safe in providing authentic feedback that is required for developing leadership skills.

360-degree feedback and goal setting

Allowing staff to assess their coworkers is not only motivating but also helps in setting goals. For this to be successful, the organization has to set realistic and achievable goals. In every organization, goals are aimed at motivating employees as well as promoting overall performance. Many are the times when organizations make goals which are neither realistic nor achievable. Others do not even make goals and expect to excel.

From research, it is clear that goals help one to work hard to achieve a particular task. For them to be effective, they have to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound). SMART goals result in better performance and productivity. Goals can either be individual goals or organizational goal.

Organizations have goals for the different personnel employed in different departments; some call them performance contracts (Austin et al. 1985). An employee is given a task which he is expected to accomplish within a set deadline depending on his competency as reflected in 360-degree feedback.

The concept of goal setting stipulates that, for goals to be effective in increasing performance, they must be hard to achieve and specific. It has been found that goals that are easy to get normally lead to poor performance than goals which require extra efforts. This is because easily achievable goals do not attract much attention, and employees tend to ignore them, thinking that they will achieve them any how. As a result, they neglect their duties, and before they know it, they have already lost.

On the other hand, difficult goals attract attention and personal commitment. The attention is shifted to only one point, and all efforts are aimed at that specific point. Quantifying goals makes them more specific and attainable. There are four major factors that affect the attainability of a goal; these are its difficulty, commitment, specificity, and acceptance. The elements involved have to commit themselves into the task of achieving the goals and have to accept them as their own.

There is a relationship between organization performance and goal setting, and this can be affected by personal commitment, attainability, and self-worth. For one to be committed to achieving a goal, he has to first understand and believe in the significance of the goal.

Failure to do so will result in resentment, and the goals may not be achieved. The individuals concerned have to belief that the goals they are setting can be achieved and that they are the right people to carry out the tasks at hard. If they do so, they will be able to set higher goals and will be more committed to achieving them.

Use of 360-degree feedback by organizations

360-degree feedback has been used by many organizations as a tool for assessing employees. It is used to drive change and employee development and increase overall performance. 360-degree feedback is used as a process of selection and recruitment as well as for employee appraisal and also as an instrument for both developmental and administrative purposes.

That is for making decisions about the appointment, promotion, performance appraisal, and compensation of employees. For hiring, the most organization uses internal recruitment. This is a process where existing employees are recruited for a vacant position in an organization other than using external sources.

For performance appraisal, competencies are evaluated that is stanchly related to the job in question. The items on the instrument are focused on the participant’s current position rather than on developing competencies for future assignments. For employee selection, organizations deal with important permissible issues. For example, an organization can carry out a legality study to show that the ratings are honestly related to job performance, or that the ratings have no unpleasant impact on secluded classes of employment.

During one of my vocations, I worked as an intern in an NGO. It was during this internship that I learned about the concept of 360-degree feedback and observed it being put into use. The organization could carry out 360-degree feedback annually, and all stakeholders were encouraged to participate. Customers and suppliers were allowed to give their rating online, and they were advised to give information about only the employees they knew perfectly well.

Employees were given structured questionnaires and were asked to answer the questions contained in them referring to the coworkers they were familiar with. Supervisors and managers were given a different set of questionnaires and asked to give information concerning all the employees in their respective departments. The management team, together with the directors, would then converge to discuss the information about all the employees.

They would rank them in order of performance, specific contributions made, skills, and experience. After analyzing the results, some employees would be promoted, others gave monetary rewards and appraised for their good work, whereas some would receive warnings because of declined performance.


In conclusion, I would say that 360-degree feedback is a useful tool in HRM that gives better results than single-source assessment. It can also be used to promote customer satisfaction, goal setting, and individual appraisals. It has been proved to work in many organizations by creating accountability among employees, thus improving overall performance.

Also, when people learn how others perceive them, they become aware of what specific skills they need to develop and can, therefore, better choose the training and development experiences that will benefit them. Researches at organizations that use 360-degree feedback as part of the assessment review that, multi-source assessments are perceived as more logical, realistic, exact, and motivational than single-source evaluations.

It is therefore evident that 360-degree feedback does not only enable management to make higher-quality decisions about an individual’s performance, and development needs but also increase recognition of appraisal decisions by those being evaluated. Goal setting theory requires an individual to evaluate their performance about the goal.

That is, they need to know their current position before setting the goal. This will help them determine which areas need to be worked on. When it is incorporated into HRM systems, the individual has a ready environment and many opportunities to talk about his or her needs and take proper steps. On the other hand, the organization gains insight and information that will help ensure that the right people are placed in the right positions at the right time.

Reference List

Austin, J. T., & Philip B. (1985). Goal-setting theory: Unexplored areas and future research needs. Journal of Occupational Psychology 58, no. 4 289-308. Academic Search Complete, EBSCO host.

Harris, H. et al., (2003). International human resource management. London: CIPD Publishing

Kandula, S. R. (2004). Human Resource Management in Practice: With 300 Models, Techniques and Tools. New York: PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.,

Peacock, T. (2007). The 360 Degree Feedback Pocketbook Pocketbooks Series. New York: Pocketbooks

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