Why are we doing 360 degree feedback?

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I was presenting at a forum yesterday and I got one of those great insightful questions – "why are we doing this?".  The questioner raised this perfectly – I had been advising on how to use 360 feedback and he wanted to first know why do we do 360 degree appraisals in the first place.

Here was my answer (I know the text book answer – here is why I think you should do it for real)

  • Being self aware is a great starting point for most training / coaching / other personal development.  360 feedback is brilliant and giving people the information to increase self awareness.
  • 360 feedback identifies blind spots that build up for people and stops them progressing.
  • 360 degree appraisal shows people their strengths so it gives them the correct base from which to tackle development
  • A well trained person can have a great conversation with you if they have a great 360 degree feedback report in front of them.  This is incredibly powerful.
  • For an organisation, a series of 360 degree feedback reports gives them a deep insight into where people need support to grow and improve performance.

(For anyone who attended – I’ve added the last one to the list now that I’ve had time to think it through!).

We have recently worked with a law firm for whom we have provided a full 360 service together with a HR consultant.  That process has been a wonderful initiative to be a part of and has reminded me how powerful a tool 360 degree feedback really is.  But, I hope I never forget to ask myself "why are we doing this?".


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