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360 Degree Feedback

The 360-degree feedback system is used for personal improvement by employees. Results of the confidential 360-degree feedback surveys completed by the worker, their peers, superiors, subordinates, and customers are tabulated and shared with the worker, usually by a manager¹. Interpretation of the trends, results, and themes are then discussed with the worker.

Providing the worker with multiple perspectives is important. The worker is then able to set goals for self-development which will help advance the worker’s career and benefit the organization¹. The ultimate goal is to improve individual performance. Organizations who experience success with the 360-degree feedback have many environmental attributes¹: climate fosters individual growth, criticisms are thought of as opportunities for improvement, and there is assurance that feedback will be kept confidential.

Typical errors of organizations that rush into 360-degree feedback include¹: feedback tied to merit pay or promotions, not keeping feedback confidential, and an excessive number of surveys for each worker. Dr. John Sullivan (of San Francisco State University) states his concerns over 360-degree feedback: “There is no data that actually improves productivity, increases retention, decreases grievances or that it is superior to forced ranking and standard Performance Appraisal systems. It sounds good but there is no proof it works other than a lot of companies have tried it”¹


1. Linman, Terry. 360 Degree Feedback: Weighing the Pros and Cons. Retrieved from

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