Continuous performance management refers to the system for evaluating employee performance based on the feedback given continuously over their employment in different forms. It’s a system that requires proactivity and consistency.
While you’re likely well aware of the importance of regular employee feedback, establishing or refining processes for gathering and delivering continuous feedback consistently can be tricky. Having the right tools and methods to capture this important people data is like fishing — if you haven’t constructed a good net, you won’t have luck catching the fish you want.
Similarly, your employee feedback tools need to be set up in a way that gathers a variety of feedback data from the relevant stakeholders to effectively and holistically evaluate an employee’s performance and value they bring to the organization.
With that being said, let’s look into the 180 degree feedback and 360 degree feedback approaches to understand how they play key roles in effective continuous performance management – and which of the two might be best for your unique workforce.
RELATED: The ultimate guide to continuous performance management
What is 180 degree feedback?
Like a straight line, 180 degree feedback (or 180 degree performance appraisal/review) is a form of performance review that takes two points of evaluation into account — namely, the manager’s evaluation and the employee’s self-evaluation. This form of feedback or evaluation is ideal when it concerns an employee’s performance and managerial style.
Contrary to the aged top-down feedback model seen in many traditional annual performance reviews or appraisals, 180 degree feedback creates opportunities for a more well-rounded performance conversation. This two-way approach allows you to see the employee’s side of the story too, and not just their direct manager’s as it encourages the employee to reflect on their own performance and experiences.
You can facilitate this kind of performance review through consistent, automated check-in forms and pulses. When an employee fills out a self-evaluation check-in form, their feedback gets shared with their manager which can be discussed in further detail during 1:1 check-ins.
FREE RESOURCE: Manager 1:1 check-in template
Benefits of 180 degree feedback
The 180 degree feedback process enables you and your team to ask the right questions and maintain structure in your continuous performance management process.
When implemented successfully, 180 degree performance reviews help you:
- Foster trust and communication – Giving your employees a platform to reflect on their performance shows you care about their thoughts and feelings. By acknowledging that they have a say, you’re watering the seeds of trust. When you’ve developed trust with them, your employees will likely be more open to constructive feedback.
- Identify expectation gaps – Often, poor performance can be attributed to a lack of understanding of challenges and expectations. When this gap is unearthed and addressed, employees can develop a better understanding of what needs improvement, and how they can meet (or even surpass) the expectations set for them by their supervisors. On top of that, it can also highlight obstacles their managers may be unaware of. By bringing these hurdles to their attention, the employee and their manager can work together to readjust performance targets and goals.
- Improve employee morale – 68% of workers feel fulfilled in their roles when they are given accurate and regular feedback. Most employees want to grow and develop their skills. Sometimes, they just might not know how. By providing effective constructive feedback frequently, you are creating a work environment where your employees feel cared for and supported, which in turn can boost employee engagement and morale.
What is 360 degree feedback?
360 degree feedback is a method of employee evaluation that takes into account feedback from multiple directions or sources across an organization and beyond, such as four to eight teammates (more on peer feedback later in this article), a direct manager, an administration professional (e.g. HR manager), and customers.
You may also have heard this all-encompassing feedback method called any of the following:
- 360 degree performance review process
- 360 degree feedback system
- 360 degree performance appraisal
- 360 performance evaluation
While performance reviews generally encourage reflection on an employee’s accomplishments and ability to hit KPIs, 360 degree feedback sheds light on the less quantifiable and more “human” aspects, such as their skills, initiative, behavior with teammates, and alignment with their organizational values.
Benefits of 360 degree feedback
More than 85% of all the Fortune 500 companies use the 360 degree feedback process as a cornerstone of their overall leadership development process.
The employees chosen to share their feedback in a 360 degree feedback system are generally ones who work or interact with the coworker being reviewed on a frequent basis.
Aside from providing multiple angles for feedback, this method poses other benefits too, such as:
- Team development – The 360 feedback method encourages team members to develop their relationships and work better together. By taking more than performance targets and goals into account, employees have a greater sense of accountability when contributing to larger team projects, which can empower them to communicate better and develop the team as a whole.
- Responsibility for career development – Although some responsibility for professional and career development lies with the employee, employers must be willing to foster a safe and supportive work environment for their employees to grow. Unless they’re approaching the end of their professional life, it’s unlikely their current role be their “forever” role.
- Reducing discrimination risks and biases – Thanks to the multi-directional approach, the likelihood of discrimination is reduced as more people can provide different perspectives. Having more voices in the feedback conversation also helps uncover and avoid bias in continuous feedback that can go unnoticed in the 180 degree feedback approach between the employee and their supervisor.
- Insights for training needs analysis – You can also get comprehensive information about your people’s skills and training needs through this approach. For example, an employee might meet the set expectations in a team project, but their teammate can see they need more training in a particular area to perform more efficiently. This insight could go unnoticed in the 180 degree evaluation process. As the HR leader, you can utilize this information to map out your organization’s training needs.
Differentiating the two with peer feedback
We’ve seen how both continuous feedback systems can be facilitated effectively using the right HR software. We’ve also seen how both are suited for different situations based on the intended outcome.
The most notable difference is the inclusion of peer feedback in the 360 degree feedback process — a step that’s not included in its 180 degree counterpart. Peer feedback plays a crucial role in providing insights on areas that may not be covered in 1:1 employee-manager check-ins, like culture value add or interpersonal skills.
Interpersonal skills or “soft skills” are harder to measure. These skills are critical in today’s job market yet unfortunately, you can’t measure them. How do you put a number on things like empathy, communication, or willingness to learn? For skills that are so desperately sought after in this day and age, it’s a challenge to evaluate them accurately.
For example, you could have an overachiever who consistently smashes goals and KPIs, but actually has bad relationships with their peers. Or you could have an underperformer who contributes significantly to the company culture and values in ways that aren’t acknowledged in performance reviews.
This is where peer feedback can help via the 360 degree feedback process. intelliHR facilitates this through its peer feedback form — where the employee being reviewed can issue a form through the platform to selected peers they’d like performance evaluations from. The basic employee feedback template asks for feedback on productivity, compliance, quality, teamwork, and values. However, the highly configurable nature of the intelliHR platform means you can customize these forms to update the fields into areas that align more with your organizational values and objectives.
Through automated self-assessments, pulses and powerful real-time analytics, intelliHR enables you to implement best-practice performance reviews and appraisals tailored to your business. You can streamline performance reviews, ensure consistency and fairness throughout, and create culture-based performance processes that allow your people and your organization to thrive.
Now that we’ve covered the 180 degree and 360 degree feedback systems, the next key step is delivering the feedback to your employees effectively. If you’d like to learn more about ways to give constructive feedback, here are some articles you should read next:
- Prepare, share, care: Three steps to shaping constructive feedback
- Constructive feedback examples using the SAIL model
- Improve employee feedback conversations with the Pendleton Feedback Model
- Stoking the fire with continuous feedback
- 5 Feedback mistakes that kill employee engagement
- FREE RESOURCE: Performance review template