What are 360° Performance Reviews and How Do They Work?

With remote and hybrid working environments gaining popularity, the need to rework your performance review process has become a growing priority for modern companies.

In response, 360° performance reviews have emerged as the way forward in a post COVID-19 work environment, and for good reason. With increased learning and development (L&D) opportunities and increased transparency among the many benefits of 360° performance reviews, the performance management approach is gaining popularity among HR teams and managers alike.

Here, we dive into the what, why, and how of 360° performance reviews to help you nurture engaged employees and drive business results.

What Are 360° Performance Reviews?

The 360° performance review is a comprehensive evaluation process that involves gathering feedback from multiple sources, including an employee’s supervisor, peers, direct reports, and sometimes even external stakeholders such as clients or customers.


Coming from the idea of a full-circle picture, 360° performance reviews provide a more complete picture of an employee’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as their overall impact on the organization.

360° performance reviews differ from the traditional performance review method in that it does not rely on a single manager’s observations about the performance of their direct reports. Instead, the manager also seeks feedback from the employee’s teammates and other external sources to gain a more complete, and holistic picture of their employee’s performance.

360 performance reviews

Benefits of 360° Performance Reviews

360° performance reviews equip managers with more accurate and in-depth insight into the drivers and challenges behind their direct report’s performance, which enables them to provide support more effectively where necessary.

Balanced feedback

Because the 360° performance review gathers feedback from multiple sources, it provides a well-rounded view of performance which captures a wider range of an employee’s strengths, as well as areas for improvement.

Minimized bias

360° performance reviews help minimize the possibility of performance appraisal bias by soliciting feedback from multiple sources with diverse perspectives. By gathering feedback from a range of individuals who have different relationships with the employee being reviewed, a 360° performance review provides a more objective and unbiased view of the employee’s strengths and areas for improvement. Additionally, the anonymity of feedback can help minimize the impact of interpersonal dynamics or politics that may otherwise influence the review process.

More L&D opportunities

One of the most important benefits that a 360° performance review can provide for individual employees is that it’s especially effective at identifying their opportunities for growth. With 360° performance reviews, employees receive a wider range of perspectives on their performance, skills, and behaviors. This feedback can help employees and their managers identify blind spots, highlight strengths and weaknesses, and gain a better understanding of how their actions impact others in the workplace. 

360° performance review feedback can be used to create individualized L&D plans that address specific areas of improvement, and can help employees develop new skills, refine existing ones, and improve their overall performance.

Enhanced team performance

The 360° performance review process gives managers the feedback they need to be informed about the level of employee engagement within their teams. 360° performance reviews provide valuable insight into team dynamics, and equip managers with the tools they need to address pain points and roadblocks that may be preventing teams from performing at their highest ability.

Your How-To Guide to 360° Performance Reviews

The process

    1. Define your purpose and scope
      Define what you want to achieve in your 360° performance review, you could be aiming to gauge overall performance, or identify L&D opportunities. Get clear on the goal of your review, and determine what performance review questions you’ll need to ask to reach your goal. Then decide who will be participating in the review, such as the employee’s manager, peers, direct reports, and external stakeholders.
    2. Select your assessment tool
      Whether in-house or through a performance management system software, assessment tools help promote a standardized approach to collecting feedback from multiple sources. Choosing the right 360° performance review tool brings clarity, efficiency, and measurability to the process.
    3. Provide training and orientation
      Ensure that all participants understand the purpose of the review, how to use the assessment tool, the necessary deadlines for reviewing, and how to provide constructive feedback. Utilize performance review email templates to communicate with employees leading up to the review cycle.
    4. Collect and compile feedback
      Use your assessment tool to collect and compile all feedback into a comprehensive report. Ensure that the feedback received is objective and specific.
    5. Analyze
      Group similar feedback and analyze the scores and information you’ve received about your employee. Use this information to determine strengths and weaknesses, and prepare for a review with your employee.
    6. Develop an action plan
      Schedule a 1-on-1 meeting with your employee to discuss their 360° performance review. Provide the employee with a copy of their review prior to the meeting and encourage them to come with any questions and solutions. Work together to develop performance review SMART goals that address the areas for improvement identified in the feedback.
    7. Monitor progress
      Schedule regular check-ins with your employee to monitor their progress over time and provide ongoing support to help them achieve their goals. During your follow-up meeting, review progress and make adjustments to the action plan if necessary.

Best practices

Ensure confidentiality
Confidentiality is crucial to ensuring a fair and objective 360° performance review process. Participants should be assured that their feedback will be kept confidential and not used for any other purpose than the review.

Communicate clearly
Communicate the purpose and process of the 360° performance review to all participants, including the employee being reviewed. Ensure that they understand the assessment tool, the criteria being evaluated, and the expectations for providing feedback.

Focus on development
Emphasize that the 360° performance review is a tool for development rather than punishment. Encourage the employee being evaluated to use the feedback to identify areas for improvement and create an action plan for their development, reframing their pain points as opportunities for growth.

Develop clear guidelines and procedures for how your 360° performance reviews will be conducted, including how feedback is collected, how the report is compiled, and how feedback is presented to the employee being evaluated. This helps to ensure that the process is consistent, fair, and transparent, and helps to minimize the potential for bias, ensuring all employees are evaluated according to the same criteria.

Useful tools

Performance management tools
Performance management tools such as Omni can help to streamline the review process by automating feedback collection, compiling feedback into easy-to-follow reports and analytics, and generating engaging action plans for employee development. 

Omni helps automate and streamline the 360° performance review process to create a standardized, informative, and constructive review cycle that motivates employees and produces actionable insights for managers and HR teams.

Consistency is one of the key drivers behind a bias-free 360° performance review cycle. And with so many competing priorities, from engaging multiple stakeholders to analyzing results, there’s no need for HR to reinvent the wheel when it comes to building 360° performance reviews. Tools like Omni’s Ultimate Performance Review Template provide easy-to-follow examples to help you create a framework to motivate and engage employees and their managers to assess their strengths and set achievable goals that contribute to a company’s success.

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Coaching tools
Coaching tools, such as development plans or guides such as setting key performance indicators for employees, can be used to help managers effectively coach employees on their opportunities for growth by providing the necessary framework to form achievable goals that will improve employee performance.

Perfect Your 360° Performance Reviews With Omni

360° performance review feedback can be a powerful tool for HR teams looking to improve their employee performance management processes. Omni helps your team streamline their process and gain valuable insights into employee performance, strengths, and areas for improvement. Omni unlocks the power of automation so HR teams can build a comprehensive, standardized 360° performance review process that empowers teams and drives continuous improvement across your organization.

To learn more about how Omni can improve your 360° performance review process, book a demo with our team.

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