How to give a good 360-degree review that drives change

How to give a good 360-degree review that drives change


A 360-degree review means that managers are evaluated not only by their bosses but also by various collaborators both within and outside of the company: employees, coworkers, partners, clients, etc. A good 360-degree review goes beyond the standard method of direct evaluation, providing more complete performance feedback.

More and more companies are adopting this comprehensive method of employee evaluation, but they are not all deriving the same benefits. Why is this? To truly drive change, the company’s approach to the 360-degree review for employees must go beyond the simple performance management process and be anchored in its culture and HR structure.

A study by the firm Zenger Folkman involving 97,000 leaders and reported in the Harvard Business Review found that the most effective leaders have the most engaged employees. When leaders improve their management skills, this not only impacts their own and their team’s performance: other managers and the organization as a whole stand to benefit. The study also shows that as top-level managers become more competent, motivated and efficient, lower-level managers achieve better results and are more engaged.

This demonstrates that a good 360-degree review that targets senior management will have a direct impact on leadership and performance across all management levels. In this blog article, PIXCELL outlines the 360-degree review best practices so that your organization can get the most out of this work evaluation method.


360-degree review best practices


A good 360-degree review is tailored to your company and applies certain fundamental principles.


Know your performance review style

There are as many possibilities as there are organizations! Choose a style that corresponds to your company’s culture and vision as well as its accountability framework for managers. Simple and effective tools such as Qualtrics are Bleexo are available online to help guide you.

In practical terms, a good 360-degree review can proceed in several different ways. Here are some ideas:

  • To deliver meaningful results, the review must comprise a good number of people. Experts recommend having at least 12 respondents. This makes it possible to spot trends, protect respondents’ anonymity and avoid the pitfall of inflating the opinion of a small group.
  • Leaders can choose which coworkers will evaluate them and contact them directly to request their participation. This approach involves leaders in the process and shows the respondents that the leaders care about performance feedback.
  • Executives’ year-end bonuses can be tied to managers’ performance in the 360-degree performance review. This clearly demonstrates the organization’s commitment to cultivating leadership and lends considerable weight to the review.


Determine your definition of success

Success means something different to every company, and it can even be defined in different ways from one strategic plan to another and from one year to the next. What do you expect from your managers as you follow your path to success? The response to this question reveals your goals for the work evaluation.


Establish clear criteria

On what basis do you evaluate your leaders? Draw up a list of skills that you deem it essential for your managers and employees to possess. These skills should be aligned with your company’s values, mission and vision. When all these things are aligned, employees have a better understanding of their role and, more importantly, what they can bring to the organization. The performance review and development plan are excellent tools for reinforcing core skills and ensuring that managers and their staff embrace them.


Have good intentions

A good 360-degree review has leaders’ best interests at heart. Its purpose is to encourage introspection and provide a basis for improvement. When leaders know their strengths and weaknesses, they are better poised to improve their performance as they fulfill their role and even rise to a higher level of management. At the end of this process, leaders should recognize that the work evaluation will be beneficial for them and the company as a whole.


Put someone in charge

Leaders should feel as though their manager and senior management take their performance review seriously. An HR team should be responsible for overseeing the process and following up with all the managers. This ensures that the performance evaluation process is carried out rigorously throughout the company and is kept on schedule.


Make time a factor

360-degree feedback should be provided at least once or twice per year. Certain experts even recommend three 360-degree reviews per year. Reviews are always coloured by the current state of the company. They paint a picture of the manager at a certain point in time. When the exercise is repeated on a regular basis, using the same respondents as much as possible, it reveals trends that are unconnected to the current state of the company. And more importantly, the manager’s development can be monitored, with a focus on areas that need improvement.


Meet and discuss

The report for the 360-degree review should be formally presented to the leader. This meeting is meant to help the leader contextualize the results, analyze them effectively and jointly create a development plan. The meeting should be initiated by the leader’s superior. The HR employee who is in charge of the file should also be present. The discussion and the resulting development plan should be rooted in the company’s vision, with the values and skills being clearly defined.

Follow up and show your support

The HR team in charge of talent management must conduct rigorous follow-ups with everyone involved: respondents, managers, etc. HR must also make the process easier for staff by providing reminders, key messages and templates.


How to give a good 360 review


To summarize, organizations that take the process seriously and apply the 360-degree review best practices obtain the best results over the long term.

To encourage leaders and all employees to excel, companies must foster a culture in which leadership and development are elevated and a performance evaluation process has been firmly established.

At PIXCELL, we are keenly aware of the benefits of a 360-degree review. This is why we conduct in-depth candidate assessments and reference checks for every executive search. We evaluate candidates based on the key skills our clients value and information from their employees, coworkers and clients. Our goal is to form a clear and accurate picture of the candidate’s abilities.


Looking for an executive headhunting firm in Quebec? Contact one of our talent specialists today!

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