Conducting A 360 Review: How, Why, and Best Practices


The success of 360 reviews is largely defined by how well an organization defines its purpose, sets the review timeline, communicates to its employees, and structures the 360 forms. This blog provides additional details on how to facilitate a review well and includes an option to download free 360 templates.

“Good 360 programs are purely developmental,” says Allan Watkinson, Business Consultant and Strengths Coach for senior executives in Gallup’s Australia office. Creating an environment where employees are continually developed begins by fostering a feedback culture. Organizations that embrace 360-degree feedback reviews help employees strengthen their feedback muscle and enjoy workplaces with increased transparency, higher engagement, and growth-minded team members.

From novice teams to experienced groups, conducting a successful 360 review process can be overwhelming. Companies often feel pressure to get 360s perfect due to the sensitive nature of sharing feedback amongst peers. This article aims to break down the entire process from start to finish and equip you with best practices to ensure the 360 review is positive and effective. 

How To Conduct A Successful 360 Review

1. Define Why 360 Reviews Are A Priority

Feedback for feedback’s sake will keep processes like 360 reviews surface level with little chance of being embraced by the organization. Leadership should have a unified purpose for 360 implementation and champion it so all employees understand its importance and why it is a top priority. Is it to help eliminate unconscious bias in performance reviews? Is it to more effectively measure competencies? Will 360 be used as a strategy for approaching corrective action cases? After identifying the purpose, it is crucial to consistently communicate this to the entire organization. Transforming into a fully operational feedback culture cannot be achieved overnight, but rather requires deliberate and repetitive efforts.

It is imperative to note that 360-degree feedback should never be used solely for corrective action. This will create a pattern in employees’ heads that feedback=bad and that is precisely the opposite of the end goal of developing a culture of feedback.

2. Set A 360 Review Cycle

The frequency by which 360 reviews occur will be largely dependent on the ‘why’ detailed above. For example, if the core reason is to solicit multiple perspectives during the performance review, 360s will happen as often as those are scheduled. In contrast, if the goal is to provide managers with an additional coaching tool, organizations might consider a couple of times a year or even allowing employees to submit unsolicited feedback at any time. The WorkDove 360 feedback tool provides an option for unsolicited feedback on performance objectives and core values to be submitted with just a few clicks. 

Regardless of the heart behind it, WorkDove recommends 360 feedback to occur at least once every year for all employees. This frequency does not pose a risk of form fatigue but gets everyone more comfortable with giving and receiving constructive feedback.

3. Select the Timeline

The timeframe of when employees will be expected to complete 360 forms should be determined based on a few factors. For teams soliciting feedback separately from the performance review, it is best to consider when the business’s ‘busy season’ is and avoid that time if possible. Other factors to consider are project deadlines, upcoming holidays, and whether employees have been recently asked to complete a company survey.

Once a consistent cadence is decided, WorkDove recommends the entire cycle lasting roughly 2 weeks. This does not include communicating expectations to team members but rather just the timeframe for sending out and receiving completed forms. For those connecting 360 reviews to performance reviews, it is recommended that the forms be sent out 4-6 weeks before the performance review process begins as this gives ample time for completing feedback and for managers reviewing the comments.

4. Choose Participants for 360 Assessments

For holistic, well-rounded 360 feedback reviews, organizations should consider inviting direct and upward managers, peers, direct reports, external participants, and the individual to complete a 360 self-assessment. The end goal and culture of the team will determine who participates but a good rule of thumb is to include somewhere between 2 and 7 reviewers.

5. Communicate

Clear communication is arguably the most important step in the 360 feedback process. Before sharing information through a well-crafted HR email or team meeting, leaders must decide whether the feedback will be anonymous, transparent, or both. The WorkDove platform allows for a mixed bag by giving the option to default feedback to anonymous but giving the participant the ability to choose if their name is attached. It is no secret that peer feedback can be a sensitive subject so this decision should not be made lightly. Organizations stepping into 360s for the first time might consider testing out the proposed process with a pilot group.

The following bullet points highlight the critical components of communication:

  • Set expectations- Employees need a descriptive explanation of why continuous feedback is important and the ground rules for giving/receiving feedback. Clear is kind, as the saying goes.
  • Prepare managers– Managers are responsible for reviewing and sharing the feedback given to their direct reports, so it is important to equip them to be internal 360 champions. Preparing them to discern between sharing feedback verbatim vs. sharing the ‘spirit’ of the feedback is one example of setting managers up for success.
  • Set hard deadlines- Included in setting expectations are defining completion dates. These consist of deadlines for submitting feedback, managers reviewing feedback, and scheduling meetings between managers and employees to review the results together. 


6. Create a 360 Form

The list below details what WorkDove recommends including in the 360-degree feedback form.

  • Utilize a template- Creating specific templates for departments or projects may require work on the front end but it will save time in the long run. WorkDove’s 360 tool allows managers to assign templates once they are created so they can take ownership of the process for their direct reports. By clicking the button below, you can download all of WorkDove’s ready-to-use 360 templates to help you get started!
  • 3-5 targeted questions- By including a set of questions that lead responders to provide the data the organization needs helps to avoid gaps in data and unnecessary questionnaires later in the year. 
  • Performance objectives and core values- Giving responders the option to provide feedback on both performance and core value displays of behavior rounds out the feedback and gives recipients more information about their development.
  • Incorporate a rating system- If the targeted questions permit, a rating system (1-5, for example) may be helpful to gather clear data points that can be analyzed effectively and tracked later for historical trends. 

360 Feedback Templates and Questions


7. Send Out 360 Forms

With all of the hard work and effort put in, it is time to send out the finalized forms! Easy-to-use 360 tools such as WorkDove will allow for automation.  This includes sending out friendly reminders in mass and bulk assigning templates. WorkDove’s platform helps leaders monitor progress with intuitive dashboards and reports so nothing slips through the cracks.

Click the button below to access all of WorkDove’s 360 feedback templates, including best practices to consider!

Facilitating A 360 Review

1. Manager Review

Once all 360 reviews have been completed, it is the managers who hold the power to truly make a difference. Following a recommended best practice, managers should be the first to receive all feedback provided on their direct reports before sharing the results with their employees. This crucial step allows managers to carefully sift through the feedback, ensuring they only share constructive and meaningful insights that will drive growth and development. By taking the time to filter out any feedback that may not be constructive or may send the wrong message, managers can guarantee that the feedback they share will have a lasting and positive impact. Managers know their teams best, and therefore they must determine what happens next. For example, they may choose to send the 360 responses to their employees before conducting the feedback meeting vs sharing it during the meeting. 

If managers want employees to see the feedback before discussing it in person, WorkDove recommends sending feedback no more than 1 day before the scheduled meeting. This short timeframe helps eliminate anxiety or heightened emotions about the responses from stirring for too long. 

2. Manager and Employee Discussion

For organizations that choose to integrate 360 reviews with performance evaluations, it is crucial for managers to thoroughly analyze the feedback received before the review discussion. This valuable input should be taken into account when making the final performance assessment, as it provides multiple perspectives on the employee’s contributions. Consequently, the review conversation will naturally incorporate a discussion regarding the insights gained from the 360 feedback.

If the 360 review discussions are intended to be separate and distinct events, managers should facilitate the meetings to encourage a conversational atmosphere that allows for ample input from the employee. The primary objective is for the employee to leave with a clear understanding of their areas for growth and areas where they excel. 360 review discussions should be focused on taking actionable steps and should always consider the employee’s future as a professional.

WorkDove and the 360 Review Process

360 Feedback Questions Answers

Establishing a culture of ongoing feedback starts with embracing the power of 360 reviews and taking action on the feedback received. Authentic feedback has the potential to drive meaningful actions for both employees and managers, ultimately leading to the successful growth and development of individuals on their professional journey.

WorkDove’s 360 feedback tool improves collaboration and helps team members grow with a streamlined, flexible process that supports internal and external feedback. If your organization is serious about employee growth and development and is ready to partner with a powerful, configurable platform, connect with a WorkDove team member today!

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