One of the most effective & truly revealing tools to use in someone’s performance evaluation is a 360° review.

Basically, input is received from all different people…the employee’s Boss, senior mgmt, direct reports, peers, internal customers…to obtain a more rounded, “universal” appraisal.

Usually, employees are rated from 1 to 5 in a number of different categories: leadership, working with others, technical expertise, written & verbal communications, service provided, etc..

And while the employee’s direct supervisor is ultimately responsible for the final rating/ranking of the person, this 360° review is a wonderful method for obtaining as much relevant feedback as possible.

There is NO WAY POSSIBLE for a supervisor to know everything about someone’s performance & the working relationship they have with others in the organization.

The employee submits a list of people in the different categories (internal customers, senior mgmt, peers, etc.) while others can be easily obtained by the supervisor or Human Resources.

HR distributes the actual questionnaire to those people selected, usually no more than 3-4 people in each category from the list supplied by the employee or determined by the supervisor.

(Note: The employee names as many people as possible, usually up to 10-12 people, in the “peers”, “direct reports” & “internal customers” categories…then HR selects up to 4 of them, in each grouping, to complete the survey.

The employee does not know which people have been chosen.)

The employee receives feedback, both summary results for every question & category, but for every participating person in the survey (identified only by type, not name).

I remember when I specifically requested that one be conducted for me…especially since I just got a new boss with whom I never saw eye-to-eye in our prior interactions!

We’d butted heads previously on a number of different project efforts. She was so damned stubborn whenever I made recommendations to improve something.

“But the team already agreed on this!” or “That’s not how we do things!”.

My retort?

“Yeah, but you never shared that info with anyone & I’m telling you that’s it’s designed incorrectly!”

(At least 3 issues had to do specifically with phone processes & customer service protocol for which I had forgotten more stuff than she ever knew or even heard of!

Not bragging…that’s the damned truth!

It’s basically what I was doing the 30+ years prior to joining Nationwide. And they had been losing MILLIONS each year, with assets being drained off at a 10%+ annual rate…literally bleeding money! Not sure that’s a good rationale for continuing down the same path & doing what you’ve always been doing!

Yep, a few weeks later, her processes had huge holes in them & my recommendations were finally adopted.)

Perhaps, it wasn’t wise of me to tell her, “See? If you’d just listened to my input instead of being so stubborn, we wouldn’t have to go through all this nonsense!”

And, then, in another couple of weeks, she becomes my boss!

Oh, crap.

Since I knew she had it out for me, I specifically asked HR for a 360° review, right before performance appraisal time.

The results were incredibly telling. On a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the best), I received a 3.8.

Yeah, most people would be happy with that.

But if you surgically removed her ratings (which was pretty easy since she was the only one in the supervisor category), I would have received a 4.5!

Not patting myself on the back here, but I consider myself to be a pretty good writer, notwithstanding this thingie here. (Yes, I can write very business-like. In fact, I authored the monthly executive summary for the entire operation!)

I believe I got 5s from everyone…she gave me a 1! I’m entrusted to write the entire organization’s monthly reports & this witch gave me a 1!

I remember showing the results to HR & asking whether they believed there was any bias going on.

I got “the look”, but the normal bullshit disclaimer.

I still stick pins in her voo-doo doll every single day…and have for the past 8 years!

But I digress.

You’ll find these 360° reviews unbelievably valuable in helping you gain a new perspective on your people. You can’t be with everyone 24×7, nor are you privy to all the working relationships they have with others in your area (as well as in the overall organization).

It may further substantiate your own feelings about someone’s performance…or it very well may raise some questions.

It’s just a tool in your arsenal & by no means, the be-all, end-all, but it’s a most valuable & enlightening one!

You should try it out yourself, assuming your company endorses it & has a process in place to support it.

And if they don’t, then ask them to start one!

It’s great to use for your people & it’s great to use on yourself!

There’s still a great deal of anonymity as not everyone in a specific category is (randomly) chosen to complete a survey.

Usually, less than half of the names submitted are chosen (in any category) & never more than 3-4 so as not to slant the survey with a predominance of just one type of respondent.

Look into it…I’m sure you’ll find it to be, at least, quite interesting and at best, a super-informative tool.


Once again, thanks so very much for listening!

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