This factsheet was last updated in July 2012.
What is 360 degree feedback?
360 degree (or 3600) feedback, and sometimes simply called 360 feedback, is a performance appraisal system that gathers feedback on an individual from a number of sources, typically including colleagues, direct reports and customers. Its supporters claim that this gives managers and individuals better information about skills and performance, as well as working relationships, compared with more traditional appraisal arrangements based on line managers’ assessment.
With 360 degree feedback, typically eight to 10 people complete questionnaires describing the individual's performance. Often individuals fill out a questionnaire for themselves too, assessing their own performance.
The rationale is that, in more complex organisations, managers may not always fully understand the contribution of the people they manage – as they may be part of many different teams and engage in autonomous or semi-autonomous relationships with customers or colleagues. There is therefore a strong argument for obtaining wide-ranging information to form an accurate picture of performance.