What’s the Difference Between 360 Degree Feedback and an Appraisal?

Nov 22, 2016 | 360 Degree Feedback, Performance Management

The process of managing employee performance is something that usually varies slightly from one company to another. But regardless of these variations, the same principle applies. The organization will use feedback about an employee’s performance to help them grow and develop.

One question we are asked often is : what’s the difference between 360 degree feedback and an appraisal? This blog post will help answers that.

The Appraisal: An Overview

A standard appraisal is, at its core, a process with only two participants – the employee and their manager. It usually looks at the employee’s performance over the last 6 or 12 months. Through the manager’s observations, achievements and weaknesses are discussed, and targets or goals for the upcoming review period are set.

Depending on company policies, the employee’s input can also be considered during a regular appraisal process.

The 360 Degree Survey: An Overview

The 360 degree survey is similar in that observations about an employee’s actions, strengths and weaknesses are used to evaluate their overall performance. The difference is they normally involve more than just two participants. With a 360 degree survey it’s not only the employee’s direct manager who gives feedback. It involves other colleagues such as their direct reports, peers, and anyone else who works with them. By using observations from different people, the employer gets a much more accurate (and fairer) picture of the reviewee’s overall behavior and performance.

As you can see, the big difference between this and a two-person appraisal is that without 360 degree feedback the manager is left with his or her impression, plus that of the employee (when a self-evaluation is conducted). That’s it. There’s no more input from others who can bring a more rounded view of certain aspects of the reviewee’s performance. This means the review process may be missing important information that will help the employee to grow professionally (and, of course, help the organization).

Which One Should You Use for Managing Employee Performance?

We’re not saying that you should never use traditional appraisals with only two participants at your organization. They can definitely be advantageous in certain circumstances. However, due to the limitations of a two person appraisal, we recommend to use both of these tools in combination. While you might not want to use them at the same time during each review cycle, combining a manager’s appraisal with a more robust and accurate 360 degree survey makes for an employee performance management process that’s more successful and all around. Deciding not to incorporate 360 degree feedback into performance management, just because you’re already conducting traditional two person appraisals, isn’t usually a good idea. Instead, look at 360 degree surveys as an additional tool that complements the appraisal process and vice versa.

Primalogik allows the use of both tools independently. You can launch appraisals in one cycle, while leaving 360 surveys for a different time of the year. Or you can combine both in the same cycle.

Primalogik provides specific tools to analyze results collected in both appraisals and 360 surveys, removing the headache of data collection and analysis. Managers and HR can focus on the most important part of all this: employee management and development.

Give Primalogik a try today by starting a complimentary free trial.

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