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360 Degree review, the Death of the Realistic Review Process?

by John Stephens
(Taylors, SC USA)

Should I artificially enhance my part of the review process when I feel that a particular employee will be unjustly rated due to the opportunity for subordinates and peer to exact payback?

My company recently instituted a 360 degree review process. A 360 degree review is where a person's subordinates, peers and boss all contribute to the normal yearly review process.

I am wholeheartedly against this type of process because I see it as mechanism for settling scores more that giving important information on the person being reviewed. This is particularly true in my department which is filled with ultra-competitive people most of which know little bounds when it comes to gaining an advantage. I am not concerned for myself but I feel this process is going to unfairly penalize some of my subordinates.

In the process, peer to peer is 25% of the total review. Logically I probably should just do my job and not change anything in the way I do my review. However raises and bonuses are big part of what keeps my people working hard so I am afraid that eventually I may lose good people because of the process.

I have told my boss my thoughts on this and he says he understands my concerns but this is Human Resource directive and there is nothing to be done about it. I could contact HR directly but that is going outside the chain of command (for lack of a better phrase). So I am in a quandary as to what I should do if anything about this new review process.

Thanks in advance for any advice rendered, JS


Hey John.

The concern you raise here (it is certainly a very valid concern!) is EXACTLY why I advocate that 360 Feedback Surveys ONLY be completed for development, and NOT be used as a part of performance appraisals related to pay increases.

What your Company is doing is one of the top 13 Errors Companies Make When Using 360's, that I write about in this Article. But, as your Boss relayed, it's what HR wants, so you must comply.

You can only control YOUR reponse to YOUR employees. Right now that's the only thing you can truly manage. And so, if I were you, THAT is what I would do.

And,as a Leader it's important to give honest and accurate feedback to the people on your Team. if you sugar-coat things or be indirect and vague, you're not leading, you're not building trust and you're not building respect. And most of all, you're not helping the people in your Team be the best they can be!

In this Article (About Surviving a 360 Feedback Survey) I share specific advice to the person/leader giving the feedback: Focus on Facts and Behaviors when giving feedback to others. Be specific by sharing examples of situations and things that you've seen and heard for strengths and development opportunities.

Giving fair, honest and objective feedback, focusing on 3 positives for everyone 1 constructive correction/advice (what I recommend in the Article) will help you do what's must important - Grow Trust and Respect from your Team.

Get specific how-to-steps and examples for giving good,fair, honest feedback, here.

So, John, in this case you have to make Lemonade out of Lemons! Focus on what you can control, which is what feedback you give (be fair, be direct, be a good leader) and in that, you will be doing what IS within your control, and that is building the trust and respect with each person on your Team.

And, if the opportunity ever comes up, share my Top 13 360 Errors Article with someone in HR there, and have them call me. We could have a good discussion!

Thanks for posting your question and good luck on the your Wake Up Eager Journey...

All the Best,
Suzie Price

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