In today's corporate landscape, 360° performance evaluations have gained popularity as a promising tool for fostering employee growth and development. In theory, the 360 approach promises to provide a holistic and comprehensive view of an individual's performance by collecting feedback from multiple perspectives – supervisors, peers, subordinates, and even external stakeholders. Despite its visionary potential, the reality of 360° reviews falls far short of delivering the promised insights.
Traditional 360 reviews are broken
Isn’t it time to take a hard look at what the current approaches to 360 feedback practically deliver for us?
360° Reviews are from some, not all voices
One of the core issues with 360° reviews stems from the limited participation of reviewers, leading to an incomplete and skewed perspective.
For example, a department head would request feedback for a team member's 360° review. Due to time constraints and the extensive nature of the review, only a handful of team members are ultimately asked to participate. And of those, a subset will actually complete them.
In other words, 360° performance reviews involve only a few of one’s coworkers - those who are formally selected to provide feedback. Due to its length and complexity, the process becomes arduous, further dissuading some of the selected reviewers from participating.
Consequently, the feedback received tends to be biased towards a specific group, leaving out valuable insights from other colleagues who are not included in the process. The employee misses out on a well-rounded assessment.
360° Reviews are often superficial
360° reviews are exhausting to those provisioning the feedback. It takes a lot of time and effort to complete a qualitative review. But beyond the investment of time, apprehension and fear of potential repercussions significantly impact the authenticity of feedback provided in 360° reviews.
Employees often feel hesitant to offer candid opinions, fearing negative consequences or strained relationships with their colleagues. This apprehension - often due to real or perceived lack of anonymity - leads to filtered responses, where individuals choose to withhold constructive criticism or avoid addressing sensitive issues.
Consequently, the feedback gathered becomes superficial and fails to provide the depth and honesty necessary for true personal and professional growth.
360° Reviews take a year to complete
A significant hurdle in the effectiveness of 360-degree reviews lies in the prolonged time it takes to complete the process.
Traditional 360° evaluations are often conducted annually or biannually, stretching the feedback cycle to months. As a result, the feedback provided may no longer be timely or relevant to an employee's current performance and growth areas.
This extended timeline creates a disconnect between the feedback and its impact, diminishing the usefulness of the entire review:
Firstly, it restricts the ability to address immediate performance issues or capitalize on an individual's strengths promptly. By the time the feedback reaches the employee, critical opportunities for improvement or recognition may have been missed. Secondly, the lengthy process can lead to reduced engagement and interest from both reviewers and those being evaluated. Employees may feel disconnected from the feedback, making it less likely for them to take actionable steps to improve.
Furthermore, a year-long review cycle can hinder professional development efforts. As employees eagerly seek opportunities to grow and enhance their skills, the slow pace of how feedback is obtained limits their ability to track progress and make necessary adjustments.
360° Reviews go through the manager filter
Yet another issue with the 360-degree review process is that it involves filtration, where feedback undergoes screening by supervisors or HR professionals before reaching the recipient. While this may be intended to ensure appropriateness, it can inadvertently dilute the candidness and authenticity of the feedback, thus negating its intended impact.
Despite even the best of efforts, the manager filter can introduce biases and distort the true essence of the 360 feedback provided. As managers have significant influence on an employee's career trajectory and performance evaluations, there often is a subconscious inclination to interpret or tailor feedback to align with their own perceptions or preconceived notions.
The manager filter can also lead to softened or altered feedback, where constructive criticism is diluted or replaced with more positive remarks. This alteration can hinder an employee's ability to identify areas for growth and improvement accurately. Further, the filter may result in the suppression of dissenting opinions.
The manager filter impacts employees' trust in the feedback process. If individuals perceive that their manager is controlling or manipulating the feedback they receive, it can erode their confidence in the integrity and fairness of the review. This lack of trust can lead to disengagement and resistance to the feedback, defeating the primary purpose of a 360-degree evaluation.
Retooling 360 Reviews for Professional Growth
In a world where the traditional 360-degree review process has been marred by so many challenges, My Mirror 360 offers a transformative solution to address all core issues and inspire a new era of professional growth and self-awareness at work.
Mirror 360’s radically simple reflections empower every coworker - and even clients - to participate, creating a truly comprehensive and inclusive feedback experience. The app's user-friendly design and anonymous nature foster an environment of openness and psychological safety, enabling individuals to share candid insights without fear of judgment or retribution.
The app also eradicates the "manager filter," ensuring feedback reaches employees directly and free from subjective biases.
With direct, standardized, and always anonymous feedback presented solely to the employee, the prolonged review cycle becomes a thing of the past. Real-time, continuous insights empower individuals to make immediate improvements, capitalize on their strengths, and drive their professional development with clarity and purpose.
From limited participation and filtered responses to the manager filter and prolonged timelines, traditional 360 reviews are broken. These persistent shortcomings prevent employees from recognizing meaningful growth and development opportunities in the workplace.
It doesn’t have to be that way. My Mirror 360 delivers on the best of promises of 360 reviews and more.