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360 degree feedback

About 360 degree feedback

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What is 360 degree feedback?

In standard employee review or development processes, a single supervisor provides the employee with performance feedback. This can often be an awkward process that both parties dread. The supervisor may lack training in providing performance feedback and the employee may feel that the supervisor's feedback is inaccurate or unfair. 360 degree feedback assessments allow peers, subordinates, and customers to share their unique perspectives concerning an employee's performance. These multiple raters can provide a much more accurate and fair picture of job performance than relying solely on a single supervisory rating. This is especially true if the 360 feedback process is built around a set of objective criteria that provide a fair measure of the tasks performed by the employee.


360 feedback can be used in a variety of settings, to accomplish a number of different goals. 360 feedback can be used to:

  • reinforce organizational values and facilitate cultural change.
  • support executive coaching.
  • evaluate performance for development or appraisal purposes.
  • implement goal-setting initiatives.
  • realize a number of objectives including team building, succession planning, organizational culture change, and restructuring.
  • facilitate career development in MBA or executive educational programs.


While 360 feedback is more complex than traditional methods of employee review, the process provides significant benefits because it is:

  • Comprehensive - Supervisors are often only exposed to limited facets of job performance. Obtaining feedback from individuals with different perspectives, such as an employee's peers, will provide rich and varied information.
  • Dependable - Combining ratings from several raters will provide greater stability and reliability than a single supervisory rating.
  • Defensible - Charges of discrimination or bias are less likely to be supported when a variety of independent judgments are obtained.
  • Confidential - 360 feedback, with anonymous comments and ratings, is often the only way to obtain accurate appraisals of executive performance.
  • Fair - The multiple perspectives provided by 360 feedback provide a fair assessment of employee performance.
  • Constructive - Participants learn how to leverage their strengths, and are made aware of areas in which they have room for improvement.
  • Progressive - Permits tracking of changes in performance over time.
  • Standardized - There is no better way to compare organizational units then on a common, objective scale.
  • Community Building - Strengthens employee commitment to the organization and to its performance goals.
  • Communicative - The very process of 360 feedback communicates which behaviors are important to the success of the individual and the organization.
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