Conducting 360-Degree Feedback in the ‘New Normal’

Organisations in the post-COVID era find it harder to manage performance. Implementing the 360-degree feedback system can help to narrow these gaps.

“You can’t handle the truth!” was the famous line delivered by Jack Nicholson in the 1992 movie A Few Good Men, also starring Tom Cruise.

We probably don’t want to but where our career trajectory is concerned, it might be important for us to hear the truth from those closest to you and those who have the best visibility to your behaviours and actions. This is where the 360-degree feedback system can help.

We can hear you asking: Is this feedback system still relevant in today’s world especially when half the population has moved towards working from home? The answer is a resounding yes. The 360-degree feedback method has never been more relevant. Let us tell you why.

An Overview of the Global Working Environment

The global working environment has shifted dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic, disrupting how organisations operate, going from a hiring freeze to furloughs and layoffs. While this may be true in 2020, in 2021 however, three words shaped the corporate world: The Great Resignation.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021, with a record-breaking 10.9 million open jobs at the end of July. The term was coined by Anthony Klotz, an organisational psychologist and professor at Texas A&M University during an interview with Bloomberg when he described the wave of people quitting their jobs as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This led organisations to rethink where, how, and what to do about retaining talent.

Global Working Environment
Global working environment

Meanwhile, many employees ended up seeking employment with the benefit of flexible hours and remote working. This hybrid working arrangement will be the new norm and may come with advantages but it also presents new challenges for organisations when it comes to giving feedback and ensuring performance. Time to re-evaluate the aspects of your performance appraisal system!

What is 360-Degree Feedback?

For many, the word “feedback” is often perceived as something negative. It takes time for people to realise that feedback can be extremely valuable and is not as painful as it sounds. It even gets better when it is sought and received regularly. People become increasingly comfortable with feedback the more they receive it (the more, the merrier!).

The 360-degree feedback method can help acclimatise employees to receive feedback. This comprehensive assessment tool involves collecting anonymous feedback about one’s workplace competencies from an employee’s manager, peers, and direct reports that can then be used as a starting point for action plans, setting development goals, as well as training and development.

Conducting a 360-degree session is also less prone to individual bias since there are multiple perspectives compared to a one-to-one performance appraisal. Are you just being picky about an employee’s communication skills or is everyone saying the same thing? The 360-degree feedback method will cover this concern (and more). There are, however, pitfalls to avoid when implementing the 360-degree feedback system. Here are some things to consider:

360 Feedback Tool
360 Feedback
This comprehensive assessment tool involves collecting anonymous feedback

Post-anonymised feedback collection can be added to an organisation’s succession planning and include follow-up conversations for continuous monitoring. Ultimately, feedback systems like this can be a win/win situation for everyone involved.

Developing 360-Degree Feedback for the Future

The purpose of 360-degree feedback is to help the organisation understand each employee’s strengths and weaknesses. Valuable insight is extracted to help with professional development while strengthening teamwork and accountability. Studies have shown that turnover rates drop by almost 15% when employees receive regular feedback. Here we explain the relevance of this feedback method in today’s post-pandemic world of work.

Cultivate an appetite for feedback

The demand for feedback may have already snowballed before the pandemic began. A survey showed that 69% of employees said they would work harder if they felt there was recognition for their work. Makes sense, doesn’t it? If the organisation doesn’t notice the hard work, how are employees motivated to do it again? Now that we are more geographically dispersed, we expect people to be more enthusiastic about utilising tools such as 360-degree feedback to gather developmental feedback and increase overall organisational effectiveness.

Ensuring performance in the ‘new normal’

Flexible working arrangements mean that managers now find it more challenging to observe team members and provide developmental feedback. In the “new normal” where employees are working remotely, organisations need to ensure they are still promoting a feedback culture and enabling feedback to be given and received through formal and informal channels.

Crucial insights for organisational development

360 feedback data can provide crucial insights from an organisational perspective. At a time of unprecedented change for organisations, as they start planning for the months ahead, many of their employee’s skills and competencies will change to deliver the strategy. Organisations will need to function in different ways, to flex and adapt in the current and future working environment.

Pairing 360 with succession planning

In most organisations, performance management and evaluation have always been completed by managers and their employees (Mercer, 2019). With the 360-degree feedback method, input will come from multiple sources geared toward your employees’ workplace competencies that can then be paired with talent assessment and succession planning.

Once you have identified the talent, you can use the feedback as a measurement of the performance of those ready for the next step. At Accendo, we understand how critical succession planning is for your organisational success. At the same time, we know how valuable insights are when it comes to ensuring the right people are promoted.


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