Blog: Tips on conducting 360s and employee reviews

May 7, 2011

First off, most companies mix up 360 reviews and employee reviews. 360 reviews involve feedback from peers, superiors, and those the employee manages or that work with him or her at a lower level. This provides a well-rounded (360-degree) perspective. They need to by anonymous (as much as possible) and must provide honest feedback. This includes feedback on negatives, but in such cases they should be provided in a constructive manner and they need to provide some examples or depth to the feedback. With such opportunities for improvement, along with recognizing relevant positive traits, the 360 can provide a well-rounded perspective of the team member.

However, by themselves, 360s are weak. An actual employee review is also needed to set goals and expectations and provide feedback on how to improve and develop. They are the foundation.

For employee reviews, there are four steps:

  1. Set clear goals or targets with timelines. This should also incorporate developing the individual (i.e., Do they need training? Leadership development?).
  2. Meet while the work is happening and providing support. Don’t just do the review annually; meet even if just for 15 minutes once each quarter.
  3. Review and reflect on how the work went against the goals or targets.
  4. Set new goals or targets.


Some resources for 360 and employee reviews include:

Here is a link to some free testing of their 360 software:

Here is another that provides a range of surveys that can be completed online:



Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor, and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the home building industry as well as construction engineer, site manager, and in training, auditing, and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental, and safety management awards for clients. 

Denis is co-author of The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence.