In recent Workology Co blogs, we have shared a little bit about Workology Co’s philosophy on how organisations can create exceptional workplace culture.

In a nutshell, it is a combination of adopting the Sir Richard Branson mantra of caring for your employees, so they care for your customer + adopting a people first approach to leadership.

Or if you prefer, as I know some fellow HR peeps do*, through adopting a human-centric approach. A human-centric approach sounds a little like this:

While every business has its own unique recipe for a solid culture, people-centricity should always be the secret sauce. That means leaders should foster a culture where employees truly feel valued. From directly involving workers in more decisions to supporting them to achieve their full potential, leaders should make employees feel that their needs are not only heard but made a priority. [Forbes]

360-degree feedback is an excellent example of ‘supporting them to achieve their full potential’.

What even is a 360?

Let us be clear what we are talking about here.

We are not talking about the scenario where, you say to your team “Absolutely under no circumstances can you continue remote working”: only to do a 360 a few days later and agree that anyone who wants too, can continue working from home.

No, the 360 that I’m referring to is the process of obtaining feedback about an individual’s behaviour and performance from persons other than JUST their direct line manager.

Here is excellent definition of a 360-feedback review from our friends at the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI):

A 360-degree feedback survey is a common tool used to accurately assess the performance of an individual within the organisation by taking into account various perspectives from key stakeholders in the employees’ work. This process provides information on an employee’s performance from a number of sources – peers, subordinates, and managers. Such appraisal should provide a wide range of information about skills, performance and working relationships. 

The true value of a 360 lies in its ability to help identify both strengths of an individual, as well as opportunities for growth. It can be difficult to be truly objective about our own strengths and weaknesses but seeing ourselves through the lens of how others see us, provides us with baseline data to work from.

Ideally, a 360 review happens in conjunction with coaching.

Before the coaching commences, it can be helpful for the Coachee to understand how others view them, their performance and behaviour, and how they engage with all stakeholders.  The Coach debriefs the results of the 360 with the Coachee, and the feedback becomes the starting point from which coaching proceeds.

Steps in a 360

Conducted properly, the 360 review is quite a rigorous process. Which means, particularly in SMEs (Workology Co’s preferred client size), the reviews are usually conducted for the executive and senior leadership groups only.

As regular Workology Co followers well know, we do love a good infographic here at WCo HQ: so here for your visual pleasure, is a little infographic I prepared earlier that illustrates the key features of a well conducted 360 review.


The benefits of having an outsider conduct the 360.

I’m Ali and I’m an external consultant who conducts 360 reviews.

I’m owning that fact; as well as my strong belief 360s are best handled by external experts.

Why you ask? No, it’s not about me trawling for business. Rather, it is about recognising the benefit to both the individual and the organisation of having an unbiased expert gather and then analyses the data.

Unbiased means exactly that – neither I, nor anyone else who conducts the review, have any kind of hidden agenda when obtaining the data. Side note: if you are seeking to engage me to conduct a 360 as an exercise in setting ‘Bob’ up so you can later kick him to the curb, then I’m not the consultant for you. Do your own hard work and manage Bob appropriately.

An expert will also have ways and means of teasing out the stuff interviewees tell him or her in order to get to the truth of how they feel about Bob; and will then analyse and present the data in a way that clearly (and kindly) identifies and articulates opportunities for growth.

Emphasis on the ‘kindly’. It can be incredibly uncomfortable to hear where others see your shortfalls are, even when you are keen to learn what they are so you can work on improving them. One of my favourite mantra’s is ‘feedback should be given to help, not hinder or destroy’. Which is why, whomever is providing the 360 report debrief, needs to be have high EQ about how to deliver said feedback.

Have someone in your team that would benefit from an external, expert 360 review?

Reach out here and book a free 30-minute discovery call, and let’s chat about how Workology Co can work with you to conduct said review.


*Ali Drew-Forster is NOT one of said HR professionals who adopts the term ‘human-centric’. For reasons that shall become clear in a yet to be released blog…