360 Review Template: Running an Effective Performance Review Cycle
Effective performance management—specifically, a well-thought out employee review process—is a key part of HR and people success.
Regular reviews help employees grow, develop their skills, and evolve in their careers, as well as highlight areas for improvement.
And, employee reviews help managers, company leaders, and HR/People Operations teams get a clear understanding of how employees feel about their current workload, career trajectory, and the company overall.
But, simply holding an annual review in which managers review their direct reports isn’t enough to get a full picture.
Here’s where the 360 review cycle comes in.
What is a 360 review cycle?
360 reviews, also called 360-degree performance reviews or 360-degree employee reviews, involve gathering feedback from a variety of individuals that an employee has worked with.
This can include managers, peers, and the employees themselves, as well as clients, vendors, or other key stakeholders.
360 reviews offer a more holistic view of employee performance than the standard top-down manager review. By incorporating feedback from multiple sources, HR/People Ops teams, management, and senior leadership can get a clear picture of employee performance, goals, and overall company sentiment.
What types of reviews should you include in a 360 review cycle?
At the most basic level, 360 reviews will include a review from an employee’s direct supervisor, at least one peer review, and a self-review.
If the employee regularly works closely with clients, maintains vendor relationships, or works with other external important stakeholders, you may want to include reviews from those individuals as well.
Here are five types of reviews to include in your 360 review cycle:
- Manager review: A supervisor review is a standard part of any review process—and your 360 review should still include a detailed review from an employee’s direct manager.
- Direct report review: If an employee manages other employees, reviewing their direct reports is a key part of your 360 review process. These reviews will be broadly similar to management reviews.
- Peer review: 360 reviews should include peer feedback, which is a valuable way of gathering insight that supervisors may miss. Your 360 review process should include determining at least 1-2 peers who will complete a review for each employee.
- Self review: A 360 review process gives employees a chance to reflect on their own performance, detail what went well and what didn’t, describe areas where they would like to grow and improve, and discuss their current feelings about their workload, role, and the company overall.
- [Optional] Client, vendor, or other external stakeholder review: Some roles interface regularly with people outside of your organization, so it can be a good idea to include them in your review process. For example, the 360 review of a Customer Success Manager might include asking for feedback from 1-2 clients that they've had long relationships with.
What types of questions should be included in each type of review?
Specific, detailed qualitative questions
Your 360 reviews should be based around giving everyone involved the opportunity to offer detailed, specific feedback.
This includes questions that are both open-ended enough to generate a response beyond a “yes/no,” but also specific enough that they lead reviewers toward a detailed response.
Some examples of qualitative questions include:
- To what extent did X employee meet their goals over the last quarter?
- Looking back, what do you feel you could have done better last quarter? How would you have done it, and how will it shape you moving into next quarter?
Quantitative, rating-based questions
Gathering quantitative feedback is as important as qualitative feedback—it will allow you to track changes over time, compare sentiment across departments as well as company-wide, and more.
Some examples of quantitative questions include:
- To what degree did this person meet your expectations for their performance? (Scale of 1-5)
- How well do you listen to and communicate with others? (Scale of 1-5)
Note: In many cases, it’s a good idea to offer the opportunity to answer questions both qualitatively and quantitatively. For example, the question “How well do you listen to and communicate with others?” could include both a blank space for a long-answer response as well as a numerical ranking.
Reviews aren’t just a way to see if an employee is underperforming.
The best people-centric organizations use performance management as a means to help their employees grow in their careers, strengthen their skills, and have a better overall employee experience.
Some examples of developmental questions include:
- What is one area where you would like to grow in the coming year?
- How can you work with X employee to prepare them to take on Y type of responsibility in the coming year?
Questions related to company sentiment and culture
On a similar note, use your reviews as a means to get a better understanding of how employees feel about your organization.
Are they feeling overworked? Are they unclear on the company trajectory? Do they wish company culture was more supportive and growth-focused? 360 reviews can help you find this out.
Some examples of company sentiment and culture questions include:
- Which company value do you feel you embodied most in the previous quarter and why?
- Do you enjoy coming into the office? What would make your experience working from the office more convenient/enjoyable?
How to set up a 360 employee review
There are two main ways you can go about setting up your 360 employee review process:
Build your 360 review process from scratch using a template
If you’d like to go the DIY route, templates are a great place to begin. They’ll give you ideas of what types of questions to ask, and an overall organizational structure that will help you get started.
We’ve created a free 360 review template to help you get started—click the link to download the template or access it via Google sheets.
Use a performance management tool with 360 review functionality
As with many aspects of people and workplace management, using a tool specifically designed for performance management will make building your 360 review process easier.
You’ll be able to customize your review cycles, scale your review process, collect and store historical data, set up instant notifications to alert employees that they need to complete a review (and alert your HR/People team that a review has been completed), and more.
If you’d like to set up a scalable, customizable 360 performance management process, Eden’s Performance Management has everything you need to get started. Click the button below to book a demo with us to learn more.