Investing in Feedback: How to Convince the C-Suite to Embrace 360 Reviews

Delivering positive transformation to the performance management process.

360 degree feedback reviews and the benefits of embracing this style of performance management, have long been established in businesses following its further development and introduction on a wider scale in the late 1970’s by Marshall Goldsmith, a leadership professor and leading expert in business education and coaching. 

The process of 360 degree feedback, is one where employees, at all levels of an organisation, receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work with or around them; inclusive of those more senior and those more junior. Those requested to provide feedback on their colleague, report or manager are typically feeding back on everything from overall performance, through to the softer skills of the individual, ranging attributes like communication style and team working. 

But despite the proven benefits that 360 feedback reviews can bring, you may find yourself working in an organisation yet to make the leap, and as Human Resource professionals, our role in leading the people agenda is to innovate on how best to support the continued professional development of the organisation and the talent within it. Convincing the C-suite to make this transition is a worthwhile investment of your efforts and here we’ll share several key benefits that will help you convince the senior team in your organisation to make this leap.

Ensuring your CEO and leadership team are on board

Getting started with the introduction of new performance management tools, requires HR to ensure the CEO and leadership team are on board and bought into the benefits, ahead of a wider roll out. Whilst business cases offer a solid, tried and tested way of outlining organisational benefits, testing and proving performance management techniques in real world terms, can provide, powerful examples, so that leaders can understand the process ahead of rolling the practice out. Piloting the new programme with the leadership and senior management team, allows HR to refine the process, streamline the modality of giving and receiving 360 feedback and critically enable the C-suite to see the results of the practice for themselves. 

Be sure to communicate to staff that only HR and the employee being evaluated will see the report

By first piloting the new model of 360 feedback with the senior team, you’re also building a case for the wider organisation to review the outcomes of and buy into, ahead of taking part in the process of 360 degree feedback for themselves. With this in mind, the criticality of documenting the pilot effectively, recording all outcomes and data captured from the pilot, in addition to reviewing and making any changes required ahead of roll out, are essential ingredients in achieving wider organisational success.

Benefit # 1: Whole Organisation Benefits

As David Epstein, Director of Domestic HR for Doctors without borders, wrote in Forbes Magazine ‘a 360 degree feedback program, provides a powerful way of helping employees grow within their organisation’. Growth offers a powerful and transformative catalyst to peoples development and by implementing 360 degree reviews, your organisation will be on track to increase engagement, identify training opportunities, whilst helping employees in their role both now and the future. 

Benefit # 2: Increased Communication in the Organisation

The flow of communication in an organisation offers significant benefits to all, benefits ranging increased innovation, productivity, engagement, happiness, reducing conflict and increasing good team dynamics are just some of the benefits to be realised. 

360 degree feedback offers a unique performance management benefit, in that it can effectively measure the soft skills of communication and bring greater awareness to the specific interpersonal behaviour. 

Communication plays a fundamental role in our daily lives

The upside of greater focus and awareness on communication is that leaders and wider members of the organisation have an opportunity to improve their communication ability and boost their personal growth as part of the process.

Benefit #3: Improved Organisational Effectiveness

Organisational Effectiveness is a systematic approach for enhancing the performance of the organisation and its employees, through the introduction of planned interventions. 360 degree feedback highlights specific skills and competencies associated with individual job performance and highlights where these are aligned to organisations overall vision, mission and goals. 

Through the effective capturing and disseminating of feedback, from those all around an individual the information can be used to drive goals that are aligned with the organisation’s overall vision and this provides significant uplift to organisational effectiveness and a companies success measure outcomes.

Benefit #4: Increased Levels of Self Awareness

360-degree feedback offers multiple perspectives on an individual’s performance from various viewpoints. The power of this, is that the feedback in turn provides perceptions and context from multiple stakeholders, all of which from their respective vantage point may differ depending on the nature of the professional relationship and the interactions.  A direct line manager’s viewpoint could provide a meaningful insight into areas for development, whilst a reporting members feedback could provide a viewpoint on the strengths of leadership and compassion an individual possesses in managing others. 

Companies with higher rates of return on stock also have employees with few personal blind spots

The combination of perspectives provided anonymously through 360 degree feedback, offer employees and leaders alike an opportunity to identify their blind spots and crucially to work out a plan to develop these. Coupled of course with the positive feedback received, the blend enables us to ‘balance our conviction with humility; creating our vision but being willing to actively listen to new ideas and other opinions’.

Benefit #5: A culture of Self Development is Encouraged

Your organisation’s focus on attracting, retaining and developing top talent is significantly enhanced by 360 degree feedback. With the resulting outcomes contributing to a culture of self development in individuals at all levels. How this benefits the culture is seismic in that through fostering a culture of self development, individuals take ownership of their continued development, based on the feedback received. This in turn enables a development of individuals strengths and weaknesses whilst also enhancing their commitment to self development outside of the workplace within their own time.

Benefit #6: Clarity of expectations

It can be all too easy during the fast paced progress and day to day activities of business as usual, for individuals to fall into the detail of their work and lose sight of their personal and organisational expectations. By embracing 360 degree feedback as a core component of your performance management strategy, you’re enabling individuals to take stock and focus on the overall vision and expectations of the organisation. 

Personal development is a vital part of an individual’s growth and progression

Based on the results of the 360-degree feedback, functional & divisional leaders are given an opportunity to collaborate with their reports and wider teams, to define expectations, and realign goals. The resulting outcomes are a clarity of expectations that work effectively at both an individual and organisational level alike.

Benefit #7: Trust & openness as values become fostered in the organisation

360 degree feedback is built on the principles of openness and trust, by its very practice, the process of giving and receiving feedback anonymously, fosters a tremendous sense of trust in your fellow colleagues, managers and reports.  

Trust as a value pillar within an organisation is a top ingredient for a strong company culture. Employees in environments where trust is a key value pillar, report that they are: 

  • 106% more energetic at work 
  • 76% more engaged with their jobs 
  • Experience 74% less stress 
  • Take 13% less days off 
  • Report 29% more satisfaction with life overall 

Trust and its resounding benefits offer some of the best workplace results you can get. 

Benefit #8: Initiates Change

Finally, 360 degree feedback initiates individual, team and holistic change within the organisation. The adage of you don’t know, what you don’t know rings true, People cannot change without first understanding what it is they should be doing differently. A 360-degree assessment is the first step to identifying and understanding what needs to change, ahead of taking active steps to bring that change about.

In Summary

With the benefits of 360 degree feedback reviews being so far reaching whilst positively permeating all levels of the organisation, the task of convincing the C-suite to embrace this change shouldn’t be a challenging one.  The clear, demonstrable benefits outlined here combined with embracing HR Management Software like Cake HR, which offers a complete HR solution inclusive of performance management and 360 feedback tools, helps you ensure the benefits of 360 degree feedback can be realised and the positive resulting transformations can be experienced too. 


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HR management software app system CakeHR human resources

CakeHR is a one stop shop for your HR management needs. With attention to user experience & making the software easy to use yet packed with loads of features we strive to make your HR management as easy as a piece of cake!

Written By

Jade Taryn Graham

Jade is the founder & CEO of Inspired a people & talent consultancy working with the most innovative early stage companies worldwide. Founder & CCO of Inspired Talent Media Ltd and contributing writer for Sage HR where Jade writes about people, leadership, work/life balance and change.