Peer Feedback emPerform

How to Give 360° Feedback to Your Peers

Feedback is a vital component of a productive workplace. In the past, feedback has been mostly limited to owners or higher-ups commenting on the performance of those they manage. However, more managers are now embracing the idea of the 360° feedback concept, where peers are encouraged to give anonymous feedback to those they work with.

Some team members may be uncomfortable with the thought of reviewing their co-workers. However, according to a recent survey, 72% of employees thought their performance would improve with the help of feedback. This means that your team wants and needs the information given in a review to become better employees.

If you plan to utilize 360° feedback in your workplace, understand that your employees may be hesitant at first. Reassure them that their feedback is anonymous and confidential. Once they realize their feedback will not lead to resentment or harmed relationships, they will be more open to participating. Here are some suggestions that will help your team give useful, beneficial feedback.


Be Honest, Yet Kind

There is a difference between being honest and being mean. When you are honest and constructive, it means that actions are being reviewed, not people. Encourage your employees to point out areas of improvement, but don’t allow them to critique character or personality. Keep in mind that most employees are motivated by positive feedback from their peers. Make sure to remind your team members to balance the good with the bad and find ways to bring positivity to their statements.


Don’t Go Overboard

It will be tempting for your employees to talk about every single aspect of their co-workers’ performance, especially in the beginning. However, too much feedback is almost as bad as no feedback at all. Encourage your employees to be specific and point out a few of each of their co-workers’ best attributes as well as one or two areas that could use improvement.


Provide Examples

Help your workers give detailed, complete feedback by asking for examples. It’s one thing to say, “Sally never seems motivated to help out on projects,” and quite another to say, “When working on group projects, Sally misses meetings and is often on her phone while others brainstorm.” The first is vague and unproductive, while the second is specific and can lead to actionable solutions.


Focus on Your Feedback, Not the Results

When you first start utilizing 360° feedback in your workplace, it’s important to set expectations. Employees might start feeling resentful if they don’t think their feedback is being acted upon by management or their co-workers. Make sure they focus on the importance of giving good feedback and try to release expectations of how it will be used. When they focus on the part they can control, they’ll be motivated to continue.

Do you give your employees the amount and type of feedback they need to succeed? About 65% of employees in a recent survey said they wanted more feedback, so don’t be afraid to incorporate more of it in your workplace. Showing your employees the value of 360° feedback and how to best give it results in higher morale and a happier team.


If you would like help collecting and reporting on 360° peer in your organization, take a look at emPerform for integrated 360° reviews, ongoing 360° feedback using tag, and 360° client surveys.

Psychology of Feedback

Improve Your Coaching Skills by Understanding the Psychology of Feedback.

Do you ever wonder why it’s so difficult to give and receive feedback in the workplace? Many owners and managers struggle with pointing out areas of improvement for their employees. Employees, in turn, often have a hard time hearing they aren’t performing up to standards or that some areas of their work could be better. While feedback can be a complicated subject, it’s also a necessary one. Why? Because effective and honest feedback is key to an engaged workplace. In a survey, 77% of the workplaces with the highest employee engagement were those that employed a consistent method of feedback.

But how do you give feedback in a way that its recipient responds to it positively? As an HR professional or manager, having a basic grasp of the psychology of feedback can help you develop a more effective feedback strategy.

Here are some things to consider concerning the psychology of feedback:


Know that Most Employees Equate Feedback with Criticism

Feedback, in its best form, combines positive reinforcement with tips on how to improve certain areas of one’s performance. However, most of your employees probably equate ‘feedback’ with ‘criticism.’ Whether this is due to past situations or a simple human bias, most of your employees fear feedback. Why? Because criticism is processed as a threat to our survival in the human brain. It’s important to educate your team on all the benefits of feedback and temper all negative comments with plenty of affirmation on jobs well done.

Realize the Connection Between Feedback and Trust

Did you know that feedback is next to useless when it comes from someone your employee doesn’t trust? Human beings want to connect with others and it’s only through this connection that they can feel vulnerable enough to process feedback. When you task someone to give feedback who does not work closely with your team, you impede the process before it even starts. When you allow peers, trusted managers, and respected leaders to give feedback, you play on the bonds that have already been formed, and feedback is better processed and acted upon.

Your Confident Employees Will Welcome Critical Feedback

Most business owners know that their team is made up of some incredibly self-confident individuals as well as those who need a lot of affirmation. Confident team members can take more negative, constructive feedback better because they don’t view it as a threat to their employment or self-image. However, insecure employees may feel they are in danger of getting fired. Once you realize this, you can tailor feedback to the individual. Understanding the psychology of feedback will help you to realize your confident workers may require a more unvarnished truth, while you may need to sugarcoat comments for others.

Praise Should Focus on Effort, Not Ability

You may think that praising your superstar salesperson for their stellar skills that landed a big deal is a perfect example of motivating feedback, but you could be wrong. According to the book Mindset by Carol Dweck, when we praise ability or results instead of effort, we send the wrong message. We are, in a sense, telling our employees that praise is dependent on their outcomes or their innate talents, and not on hard work or perseverance. Because they cannot control outcomes nor their personality characteristics, they can easily get demoralized when things don’t go their way. Effort, on the other hand, can always be controlled. When you praise effort regardless of results, you motivate employees to give 100%.

When you understand why your team may fear feedback and how to get around their psychological blocks, you can better incorporate a system of growth. Effective feedback is crucial for a strong team, and the above tips can help you improve morale and provide a dynamic workplace.

Give your workforce the tools needed to share and centralize feedback and performance observations. If you would like a system to help engage managers and employees in more frequent feedback and coaching in your organization, take a peek at emPerform, which includes year-round appraisals with automated check-ins and tools for easy journaling and feedback.



measureWe asked leading Author and long-time emPerform Partner, Marnie Green, for her advice on helping to increase the accuracy & consistency of performance ratings. Here is what she said!

How to Increase Consistency in Performance Ratings By: Marnie E. Green, CSP, IPMA-CP

In focus groups with employees, we often ask, “What would make the performance evaluation process meaningful to you?” The most common, off-the-top-of-the-head answer is “make them fair.” In an effort to increase the sense of fairness, and to emphasize the value of consistency across work groups, the practice of calibration is gaining momentum.

In a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and APTMetrics, 54% of organizations reported that they conduct formal calibration or group review sessions as part of the performance evaluation process. It can increase the accuracy of performance ratings, enhance communication, and break down silos.

In calibration meetings groups of supervisors from the same division or department discuss the rationale behind each employee’s performance rating. Performance calibration meetings provide a forum for discussing the individual performance of employees with the goal of making sure that leaders apply similar standards across the work group. The process helps to ensure that all employees are evaluated on the same criteria regardless of who is doing the rating. Calibration meetings also provide an opportunity for managers to learn how they can increase their ability to observe performance and apply performance standards.

In a calibration meeting, performance ratings are adjusted up or down as needed to ensure that ratings are consistent over work groups and reflect similar standards and performance expectations. Sixty-three percent of the SHRM survey respondents said ratings are changed infrequently during calibration meetings, but 35% said ratings are changed frequently. Rating changes are made because of inconsistency or when a manager learns new information about an employee’s performance during the calibration session.

For calibration to work in the public sector, the agency will need to deliver performance ratings on a focal date, ideally in support of the budget cycle. A neutral facilitator is needed to lead managers through what can be challenging conversations. In the end, taking on the practice of calibration can refocus your organization on what successful performance looks like and encourage discussions about improving performance across the board.

Calibration is one more example of the important conversations that should be taking place in your organization to drive a performance-driven culture. If your agency is struggling to find consistency in performance ratings, maybe calibration is the solution.

See also: Rating Calibration – Don’t Finalize Reviews Until You’ve Taken This Step

About the Author

Marnie GreenMarnie E. Green is Principal Consultant of the Management Education Group, Inc. and is a leading expert in the management of public sector employees.  Her books, Painless Performance Evaluations and Painless Performance Conversations, are used worldwide by federal, state, and local government leaders. Contact Green at phone: 480-705-9394 email: [email protected]

Experience Marnie in Action! Get the video: Driving Employee Performance through Year-Round Painless Performance Conversations