360-Degree Feedback: The Key to Better Managers

360 degree feedback

It is vital for companies to tackle manager development in order to grow and prosper. This can be succinctly done with tailored 360-degree feedback programs.

The responsibility of ensuring management is meeting the needs of your organization inevitably falls on the shoulders of your HR and talent teams.

Ditching the thick reports and providing a modern take on 360-degree feedback gives them an agile and scalable approach to helping managers quickly develop new skills.

Disadvantages of Traditional 360-Degree Feedback Systems

360-degree feedback is a mechanism by which an employee, manager, or executive can receive distilled feedback from all levels of an organization into key themes. 

These indicators are then used to create actionable goals and identify areas in need of development. It also highlights potential blind spots between how employees believe they are performing and how others perceive their performance.

That sounds perfect, right? So what’s the downside of a traditional 360-degree feedback system?

With a need to develop managers quickly, slogging through the annual 360-degree feedback process is no longer practical for most fast-paced companies.

Traditionally, HR would administer a review consisting of 30-50 questions — many of them redundant.

The results would then be returned to the HR department, with interpretation supported by specialized training. Inevitably, only a limited number of HR employees would be able to explain the results to managers, who often find the feedback difficult to understand and take action on.

These thick, text-heavy printouts aren’t set up to tell a succinct story. Additionally, the clunky nature of the reports made it difficult to roll out 360-degree feedback programs at scale.

That said, there are some circumstances where a company might want to engage with the more technical solutions provided through a traditional 360-degree feedback report. However, such companies are few and far between.

Advantages of Workify’s 360 Degree Feedback System

The difference in Workify’s 360-degree feedback system starts with the number of questions asked.

Instead of 30-50 questions, the team at Workify carefully whittled the list down to 15-20 questions that relate to 4-5 competencies that are most vital to companies. These are often behaviors, attributes, or principles that the company wants its managers to exhibit.

Fewer, more tightly focused questions help a talent team drive conversations toward actionable goals with management.

Succinct Scorecard System

HR’s conversations with managers are facilitated by Workify’s scorecard system. Rather than a thick, dense report, Workify provides a 2-3 page scorecard that makes it easy to understand what areas a manager needs to focus on developing.

The scorecard system improves turnaround time and provides better access to data. Additionally, it allows your talent teams to look at managers in aggregate, as well as individually. 

The feedback provided on the scorecard is distilled into the areas identified as in need of development. This allows managers, as well as HR, to develop action plans for improving in these areas.

Because of the intuitive design of the scorecards, members of the talent team do not need in-depth training to analyze and understand them. This provides a more agile and scalable approach to 360-degree feedback.

Increasing Flexibility, Agility

Founded on employee engagement measurement, Workify took the same flexibility of our engagement structure and applied it to 360-degree feedback.

By using advanced analytics from the engagement side, Workify gives true business intelligence.

360-degree feedback can be used as a catch-all term for getting feedback from multiple colleagues. However, this is more like 180-degree feedback when reports are solely derived from surveyed employees who report to the manager in question.

Workify’s feedback system can even be used as a project or client level tool.  Gather feedback from clients, customer stakeholders in all the businesses you serve, and colleagues working on a specific project.

These more nuanced reports are possible because of the simplified process developed by Workify. 

Qualtrics Alternative

Slashing 30-50 questions to a mere 15-20 in a way that still provides the same depth of insights was no easy process. By working with our clients, Workify refined our process and developed a now-proven methodology for securing 360-degree feedback.

Through numerous rounds of A/B testing, Workify was able to identify 15 questions that best highlighted the key traits most companies want their managers to focus on developing.

Of course, this recommended approach can be modified to meet the needs of companies with unique talent management and development programs.

Ensuring Quality with Your 360-Degree Review Feedback

For a 360-degree feedback system to be effective, you need more than a solid system for asking questions and analyzing the results.

The process starts with a clear view of how you want to develop your leaders. Intention is paramount. 

Your employees live in a world where they are asked to give increasingly more feedback. The risk of making this request is that employees can become disenfranchised when they aren’t shown the bigger picture.

The first step to communicating the bigger picture is by clearly articulating your goals to your management team.

Then, it’s vital to create a narrative that highlights why you are committed to developing managers and leaders by sourcing feedback.

You also need to create a playbook that includes how managers should communicate with feedback groups. By creating a structured process for engagement with those who gave the feedback, you pave the way for successful managerial development.

When these channels of communication are opened up in the right way, it’s possible to have significant, rapid growth. However, the confidential nature of 360-degree surveys can make this difficult to facilitate.

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, there is a problem with manager development in the workforce. The primary obstacle to closing the skill gap is a scalable system that’s easy for HR to deploy and easy for the managers to consume.

Workify’s 360-degree feedback system allows talent teams and HR to get feedback quickly and provides actionable solutions to managers so they can develop into better leaders. Workify’s system is a powerful way of collecting and viewing feedback and it provides the business intelligence you need to help your leaders grow.


Need help building an employee engagement or feedback program? Want a third party view on where you should focus. Book a free 30 minute employee engagement consultation to discuss any questions you’re grappling with or to help with your company’s strategy.

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