Conducting a 360-degree feedback session with an employee rather than giving regular feedback could be the difference between a hostile environment and a productive meeting. With 360-degree feedback, the employee doesn't only receive comments from the boss—he also hears what customers and other employees have to say about his work performance. There are many important benefits to this feedback method.
Reduces "Unfair" Accusations
If an employee has a negative "me versus them" outlook toward the company or supervisor that makes him think that the boss is "out to get " him, a 360-degree feedback session is particularly useful. In a normal review, hearing bad feedback from the boss may only serve to reinforce the negative outlook from that employee. But with 360-degree feedback, opinions other than those of the supervisor are taken into account. The employee may feel less threatened by the review comments when they come from other sources. If all or most of his customers or co-workers are saying that there is a problem, he may be more receptive to the feedback.
Less Hostile Environment
In a regular review, where the supervisor's opinions are the only point of view, the employee or reviewer might create or feel like he is in a hostile environment. Because the supervisor allows the customers, colleagues and other stakeholders to give feedback during a 360-degree feedback session, there is less pressure on the supervisor. The employee's emotions regarding the review will not be concentrated toward the supervisor alone. As a result, the overall environment of the employee review may be less hostile.
As much as a supervisor may think he "knows" what is going on with his employees, there may be some things he doesn’t get a chance to see. For example, an employee may appear to be short with a customer on a sales call, but without feedback from the customer the supervisor wouldn't know if that customer might actually prefer this approach. So in this case, 360-degree feedback again benefits both the employee and company. Not only does the review have more complete information, the supervisor also may learn some new things about customers that would help the business overall.