The idea of a 360 degree performance appraisal is to survey those around an employee to gather information about their performance from the perspective of different individuals they interact with at work. Feedback is typically provided by subordinates, peers and supervisors, the individuals themselves (self-assessment), and may include feedback from customers or clients. “360” refers to the 360 degrees in a circle, with an employee figuratively in the middle of the circle.
360 degree performance appraisals provide comprehensive, balanced information, i.e. they reveal how the individual operates in a range of roles and with a range of individuals; as a manager, as a member of a team, as a subordinate and, if applicable, with their clients. Reviewers typically remain anonymous, thereby reducing the likelihood of inaccuracies such as the ‘halo’ effect.