Recently, we’ve been diving deep into the nature of 360 feedback. But this presumes you’re either a manager implementing it, or an employee about to experience it. The truth is that this style of performance management isn’t universal. So, we’ve put together a guide to help employees ask for 360 degree feedback in a professional way.

360 feedback means feedback from multiple sources. It involves a selection of participants from different levels of the business. That includes immediate colleagues, as well as senior and even junior personnel. Then HR issues different questionnaires to each category of participant.

These aren’t necessarily performance evaluations. 360 feedback is about offering a broader view of one’s work habits. Of course, this may end up benefiting performance. But elements of conduct like communication and time management are just as important.

That said, we’ve already said plenty about how 360 feedback works. Today, we’re offering advice on how to access it.

Who to ask for 360 feedback

This feedback approach involves people across the whole business or department. You may have the option of personally approaching people to participate. But, before you go rush to go knocking on office doors, remember that 360 feedback is a formal process. So, it’s worth checking to see if HR will help with ad-hoc 360 feedback. If not, you’ll have to run it informally.

The main people to ask for 360 degree feedback opportunities are:

  • Your manager
  • Human Resources
  • Individual participants

When you ask for 360 feedback, your manager won’t be the one providing it. But, as your primary point of contact, it’s easy for them to ask on your behalf. This can make things less intimidating if you’re worried about labyrinthine HR protocol.

HR are the ones who supply the framework. They generate the questionnaires and issue them to participants. So, they’re the ones who need to know if there’s any guidance you have for feedback focus.

You can also ask for 360 feedback from people yourself. In which case, you need to figure out who has the time and willingness to help you. People are more likely to offer this kind of support in a feedback-driven workplace culture.

With requested 360 feedback, this could be your only choice. Otherwise, HR may choose participants independently or by random to ensure impartiality. So, you may not always have this option.

How to go about asking

If you’re not sure about the rules on ad-hoc feedback, it can be hard to know where to begin. It depends on your work culture, but also who you’re asking. Does it need to be a formal request, or can you ask people in casual conversation?

There’s nothing wrong with casually bringing up the idea of 360 feedback. And it’s easy to do if you’re asking a colleague to participate, or your line manager to start the process with HR. But, even if you do that, it’s still best to follow up with a formal email request.

Of course, the actual level of formality can vary depending on your relationship with the recipient. Be sure to tell them how they can complete and submit 360 their questionnaire. And how the information will be handled.

As noted by CIPD, it’s important to give people a clear idea of how 360 feedback works for their responses to be useful. Your email should include guidance on what kinds of insights are actually relevant. It also helps to provide examples of different biases to assist impartiality.

When to ask for 360 feedback

Even once you’ve figured out how you’ll ask for 360 feedback, you still need to pick your moment. For instance, asking people to take time out of their day in the middle of a big crunch is obviously a bad idea. So, here are a few examples of the best times to ask for 360 feedback.

After project completion

Waiting until after a big project to ask for 360 feedback is good common sense. For one thing, it means waiting until people are less busy. But it also means your recent work and contributions should be fresh in everyone’s minds. So the feedback your colleagues give you should be better informed as a result.

During an employee check-in

You should have plenty of chances to approach your manager about setting up 360 feedback on your behalf. But, if regular employee check-ins are part of your work habits, they can be one of your best opportunities.

A good check-in uses small, focused question sets. For instance, with Weekly10, we recommend about half a dozen or so questions each week. And one of the areas these questions should cover is what support an employee feels they need. This is the perfect place to ask for 360 feedback. Not to mention anything else you need for personal development.

During performance review discussions

Many employers still rely on review meetings to manage performance. And they can be stressful. But they’re still a great opportunity for a face-to-face discussion with your boss.

Like with check-ins, it’s a time to ask for support in your quest for self-improvement. And asking for 360 feedback shows initiative and commitment.

Finding the right cadence

Last but not least, don’t spam would-be participants with follow-up emails. No matter how eager you are to ask for 360 feedback, give them at least a few days to respond. People won’t always know right away if they even have the time to participate.

Similarly, don’t try to run ad-hoc 360 feedback too often, or you’ll wear out your welcome. People are taking time out of their schedules to help you. So, you might not be able to ask for 360 feedback independently more than a few times a year.

Only ask for 360 feedback if you can handle it

360 feedback can be a great tool to get you out of your own head. But remember that the results can sometimes be unflattering. And world travels. So, even with anonymous questionnaires, it’s important to try and react to criticisms with grace. So, don’t ask for 360 feedback if you can’t take it.

Taking honest feedback poorly can sour your workplace relationships. And it incentivizes people to sugar-coat their future criticisms for the sake of peace.

Remember, effective communication, collaboration, and time management are just as crucial as hitting targets. 360° feedback empowers you to understand how your actions resonate with others, identify areas for improvement, and ultimately become a more well-rounded and impactful professional. So, don’t be afraid to embrace the vulnerability of asking for feedback; it’s a powerful tool for unlocking your full potential.

Excited to delve deeper into the transformative power of 360 feedback? See how we can help.