Performance reviews have long been a cornerstone of effective management. Despite being criticized, and sometimes even despised, they remain an essential tool that ensures employees receive a baseline level of feedback about their job performance. Are they meeting the standards expected of them?  

Too many current performance review programs consist of a simple grade and that is about it. Yet, the cornerstone of an effective performance review is detailed and meaningful feedback that drives self-awareness.  At DecisionWise, we believe that self-awareness is the foundational starting point for improving one’s performance, building personal development, increasing proficiency, and improving leadership.  


The Need for Performance Reviews

Employees expect to know whether their performance at work is making the grade. They want to know if they are succeeding and where they can improve. Over the years, organizations have experimented with programs that focus on promoting continuous feedback and ongoing conversations as opposed to the traditional scheduled events where performance reviews are conducted across the organization. These efforts are fully in line with our point about ensuring that performance reviews yield actionable feedback. 

Yet, the results from this shift have been mixed. On the positive side, why wait to help employees know that they need to do improve? In addition, ongoing conversations are effective at helping employees feel valued and demonstrating that the organization and manager care about the employee’s growth and development.  

On the other side of the equation, however, open and clear evaluative feedback is often lacking when there is no formal process for measuring an employee’s performance. Structured performance reviews ensure that managers move beyond friendly check-ins into a more serious discussion of where an employee is meeting (or not meeting) expectations.  


Overarching Objectives in Performance Review Programs 

Structured and scheduled performance appraisal programs are designed to provide an objective assessment of an employee’s job performance, offer meaningful feedback, promote goal setting, encourage two-way communication, and should involve as reasonable amount of documentation. Reviews should be based on specific and transparent criteria such as job responsibilities, known winning behaviors, stated competencies, key performance indicators and metrics (KPIs), and organizational goals. As noted, performance review feedback and discussions should highlight areas of strength and areas needing improvement, promote the setting of new goals and evaluation of prior ones, and encourage open dialogue for clarification of expectations and problem-solving. 

Finally, performance reviews should adhere to principles of fairness and transparency, ensuring evaluations are based on merit and not influenced by bias or favoritism. Regularity in conducting reviews and discussions on professional development are also crucial, with appropriate levels of documentation that serves as a reference for future reviews, establishes accountability, and helps track progress over time. 


The 360-Degree Performance Review 

Among the various methods for conducting performance reviews, the 360-degree performance review stands out. This method solicits feedback and evaluative information from a variety of perspectives that surround the person being evaluated. Feedback is gathered from supervisors, peers, direct reports, and other groups that interact with the employee, such as vendors or customers.  

In addition to gathering feedback from multiple perspectives, a 360-degree performance review is behaviorally anchored and allows for an employee and manager narrative section. Thus, our version of 360-degree performance review blends four different performance review methods: narrative essay, manager assessment, 360-degree feedback, and behaviorally anchored rating scales.  


The Benefits of 360-Degree Performance Reviews 

The 360-degree performance review offers several advantages: 

  • More voices lead to better evaluative information and a fairer process (multi-rater feedback). 
  • The reviews are competency-based (i.e., basic behaviors that signal mastery of a competency), making appraisals objective and clear. 
  • The process creates an audit and paper trail, ensuring everything is fully documented. 
  • Employees prefer and trust 360-degree feedback over relying solely on a manager’s opinions. 
  • Detailed analytics reports are generated for each employee, facilitating deep and detailed conversations between managers and employees. 


DecisionWise’s 360 Performance Review Software – Spectiv 

In the past, implementing 360-degree performance reviews was challenging; primarily due to the logistical efforts associated with reaching out to multiple individuals to gather feedback. The good news is that DecisionWise has developed software and methodologies that simplify the process. DecisionWise’s platform, Spectiv, handles all the logistics, from automated emails to final report delivery and follow-up. Contact a member of our team for more information to get them started in your organization.



Performance reviews are a crucial part of any organization’s feedback and development process. Among the various methods, the 360-degree performance review is the obvious choice for nearly all organizations. By embracing this approach, businesses can foster a more inclusive and effective feedback culture, leading to enhanced employee engagement, productivity, and overall organizational success. 

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