IceHrm Looking for an HR software for Your Company?
Masha Masha is a content developer at IceHrm. You can contact her at masha[at]

360-Degree Feedback: The Power of Anonymous Insights

  Reading Time:

There are different forms of employee interviews, and the organization should always consider whether there are better ways to evaluate employees. Especially since many managers and HR staff have realized that the traditional annual evaluations should be supplemented with more frequent performance evaluations. After all, employees will make the right improvements if they receive good feedback on a regular basis.

The 360 degree feedback tool is a popular way to build on the annual evaluations. Employees do not only receive feedback from their manager. They also receive feedback from colleagues, direct reports, members of the management team and even customers and suppliers. Instead of just being told how they are doing in relation to their primary job duties, employees are given a broad assessment that covers everything required to be a good member of the organization.

As you might have suspected, those who provide 360 degree feedback are anonymous. Employees need honest and comprehensive feedback to improve, and people are more likely to be honest if they know their identity is protected.

But you could also argue that the secretive nature of anonymous feedback does more harm than good. Let's take a closer look at both sides so you can make the right decision for your organization.

Arguments for Anonymous 360 Degree Feedback

By default, 360 degree feedback is anonymous. There are several good reasons for this, including:

Colleagues and Direct Subordinates Give Honest Feedback

Most managers have no problem giving direct feedback. It is their job to lead the team and they need to provide the right guidance to get the most out of their employees.

But on the other hand, an employee will never feel comfortable criticizing the boss or a colleague with whom he or she works closely.

And there's no point in collecting 360 degree feedback if everyone talks too much about what they mean.

Keeps Focus on the Feedback

If the feedback was not anonymous, the employees could put too much into the source of a rating or comment. Like it or not, there is already a dynamic in the workplace, and recipients of feedback can make assumptions about the motivation of the rater (for example, "that person never liked me" or "that person is after my job").

If the feedback is anonymous, the recipient is forced to focus on the content of the review, and not on what a particular person thinks, which can lead to "glory horns".

Maintains Healthy Working Conditions In the Organisation

In addition, non-anonymous feedback can lead to new problems in the workplace. Some people are sensitive and can take well-intentioned feedback personally, which can quickly turn a healthy working relationship into a negative one. It can, for example, be particularly harmful if a manager is annoyed by feedback from a direct subordinate.

Arguments Against Anonymous 360 Degree Feedback

Many believe that 360 degree feedback must be developed and that the anonymous format must be abolished. There are many good reasons for this, including:

People Can Be Rude When They Know Their Identity Is Protected.

Unfortunately, it is in human nature. People are much more likely to be rude when they can hide behind the cloak of anonymity (think, for example, of how people behave on the Internet or in traffic confrontations).

When someone has to name their feedback, they are much more likely to think about how to word it.

People Can Have Ulterior Motives

We said earlier that non-anonymous feedback allows employees to jump to conclusions about the motivation of the person giving the feedback. Sometimes these conclusions are correct.

Anonymous feedback enables people to follow their own agenda in the workplace. If, for example, someone has previously been unfriended with the person being assessed, they can use the anonymous feedback format to cast the recipient in a bad light.

Contrary to an Open Culture

Many organizations pride themselves on having an open and honest culture. They strive to share plans and developments with the employees, so that no one is caught in bed.

This means that one should expect openness from the employees as well. But if the employees experience receiving anonymous assessments, they may question whether the organization actually practices the values it preaches.

Tips for Effective 360 Degree Evaluations

Although anonymous 360 degree feedback has its drawbacks, there are various ways to minimize or even completely eliminate the problems. Here are some tips on what your organization can do to get all the benefits of anonymous feedback and none of the drawbacks:

Encourage professionalism - Before collecting feedback, take the time to remind evaluators of the professional standards your organization holds for them.Get details - The more context you require from reviewers, the more thoughtful the feedback they provide. It is ideal to use a rating scale with associated comments.

Don't make personnel decisions based on 360 degree feedback alone - Decisions to give an employee a raise or promotion should be based primarily on the employee's ability to perform their duties, and to a lesser extent on the anonymous opinions of colleagues.

The most important thing is that the HR department always knows the identity of the employees who are asked to give 360 degree feedback. The staff will be nice and probably not try to have ulterior motives if they know that their name is connected to the feedback in some way. If your organization chooses this approach, it will experience all the benefits of anonymous 360 degree feedback while avoiding the drawbacks.

In the realm of 360-degree feedback, the anonymity debate is crucial. While it ensures honesty, potential drawbacks like rudeness and hidden agendas must be navigated. IceHrm offers a solution with professional guidelines, ensuring organizations harness the benefits of anonymous feedback while mitigating risks. Embrace a transparent and effective approach to employee evaluation.

4 Strategies to Elevate Employee Morale through Performance Evaluation Software

Elevate your team's spirit with IceHrm's performance evaluation software—reducing stress, enhancing engagement, and fostering a culture of appreciation for lasting employee satisfaction....

Mastering 360-Degree Appraisal for Peak Performance

Unlock the power of 360 degree appraisal with IceHrm's expert tips. Embrace anonymity, gather diverse insights, and foster employee development seamlessly....

IceHrm   Create your IceHrm, installation today.