Differences Between 180 and 360 Degree Appraisals

When choosing between performance review software, determining which is the best for you and your company can get confusing. Often times, there is uncertainty between a 180 degree appraisal and a 360 degree appraisal. We will explore the key differences between the two types of performance appraisals so that the next time you’re asked what the difference is, you can answer with confidence.

Difference #1:

A 180 degree report would usually only be taken by the employee’s direct manager and the employee themselves. The employee would complete a self-evaluation form. The employee would then rate themselves and provide feedback on their own performance. This process would be followed up with the employee meeting their manager to discuss the appraisal. This is considered to be a less holistic approach, as it involves fewer people.

Despite the employee having potential interaction and relationships with other colleagues and team members, the report is appraised by only themselves and their direct manager. While this may work in certain situations depending on context, it’s considered a 180 degree approach because it is not fully encompassing of all that the employee does.

Difference #2:

360 degree performance reviews are considered to be a more holistic view of someone’s behaviour at work, as they encompass feedback from a wider range of people. This type of feedback is great for measuring employee competence and behaviour, as well as to obtain feedback from other employees and organizations. A 360 degree survey would be taken by people that can observe the employee from different perspectives. This would include the employee’s direct manager, direct reports, peers, self-rating through self-appraisal, any other colleagues who work with the employee, and lastly, subordinates or customers / clients.

As you can note, the difference between the two is quite large in regards to who is evaluating the employee, and what kind of feedback is being given. An all-encompassing, holistic approach provides much more in-depth detail and can be all the difference between how your employee performs in the future. Providing feedback from all areas of their working life can give them a macro perspective into their performance. Specific examples as well as general ones can be provided in this type of performance review, and your employee as well as you as their boss can easily pinpoint areas where improvement is required and areas in which they are excelling.

What Appraisal Approach is Right for You?

Determining what works best for you and your company is a subjective thing. Things to consider when choosing which way to go are the size of your team, the interaction your employee has with others, how their work coincides with other team members, and how much depth you are looking to receive when discussing your employee’s performance review. The more detailed a report you need, the more it makes sense to go for the 360 approach. Not only will this be helpful when discussing the employee’s review with them, but it will help you get a clearer idea of their performance and behaviours in different settings. Being able to provide specific examples of their good work and work that needs improvement is a great way to show them how they are performing. One of the ways in which you can obtain that type of data is through a 360 approach. For those who have employees who work more independently, a 180 approach is probably the wisest way forward.


A lot of times, people can’t recall the difference between these two performance appraisal systems. This guide is an overview of all that you need to know in order to choose the best system that works for you.


Written by
Jeremy Kaplan

A 50-something year old lifestyle, career, and education blogger based in Atlanta, Georgia. Years of experience in the office setting working with others and still loving it year-after-year.

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