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The Difference Between a Free and Administered 360 Assessment

Thursday, 11 November 2018


Administered 360 Assessment Internal feedback is crucial to both personal and career development. 360 Assessments are the perfect way to gather valuable feedback and plan behavioral and skill developments.  CR Systems offer a highly customisable and flexible tool for HR managers and learning and development coaches. The 360 assessment software enables managers to measure the competence of the organization as well as the cultural fitness and capability of the employees, shedding light on how to positively influence organisational development.

How Does 360 Feedback Work?

The 360 assessment resource provides confidential feedback for employees mainly in four different angles, creating a rounded overview hence the name “360 degrees”, which are self, manager, peers and reports, in a responsive and flexible report.

The group of employees and managers will anonymously respond to carefully selected questions about behaviour, skills, output, communication and leadership.

The feedback tool allows users to give a rating for specific performance objectives as well as leave written, anonymous comments.

While organizations may have the option to implement a system like this on their own or to download a free version, there are many benefits to using a fully administered 360 assessment software. Organisations can benefit from bespoke 360 feedback software, saving them time and being more cost effective.

Free 360 Assessment Tools

There are many free tools available online for HR professionals to dabble in, but they do not provide the same feedback and learnings that can be taken from fully administered and customised 360 assessments.

The majority of free 360 reviews online provide a platform to enter questions for review and send them to colleague’s email addresses. Most online platforms cover three basic areas:

  • Ability to conduct a self review, answering questions about your own personal competence and behaviours
  • Request peer reviews, by sending your questions to colleagues via work email
  • Review and identify gaps for future learning

These free assessment tools merely provide the opportunity to leave anonymous, or partly anonymous feedback, rather than providing insightful data that can drive actions.

Administered 360 Assessment Process

The process of administering a 360 assessment should be a simple and effective internal change. In order for to make the delivery efficient, each staff member needs to understand the value of feedback. Every member involved in the 360 assessment process should understand their role and the importance of their responsibilities.

The different roles include an experienced and fair administrator, the individual being assessed, colleagues, managers and supervisors, subordinates and direct report and sometimes even the clients and co-workers in third parties.

Administrator: The administrator role is one of the most important roles in the 360-assessment process. They will deliver the 360 assessment process and facilitate the review. These tasks include preparing the review itself, arranging interviews, presenting the results, and helping the subject of the review design a plan for improvement and development. This role can often be undertaken by the HR managers or out sourced professional coaches and consultants. The aim of administering a 360 assessment tool is not to judge the subject but to provide constructive feedback and a development framework for important business and interpersonal skill development.

Subject: This is the individual that is being reviewed. It’s important for them to understand that the people who are reviewing him/her are being asked to provide constructive insights and aren’t there to criticise or pick on. It is a valuable way for the subject to bridge the gap between how they see themselves and how their colleagues see them.

The subject is essentially the most important role in the process, as it is their responsibility to listen to the feedback and decide whether or not to develop their skill set.

It is important to reassure the subject when they feel uncomfortable, but the confirm the value of the feedback process.

Manager: The subject will have at least one manager taking part in their 360 assessment, they offer a top-down perspective based on work output and business impact. However, it is important for the manager to remember that the 360 assessment is not to be critical and measure the job effectiveness.

360 assessments shouldn’t be a replacement for everyday communication between manager and subject; if there are issues in their job role, these should be raised outside of the assessment.

Colleagues: There should be roughly 2 to 5 people who are reviewing the subject in the peers and colleagues relationship. These reviewers are often team members, but they can also be anyone with a parallel working relationship with the subject being reviewed for the 360 assessment.

It is their job to provide valuable, constructive and honest feedback, rating the subjects’ skills, behaviours and teamwork abilities and attitudes. This perspective provides a deeper insight to the way the subject carries out tasks rather than then end result.

Subordinates: Subordinates: also known as direct reports. These are the people that sit under the authority or control of the subject within the 360 feedback process. They often carry out tasks below the subject  or are managed by the subject. Their opinions are particularly crucial to understand skills and behaviours in leadership, communication, management and even moral concerns.

Others: These can be clients and co-workers in third parties. As long as they have a regular working relationship with the subject, they can provide valuable and honest feedback.

The 360 assessment interprets the ratings and shows the subject where they may want to focus their attention. Everyone involved in the 360 assessment process should remember that the feedback is completely anonymous, the practice to select 2 or more people in each relationship category is to ensure the ratings and feedback won’t be easily identified.

What Happens After The 360 Feedback

After the 360 assessment process, it is the responsibility of the HR, consultant or coach in lead and the administrator to discuss the feedback and plan where and how the subject can develop to improve their skills and relationships. The meeting with the subject should be encouraging and inspiring. The manager and organisation should provide resources, guidance and solutions to their learning progress. It is worthy to note that all individuals’ development plans should be mapped closely with the business people strategies and competency focuses.

The feedback the subject receives is extremely valuable, but the real development occurs when this feedback is harnessed and actioned. CR System offer 360 assessment software to a range of HR professionals, consultants and manager. If you want to develop your internal organisation and develop your teams skills and behaviours, 360 feedback is the right tool for you. Take a look at our 360 product tour for more information.

Contact our friendly staff today for a free consultation, with no commitment! Our trained consultants can go through the details and specific needs of your project with you over the phone.


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