360 Performance Appraisal KPIs All Managers Should Be Setting

Colin Newbold, 30th November 2020 in Development, Feedback, Hiring, Human Resources, People Management, Testing

Using behavioural or developmental KPIs to guide individual performance is a controversial topic. Most of you will see KPI’s as highly measurable things, the WHAT somebody or some team or department or organisation should be doing…usually with some clearly defined metric involved. For example:

  • The number of times that x has happened over a defined time scale (or hasn’t happened)
  • The percentage of occasions during a defined time scale when y occurred (or didn’t occur)
  • The quality score for z achieved over a defined time scale
  • Etc. etc.

Fairly obviously, these require a single metric to be counted at the end of the defined time scale…it is not relevant for there to be lots of people’s perceptions/opinions about the metric.

360-degree feedback on the other hand, measures the perceptions of groups of colleagues about the way that someone is doing something (or not doing something) and/or the way they are saying something (or not saying something)…in other words the HOW someone is doing the thing they should be doing.  So examples of behavioural or developmental KPIs are things like: 

  • Takes account of different personality types when presenting something
  • Praises people for doing a good job
  • Gets to the core of a problem
  • Celebrates success
  • Listens with the intent to understand, rather than to reply
  • Etc, etc.

The answer set will be a likert scale based on something like agreement or extent demonstrated and these kinds of KPIs lend themselves to others’ perceptions. While there may only be 4 or 5 points in the likert scale, in the click-360 questionnaire interface there is a 0-100 scale as we use sliders.  

There is a school of thought that setting traditional KPIs for one to one appraisal meetings between the team leader and each team member removes the personable aspect of the meeting and may disregard employee feelings and emotions. We feel differently. Especially when behavioural or developmental KPIs are included. Done well, meetings that include these provide an excellent way of measuring performance against the activity that has taken place, in this case the performance of the 360 appraisal meeting on employee accomplishments thereafter. Through setting behavioural KPIs, teams are able to make informed decisions based on the direction of employee performance and the 360-degree feedback. 

In this case, 360 degree feedback can be used to guide future KPIs between both the employee and the employer, to come up with tangible strategies to help the employee grow in their role. KPIs are used in all facets of the business in many cases, and they have proven to be very effective in measuring company-wide performance to give visibility to targets that have been set, and what objectives need to be in place to get there. So why is it that people neglect to make behavioural or developmental KPIs for one of the most critical aspects of business, 1-1 appraisal meetings, where employee performance can be driven, and any employee challenges can be ironed out. 

We have come up with a guide of short, medium and long-term behavioural KPIs that you and your business should be setting for performance appraisals today to get the most out of your employees. 

Short-term appraisal KPIs 

In the first few weeks for an employee at a company, it can be hard to establish development KPIs right away since there will be no initial benchmark and a 360 degree survey won’t likely be useful since the employee won’t have been in the company long enough to receive useful feedback - those that work around them simply won’t have enough to go on. Thus, these initial performance appraisal KPIs will be fairly general (or traditional), and will strive to set a benchmark for future performance KPIs. 

  • Amount of personal development activity undertaken. During the probationary period of employment, there is more time than usual for setting and measuring personal development goals and behavioural KPIs, whether that be taking a design course they have always been interested in, to reading personal development books and guides to better understand functional (role-specific) topics as a recent employee. There will also be a lot of catching up to do in terms of learning more about the company. 
  • Quality of initial objectives. Another thing employees will generally be asked to do right away is set themselves goals and objectives of things they would like to achieve in the next 3-6 months, depending on their role. The quality and specifics of these goals is what will be measured in the performance appraisals, measuring them against the SMART framework may come in useful here. 


Medium-term KPIs

Mid to medium-term behavioural or developmental KPIs are perhaps slightly more tangible than short-term KPIs as the employee should now be getting to grips with the organisation and setting more comprehensive targets for themselves. As well, colleagues have more data to go on.  Medium term objectives should be set after 3+ months of the employee being in the company. Some key KPIs managers should be setting for appraisals are as follows:

  • The quality and frequency of employee-manager performance conversations. It may feel great to check off 15 employee appraisals in a week, all to be reviewed in 3 months or so. However, after every employee performance appraisal, both the quality and the frequency of the meeting should be recorded and noted on. KPIs like this could be included in a 360 questionnaire. This way you’ll be able to spot key patterns in the reviews, such as the manager cutting the meetings short due to a lack of conversation, when in fact a more emotionally intelligent way of engaging the employee would have been more beneficial. These things may be hard to spot on the day, but reflecting on several meetings as a whole will give an objective picture of the nature of the appraisals.
  • How easy it is for employ­ees to set objectives. By no means should this KPI (made more specific by yourself) be seen as a checkbox. This metric is clearly to see which employees have and haven’t been setting clear objectives for themselves so this can be reflected in your 360 performance feedback survey. This way, the topic can both be reflected in their feedback tools, and through a healthy conversation to address why objectives may not have been set or why they are not as specific as you’d like. 
  • Impact of performance reviews on employee motivation levels. Speaking of 360 feedback tools, another management KPI should be the impact of 360 surveys on employee motivation levels. This is something that can be spoken about in appraisal meetings, and employees can comment on their level of motivation following the appraisal in the 360 feedback to improve their performance in their role



Long-term performance appraisal KPIs can be set after the employee has been in the company for around a year onwards and these can include behavioural or developmental KPIs measured by the 360-degree feedback. These KPIs can better hone in on the results and progress of 360 performance reviews and surveys since people around them will have a better understanding of how they work, and thus will be able to provide much better feedback. As a manager you will be able to delve into how your employees are actively seeking and using their 360 feedback tools to better their performance and understand their learning points as an individual. This will help to guide future objectives, KPIs and personal goals the employees should be setting to continually accelerate their performance after being in the company for over a year. 

  • Employee engagement survey results. One thing that can be used alongside 360 performance appraisal goals is employee engagement survey results. These surveys can be sent to employees through an anonymous system, allowing employees to have their say in the management of the company. Just don’t do what some organisations have done and forget to share the results later.  These results could be discussed with the employee in more detail if you feel it necessary to, or it can be something given to the employee at the end of the appraisal meeting to anonymously review the session. 
  • Benchmark their progress against 360 reviews and appraisals. Now that the employee has been in the company for longer, there will be a more comprehensive benchmark of the employee’s performance so far. This can then be used to benchmark performance corresponding to 360 performance reviews. For instance, if an employee receives 360 feedback that they are excellent at communication, has this been maintained in future 360 degree feedback surveys, and have any weaknesses highlighted been worked on and acknowledged in future feedback surveys. These are all really useful KPIs and topics to discuss in employee-management meetings to take your 360 degree performance appraisals to the next level. 
  • Employee turnover rates. Finally, and this is one that may be reflected more by the manager themself: employee turnover rates. Could you see it coming in 360 performance reviews, did the employees seem happy in their appraisal meetings, and is there more you could be doing to make your employees feel fulfilled at work to maintain high retention rates? These are all questions you should be asking yourself to ensure that you are constructing useful performance appraisals for your employees. 


Don’t forget to make your behavioural or developmental KPIs SMART! We have outlined general KPIs you could be setting for yourself and your employees in your performance appraisals, but you can take this one step further and make sure that each KPI is: Smart, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-based so that they can be reviewed on a regular basis, and you know exactly what you need to be measuring your employees against. 

It’s also important to touch on employee KPIs in the wider business, for example, if you work in sales and your employee has a KPI to make a certain number of sales in that month, discuss it and reward your employee for their hard work. Be sure to recognise milestones in your employees work to make them feel accomplished and make them feel ready to take on their next set of KPIs which can be set in these 1-1 meetings or performance appraisals. 

If you’re looking to implement 360 feedback tools into your business, check out our service pages today. 360 feedback highlights strengths that the participant either took for granted or wasn’t even aware of. As well, there are likely to be areas for development that emerge from the data. This is how you transform your leaders through 360 degree feedback and that will in turn transform your culture.

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