1. Money
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Recommended Methods for Your 360 Degree Feedback Process

The Great Debates About 360 Degree Feedback


One of the great debates about 360 degree feedback is how to collect the data, administer the chosen method of data collection, and provide feedback to the participants. If you are offering a 360 degree feedback process, the method you use to collect and share the information will make or break your process.

There are several important questions to ask and answer regarding the method used to provide multirater feedback.

  • Will your organization use an anonymously filled out instrument or promote face-to-face, or known rater feedback, or a combination of these?

  • Who will select the raters?

  • How much training will raters receive about filling in the instrument and how to provide meaningful feedback?

  • What code of conduct regarding feedback given will the organization espouse?

The 360 Degree Feedback Process Overview

Most organizations opt for an anonymously filled out 360 degree feedback document. The collected data is then tabulated in a confidential manner. Then, the results of the 360 degree feedback are shared with the person whose skills and performance were rated. The individual's boss is often part of this meeting so he or she can support action planning and development.

Occasionally, organizations set up facilitated meetings to share the 360 degree feedback results with the person whose performance was rated. If the employee is a manager, for best results, the manager needs to then share and discuss the results with his or her team. These meetings can be facilitated or not. The best method depends on the relationship the employees of the department have developed with each other over time.

The 360 degree feedback process steps are detailed in: 360 Degree Feedback: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Selection of Raters in 360 Degree Feedback

Jai Ghorpade, a professor of management in the College of Business Administration at San Diego State University says that "involving multiple constituents broadens the scope of information that is gathered. However, a mere increase in the scope of information may not necessarily yield data that are more accurate, impartial, and competent than those provided by the individual manager…"

Consequently, it is important that organizations allow employee input into the rater selection process. Perhaps the employee selects several peers, customers, direct reports and knowledgeable coworkers. Then the manager selects several more.

The supervisor of the employee and the employee who is receiving feedback should always fill out the 360 degree instrument. The individual’s rating of her own performance is important for later comparison with the rater group’s feedback. And, the boss's feedback is important, too, especially since, in most instruments, the feedback of the direct supervisor is not averaged with the rest of the feedback from other raters.

In developing your 360 degree feedback process, I recommend a shared process of selecting raters, always.

Additional Recommendations for Successful 360 Degree Feedback

These points will help you make the methods you use to administer your 360 degree feedback process most effective. All employees need training in the following and more.

  • understanding that the process is confidential, and the meaning of this confidentiality,
  • goals of the 360 degree feedback process,
  • methods used in administering the process,
  • understanding and filling out the instrument,
  • what the organization will do with the data collected, and
  • expectations of the employees involved in the process.

  • I prefer instruments that allow for examples and comments about each question. This allows the person who is the subject of the feedback to better understand his or her ratings.

  • In an organization with a culture that promotes feedback, openness, and trust, I am opposed to secret surveys. I’d like to see more organizations that introduce 360 degree feedback, aim over time, for a completely open process. This, of course, requires the work on the culture and climate described in: How to Change Your Culture: Organizational Culture Change.

    More About 360 Degree Feedback Debates

    1. About.com
    2. Money
    3. Human Resources
    4. HR Management: FAQs/Basics
    5. Most Recent Articles/Sites
    6. Recommended Methods - 360 Degree Feedback Process

    ©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.