No Image Available

360 feedback in 3rd person?


I have been working through a series of 360 degree feedback reports. As ever, I have been concentrating on the narrative element. And something struck me for the first time – having read a lot of 360 feedback reports!

People write about the recipients in the third person – “he, she”. It is like they are telling the system (I guess that is who they are telling) about the person involved.

So, I read “Jane often criticises in public” or “She often criticises in public”. The odd thing is that the recipient is going to read this report – and they are going to read about themselves in the 3rd person from people they know very well.

Would it not be more personal to write “You often criticise in public”. Does the move to 3rd person reflect the anonymity that is perceived in an online 360 degree appraisal solution?

I think that when reading your report the comments being in the 3rd person can soften them somehow – often a good thing – but it is odd that everyone, almost without fail, and without any instruction to do so writes as if they are telling someone else the feedback rather than the person themselves?

Might try a different form of wording on a questionnaire one time and see if it changes the responses.

Brendan Walsh

No Image Available

Get the latest from HRZone.

Subscribe to expert insights on how to create a better workplace for both your business and its people.


Thank you.