It’s important to select the right participants to provide feedback for 360 reviews. The selection process is unique to each organisation, the position, and the individual being reviewed. Regardless of whether you’re using 360 feedback for performance managemenselect ratert or development purposes, these tips will help ensure you select the correct participants in order to get the greatest results from your multi-rater feedback.

For 360 degree feedback, you’ll usually want to gather feedback from three sources:

  1. Individual Self-Ratings: It’s important to ask the individual being reviewed to evaluate his or her own performance. This helps employees reflect on personal performance and serves as a comparison tool. When results are collected, the individual being rated has the ability to see how personal ratings stack up to what other employees are saying. Surprisingly, many managers discover they self-rate certain aspects of their performance lower than peers and direct reports do.

  2. Direct Manager: An individual’s direct manager is the person in the organisation most familiar with their performance. Managers will have a detailed understanding of the job duties and what it takes to be successful in the role. A manager will have more information in regards to how an employee is meeting goals and objectives.

  3. Direct Reports: It’s also beneficial for a manager to include direct reports in 360 reviews. Direct reports will have the best insight into the manager’s management and leadership style. Many times, the ultimate goal of 360 feedback is to help the individual improve management skills; the best feedback on how an individual manages others comes from the people being managed.

Other sources of 360 feedback include, customers, peers, consultants, and outside vendors. Peers and consultants can provide useful performance feedback because they work closely with the individual and interact with them in a different way than managers or direct reports. Customers and vendors will give insight into the individual’s level and quality of service when they are representing the organisation.

When deciding who will select the group of participants there are four options: The employee being reviewed can choose them, HR can decide, the individual’s manager can pick, or a combination of the three. What’s more important than who selects participants is that it’s a well-balanced group. Avoid selecting people that will give all negative or all positive feedback. Choose people who can be counted on to give honest, diverse feedback.

Be aware of the size of the participant group as well. If you select too many participants, you run the risk of diluting the feedback. If you don’t include enough raters, the feedback may not be a true comprehensive review of performance. The right number of participants naturally depends on the position and the individual being reviewed. Choose people who understand the role and responsibilities of the person being reviewed and who have worked with them for a period of more than six months. This ensures that they are qualified to give useful feedback.

Selecting the most relevant participants is critical to collecting 360 degree feedback that will actually improve employee performance. Learn more about the advantages that 360 feedback provides over traditional employee reviews in our free white paper, Traditional Employee Reviews: Solutions to the Most Common Issues.

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