Selecting Raters for a 360-degree Feedback Process

Posted by Yen Phuong Nguyen on

In the previous blog post, we discussed the fundamentals of a 360-degree feedback process including several instances where the system fails.

In general, 360-degree feedback is a powerful tool for employees to obtain an understanding of their expected skills and behaviours. To be able to gain valuable insights, the organisation needs input from both the employees being interviewed and the people giving out feedback.

Selecting Raters for 360-degree Feedback Process

360-degree feedback raters/reviewers can be anyone: peers, direct reports, managers, and non-supervisor individuals who have frequent interactions with the interviewee on a regular basis (such as the customers, suppliers, etc.). Selecting the right raters can also make or break the process.

Read more: Performance review - which method is right for your enterprise?

Factors to be considered when selecting 360-degree feedback raters

The interviewee can choose their own raters, or the raters can be chosen by the HR department or by the interviewee’s manager. It can also be a combination of all three options above. What’s more important is these raters can give honest feedback, not something all positive or all negative.

Selecting the wrong reviewers can be detrimental to the entire 360-degree feedback process and the organisation, as a result, cannot obtain any valuable insights about the employee’s capabilities.

Read more: Understand the fundamentals of 360-degree feedback

Clear guidance to 360 participants

The organisation needs to ensure both the interviewee and the reviewers understand the purpose of undertaking the 360-degree feedback. This includes giving them clear instructions on how to use the 360-degree feedback program, and the raters’ feedback must be candid with their input.

At any point, the raters are guaranteed their feedback is kept confidential. If they feel they are unable to provide an accurate answer, they can leave the process.

The number of raters

Many organisations tend to choose between 7 to 14 raters for each individual being reviewed. However, it can be flexible and depends entirely on the participant’s job, connections, and the company’s structure. 

Recent experience with the participants

It is important for the raters to know the participant well, and has been working alongside them for a period of time. Furthermore, the nature of the participant’s job responsibilities should also be well understood by the raters. This is to ensure that the feedback given will be valid, accurate, and constructive as much as possible.

Read more: How "potential" are your candidates in the succession plan?

Don’t opt out of cross-function raters

It is not necessary to include only those who work closely with the participant and from the same department. The reviewers can be anyone who has different types of working relationships with the individual. These cross-function raters can contribute a more diverse overview of the participant's strengths and weaknesses.

Read more: Understanding company culture and its importance in talent acquisition

It isn't surprising that the results rely heavily on the raters. The employees and the managers know best who should weigh in on the review process. However, things can still go wrong if the wrong mix of reviewers is selected.

360-degree feedback if executed correctly can help the organisation engage with the employee, maximise their potential, and increase the overall productivity as a result.

Which performance review process is being used in your organisation? Were you faced with any difficulty? TRG is here to help! To learn more about the 360-degree feedback process or other Talent Management solutions, visit the TRG Talent page or request a free demo today!  

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Topics: Talent Management

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 Rick Yvanovich
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