5 rules to follow when using 360-Degree Feedback

Feedback success

A 360 degree feedback or multi-rater feedback is a process in which employees receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around them. Here are 5 rules to create an effective feedback.

1. Having a clear purpose


First of all, it’s important to have a clear and well-defined understanding and a contract with employees on why the organization’s undertaking a 360 feedback process.
360 feedbacks should not be used just because other organizations are doing it, but because it will serve a specific purpose in the company. Ideally, the process should be designed especially for that purpose.

Multi-rater feedback doesn’t replace direct communication. It is a process for helping people like managers, supervisors and peers gain a rich, accurate perspective on how others view their management practices, interpersonal style, and effectiveness.


2. Involve all the key stakeholders


It’s important to involve the key stakeholders in the design and implementation of a 360 feedback and make sure that all stakeholders thoroughly discuss their concerns and fully understand the rationale behind it. People need to be aware of important decisions and must have the possibility to provide input to such decisions and assist with the implementation.

Stakeholders, immediate supervisors or managers, and the potential feedback such as peers, team members, and customers should know the strategic competencies to be measured, and how the feedback will be integrated with existing development or evaluation systems.


3. Create trust


Multi-rater feedback is based on the idea that people can feel safe providing anonymous feedback. Compromised confidentiality or anonymity or even the perception of a breach can be a disaster. The way a feedback is delivered can have a big impact on how constructively people will use it.

It is important to have clear decisions and a communicated understanding of how the 360 degree feedback will be processed and routed to people. People need to know exactly what will be reported to whom, if they’re free to speak, and the final purpose of their report.

That’s why building an environment of trust is imperative, so raters know that the information will be used fairly, honestly, for the purpose of individual development – and their anonymity and confidentiality will be safeguarded.

Also, if 360 feedback is to be used in evaluation, it’s important to make sure people think the rating system is fair.

Moreover, people must have ways to act on the feedback they receive. A recurring problem is that people don’t know what to do with the feedback they get. Insight isn’t enough; people need guidelines-such as individual coaching, training, or self-study-for taking action.

Finally, it’s unproductive when participants are subject to surprises about who sees the data and for what purposes it will be used. The worst case is when people are led to believe one thing and the situation changes after the process has begun.


4. Asking relevant questions


Technical terms and complicated language often leave space for miscommunication and confuse the raters. Moreover, poorly worded questions are another reason why companies don’t achieve the maximum response rate.

It is recommended to create an emphasis on behavioral patterns and competencies rather than personality traits.


5. Using a digital tool


The administration and scoring of any 360 feedback process should be user-friendly. The process can entail a large and complex set of procedures.

The response rate may be low and the feedback less accurate because people may not be motivated to complete the survey.

Qigu Rate is a user-friendly tool that builds corporate assessments in no time and automatically generate a customized user-friendly report.




Photo: Andrey Yalanski