Once someone has gone through the 360 degree feedback process, it is helpful for them to have an introduction on how to review their report. There are some general concepts that we can share that work with all types of assessment objectives, competencies, questions, and response scales.
- Be open to the feedback you are receiving.
- Assume that raters take their role very seriously and avoid trying to figure out who said what. Sometimes you might think something like: “Somebody was really upset with me that day and I know they gave me bad scores.” Since the scores are anonymous, you do not know if this is true. Instead, look at the relativeness of the scores. Look at the four to six highest scoring questions and ask yourself, “Is this where I excel?” Then look at the four to six lowest scoring questions, and ask yourself if these scores make sense.
- Look for balanced feedback. Balance is imperative; it is just as important to identify the things you do well as it is to point out areas for improvement. In some cases, participants focus on the lower scores, but this might not in your best interest. For example, there may an individual who is rated low on the “teamwork” category. If this person is not part of any teams, these low ratings may be of little concern to this person. Therefore, this person may want to concentrate on other competencies.
- Look at the high scores – understand what raters said you do well.
- Look at the low scores – what group of raters does this information come from? Are low scores for an entire topic area or just for individual questions? Are the lower scores in areas that are essential to your work? For example, if you receive a low score on ‘leading effective meetings’, but you do not lead many meetings, consider whether this is where you want to focus any action-planning.
- Highlight applicable scores in the first pass of reading your report. Then review your highlights and look for themes/messages from your raters. Seeing high and lows scores isn’t too difficult, but grouping this information into themes will help you get the most out of the data.
- Look for the gaps, both between your scores and the raters’ scores, as well as gaps between different types of raters (supervisor, subordinates and peers) and try to understand why there might be different perceptions.
- Look closely at the narrative feedback. Sometimes that feedback sheds considerable light upon numerical feedback. Please do not try to figure out who said what – remember, you are looking for themes that you can learn from.
- Are there any surprises? Try to understand the results from any surprises.