Blog Post

Frequently asked questions regarding a 360 degree feedback program

By: Marcie Levine
Published: 6/16/2011

When you are implementing a 360 degree feedback process it can be helpful, especially for first-timers, to provide an FAQ document for the participants and raters that will be asked to participate in the deployment.

Below is an example of such a document.  Of course, each deployment has its own objectives and processes, so there is no one document that will work for everyone; feel free to use this document as a template from which to customize your own set of answers:

360 FAQ

Introduction to Participants and Raters

One of the reasons for our success is our belief in the principle of continuous improvement—we are always trying to improve everything we do.  Managers are key members of the leadership team who have consistently given their best to our customers, teams, and our organization.  This fall we have arranged to provide all managers with the opportunity to invite raters to provide some feedback that will validate their leadership strengths and help identify potential areas for further development.

For those of you new to this process (or needing a refresher), here is some information about the process, why we are doing it, and what you may be asked to do to help make the program successful.

What is a 360 degree feedback process?

The primary purpose of our 360 degree feedback process is to allow a Participant (person being rated) to learn the perceptions that colleagues have of their performance, skills, behaviors and values, and to use this knowledge to implement professional and behavioral development actions.

Presently, an employee receives formal feedback only from their direct manager.  Consequently, when the employee seeks to address development opportunities, she/he is acting on limited information: that based only on the perspective of their direct manager.   While this perspective is important, it’s not complete.  If she/he receives feedback from other people, then action can be based on a more complete picture of perceptions.

The information learned in this process is intended to strengthen our managers’ capabilities and further develop their potential.  Our goals are to create opportunities for development, not to use the assessment results as part of anyone’s performance review.

What participation might be asked of me?

You may be asked to be a Participant (someone being rated), a Rater (someone rating a participant), or both.

  • As a Participant, you will be asked to rate yourself so that you can understand if there are differences in perception between your scores and how others rated you.
  • As a Rater, you will be asked to rate someone else so that that person can understand if there are differences in perception between their self scores and their rater scores.

How will this work?

The 360 degree process we will be using is based on an on-line assessment tool provided by SurveyConnect, whose ActiveView 360 online assessment tool streamlines the 360 degree assessment process.

The on-line assessment tool will involve about fifty questions that are related to our business goals and to the individual’s performance, technical skills, values and behaviors.  You will have the opportunity to write open-ended responses in several areas of the assessment to help clarify your ratings and/or provide specific examples to help the participant when she/he reviews her/his report.

Completing an assessment of an individual (or a self-assessment) should take about 15 to 20 minutes.

What are the steps of our 360 degree process?

  1. Each Participant will receive an e-mail notification from the ActiveView system that will provide the URL and their individual login information, along with important information about the 360 process and timeframes.
  2. Raters will receive an e-mail notification detailing that they’ve been asked to assess one or more Participants, along with the URL and their individual login information.
  3. When the Participants and Raters log on to the site, they will see a list of Participants who need to be rated by them.  If interrupted, the users of the system will be able to save their answers mid-assessment, log out of the program, and log back in later to complete the assessment.  Once the Completed button is selected on any assessment, no changes to the assessment can be made.
  4. Reminders will be sent to those Participants and Raters who have outstanding assessments prior to the close of the assessment deployment.
  5. After the responses are received, the Participant and her/his manager will receive a copy of the report to review together.

 

What happens next?

The Participant is encouraged to consider one or two areas where a change in performance or behavior, or the acquisition of additional skills or knowledge would likely lead to an improvement in performance.  While this need not involve anyone else, the Participant may chose to work with their manager, coach or mentor to develop and implement a development plan.  More information on these actions and timelines will be provided in the Participant’s report.

What type of questions will be asked?

Questions for all Participants will be asked in broad categories:

  • Communication
  • Efficiency & Productivity
  • Employee Development
  • Integrity
  • Leadership
  • Problem-Solving and Decision-Making

How many people will be asked to rate each participant?

As many as possible, within reason – it’s not helpful to be rated by someone who has not worked with the Participant enough to form solid perceptions.  The quality and relevancy of the feedback is much more important than the quantity of the feedback.

As for numerical targets, each participant should strive to invite the following people to be raters: their manager, four – six peers, and all direct reports.

Is this process anonymous?

Yes, the feedback report will not mention any names. It will categorize the quantitative information into groups of respondents: self, manager, peers and direct reports, but it will not identify raters to rankings or comments (the manager’s ratings and comments will not be anonymous since typically there is only one person in this category).  Comments will be provided verbatim, but will not be assigned to the person who made them.

What should a Rater keep in mind while assessing someone?

Be balanced in your feedback.  Give credit where due, and help provide feedback that could improve performance. Be professional, objective and candid.  Each Participant will be looking for trends and common themes in their summary report that indicate strengths, as well as areas for improvement.

Comments are important.  They help the Participant understand the quantitative results.  Since one purpose of the survey is to collect these constructive comments, examples and suggestions, please do not write anything that is worded harshly or unfairly, or would put the Participant on the defensive.  Comments worded this way do more harm than good, and should be avoided.

Thank you for participating is this process. We appreciate your time and assistance in supporting our commitment to the development of our management team.  Please let us know if you have any questions that have not been addressed in this document.

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