Choosing 360 degree feedback raters can be a little contentious. Follow our recommendations below to make it less so.
There are two further questions here – how do we choose our 360 degree feedback raters? And, how many people should we ask to give 360 degree feedback?
How do we choose our 360 degree feedback raters?
We advise against the individual who is to receive the feedback from choosing their own raters as, for obvious reasons, most people will choose people they feel will give them the most positive feedback!
Having said that, dictating who should be invited to provide feedback can result in a little resentment.
A good middle ground is to make it mandatory to invite the feedback recipient’s manager and all their direct reports, but then allow them to propose who else it might be useful to invite.
How many people should we ask to give 360 degree feedback?
This is about balancing the quality of feedback with being inclusive. Inviting too many people to give feedback can actually dilute the quality of the feedback, but not inviting some people can appear to exclude them from the process.
A good number of people to ask is around 8. Once you go beyond 8 the nature of the feedback rarely changes. Some people will also not complete the questionnaire so asking fewer than 8 risks the person ultimately not receiving much feedback. Of course, there are always variations to this depending on the number of direct reports etc.
Indeed, we recommend asking all direct reports of the feedback recipient as it can appear divisive to only invite some and not others.
We also recommend inviting the feedback recipient’s manager to provide feedback as they often have a different view and also different expectations.
When it comes to colleagues, they (or customers or any other group for that matter) can add value, but we strongly recommend that only people who work closely with the feedback recipient are chosen. Where people do not work closely then they find it difficult to answer the questions in the 360, which causes frustration on their part.