Four Guidelines on 360 Degree Feedback Rater Selection

Written by Explorance , Explorance.

Selecting feedback providers (or raters) is one of the most important steps in the 360 degree feedback process. In our last post, we looked at the different 360 approaches and at who selects the raters (participant or manager). However, how does the participant decide who to include as a rater? How many reviewers should be involved in the process? Below we will answer these questions and provide some guidelines on rater selection.

  1. Recent experience:

    Only those who have sufficient working experience with the participant should be used as feedback providers. It is important that the raters know the participant well so that they can provide valid, constructive feedback.  To be included in the evaluation raters should have worked with the individual for at least four months.

  2. Cross-section of raters:

    It is important to select reviewers who have different types of working relationships with the individual. Having a cross-section of raters will provide a balanced and objective evaluation of the participant’s strengths and areas for improvement.

    Possible raters to include:

    • Participant (self-assessment)
    • Manager
    • Direct Reports
    • Team Members (different job levels)
    • Peers (same job level)
    • Customers/Business Partners
  3. Number of raters:

    To achieve statistical reliability with the results, four supervisors, eight peers and nine reports should be included in the 360 review (Greguras & Robie 1995). However, the number of raters is flexible and depends on the participant’s job function, working relationships and the company structure. You want to be sure to select enough raters so that the feedback is accurate and balanced. A minimum of five and a maximum of 20 reviewers should be utilized. Again, this depends on the participant and company.

  4. Rater anonymity:

    It critical to the 360 degree process that raters be given total anonymity. It must be clearly communicated that feedback will remain confidential to ensure reviewer participation. Providing anonymity allows the rater to be open, honest and constructive. The evaluators will be more candid since their feedback cannot be directly attributed to them by the participant. Another way to maintain anonymity is to combine the feedback so that the results are averaged.

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