360-degree feedback surveys can be a useful source of information about individual employees. These surveys tap into various opinions, allowing you to get a fuller picture of how an employee works and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
To get the most out of this feedback, it's important to set up each survey carefully. You need the right reviewers to get the best results. What are your key considerations here?
1. Target Relevant Reviewer Groups
The first person on a 360-degree feedback reviewer list is the person you're reviewing. Their self-feedback is important. It gives you a comparison with the opinions of others so you can assess how well the individual understands their own role and their strengths and weaknesses.
If the reviewed individual is at the centre of the process, then other reviewers should come from above, below and to the side of them in the organization. For example, you should invite people at a more senior level to whom the individual reports and some of their peers at the same level. It's also important to get feedback from people at a less senior level who work for the individual.
In some cases, you may also find it useful to invite people from outside your company to take part as well. You could include contractors or clients with whom the individual regularly works.
2. Build a Large Reviewer Pool
While you can have a single reviewer from each part of the process, this limits your results. For example, if you have only one report giving feedback on their manager, then you get one point of view. This doesn't always give you a complete picture.
If the reviewer really likes the manager, then they might paint a rosy picture of them. If they have problems with the manager, then they might be negative.
It's a better idea to have a few reviewers from each area. This gives you more information and reduces bias.
3. Involve the Employee You're Reviewing
Some companies allow the people who are getting feedback to choose their own reviewers; others choose for them. It is a good idea to give the individual some input, even if you make the final decision on who joins the review panel.
The individual has a better idea of who they work with most often and most closely. This ensures that you get feedback from people who have in-depth experience of working with them. If you pick reviewers who don't know the individual that well, then the feedback they give is less useful.
For more advice on setting up 360-degree feedback surveys, talk to your survey consultancy.