Who should pick the respondents in 360 degree feedback

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They’ll pick their mates!

Whopicks the respondents/raters is another classic debate we get into when setting up an online 360 degree appraisal system.  The organisation’s culture drives much of the debate and theanswer.

Our baseline position is that the recipient should pickthe respondents. They are best placed to understand who can giveaccurate feedback on themselves and engaging them in the process iscrucial to overall success and ensuring a high response rate.

Many clients believe that recipients will pick their mates – pick people who will give them favourable ratings.  Frankly, our experience is different to this.  We find that people are (generally) looking for accurate feedback and do select a sensible and appropriate group of respondents.

Thepurpose of the 360 will be influential. If there is any link to paythen the ‘rating’ on the 360 becomes something of value outside of theintrinsic development process. The recipient has an interest in gettinghigh ‘scores’. We would recommend avoiding such a link but if it doesexist then some form of managerial review of the selected respondentsis inevitable.

But, all of our experience is that peopleapproach this from a development perspective – and actively seekbalanced feedback – as long as the systems / processes surrounding the360 are supportive and used for development rather than evaluation. Ifyou see 360 as a long-term process then even those people that in thefirst year are suspicious and load their selections with favourablecolleagues, over time they will move to selecting an appropriate mix ofcolleagues and direct reports.


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