360 Degree Assessment

by Julia Miller

Choosing raters

Normally, between 10 and 12 raters need to be chosen, though the number can be lower.

Who do I choose to rate me?

If you are being rated, you should be asked to choose a number of people to rate you, often in conjunction with your HR department and a consultant, if one is being used. For example, if you take the diagram below, you might wish to choose four peers, your boss, yourself and four reports, totalling 10. Remember that you will usually be one of the raters and another will generally be your boss.

Unless the process is being organised for a specific purpose, you can then choose a range of people who you work with regularly and who know enough of what you do to be able to form an opinion on the behaviours they are being asked to measure you against. Choose people who have known you for at least six months.

Be honest! You might get more insight from those with whom you work less easily rather than those you consider to be friends.

You might get guidance from your HR department; if not, consider using the following:

  • Your boss’ boss or a previous manager of your own
  • Members of your staff (this can be interesting and potentially challenging!)
  • Members of your own team – some 360 instruments concentrate exclusively on how the participant demonstrates team skills
  • Your peers – these might come from different parts of the organisation and could be members of short-term project teams, for example
  • Customers – either internal or external or both
  • Suppliers – again either internal or external or both
  • Friends and family – these can be useful if you are completing a 360 as part of a career development plan.

Don’t be tempted to choose raters from all of the above groups. If you pick too wide a mix, with too many different perspectives, it becomes difficult to identify exactly where you might need to change your behaviour.

How do I rate someone?

All ratings and feedback are anonymous, unless you are the individual’s boss, in which case your rating is usually clearly and separately identified. You need to focus on the behaviours and rate the individual on your perception of their behaviours. It’s important to avoid falling into the trap of rating them on any intentions that you might guess lie behind the behaviours. You are rating people on how they actually behave, not on how they might behave in the future. This applies even when the aim of the 360 is to plan for the future – the ratings should be based on observed behaviour, not speculation.