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When deciding on the number of raters each ratee (or target) should have, it is important to take 3 things into consideration:
The integrity of your entire 360 Degree Feedback process depends on both the perceived and actual confidentiality of the process. While there are several things that we do from a systems perspective with our SigmaRadius product to ensure confidentiality, the simple act of selecting raters is a critical step.
Each individual that is being rated should have a minimum of 3 raters per category (peers, direct reports, etc.) to protect the confidentiality of each rater. The exception to this rule is the individuals’ supervisor, where only one rater is required.
The 360 system that you use should have safeguards build into place that will suppress raters or collapse them into another category if less than 3 individuals provide ratings.
The premise of a 360 degree feedback is gathering multiple perspectives on your performance. At a simple level, each category represents a different working relationship with the employee that in turn provides a unique perspective.
Trying to maximize the perspectives with the composition of your raters will provide you with the richest and most diverse feedback. For example, a colleague that works with you daily may have a different perspective than a colleague in a different department who you have worked on projects with periodically. Both are still valuable to capture.
While 360 Feedback has the potential to provide incredible value for the development of your leaders and employees, it also has the potential to cost a lot of time. Working with an experienced vendor can help to minimize resource costs and ensure you are minimizing investment and maximizing the return. Additionally, rater selection is a critical piece to maximizing your ROI.
We recommend involving the fewest raters possible while maintaining confidentiality and maximizing the perspectives captured.
With the above in mind, we would typically recommend 3-6 raters per rater category. This provides the best balance between confidentiality, capturing perspectives, and minimizing resource requirements.
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