360 Assessments: Reviewing Open-Ended Responses

By Marcie Levine

If you’ve ever wondered how to review comments on 360-degree surveys, today’s topic is for you.

Every once in a while, clients ask, “Can we review the open-ended responses in case we feel that some are inappropriate and need to be deleted?”

My response is that in our years of deploying assessments, we have never had to delete inappropriate comments.

Amazing, right?

Well, what we find is that a little training in how to provide feedback is really helpful.

We suggest that our clients help communicate the rater role by providing instructions in how to give appropriate feedback, like this:

What should a Rater keep in mind while assessing someone?

The purpose of the survey is to collect constructive feedback, comments and suggestions, so the first rule is do not write anything that is worded harshly or unfairly, or would put the Participant on the defensive.

Comments worded this way do more harm than good, and should be avoided.

The second rule is to be objective and candid. Each Participant will be looking for trends and common themes in their summary report that indicate strengths, as well as areas for improvement.

Also, good communication to the participants (people being rated) and their raters about the objective, process and expected actions to be created from the feedback will also help.

To have a successful 360 deployment, many things have to be in place, but providing guidance, expectations and context will help raters provide the most relevant and useful feedback possible.

Ready to get started?


About the author

Marcie Levine

Marcie Levine

Prior to founding SurveyConnect, Marcie had more than twelve-years of experience in HR, both as a consultant and in several corporate positions. As an HR consultant, she worked on a variety of client assignments, including the design and implementation of surveys. She created SurveyConnect to streamline and simplify the process of survey creation and administration. Marcie has published articles about 360 feedback process in trade magazines, including the International Society for Performance Improvement, Selling Power, T+D Magazine, and Quirk’s Marketing Research Review.