Who should see the feedback report? (Part 8 of 10)

8. Who should see the feedback report?

The debate here is around who „owns‟ the information in the feedback report. Is it the focus, because the information is about them, or is it the organisation, because the report has been provided as part of the development or performance management system they operate?
The answer to this question may change depending on whether it is agreed that the feedback obtained from a 360° process should be used for appraisal as well as development. If the view is that it should be purely for development then giving the ownership of the report to the organisation, or giving access to HR/ management may risk feedback being incorporated into performance appraisal feedback. As well as the risk of data being used for purposes other than those initially stated, there is also a risk that managers will misinterpret results, or focus on the negatives.

A way to overcome these potential issues is to provide managers with the development plan, average category scores and group norms resulting from the 360 process rather than an individual’s full report. This will then be sufficient for them to support development of the individual. Furthermore, if it is made clear that the process will be used for development an individual may feel more comfortable to share more with managers in attempt to improve performance. A further benefit of managers being allowed access to individual reports is that it leads to increased accountability, which has been shown to be a key factor leading to behaviour change post 360° feedback.

The general consensus is that the individual should own the report and have the choice to share it with those they select. This will inevitably include the feedback coach but dissemination further than that should be the choice of the focus and should be clarified up front. Having this clarity is particularly important as knowing who will see the report from the onset may not only influence the rating mind set of both the participant and other raters, but will also help ensure employees trust the process.

At Talent Innovations we believe that when used for development purposes, the focus should own the report as well as the responsibility for using the information within it to focus on self-development. When being used for performance management however the organisation should „own‟ the information as it has direct implications on HR decisions.

Part 9: Should feedback only be delivered to the individual by those trained in feedback techniques such as a trained coach?

For the full paper, download it for free here.

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