What is a 360 Feedback Report?

360-degree feedback reports are the culmination of the 360-feedback process. A lot of time and money goes into the 360-survey process – ultimately it all comes down to the 360 report to decipher how to get the most out of that investment. Be sure to start the 360 process with the end in mind and understand what you need in a report prior to starting the process. The feedback report itself will not have all the answers but it will serve as the key to being able to prioritize developmental needs.  In other words, based on the feedback report the participant (and feedback coach) can “dig deep” to understand why the results were obtained, versus just what the scores mean.  There are a number of items that are needed in a report to make it useful to the end users (the focal participant and the manager).


Top 7 Must Have’s in any 360-Degree Feedback Report:


1. Be Comprehensive

A lot of time and effort is spent collecting a lot of good information during the survey part of the process.  Make sure the report provides a consolidation of data based on everything collected.  A 360 report that tries to consolidate everything in a 2 to 3 page report will be lacking in its ability to drive development.

2. Be easy to read and understand

As was mentioned there should be a considerable amount of information in the report.  However, this does not mean that it should be technical in nature.  In fact, the report should be easily understood and read by all.  In other words, be sure the report you use takes that data and breaks it down into easy-to-understand bite-sized chunks.

3. A summary of competency-level results

One sign of a good report is that it provides both a high-level view of overall performance, and then drills down into details.  The report should provide some overall context at the competency level to help identify which parts of the report should be evaluated on a deeper level.  Again, this will help you interpret the data that is important to understand at an executive level view.

4. A deeper dive into specific behavior results

The bottom-line detail becomes key to identifying the “why” behind the ratings.  If a particular rater group has rated a particular behavior low, the detail in the report should provide information that allows the focal participant to dig into why the ratings were low.  For example, if a person is rated low on giving specific performance feedback is the reason because they don’t give any feedback, or do they think they are giving specific feedback but it doesn’t meet the expectations of their direct reports, or is it because they don’t understand what that behavior really looks like on the job.  The answer to the previous question will dictate very different developmental activities.

5. Uncover real opportunities through strengths that may have been hidden

Development is not only about building upon weaker skills.  Many companies take on the philosophy that we should also be leveraging and building on strengths.  In addition, we always want to acknowledge and reinforce things that an individual is performing well.  So identifying strengths is needed to incorporate into the development plan for any individual. According to Gallup, focusing on strengths leads to 7% to 23% higher employee engagement among many other great benefits.

6. Reveal any blind spots that could be harmful to managers/supervisors

A good 360-degree feedback report will identify, and highlight, any blind spots for each focal participant.  It becomes very helpful to know where big discrepancies exist between an individual’s perception of their own abilities and how others perceive those same capabilities.  This information should almost always lead to further action during the development phase.

7. Provide specific suggestions for developmental opportunities

Often times individuals understand the report and can identify development needs. However, it is often difficult for participants to understand exactly how to develop those skills.  A report that doesn’t provide suggestions for developing the particular behaviors is more likely to be filed away and never looked at again. Ultimately the report should lead to a good development plan. Using the 360 report as a benchmark is a great way to kick-start the developmental process.


Sample report excerpts:

As you can see from these sample’s, they are comprehensive but they are also actionable. Here are a few key areas to keep in mind when it comes to the process of 360-degree feedback report interpretation and delivery:

  • Let the focal participant review the report on their own prior to the manager reviewing the results. This should be done very close to the time that the participant will sit down with the individual giving feedback on the report (i.e., manager, feedback coach, etc.). This allows for them to digest the information and let any emotions play out prior to the meeting.
  • The first meeting should focus on simply going through the report to make sure the participant understands how to interpret the data and start prioritizing possible development needs. In the meeting, allow about an hour to:
    • Go over the objectives for reviewing the 360-degree feedback report
    • Walk through the report page by page with the focal participant
    • Review any key-findings related specifically to behavior
    • Be prepared with some kind of developmental plan template that allows you to discuss the findings and insert any behavior changes required straight into the plan template
    • Come up with next steps for the focal participant to work on over the course of the next 30 days

Obviously, there are a number of next steps even after the first review is done. Like we say time and time again, the 360-degree feedback process is only the beginning of the development plan for a focal participant. Many companies use 360-degree feedback reports a few times throughout the year to measure progress against the original report. It’s a great way to keep the behavior changes needed top of mind for the focal participant.

In conclusion, when picking a 360-feedback provider, be sure to look at the 360 report to ensure it will give you the level of detail required to help you in building development plans for your associates.


Related resource:

AlignMark’s 360 product page

360 Degree Feedback Guide


Related Blog Post:

What is 360 degree feedback and how to do it right?