How Do I Handle Confidentiality On 360's?

The appropriate degree of confidentiality for a 360 should be determined by your unique situation. If 360's are common in your organization and the people with whom you interact are relatively open minded and supportive, you probably don't need to impose a lot of confidentiality precautions. If the people being surveyed believe that what they say will be seen by your superiors, go into your file, and impact your performance review, they are probably less likely to be honest with their feedback. If, on the other hand, they believe their feedback will only be given to you and their anonymity will be maintained, they are more likely to give you more candid, more useful information. A good guideline for you, your boss, your coach, and your HR professional, is to inform only those people you will survey that they are being surveyed, not let them know who the other people being surveyed are, and ask them to keep the survey confidential. An exception to this rule is if your entire organization conducts 360's. Even then, the more the details of the survey group are kept confidential, the more likely the participants will keep the experience to themselves.

As soon as you identify the sources for your 360 feedback, contact those people to ask them to participate. Tell them about the confidentiality and anonymity guidelines, how the survey will be conducted, and that you will appreciate their candid responses. Be sensitive to contacting each person individually and directly rather than go through voicemail, email, administrative assistants, or other people or media. The more personal and direct your requests, the better response you are likely to get. Once you have OK's from all the people participating, give your coach contact information so that he/she can contact them to make the necessary arrangements.