360 Survey Debrief Tips

Things to consider prior to the launch of a 360-survey:

  • Before launching a 360-survey, establish who will have access to the report after completion. For example, will the leader and the person debriefing be the only ones with a copy? Or will the report be shared with HR and the leader’s direct manager? It is extremely important to decide these parameters before launching so there aren’t any surprises.  

After completion of a 360-survey:

  • When the 360-survey has ended, pull the report to review.  
  • Look for patterns both in the rated questions and the comments. Highlight any outliers.  
  • Schedule the debrief with the leader. Set aside at least 2-hours for this meeting and if it’s in person, find a quiet and private meeting room. 
  • Consider sending the leader a copy of the report about 3-days before the meeting so they can review the report and have time to formulate questions they may have. See below for a sample message:

Dear (insert name of leader):

( Insert your name or whoever is debriefing here )  is looking forward to working with you on October 9 at 10am CT.  In preparation for your assessment feedback, we want to send your 360-degree survey report ahead of time so that you have time to read it and formulate your questions and thoughts before you go through it with ______. I have attached your report.

As you read your 360 report, here are the major things to keep in mind:

  1. 360-degree surveys are based on the perception of others.  How you are perceived is extremely is important as a leader so if the scores are not where you want them to be, you can work with ____ to change how others are experiencing your leadership in that area.
  2. You are looking for patterns of both strengths and weaknesses rather than individual perceptions.  If you have one outlier in a specific area, set that aside until you meet with ____ because one person’s opinion is not enough of a data point to make decisions.  It will be more helpful to stay focused on the big picture.
  3. It is best to wait to address any part of your 360 with others until after you meet with ____.  If you want to ask your raters questions, there are specific things you can say to help you get the answers you need and _____ will help you formulate the best questions to get additional feedback or address any issues.

Debriefing Tips 

Before you begin 

  • Reiterate that 360-surveys are based on the perceptions of others and that you can assist the leader with any scores they wish to improve. 
  • Let the leader know that it’s important to look for patterns instead of focusing on individual perceptions, and it’s better to focus on the big picture.  Let the leader know you can assist with any outliers.  
  • Review the completion rate. For example, was participation lower for one group versus another? Was participation low for all groups? Try to see if you can find a pattern here or anything that stands out. Could low participation mean something? These are some questions to consider.  


Section 1 – Competency Summary 

  • This section shows average ratings for each competency.  
  • The overall rating listed at the top is the average scores among all competencies excluding the leader.  
  • Each competency will be broken down by the average of All Raters, and groups (ex. Supervisor, peers, direct reports, indirect reports, others, self). 
  • The highest and lowest rating for each competency will also be shown.  
  • Look for patterns here and any rating that is lower than expected as well as those areas where the leader scored favorably. Also, pay attention to how the leader rated themselves versus the other groups.  


Section 2 – Competency Profile 

  • The competency profile chart gives an at-a-glance overview of how each rating group scored each competency. When the lines are near the top chart, the competency is likely to be considered a strength by the corresponding rater group. The lines that fall near the bottom are likely to be considered development areas by the corresponding rater groups.  
  • Once again, look for patterns here. How did the leader rate themselves compared to the other groups? 


Section 3 – Summary of all Items (Box and Whisker Chart) 

  • This chart is useful in summarizing and interpreting a range of data. Here you can see the lowest and highest scores, the mean, and median. The colored box in the middle represents the norm groups, those that are plus or minus 1 of the standard deviation from the mean. Approximately, 68% for the rater group will fall within the box. 
  • Here, look for any outliers by looking at the highest and lowest rating for each group. Continue to look for patterns and compare each chart to the leader’s.  


Section 4 – Questions Report 

  • This sections breaks down to the question level. It will show average ratings per group including self (the leader). In addition, scores for all raters will be shown (this includes all groups minus the self (leader).  
  • In addition to the average scores, there is a Gap column. 
    • If (the average rating of the that group - the average rating of self) > 1 => shows the difference, and it indicates that that item is a hidden strength 
    • If (the average rating of the that group - the average rating of self) < -1 => shows the difference and it indicates that that item is a blind spot 
    • If -1 <= (the average rating of the that group - the average rating of self) <= 1 => show N/A (no hidden strength of blind spot identified). 


Section 5 – Open-Ended Comments 

  • Look for patterns in the open-ended comments for example, what falls under areas of opportunity and areas where the leader is doing well?  
  • Go through this section with the leader with the focus being on the patterns. If any comment is an outlier, remind the leader that it’s an outlier and to focus on the overall picture.  


Section 6 – Individual Question Ratings Highest to Lowest 

  • This section ranks each question from highest to lowest rating.  
  • Go through and see what questions received the highest ratings and which received the lowest ratings.  


Section 7 – Skill Rating Overview 

  • The skill rating overview ranks the competencies from highest to lowest. This gives a good at-a-glance visual of how the leader scored across the competencies. 


Section 8 – Development Report 

  • This section pulls the highest rated competencies (strengths) and lowest rated competencies (development opportunities) and lists items that the leader can take to improve or continue doing. In addition, there are also reading suggestions.  
  • This section also has a blank IDP form. We suggest that you assist and the leader in filling out this form. 
    • Confirm with the leader if they will be sharing the IDP with the manager or not (we suggest that they do share with the manager) 


Spreadsheet: Sample 360 Debrief Template


About EDA, Inc. 

EDA, Inc., a world-class human capital firm with powerful Employee Experience platform, providing SaaS and AI solutions, premium executive development services and leading industry research. EDA’s services include.

  • C-Suite & Executive Coaching,
  • Custom Executive Development,
  • Succession Planning,
  • Assessment & Selection Services, and
  • High-Potential Development.

It is our pleasure and passion to help organizational leaders create conducive workforce environments so that they can attract, retain, and develop top talent and advance their mission and strategy.


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