The Process

Critical to the success of the process is a pre-brief to those who are participating in the 360° feedback, as this encourages buy-in and builds trust. Thornhill suggests that the client organisation communicates internally to prepare participants and raters before the launch. This pre-briefing should:

  • introduce Thornhill as the external service provider of the 360 feedback process, and let them know to expect an email from Thornhill which will contain a link to the questionnaire
  • explain the purpose and benefits of the process, as well as how the results will be used and who will have access to the reports
  • encourage constructive feedback from raters and assure them that their responses are confidential, unless agreed otherwise and stated in the email (for example, managers)
  • introduce the concept of individual feedback coaching sessions with a coach to debrief the report
  • address any questions or concerns.

The questionnaire will be put online using the Thornhill multi-rater system. We will agree with the client the wording of the Thornhill emails. To satisfy ethical and legal requirements, it is mandatory to include information in the emails regarding the purpose of the project, rater anonymity, and who will have access to the reports and data. From there on our system will send the introductory emails automatically.

The system will generate emails to the participants, and their pre-selected raters if required, according to the participant list provided by the client. The emails will invite the participants to click on a link that will take them to the questionnaire, which they will complete online. The system will also automatically send reminder emails to those who have not responded by a specified date.

Administration Options

Thornhill offers clients the option of selecting raters for the participants who are receiving feedback or allowing them to select their own raters.

There are three standard options for administering the 360° questionnaire online:

  • Participants forward the link to their raters:

Thornhill sends an email containing a link directly to participants, who then select their own raters by forwarding the email to those they want to give them feedback.

  • Participants and pre-entered raters:

You pre-select the raters you want to give feedback to each participant, in which case Thornhill will send an email to participants and each of their raters too.

  • Participants enter their rater details on the system (also used for pre and post administrations):

Thornhill sends an email containing a link to participants, which allows them to enter their raters directly on the system. The system will then automatically email the raters with a link to their questionnaire. 

Pre and post administrations: Post administrations can be used to determine changes which have taken place since the first administration, in order to easily track progress and to assess the impact of interventions.

The client administrator provides Thornhill with a single complete Excel spreadsheet with separate columns for the first name, surname and email address of each participant. If the client chooses to pre-select the raters to give feedback to each participant, then the client administrator also provides the raters’ first name, surname and email address, plus their category (manager, peer, direct report or other) in separate columns next to each participant. Thornhill provides an Excel template for this purpose.


Thornhill only charges for the participants registered on the system to receive feedback. There is no charge for the raters providing this feedback. 

Selecting raters 

It is best to select people whom you believe will provide honest and constructive feedback, and who ultimately have the participant’s best interests at heart. Also try to select a range of people whose views represent various different, but frequent, interactions and experiences with the participant.

It is important to consider the overload factor for raters – please be careful that the same raters are not providing feedback for too many participants. 

Number of raters

When using 360° questionnaires for developmental purposes, Thornhill recommends that, in addition to him/herself, each participant be rated by his/her manager, at least three peers, and at least three direct reports. The report will only distinguish between these categories if there are at least three raters in each (other than manager), so it would be safer to have more than three in each category.

You may select as many raters as you like, but naturally the more responses received the richer and more insightful the information appearing in the report is likely to be. However, care should be taken not to include raters who do not know the participants well, as their responses will dilute the more useful feedback of those who do know them well.

Monitoring Progress and Printing Reports

To enable you to have control over the process, Thornhill will provide the client administrator with a log-in to monitor progress towards completion of the project in order to follow up personally if required.

This log-in also allows the client administrator to generate and print the reports direct from the website when ready.

For ethical reasons the person(s) with this log-in will be required to sign an undertaking to treat this personal information in confidence.



Technical set up: once the questionnaire items and report design have been finalised, please allow one week for the creation of a new questionnaire and an individual report.

Administration set up: once the questionnaire is complete, allow one week to set up the administration, send test emails for approval, and load all the participants.

Launch and deadline dates: if possible, allow two to three weeks for participants and raters to provide feedback.

Example of timeframe 

If you wish the reports to be ready by [feedback date], we would recommend the following schedule:

Action Timeframe
Client and Thornhill consultant: if required, finalise questionnaire items and report design [as per mutually agreed timetable]
Thornhill technical team: if required, create new questionnaire and report (once items finalised) [one week]
Client administrator: finalise a single complete participant Excel spreadsheet [one week]
Client administrator: send internal pre-brief communication to participants and raters [before launch]
Thornhill admin: once questionnaire complete, set up admin (test emails, load participants, etc.) [one week]
Thornhill sends introductory email: to all participants, and their raters if required [launch date]
Thornhill sends a reminder to register, if necessary: to participants who have not loaded raters [three days later]
Thornhill sends a reminder email: to all participants or those who have not provided feedback [one week later]
Thornhill sends a final reminder email: to all participants or those who have not provided feedback [before deadline]
Deadline date for responses: date responses required by is indicated in emails [deadline date]
Final follow-up by client administrator: personally follows up on any outstanding responses [two days]
Client administrator generates and prints reports direct from the website: [report date]
Date of initial feedback coaching session: [feedback date]
Date of 90-day follow-up (Second Touch) feedback coaching session: [follow-up date]
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