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We have 360 degree peer reviews which are anonymous. I heard that we should give concrete examples while giving a review. If I give concrete example, I lose my anonymity. The recipient would also know who gave that review. What is the best way to give an anonymous peer review?

  • Wouldn't 360 degrees imply you are reviewing yourslef? – Laconic Droid Aug 22 '18 at 15:01
  • @LaconicDroid It's a commonly used HR term, that means you are reviewed 'from all around' (from 360 degrees) - i.e. from above, from below and from the same level. – DJClayworth Aug 22 '18 at 15:33
  • Interesting. The only places I encountered them, they we called 180s or "Upward Reviews" – Laconic Droid Aug 22 '18 at 15:34
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If i give concrete example, i lose anonymity. The recipient would also know who gave that review. What is the best way to give a peer review?

You could avoid using examples that could be written only by you. Sometimes that means the examples must be less concrete, and often it means you would provide fewer examples.

When I wrote 360 reviews, I didn't bother attempting to be anonymous. I would never write anything that I wouldn't say to the individual's face. I was either completely honest (and therefore didn't care about anonymity) or I didn't provide a review at all.

Personally, I think "360 reviews" are nonsense. But that's a different question.

  • Agree on the nonsense – Simon Aug 23 '18 at 20:21
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What is the best way to give a peer review?

Carefully and honestly, with the idea in mind that it may be seen by anyone. In my experience in the workplace, 'Anonymous' should be taken with a large grain of salt.

  • I've worked in many places where there are anonymous peer reviews, and never once had that anonymity breached. – DJClayworth Aug 22 '18 at 13:12
  • @DJClayworth no one knew? Not even the manager or people processing the reviews? I'm skeptical, in my experience someone always knows or can work it out, after which your anonymous information is held by a human....... I've seen people sacked after an 'anonymous' internal survey they were stupid enough to speak their mind on. – Kilisi Aug 22 '18 at 14:12
  • You didn't read my answer did you? – DJClayworth Aug 22 '18 at 14:22
  • @DJClayworth I did read it, but didn't understand the point – Kilisi Aug 23 '18 at 22:54
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While I don't know how your particular anonymous peer reviews work, there is a normal way companies do these things.

When they say "the reviews are anonymous" it doesn't mean that the reviews are made available to all, but with the names removed. It means that the person you write about won't see what you wrote at all. The reviews go to the person's manager (and/or HR) who takes what you say into account in their assessment of the subject's performance. Those people will know who wrote the review. They won't pass any information you write directly on to the review subject. Anything they say to them will be done in a generalized way, not citing specific examples, and making sure they can't work out who gave the feedback.

You can therefore write specific comments and give specific examples, and the person reviewed will not know what was written or who wrote it.

It is possible that the subject may guess what you wrote, but that's a chance you take whenever you say anything. The only alternative is to keep silent,and the chances are probably small.

If this doesn't sound like your review system you should ask specifically how anonymity is maintained.

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    -1 in places I've worked, that use standard HR systems like Namely, the 360 review itself is indeed directly exposed to the reviewee. – mxyzplk Aug 22 '18 at 2:56
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    @mxyzplk, It really depends on the system in use, and on its configuration. For example, last time I used PerformanceHub (another software for evaluations), the reviewee could see the names of the people giving them reviews, but reviewers were able to choose whether the content was shown to the person being reviewed or only to management. – JohnSomeone Aug 22 '18 at 12:38
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    @mxyzplk I'm really only talking about places where the review is called 'anonymous', like the question says. – DJClayworth Aug 22 '18 at 13:11
  • These are called anonymous because the name is stripped off them. Read the OP. Their context is obviously where the review itself can be seen or else they wouldn’t be asking this. – mxyzplk Aug 22 '18 at 15:08
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    @mxyzplk The OP does not say "the names are stripped off". That's your assumption. In the many places where I have worked, and the many more where I know people who have worked, 'anonymous' means what I write here. There may be alternative versions, but the one I describe is very common. – DJClayworth Aug 22 '18 at 15:41

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