employer wants friends and family to participate in 360 feedback reviews

A reader writes:

Something odd happened to me today, and I wanted to see if I’m the one off-base for being confused by it.

I received a request to fill out a 360 review for my sister. My sister and I are not coworkers; we do not work for the same company (we aren’t even in the same industry!). When I asked my sister about this request, she said she was encouraged to have her friends and family fill it out because some people are different by profession then they are by nature?(!). Her supervisors made her feel that this review will help her get a better view of areas in her life she could improve.

Luckily for my sister, I don’t really have anything negative to say about her, so if I fill out this review, I’m not worried it will impact her career advancement. But I thought it was overly invasive, a point my sister understood but she thought I was being paranoid. I can’t think of any way getting a 360 review from your friends and family will help you in your career, but I can think of a LOT of ways it could hurt you.

So I’m wondering if this is some new trend? Or is this a common thing, and I’ve just never experienced it yet?

WHAT.

No, this is not a new trend. This is inappropriate and boundary-crossing and weird.

It’s none of an employer’s business what an employee’s friends and family think of them, and if an employee wants “a better view of areas in life where they could improve,” they can ask their friends and family for that on their own.

WHY IS THIS A WORK ACTIVITY?

Yes, some people are different at work than they are in their personal lives. (In many cases, that’s a very good thing.) If it’s unconnected to how they operate at work, then it’s irrelevant for work purposes.

This is a massive overstep by your sister’s employer. They aren’t her therapist or life coach. They seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of what an employment relationship is and what is and isn’t in their purview.

And really, if her feedback from friends and family comes back with issues that she’s never displayed at work, is her manager going to coach her on, like, how to stop arguing with her husband and her need to show up for more family events and why Aunt Meryl doesn’t feel more connected to her? (My hunch is that the answer to that is no — that they’ll leave that stuff alone and it’s just there for your sister’s own personal use, but THIS IS NOT SOMETHING WORK NEEDS TO COORDINATE FOR HER.)

This may be the last time you hear from me because my blood pressure is so high right now that I believe my demise is nigh.

{ 446 comments… read them below }

    1. Malarkey01*

      Sooooooo I actually did one of these 8 years ago. Our company set us up with a third party consultant to provide career coaching. It was 100% confidential for the goals we set, work we did, feedback- the company just got a report of who was participating, when we stopped, and if we were doing the option of 1 hr, 2 hr, 3 hr a week. Afterwards we completed a survey for the company on our thoughts.
      Under that we did a 360 and could include non-work people (although all mine were people I had more professional relationships with like my non profit volunteer co board people and someone from one of my school committees.
      We were a large company and the hope was to engage you to stay with the company, but you were able to pick goals if you wanted to leave the industry or scale up/down your investment in work, etc. I found it a great experience but only because it was confidential and because we could set our own goals.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Important terms here:
        Third party
        Confidential
        Career coaching

        Under these circumstances, I’d allow it but still probably opt not to include family.-

      2. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

        Yeah, it would be fascinating to have this information/feedback – it’s a shame the company isn’t offering it with the same structure and privacy you received.

      3. neeko*

        Yes, this approach isn’t uncommon for career coaching or REJ/DEI work though I’ve only seen the non work people be fellow board members, etc. Not family members.

    2. GNG*

      The only possible explanation I can think of for this is…..OP’s sister works for a cult of some kind? But even that might be a stretch.

      1. Anonariffic*

        It’s a trick to evaluate your dedication to the cult! If you’re still speaking with your family to be able to provide their contact information for the review, and if their responses indicate that you’re not estranged, you automatically fail!

          1. Gerry Keay*

            Ya know I actually wouldn’t be surprised if it was an MLM given how boundary-crossing they are by nature and how fine the sister seems to be with the exercise.

  1. No Tribble At All*

    N O O O O O O O O

    Yes, in fact, most people are different around their family than around their coworkers, and that’s a good thing.

    1. MistOrMister*

      Yes!! I do not want my coworkers treating me like they treat their family and closest friends. Dear God, the horror!! And vice versa. This is just so weird. Work is work. If there are areas in your personal life that you need to work on, that is your business. This is just weird!!

      1. Ashley*

        But we are all family here …. At least most small business ‘families’ aren’t sophisticated enough for a 360 review.

    2. PT*

      When I hired people to work with kids, we required 1 family reference for this reason. Child abusers often first offend within their families. So you call and read off the same list of questions you would to a previous employer, always noting that the conversation is confidential and will not get back to the candidate: “Have you seen Fergus interact with children? Have you seen Fergus discipline a child? How would you describe what you saw? Would you let Fergus babysit your own child?” and then you make VERY careful note of both the answer you receive and any pauses or phrasing that might imply the person is uncomfortable/hemming and hawing/omitting something under duress/etc.

      Someone who puts on a Very Good Show For the Community, might get ratted out by Aunt Sally for being The Cousin No One Lets Near Their Kids.

      1. LC*

        Working with kids, I think I can see the potential benefit of this, but I have so many questions.

        Why would the applicant provide a reference that wouldn’t be glowing? Unless you’re tracking down family members on your own? How many applicant-provided (personal, not professional) referrences would actually help you suss out a sketch applicant? If they have any possible inkling that Aunt Sally would rat them out as The Cousin No One Lets Near Their Kids, wouldn’t they just …. not provide her as a reference? It’s not like it’s work history. How close of family do they need to be? Would a second cousin be okay? Great-aunt twice removed? Would chosen family be acceptible? Do you verify that it’s actually a family member? What if they don’t have any kids in the family? What if they aren’t on speaking terms with anyone in the family? What if they just don’t have any family?

        1. PT*

          I mean, those are the same issues you’d have with any other reference, though. At some point you just have to accept that most jobs don’t have the bandwidth to run government security-clearance background checks on people to make sure they’re not hiding anything. You can ask for references and accept they might be biased, or do a little off roading by calling old employers they didn’t list as references or deep dive through their LinkedIn contacts and realize you’re assuming the risk of talking to someone they may have had a very good reason for not listing.

          1. A Feast of Fools*

            Right, but you can use LinkedIn or your network to find references that the applicant didn’t provide. How do you find family references if the applicant doesn’t supply them?

      2. Jessen*

        My major concern would be avoiding backfire on sexual and gender minorities. Personally, I have family that believe I’d be sexually abusing kids by asking them to use my pronouns or wearing masculine clothing around them. The “being LGBT is inherently sexual and therefore inappropriate around children” contingent is unfortunately still pretty large, as is the one that believes LGBT people are all inherently predators.

      3. Sleeping Late Every Day*

        I’m sorry, but that’s a horrible idea. How can you tell from a phone conversation if someone is hesitating to come up with a cover story or if there is a distraction on their end? Or maybe it’s their normal speech pattern with strangers? Or they have to think awhile to remember if they’ve seen the relative in the situation you’re asking about? Dreadful, just dreadful.

    3. Amethystmoon*

      Right? What if someone had abusive parents and had to cut off contact? What if someone is shy and doesn’t have very many friends? This isn’t the sort of thing that should be forced.

  2. Albeira Dawn*

    “Hi [sister]. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to place you on a PIP.”
    “What?? But I’ve been doing so well here!”
    “Yes, but your mother says you only call her once a month and your 5-year-old says you only let her have one dessert a day. We’re going to need to see some real improvement for you to continue working here.”

    1. Snarkus Aurelius*

      If I had to give 360 feedback about my brother, there wouldn’t be enough pages or hours in the day to cover all of it.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        Same, and my brother and I are such different people that we’d probably despise each other if we weren’t related. I have a lot of feedback to give, but how much of it is useful and not asking him to fundamentally change his personality?

          1. KoiFeeder*

            I suppose a better way to put it would be something like “If we didn’t have the knowledge of each other gained by living together in the same house for almost 2 decades,” maybe? I am not the best at articulating what I mean…

      2. Albeira Dawn*

        I haven’t spoken to my brother for a while (no bad blood [ba-dum-tsh] we’re just not close) and the thought of getting an email asking me to provide feedback is sending me into hysterics. It would just be about how ugly his tattoo is and how he still has my DS and Pokemon Diamond and I want it back.

      3. Shirley Keeldar*

        I had the exact same thought. I don’t think “stop being such a jerkface” is actionable work feedback.

        (In most other areas of my life, I am a mature and kind adult. Stick me in a room with my brother and I’m an hormone-ravaged, territorial adolescent all over again. It’s embarrassing.)

      1. Sasha*

        Yep! “Oh Employer, I’m so glad you got in touch! My sister never skips work when I ask her to come drinking with me, and never gives me any money when I ask for it. Can you give her a raise and tell her it’s no problem to just call in sick when she wants to? Thx”

    2. serenity*

      Lol I would love to give certain members of my family a “performance” review. The results would be scathing!

      1. DarthVelma*

        Was just coming to add something from the cat. I know my cat would say she doesn’t get enough head scritches and fancy snacks per day.

        I hate performance reviews. They give me hives. I spent the morning before my last review pretending to have a performance review meeting with the cat as a way of getting in a better head space.

        She’s still exceeding expectations on “number of hours spent sleeping per day” but I may have to put her on a PIP because she’s still knocking over the laundry hampers in the middle of the night after several conversations about stopping. *snort*

    3. Poopsie*

      I was going to say something along those lines. Either reply with wildly stupid stuff like they could improve by not leaving body parts in the fridge for so long and just throw the victims corpses away already damnit, or reply back asking who you should submit your invoice to seeing as the company has contacted you requesting you do work for them

      1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

        Yes. I won’t even fill out patient satisfaction surveys from my doctor’s office. Why do businesses and organizations keep trying to assign homework for people to do? You want me to do it, you pay me.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          yeah! I ordered an umbrella from a website and received it in the post a few days later. I was then inundated with messages asking me to rate their service – I was thrilled until they did that and now I’m just “OK the umbrella does its job thanks now eff off”.

  3. Eldritch Office Worker*

    “some people are different by profession then they are by nature”

    This sentence makes my brain twisty.

    I’d almost certainly write a glowing review and then end with many paragraphs about how weird and inappropriate this is, but I don’t know how that would reflect on your sister.

    1. Makes me mad*

      “My biggest concern is that she works for this wildly invasive company that insists on personal boundary crossing, even for formal reviews! I’m not sure how to tell her that’s a huge red flag for an employer…”

    2. Super Doctor Astronaut Peter Corbeau*

      This is exactly what I was thinking — “My sister is a beautiful, intelligent flower who can do no wrong. I am, however, very concerned about the people she works for and their inability to maintain boundaries. Please see my laundry list of specific concerns below.”

    3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      “some people are different by profession then they are by nature”

      Yeah, at work I’m the sarcastic witty occassionally icy IT geek.

      At home and with family I’m a heck of a lot more prone to busting out swearing that would get me fired from most places, burping at colossal volumes and yelling at the cat to stop eating the bin.

      1. Merci Dee*

        Or yelling at the cat to stop eating most anything, really. . . .

        . . . The handles on your reusable shopping bag
        . . . The closure ties on your purse
        . . . The carabiner clip on your keys
        . . . Your actual keys
        . . . The cords for every charger, electronic, and appliance you own
        . . . The lid for your nail polish bottles
        . . . The straw from your drink

        . . . And that’s all within ten minutes, from what you can see while you sit on the couch.

        1. No Tribble At All*

          Now I’m imagining a 360 review completed by a cat.

          “Provides excellent body heat. Needs more consistency in feeding times, which can vary by up to 3.5 minutes. Willfully misunderstands my mrows for scritchies. I want scratches behind my ears, not to be picked up and held like a plushie!!”

          1. quill*

            “Refuses to Let Me Be Great by eating an entire plastic shopping bag. Put me in THE BOX to go to the bad smelling place where other people poke me last week.”

          2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            William Catner would just write that I need to let him eat everything in the house. Plastic, marmite flavoured crisps, marshmallows, peas, bog roll….

            1. Merci Dee*

              In the 10 years that I’ve owned him, my cat has never once unrolled any toilet paper. He’s been in the bathroom plenty of times with me or my daughter (of course . . . captive audience for chin skritches, and all that), but he’s never pawed or pulled at the toilet paper. I’ve thought many times over the years that it was very odd he left it alone, but I was totally grateful for it.

              1. Noxalas*

                I’ve owned cats my entire life, and not a single one of them has ever paid any attention to the toilet paper whatsoever. Are they all outliers, or am I just incredibly lucky? (At least in this one matter.)

                1. Mannequin*

                  No, I’ve had cats all my life and same- no interest in the TP, unless a roll or the cardboard tube happens to fall on the floor. Even then, it’s more likely the dogs will ravage it first.

          3. Noxalas*

            If my cat had filled it out (am I allowed to assist him in this or would that cause bias? Does it reflect badly on me that he’s 7 years old and still illiterate?!) it’d just be several lines of “treats treats treats.” It’s the only word he knows.

          1. Mannequin*

            If I had hair ties in the top drawer on my nightstand, I couldn’t leave it open even a crack because of my cat smelled them in there, she’d stick her tiny little paw in and feel around until she could fish them out.

            1. Rara Avis*

              My cat steals my daughter’s hair ties aff her dresser. He doesn’t eat them, though. Just hides them under furniture.

      2. Mannequin*

        “At home and with family I’m a heck of a lot more prone to busting out swearing that would get me fired from most places, burping at colossal volumes and yelling at the” dog to stop eating whatever TF he managed to get a hold of this time, is me.

    4. Netts*

      This doesn’t make any sense at all. EVERYONE is different by nature than they are by profession. Professions aren’t natural!

    5. Ana Gram*

      But…duh? I’m a cop and I absolutely act differently at home than at work. My personality isn’t “cop”. It’s just me. I like to tease my husband with silly puns and read romance novels and make up elaborate back stories about our chickens. That’s not the sort of stuff that lends itself to the persona I need to have at work- someone who’s competent and well-spoken, knowledgeable, resourceful, etc.

      And I’m certainly not coming home and treating my husband like a suspect or commander or prosecutor or whatever! Good god, this is nuts.

      1. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

        I have a sibling in law enforcement and the onboarding background check for him called me and asked a long list of questions about his personality. We are usually civil if we see each other but not in anyway close so I remember thinking WTH. Even though he was not a great person to spend a childhood with he was a great candidate for police work. So I ended up being nice and taken the high rode. It amuses me to think I could have possibly tanked his entire career with a few childhood stories.

        1. allathian*

          Mmm yeah. That said, most people do grow up.

          I love my sister dearly, but all I can remember growing up with her is that we fought constantly. I didn’t want that sort of noise in my adult home, which is why I was pretty sure early on that I only wanted one kid. There was no abuse on either side, just normal sibling bickering. It didn’t help that we always lived in tiny apartments, my sister and I shared a bedroom with our parents until I was 12 and she was 10. My parents could handle it, I suppose, because my mom was 25 when she had me, and she’d grown up in a 9-kid household. My dad was an only child, though, and I bet that’s part of the reason why he spent so much time at work when I was a kid. He could be a very engaging dad when he was around, but he was rarely around… I was 37 when I had my son.

  4. BlueberryFields*

    This feels like an office that says, “We are like family.” My coworkers know a different version of BlueberryFields than my family and friends do, and THAT IS THE WAY I WANT IT. Phew.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        My interviewer for my current job used this term and I literally almost withdrew. Since then I’ve learned it’s a him problem more than a culture problem and I hope to kick him out of hiring moving forward. But it’s a huge red flag.

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            I was in the middle of a long job hunt and decided to just stick it out and at least learn more about the organization. Once I talked to the person who would be my boss (who is above the “family” offender) I felt much better about things.

      2. Rayray*

        My first day at my current job, I was doing the on boarding process so I called the line to speak to an on boarding specialist and she said “Welcome to the family” I cringed SO hard. Unfortunately I was coming out of nearly five months of unemployment in the thick of the pandemic. I’m still here and it really is a good company but I wish they’d drop the family crap.

      3. Magenta Sky*

        “We’re like family” often means “We’re like that good for nothing, ne’er do well cousin who borrows money they never replay, and the aunts and uncles who blame you for expecting him to.” Or “We’re like the parents that beat you in a drunken rage because they got arrested for a DUI on the way home.”

        That kind of family.

        1. KaciHall*

          My husband’s been listening to a lot of country music lately. So many songs mention treating people like your next of kin or supposing the whole world was like family.

          My family isn’t too bad. I would wish for death if the whole world acted like that. My work is like a family to some extent, but I think that’s more a side effect of living in a small town where half the people go to the same church. (I am DEFINITELY the cousin who bites her tongue at every family meal to get through it with all the political talk going on. )

          1. Magenta Sky*

            Some members of my family have their own file cabinet at the FBI (my father was a . . . civil rights activist . . . who helped write federal law after convincing the Supreme Court to reverse a century old decision to allow it). But we get along with each other pretty well.

            My work *is* like a family – a healthy family.

            But they never, never *say* that to applicants.

        2. Noxalas*

          Whenever “like family!” comes up I always want to say “No thanks, already got one” and then run for the hills. One is enough, thank you!

      1. retrowaveRecluse (they/them)*

        Or the fantastic alternative, will never tell you anything good, nor bad, until the relationship is terminal. Then there will be sore feelings.

    1. Reba*

      Yes, I am also curious about the sister’s thinking on this! She sounds cool with it??? Or does she just not feel able to push back? Would she be upset if LW declined to play along with this strange activity?

    2. Choggy*

      According to the post, the sister thought the OP was being paranoid about it! Guess she’s drinking the Kool-aid coffee provided by the company! This is definitely NOT ok, and when these types of icky company policies are posted, I can’t help but think WHERE is this all coming from and I fear that people in leadership positions are making such decisions not out of logic and reason, but something nefarious and employees just agreeing to follow along.

      1. Magenta Sky*

        Or because the sales rep from the company selling the service wore a short skirt. (I may be a wee bit cynical, but that’s a common enough decision making factor in high level IT buying decisions.)

          1. Magenta Sky*

            Less so these days, not surprisingly, and far better than some industries. (I worked in a plumbing store for a while, many years ago, where sales reps would take the manager to lunch at a local strip club.)

            Have you not noticed all the news coverage of how misogynistic the tech industry is?

            1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              I’m gonna be honest – as the one frequently making those purchasing decisions it’s not something I’ve encountered.

              Dunno if that’s cultural thing – definitely never had anyone trying to sell me IT kit in a short skirt here in the UK.

              1. Magenta Sky*

                The UK is a very different world than corporate America. In some way, much better.

                And as I said, much less so these days, but there are stories of “the good old days.”

            2. Gerry Keay*

              Your comment is not making the feminist statement you seem to think it is. All you’ve done is further the stereotype that women in sales rely of their bodies to do their job and that men can’t control their “urges”.

              1. Magenta Sky*

                I do not disagree. Women can be misogynistic, too, as men can be feminist.

                And I offer no statement, feminist or otherwise. I merely comment on things that I have observed. That you (or I) don’t particularly like it doesn’t make it less so.

                1. Magenta Sky*

                  It’s misogynistic to point out that misogynistic practices are common in some industries? Is that some kind of Newspeak code?

                2. Gerry Keay*

                  Yes, saying that sales reps make sales because they wear short skirts is absolutely misogynistic. That’s not pointing out a misogynistic practice, that’s making an assumption about the current letter based on misogynistic stereotypes about how you think women in sales behave.

            3. fhqwhgads*

              I don’t disagree tech can be quite mysogynistic, but the “short skirt = sales” stereotype is not something I have encountered in the wild in that context. Tech peeps who know what they’re talking about buy hardware/software based on what they’re actually trying to do with it. The misogyny among tech dude bros does not eliminate the tech parts of their brains. Also, tech women and nonbinary humans exist and also make purchasing decisions.
              Stupid High Level IT Purchases happen when the person who has nothing to do with IT decides what to buy without consulting IT at all, so it’s just a reallllllllly super weird way you’re invoking your example here.

    3. Naomi*

      My guess is that the sister is young/ inexperienced and doesn’t realize how strange this is. Or maybe her workplace is dysfunctional in other ways (what a surprise), which as Alison always says can warp your sense of what’s normal.

      1. Expelliarmus*

        Yeah, this was my first thought as well. The vibe I got from the sister was “this feels weird but surely it’s not that bad?”

      2. JB*

        I’m thinking she may be younger/recently out of school, in which case this kind of overreach might not seem as egregious if she hasn’t had experience in a more normal professional environment.

    4. Not A Reviewer*

      OP here! I should explain our family dynamics a bit- I am easily the most jaded and cynical member of our family. So while my sister does respect my opinion, over the years she’s learned to take the things I saw with a grain of salt (because I’m usually overly negative in my assessment)

      If I recall our conversation correctly, my sister believed this was an optional activity that could help her make improvements and it would not be tied to her formal performance evaluation. She saw it something akin to an employee wellness/ personal development program? She also was promoted recently, and no 360 review was required for her promotion, so I could see that thought process.

      However, my concern was who saw the feedback and what they did with it. Even if her employer had the best intentions, what biases were they subjecting themselves to by reading what friends/employees think? She 100% understood my concern, but thought the results would be confidential? (I sense my sister and I will spend more time hashing this out today)

      1. PT*

        Given both concerns, would it be possible to participate but collude? Like for example, you discuss with her what skills she’d like to develop and grow into at work, and then you just happen to write a family 360 review that, what a surprise, says the same thing!

        1. BigHairNoHeart*

          I like this idea! If the feedback you give ends up being seen by the company, then it benefits OP’s sister. If the sister is right and it’s confidential so they don’t ever see it, no harm done I guess?

      2. pancakes*

        I hope so, because this process is terribly misguided even if the reviews are strictly confidential, and the idea that only someone who is cynical or “paranoid” would object is way off base.

      3. Kal*

        It might be worth it to show her this answer, to show that its not just your usual cynicism and that outside people also think this isn’t a normal thing. And there was at least one comment early in the thread (look for the user Malarkey01) from someone whose job did it the right way, with clear information about it being a separate career coaching thing with confidentiality clearly laid out – which might help her if she ends up wanting to look into something that would cover this in the right way.

        And, I mean, this site is useful for anyone to learn to better know how to navigate the workplace, since none of us come pre-programmed with it, so her becoming a reader (if she isn’t already) would be a net benefit from this.

  5. Albeira Dawn*

    Also, this reminds me of that one boss who, when asked for a raise, offered to look over the employee’s personal finances to see where they could cut back.

    1. Observer*

      What about the boss who wanted to lo0k at an OP’s budget because she didn’t want to spend her own money on classroom supplies? (At least that one had a happy ending.)

      1. Toads, Beetles, Bats*

        I think about that letter all. the. time. Human beings can be so aggressively weird sometimes without (apparently) the slightest bit of self-awareness.

      2. Retro*

        The “My teacher can’t afford formula and I promised the kid’s parent the teacher would stop pumping in order to tutor the kid during every single break and planning period” one?

        1. Observer*

          I don’t think that’s really the same – the one you are talking about was a principal whose first instinct was to say whatever it takes to shut up an unreasonable parent, not matter who it throws under the bus, and whose second instinct was to blame the teacher for not being able to push back effectively in the moment.

          The principal was not getting into the teacher’s finances so much as deciding that the way to appease the parent was to take a way every. single. break that the teacher had. And the teacher pushing back in the only way that she thought would get the principal’s attention. And, unfortunately the teacher was right. The principal did not recognize the workplace mess that SHE had created, but was forced to deal with the demand for money, so she came to Allison.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            The most egregious one from the archives I can remember is the manager who wrote in complaining that her staff member was refusing to pump/breastfeed after returning to work from maternity leave and how insulted the manager was because they’d set it all up and kept reminding them and yet the member of staff had the temerity to want to formula feed!

            1. Observer*

              Gosh. Yes, certainly on the list! Talk about managerial over-reach.

              The employee went to HR. She and HR told the OP to back off, and the OP STILL couldn’t see where she had gone wrong, and STILL blamed the employee for her decisions. Frightening lack of awareness.

    2. Retro*

      I read this story – I think it was on reddit’s malicious compliance sub (so it claims to be truthful but it’s almost certainly fictional) – where the CEO really wanted 100% of his employees to give to a certain charity, and offered to sit down with the old, loyal, underpaid receptionist to find room in her budget.
      “Well, you’re right – there is no room in your budget. How about I give you a 100 dollar raise.”
      “O, thank you, sir! Now I can afford a fancy cable package.”
      “Now wait a minute -”
      “What cable package do you have, sir?”
      “… A fancy one.”
      “Don’t you think I deserve a fancy cable package?”
      “Well, okay. Another 100 dollar raise, then.”
      “Oh, now I can afford to a subscription to my favourite magazine!”
      “Now wait a minute -”
      “How many magazins do you subscribe to, sir?”

      Allegedly she hence talked her way into a nice lifestyle before agreeing to donate to the CEO’s charity.

    3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      Or the ex boss of mine who decided the best way to reduce my time off sick was for me to bring in a food diary and have him tell me how to lose weight.

      (STILL the worst place I’ve ever worked at)

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          If I’m mentioning a boss who’s blaming me for all my disabilities and health issues on the fact I’m fat then it’s THAT one. Think of every overstepping bigoted thing you can and it was him.

          1. quill*

            Gotcha, I figured once you roll several of the issues into one, it definitely qualifies as the Worst former boss.

            1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              Yup. Although he *wasn’t* the one I ended up turning whistleblower on and getting him locked up – THAT guy was a criminal but in the overall scheme of things wasn’t as bad as Bigot Boss 9000.

      1. Blue*

        I have just punched this man so hard with my mind that wherever he is, he’s currently wondering how he ended up on the floor.

    4. Delta*

      At one point in my career, my company moved from paying staff fortnightly to monthly. It was not received well. About three months later, due to an awkward combination of public holidays, they realised that staff were going to be paid almost six weeks apart. So, they sent out personal finance correspondence about how to balance our money and pull tight the purse strings. WILDLY offensive.

  6. what the f*

    Sometimes I see a post title and my face gets stuck in a “wtf” expression for several minutes after. This is definitely one of those times.

    1. Former Admin Turned Project Manager*

      Right?! I sent the link to my sister (who happens to work for the same large organization I do, but in an entirely different department) and she replied that just the title of the post made her go “WTAF?”

      1. TooTiredToThink*

        Or, iirc Alison is in the DC area and right now its gorgeous out in this area, and maybe she can get outside and enjoy the trees and sunshine!

          1. quill*

            Do we need another animal coworkers thread?

            I don’t have animals but I can volunteer plants: Tiptree the Pothos and Ibn Sena the Aloe.

            1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              I’ll give a picture of Siggy the SQL Server (he has googly eyes on the chassis) and if I can get the dust off him Greebo my test rig.

    1. EPLawyer*

      Yes. Alison, don’t go we neeeeeeeed you.

      Also companies, stop doing stuff that causes Alison’s blood pressure to go this high. MEDIUM weird stuff, not BIG weird stuff.

    2. NervousHoolelya*

      There’s a sentence in the middle of the post that has some extra words, and I definitely had a moment of thinking “OMG, Alison has lost control of the English language. This letter broke her!”

      1. Speaks to Dragonflies*

        Aw hell, the stress of this letter caused an aphasia inducing migraine and she’ lost her sense of language…Someone give some stuff better than I have,quickly now…

    1. Siege*

      Me too!

      “Opportunities for Improvement: Eldest Sister could work on not being a malignant narcissist, not stealing from family members, not wrecking every holiday season, and not displaying Munchhausen’s by Proxy as the chief behavior for interacting with her kids and grandkids. Middle Sister could stop treating her unmedicated bipolar with wine.

      1. NotJane*

        This is exactly where my mind went when I read this letter, because “encouraging” employees to solicit feedback from family members completely ignores the fact that a lot of people have strained, if not estranged, relationships with their families of origin, and therefore cannot, or will not, ask them to participate. And, of course, people who have such relationships with their relatives typically don’t go around announcing or publicizing their situation.

        So, will declining to include family members/blood relatives look curious or stand out to those reviewing the feedback? Will unconscious bias come into play on the part of the reviewers? Will the employee(s) feel the need to explain, and thus disclose, personal, private, and perhaps painful details of their familial relationships that they’d prefer to keep out of professional settings? This is the very definition of a slippery slope.

        And then you have people like me who, for various reasons – mostly neutral, but some unpleasant – never really had much of a family to begin with. I’m an only child of divorced parents, and my mom passed away almost 15 years ago, so I guess I could/would send the review to my dad, but since he’d probably give a glowing review of his wonderful daughter (I assure you, I have my fair share of faults), his feedback likely wouldn’t be of much value.

        I have to assume that whoever came up with and green-lighted this idea was raised by Ward & June Cleaver, and how nice for them, but still, it shows an almost stunning ignorance to the reality that not everyone was raised in such blissful, ideal circumstances. To quote Tolstoy, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

    2. Dasein9*

      Same. But I would hate for my coworkers to see what my sisters say about me.
      (They’d probably think it was for the wrong person.)

  7. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    They took the 360 review out of the XY plane, through Z, and into 11-dimensional string theory.

    1. The Prettiest Curse*

      Yeah, this is something other than 360. What next, asking your school classmates what you were like when you were 5?

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Sorry, Timmy, we have to put you on a PIP because we learned that you didn’t share your crayons in kindergarten.

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          Ha, this reminded me that I actually stole a pencil from someone called Timmy while I was at primary school. I didn’t ask him to share, I just wanted a pencil and he had one. (He never worked out it was me, though.)

    2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      Oh this, this is just a genius way fo putting it!

      Even Neil DeGrasse Tyson couldn’t find this one.

  8. lex talionis*

    Re …” some people are different at work than they are in their personal lives. (In many cases, that’s a very good thing.) ”

    I’m the f-bomb queen at home, it would absolutely not fly at work. If I were ever asked to do this or supply contact info for my family it would simply not happen. I would have a chat with HR however.

    1. SheLooksFamiliar*

      So much this.

      ‘SheLooksFamiliar, The Home Edition’ would probably be on a PIP in a week or two.

      1. Hanani*

        Not to mention that Hanani At Home does things like complain about the leadership at her job (in non-professional terms, even!) and doesn’t talk to people because she’s recovering from having to People all day. And that’s with generally liking my job!

    2. Child of a working mom*

      My partner is bipolar. I help keep them on an even keel by kicking their assets up when needed or down when needed. The result is that this helps them keep their balance. Which they acknowledge and appreciate To outsiders itd probably look like friggin verbal abuse.

  9. KHB*

    I’m going to guess that they don’t give a toss whether she’s arguing with her husband or has a close enough relationship with Aunt Meryl – but they DO want to know whether she’s doing things like complaining about work outside of work (which, of course, they’ll see as a sign of “disloyalty” or “not being a team player”).

    1. EPLawyer*

      DING DING DING.

      Adorabelle seems stressed out at home and snaps for no reason. When asked she mutters something about the stupid TPS reports.

    2. NotJane*

      But why would you send the form to anyone you thought might provide such feedback? If I were in OP’s sister’s shoes, I’d curate the list of possible recipients down to those most trusted to understand the context and not say anything stupid (in my case, that would probably be < 5 people).

  10. Generic Name*

    Holy boundary crossing, Batman. Of COURSE people are different at work than they are in their personal lives. Why would anyone treat their boss/coworkers the same as they do a parent or spouse? I mean, really. No, you are not off-base in feeling uncomfortable about this. I think my sister is awesome as a sister, mom, and general human, but I’m trying to think of what exactly I would convey to her employer, when I really have no idea what she’s like at work. I’m sure she’s awesome and kicks ass, but I wouldn’t know because we do not work together. I’d ask your sister what she’d like you to do that would help her most. I understand not wanting to respond based on the principle of the thing, but also think about what’s best for your sister.

    1. Miss Muffet*

      Although, I’ve def felt like managing some people has been like parenting my pre/teens … and used some of the same techniques! Ha.

        1. Eden*

          Things are legal unless a law is made against them. Do you really think there’s a law saying employers can’t ask to get feedback from employees’ family? Why would that law exist?

    1. Nanani*

      I bet they also want to sneakily find out which religious affiliation you have, how many kids you have, your partner’s gender, and all sorts of other stuff they’re not allowed to consider for promotion and salary purposes.

  11. ENFP in Texas*

    Not only “no” but “hell no”.

    I mean, if it was something her boss mentioned as a tool for HER to use ON HER OWN and FOR HER OWN USE, that’s one thing. But if any of that feedback was expected to come back to her boss and be used in the work environment in any way… ugh.

  12. Sami*

    WHAT I MEAN JUST WHAT?!
    I’m different at work because I’m a middle school teacher so I work with 12-14 year old kids. My sister works solely with adults so yeah, I’m more different at work than I am with family and friends.
    This is bizarre and a huge overstep. YIKES!

  13. AnonEMoose*

    WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK??!!

    This is weird, and invasive, boundary crossing, and incredibly inappropriate! I mean, I used my volunteer work as part of my personal development goal at work. But that was my choice, and relevant, and I chose what I disclosed to my employer. If it had been something they pushed for me to do, that would have been a totally different situation.

    And yes, I am different at work than I am with my family/friends. That, in my view, is how it should be!

  14. Amber Rose*

    I’d be filling out that review with a thorough, comprehensive review of how questionable and invasive the company is being by asking me to do such a thing, and questioning their sheer gall in assigning what is essentially homework to people who don’t even work for them.

    But I guess that would probably harm your sibling. :/

    1. Panicked*

      There is not enough water in the world to put out the fire I would send back to them. That is one of the most inappropriate things I’ve ever heard of. I cannot imagine a manager or HR person who would think that’s a good idea, unless there is some MASSIVE boundary-stomping already going on. Holy hell.

  15. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    “some people are different by profession then they are by nature”

    Is this another ‘bring your whole self to work’ things?

  16. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

    For the lonely folks with no one? Slap in the face. For the caretakers, for those in abusive relationships, slap in the face.

    No no no.

    1. The Rural Juror*

      Right! This is just so, so out of line and upsetting for many reasons, but that’s a huge one. Geez!

    2. RVA Cat*

      All of this, plus blatantly discriminatory for a lot of LGBTQ+ folks whose families shunned them when they came out.

      1. Guacamole Bob*

        And if you aren’t out at work, this would be a huge mess to navigate! “You have to fill this out, but you have to pretend you’re my roommate.”

      2. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

        Oh my gosh. Absolutely! Any kind of non-traditional setup could cause problems but so many non-out folks could face horrible discrimination.

    3. Magenta Sky*

      Imagine the boss’s reaction (when they have no sense of boundaries) if a response indicated that the employee was in an abusive relationship.

      Now imagine if that impression was *wrong*.

  17. Greige*

    My brain goes to asking what the employer might use this for, and I’m very concerned it might influence thw employers’ estimation of OP’s sister in unfair ways. “Oh, you didn’t show up to the last family reunion? Clearly you are introverted; ergo, no leadership positions for you.”

    1. I'm just here for the cats!*

      Would be great to throw back to employer though.

      “I didn’t show up to the last family reunion because YOU wouldn’t approve the time off, even though I asked 6 months in advance!”

      1. Artemesia*

        but they never explain WHY you didn’t get the promotion so if these bits of feedback influenced you won’t know.

  18. Laure*

    The commenter who talked about abusive parents has it right. I cut all ties with my mother. Imagine if she received this survey?
    Because she would definitely answer it. And she would cackle.

    1. Persephone Mulberry*

      My brother and I are semi-estranged because he is a self-absorbed, condescending, mansplaining asshat. I can only imagine what he would write about me.

      Of course, there ain’t no way no how I would give my company his contact information (or that of ANY of my family members/friends) so that they could initiate this.

    2. Admin 4 life*

      I would hope the emails would need to be provided by the employee and they don’t have a department cyberstalking their employees…but after reading that I wouldn’t put it past them.

      My brain went to the same place. I cut my family off so many years ago. My ex husband would love a chance to complain about me some more. My 6 year old is disabled and can’t speak, read or write. My friends are typically fellow employees and I keep my personal life extremely private from everyone.

      I would probably get hit with insubordination and have to lie with made up emails for made up people.

      1. Mockingjay*

        Re: Cyberstalking: yesterday we had a letter in which the OP’s boss’s best friend at work was following her on social media. This is why I don’t ‘friend’ any coworker or boss, past or present, on social media.

        I need to find another planet to live on. I’ll let y’all know when I find one and you can join me. Wacked out bosses and overreaching companies need not apply.

        1. Admin 4 life*

          I start blocking people as soon as I get the interview invite…and all my social media accounts are under a fake name too. I only add former co workers if we’re still texting six months after I’ve left that job. It’s concerning that it’s justifiably paranoid when all people will see are photos of my son and me and the occasional blurry scenery shot.

    3. BelleMorte*

      Mine would answer it, but only because “she loves me and wants what is best for me, even though she doesn’t understand why I am so cruel to her all the time” and it would be full of horrible wasps, narc extraordinaire that one.

      Some people you avoid in your life for reasons. I wonder if you decline to share with specific family members that makes you seen as a not-a-team player?

      I’m sitting right by alison on the high blood pressure couch.

      1. pope suburban*

        Hard same. Everything I do, from where I live to what my job is to my favorite color to my hobbies, is some perverse and hateful thing I am doing AT her, for reasons most convoluted and sinister. If only I could receive some helpful correction and become an entirely different person, the way I’m meant to be! Frankly my best hope in that scenario would be that the person reading it gets as exhausted as I used to feel when I tried to imagine actually scheming as much as she says I do- that’s very deep and thorough kind of fatigue, and anyone handing out this kind of “assignment” richly deserves it. I’d think it would make them stop and never try anything so intrusive and foolish again.

    4. Teapot Repair Technician*

      I’m as outraged as everyone else, but there’s no indication that OP’s sister’s employer went behind the sister’s back in contacting OP.

    5. knitcrazybooknut*

      It’s been eight years since I talked to anyone in my family of origin, a.k.a., the Red Flag Factory & Outlet Center. Even my doctor skips past the “do you have a family history of” questions.

      My life is so blissful and relaxing now! Amazing.

  19. Liane*

    “Yes, some people are different at work than they are in their personal lives. (In many cases, that’s a very good thing.)”

    In my case very much so. I’m very good at customer service. I’m polite, helpful, clearly a people person, ad nauseum.
    Personally, I am the type of introvert who likes being with (likeable) people even being the center of attention, but needs alone time to recharge from enjoyable (much less unpleasant) situations with lots of people.

    In my personal life, I have close to negative infinity tolerance for rudeness, stupidity, entitlement, ignorance, bigotry…and won’t hesitate to say who I think is a Toxic Waste Dump of a person and why.

    Liane’s Number#1 tip for giving Great Customer Service No Matter the Provocation: It is easy to smile charmingly & speak sweet words while thinking, “You are the stupidest, rudest (Censored!) I have dealt with in the last 30 minutes!”

    1. Librarian of SHIELD*

      I like to tell people that the nice customer service lady I am at work isn’t a real person. She’s a character I play.

  20. Spicy Tuna*

    That’s a no. My husband would definitely give the feedback that I spend too much time at work and not enough with him!

    1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      Mine is just as evil as me – he’d write loads about my stellar performance in bed or something equally NSFW.

    2. No Tribble At All*

      LOL, same. “Tribble is your best employee ever and she’s wonderful and amazing and you should double her pay and her days off!!!” Thanks honey.

      1. NotJane*

        Ha! This made me chuckle.

        I wrote upthread somewhere that the only family member I’d be able to send this to is my dad, and he’d probably talk about how proud he is of me and generally sing my praises.

        All of which I appreciate, and I’m happy that’s how my dad sees me. But his “review” of me would be totally useless in this context.

        Actually, the more I think about his idea, the more absurd it gets. It’s so bad, it’s almost funny.

        1. Environmental Compliance*

          If anyone really wanted to know what my dad thought of me, just go look at my LinkedIn recommended skills. I’m pretty sure my dad *made up some* because well, sounds close enough to what he thinks I do.

          Helpful from any perspective? Nope. But it’d be funny. He’d probably also throw in there:
          -helpful when processing deer or trailering boats. not helpful at changing the oil.
          -has the best taste in alcohol out of all of my children, except for beer.
          -does not take after her father in math or writing. One of those is a good thing and I’ll let you figure out which one.
          -gave me a son that came potty trained.

  21. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    OK, now that I’ve relocated my jaw and stopped repeating wha, wha, wha? I have to comment:
    There is a reason that reference sections on forms specify “not a family member” across the board.

  22. Observer*

    Yes, some people are different at work than they are in their personal lives. (In many cases, that’s a very good thing.)

    Snort. Ya think!?

    I had to laugh at the links – this takes all of those, plus a few others and kicks it up a few levels.

    It sounds like the stupidest ever take on “Bring your whole self to work.” I hope that’s not a jinx…

    1. Observer*

      What’s even stupider about this is that you actually can sometimes get some good work related feedback from people who don’t necessarily know the person in a work context. I would far more understand if that’s what they were after.

      NOT that this is OK. AT ALL!

      OP, what would be the consequences to your sister if you refused to answer the survey? That’s the other thing that gets to me. How do they think they get to assign work to people that have absolutely zero obligation to the workplace?

  23. Avid crocheter*

    I once had a boss ask, during an annual review, what accomplishments I’d made in my personal during the year. My mind went kind of blank and I said that I’d recently started crocheting with beads, so I was learning new things with a focus on attention to detail. I mean WTF? Why is that any of his business? Everyone knew I crocheted, so I figured it was safe to mention and less personal than other things I could have brought up.

    1. AndersonDarling*

      That is actually a great accomplishment because bead crocheting has been on my to-do list for 5 years. Your boss shouldn’t be asking, but I am personally impressed!

      1. quill*

        I’m impressed and kinda terrified, even though I’m eyeing a mosaic crochet pattern with avarice right now…

    2. KHB*

      You reminded me of the time, a few years ago, when our team was having a “get to know you” meeting with the new CEO, and somebody thought it would be a good idea for us to go around the room and each tell the group something about ourselves that nobody else in the room knew about us. So of course, we all came across as the dullest bunch of people imaginable (“I like to watch track and field on TV,” “Sometimes I ride a motorcycle,” “I like taking weekend getaways to bed & breakfasts,” etc.), because anything about us that was actually interesting was either something we talked about with coworkers already, or something we had a darn good reason for not wanting to talk about with coworkers.

      1. quill*

        I would just… make up something irrelevant. But I write fiction. So if I say “hi, I’m Quill, and I once licked a turtle on a dare” nobody will necessarily know if it’s true… but also they might judge me… oh dear.

      2. Who Plays Backgammon?*

        “I am a Superperson. I changed my clothes in a phone booth once.” Really. It was summer, so no cape.

      3. NotJane*

        OMG. Imagining this scene in my head made my day. Now I’m trying to think of the dullest hobbies possible:

        – “ I spend my Saturdays going to yard sales.”

        – “I like sitting in the park and tossing seeds to the birds.”

        – “I do Tai Chi every morning.”

    3. The Original K.*

      There was a letter along similar lines recently- someone’s boss wanted her to set personal goals and report on their progress at work, and the letter-writer wasn’t into it. Can’t we just do our jobs and go home?

    4. Anonymous Hippo*

      The only acceptable reason to ask that question is to make sure that you don’t have you employees so tied up with work they don’t have time to do anything meaningful outside of work.

    5. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      I did get asked at an interview the other year about what was my best *personal* achivement to date – specifically non-work.

      I said ‘learning to walk again after the car crash that nearly killed me’. Well, that stopped the conversation dead….

    6. JB*

      I got this question once unexpectedly in a group meeting. Apparently everyone there had to give one professional and one personal accomplishment every time they attended these monthly meetings?!

      I didn’t have anything so I just mentioned I was very proud of my sister for having just completed her degree. Then got chastised because that wasn’t MY accomplishment. What do you want from me? I’m not very ‘accomplished’.

        1. NotJane*

          Remember pre-Covid (I don’t either), there was that meme where it was, like, awards for “adulting”? One was a blue ribbon with gold letters that read, “I put pants on today!”

          I think we need to bring those back.

  24. AndersonDarling*

    HA! If I received a 360 review for a family member, I would take it as an opportunity to be the relation that does not stop talking and oversharing.
    “Does Sally keep commitments? Well, I’m not sure. But let me tell you about the towels I picked up on SALE last week. They were on sale, and then I had an employee discount code from the gal at the coffee shop who works there on Thursday evenings and every second Sunday morning, and I also had a clip out coupon! So I got the towels for $3.29! They should have been $6.97! Can you believe that! I needed the towels because I need to do foot soaks for my bunions. I saw the doctor about my bunions last Friday…”

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        If she can talk for 2.5 hours straight, it’s mine. But she would discuss the quality & color of the towels in detail.

    1. NotJane*

      This is genius.

      Tell me more about your bunions? Are they painful? Does the foot soak help? Do you use epsom salt or that pink Himalayan salt? Because I have this ingrown toenail…

  25. Mattieflap*

    This is an excellent way for an abuser to gain greater control over their victim and it makes my stomach wibbly thinking about it. This is such an incredible overreach.

  26. What the What the What*

    All I can hope for is that the sister misheard and they said they wanted 360 review participation from others in the family of companies or something. If so, this will have a hilarious update when the boss sees the reviews.

  27. FACS*

    I’m pleased that who I am at work is different than home. My spouse and I are both front line health care and you do NOT want to know what I think about your idiotic decisions. We quietly vent to one another and return to fight another day. All that matters is how we do our jobs and serve our clients and coworkers.

  28. archangels girl*

    360s are so offensive, no matter who completes them. Here’s my example. I filled one out to be promoted to school administration. One question was, do you consider yourself active in social justice. Scale 1 to 5. I said 3 because I’m concerned about issues and causes and present them to my students, but I don’t chain myself to trees or anything. My colleagues said 5, because I was the most social justice active-y person they knew personally, but that doesn’t make me Greta Thunberg by a long, long shot.

    I was called into my supervisors’ office and asked to account for the discrepancy between my view of my social justice activities and those of my colleagues. “But why is it a problem if they rated me higher,” I said. I was told the goal of 360 is to make sure my own view of how I present to the world aligns with how others see me. Positive and negative doesn’t matter.

    So what did I learn? How to game the 360. When people ask me to fill it out, I never give 5s, only 4s, so they won’t have to “account for discrepancies.” 360 is used to make everyone bland and vanilla. You just get punished for being celebrated with a 5.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      That is the stupidest interpretation/purpose of 360 reviews I’ve ever heard.

      (Until I read the Alison’s post, of course.)

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      That’s not a normal approach or interpretation to a 360, just so you know. Discrepancies are usually discussed, yes, but they’re also expected. Don’t let this shape your norms (except in your current office obviously).

      1. archangels girl*

        I mean, it’s academia. They do a lot of weird things with tools that may otherwise be completely normal, lol.

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      This is a variation of the customer satisfaction survey dilemma. In that instance, there is no provision for “Satisfactorily completed a routine transaction.” Everything has to be “Amazingly overwhelmed any plausible expectation I could possibly have previously held.” The result is that five stars means they got your order right and gave you the correct change, and there is no way to indicate if they really did exceed expectations. In this case, the dynamic is slightly different in that you want to avoid the extremes, but the disconnect between acceptable answers and reality is similar.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        I refused to do these ‘scale on 1 to 10′ reviews for my staff – in that I would not send out the surveys to our clients.

        If the IT person fixed your problem – is that a ’10’? a ‘5’? Does a 1 mean the PC suddenly became like HAL 9000? I can find out if the problem was fixed or not just by taking a random sampling of call closure notes.

      2. Artemesia*

        This. Everyone needs to know that if they give less than top scores they are actively undermining the person and may cost them their job. So if the job is satisfactory, they get 5 stars. This is not an activity where ‘honesty’ or accuracy or nuance is appropriate.

        Same with teacher or health care professional feedback. Give top scores unless there is a good reason to go lower — they are not about ‘helpful feedback’, they are tools for oppression.

        1. Kyrielle*

          Yup. Person did the job decently but nothing above and beyond? Top points. Person went above and beyond? Top points, and if I have time for it, a note to their boss/org if I can find it, really singing their praises, or at LEAST a comment to them in the moment.

          Person did the job decently, but there was a minor issue I’d like addressed? Mention the issue to them, get addressed if possible, top points on the survey.

          Person insulted my ancestry, my cat, my dog (I don’t have a dog) and/or broke the thing they were supposed to do and didn’t make it right in the moment? Okay, then I might actually reflect it on the survey.

          1. Richard Hershberger*

            Most routine interactions don’t even have the potential for “above and beyond.” Nor should they. Above and beyond only comes into play when something goes wrong. I stand in line in the supermarket. The checker processes the person ahead of me quickly and efficiently. The checker then process me quickly and efficiently, with a friendly but professional demeanor. Then the checker moves on to the person behind me. There is nothing here exceeding my expectations. It is hard to even imagine a plausible scenario here for my expectations being exceeded. But say out loud that the checker did not exceed my expectations and they get penalized.

            1. HelenofWhat*

              This is why I never ask this question in interviews! It took forever for me to find an example of “above and beyond” for my own interviews because as a capable employee at a decent company, I rarely had issues that required this. I finally realized I could use an example where the customer made the mistake that I did my utmost with.

          2. LC*

            Yep yep yep exactly this.

            -Top marks for everyone from “meh” to “omg they saved my life”
            -Add a comment for anyone who was truly excellent
            -Skip it if I’m miffed but not at the point that I feel the need to spend extra energy addressing it
            (Actually I’d probably skip even if it is something I had to have addressed, unless I can leave feedback specifically about the company or a process or something. I’d only give a negative response about the customer service person if they had said blatantly gross/racists/sexist/cruel/etc. stuff.

            And keep it strictly related only to the person you were talking with! Don’t leave negative reviews when you’re pissed at the company (or an employee other than the one you’re currently dealing with) – unless there are specific designated sections for “customer interaction” and “overall company experience” or whatever, those surveys are taken as feedback about that specific CSR. And anything less than “exceeds expectations” is taken as negative.

            It’s a bullshit system, and I tried to fight it from within when I was in a position to do so, but as long as it’s the system in place, I’ll play along to help the employees.

            1. Humble Schoolmarm*

              I really struggled early on in the pandemic when there were shortages on a number of items, with a question on whether my curb-side pick up order had all of the things I wanted. I mean, I wanted yeast, so no it didn’t, but I’m not blaming my local store, or even the company, for a continent-wide shortage.

    4. Sara without an H*

      The only time I would think a discrepancy worth addressing is if the EMPLOYEE gave themselves all 5s, while the other participants graded them significantly lower. What your employer did…makes no sense at all.

  29. PayRaven*

    YOU DON’T EVEN WORK FOR THEM

    This would be invasive and wrong enough if, for example, you both worked for the same company but in completely different departments, but your sister’s employer literally has no authority over you WHATSOEVER. Nor do they have any right to comment on anything outside of work that isn’t directly impacting performance inside of work. Just. wow. WOW.

      1. hbc*

        This is absolutely where my brain went: “how dare they try and waste my time when I don’t even work for them” versus “how dare they invade my sister’s privacy.” Because I know I could write a review of my siblings that would reflect well on them, meet the desires of the company, and yet not reveal personal information, but I have enough to-do items, thank you.

        In fact, I would definitely respond with a quote for my services. “I have received your request to act as an HR consultant for Teapots LLC. My rate is $x/hour for anything under 4 hours, which I estimate to be $Y for the described job, not to exceed $Z. If you would like me to review any other employees or enter a contract for other future consultancy, that hourly rate would be negotiable. I am also willing to discuss a retainer if you need such work done on a regular basis.”

  30. londonedit*

    It’s the ‘areas of her life she could improve’ that really gets me. My employer has absolutely no right to tell me which areas of my life they think I could improve! And what do they expect people to say? ‘Well, she’s generally OK but she talks about football too much and gets a bit ranty after too much wine’? I cannot wrap my head around the idea of sitting down with my boss and having them read out feedback from my family members. Work and home life are separate in my world!

    1. Mockingjay*

      Oh, yeah, that is insidiously invasive.

      OP, please don’t fill this out. Your sister may get mad, but better that than supplying her company with material to use against her. These people will twist words no matter how innocuous.

    2. A Girl Named Fred*

      This this this this THIS. I left my last job because they wanted to be way too far up in my personal business where they had no right to be. Too many personality assessments to be discussed at team meetings with execs. Too much “well you’re an [assessment result] so it makes sense that you’d [fill in the blank.]”

      OP, you’re not wrong to be weirded out by this. You have normally calibrated boundaries, unlike your sister’s workplace!

    3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      Oh cr*p I know EXACTLY what my sister would write if she’d got asked that question. Given that she’s been bugging me to lose weight for….20 years?

  31. EmmaD*

    My org has delivered training like 7 Habits that has a questionnaire to send to co workers and we allow it to be sent to family. We don’t get a copy of that information. It is also at the discretion of the employee who they send it to and it only to be used to help the employee see areas of growth. I can’t imagine a business reason for allowing a family member to have input on a performance review even if they did work with the person.

  32. Meghan*

    When I worked in retail, I had a whole different personality than I usually do. Its like… the thing you do so you don’t murder bad customers.

    This is crazyyyyy.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Years out of retail I still slip into it when interacting with service workers of any kind. My husband gets spooked.

      1. quill*

        I didn’t even do a stint in customer service for very long (working the register at college food service you can tell classmate-customers to go the duck away) and sometimes I find myself accidentally cashier-ing at the cashier.

  33. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I’ve just been staring at my screen for like five minutes trying to come up with words to reply to this.

    1. no phone calls, please*

      Right!? I’d want to offer to take the 360 to my brother’s graveside and see what he has to share. That might shut them the eff up?

      1. Noxalas*

        I’m a quiet type who doesn’t like to make a scene, but find comfort by in believing I’ve got my deceased brother’s blessing to namedrop him if things escalate enough since in life he was my complete opposite. I’ve only had to do it once (customer wouldn’t stop needling me for details when I returned from bereavement leave), but even when I don’t do it knowing it’s an option makes it a little easier to bear.

  34. SparkleBoots*

    My department is currently doing a 360 review, and the only non-organization people they’ve suggested we send it to are other professional contacts we work closely with – vendors, maybe peers at other organizations. But never anyone that we don’t actually WORK with. The instructions were pretty clear that it needs to be someone who is really familiar with your work style and with whom you’ve developed a professional relationship. Otherwise, what’s the point? My family can’t answer questions like “do they give clear and concise directions to their direct reports” and “do they inspire their employees to buy into the organization’s vision.” I can barely answer some of those questions for my peers that I DO work closely with.

  35. Anonymous Hippo*

    I find this amusing because I’ve got my family taking assessments on me right now, but for a graduate level organizational behavior class.

    I can’t imagine my office asking me this, and there is no way I’d do it. Of course I’m different at work. Jeez.

      1. Anonymous Hippo*

        For school? It’s a personality test not really a performance review. However, apparently my family thinks I’m more disagreeable than I do, LOL.

  36. Cakeroll*

    Could this be a miscommunication?

    At the beginning of the year, my employer provided us with paid access to the BetterUp platform, which is for whole-person coaching (though the idea was that we would focus on professional coaching). It was independent, with no information shared between BetterUp and the company.

    When starting, I was similarly encouraged to invite folks both within and outside of work to provide feedback and generate some areas I could focus on with my coach. It was optional, so I chose only to invite coworkers and keep the program focused on my work life. But I could see the benefit to a broader approach (and over the months, my coach and I did start to discuss areas of my personal life that intersected with my work goals, and it was very very useful).

    I think the critical question here for OP and OP’s sister is: is this 360 being done by the company, or by an independent third-party?

    1. Just Another Zebra*

      I am hopeful that this is the case – that this is an optional thing that OP’s sister is doing on her own. OP, I’d ask for some clarification before filling anything out. Even saying something like “Sister has a sunny, warm disposition and is a pleasure to be around,” I’d feel terrible if her employer said “you’re always so somber here – what’s going on?” (And really she’s just being professional, but the discrepancy is ‘worth investigating’.)

      But we’ve seen crazier things on this site, and this is giving me hives.

    2. hbc*

      Man, if I found my sister was misrepresenting (or even just badly explaining) this to such an extent, she would be getting quite a review. The only question would be whether I just straightforwardly said she’s a bad communicator and disrespectful of others’ time, or whether I dragged in over-the-top examples from childhood to the point that no one would take my feedback seriously.

  37. Lucious*

    Where do these people come from? Is there some Dr. Evil- run university that teaches corporate leaders how to misuse, overextend and abuse business tools and customs?

    If AAMs a guide, that hypothetical university’s doing a lot of business lately……

      1. Humble Schoolmarm*

        I’m picturing Mr Rochester reading 360 reviews from Miss Temple and Mrs Reed and giggling my ass off. (Except Ms Schoolmarm doesn’t use the word ass. Oh noes! I’m different professionally versus personally!)

  38. Persephone Mulberry*

    This reminds me of the job I applied for that wanted FIFTEEN references – 3 managers, 3 peers, 3 professional contacts from outside my place(s) of employment, 3 family members, and 3 friends…or something like that. And that was not actually the weirdest part of the application process. (I bailed when we got to the THIRD personality test. The recruiter sent me *multiple* requests for more details on why I opted out. So many, many red flags.)

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      “3 professional contacts from outside my place(s) of employment”

      SO MANY PEOPLE don’t have this. This is bonkers.

    2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      I honestly couldn’t fill that in. Even if I included the voices in my head I wouldn’t get up that far.

      (And they *really* don’t like me)

    3. Persephone Mulberry*

      I cannot BELIEVE this didn’t occur to me until literally just now, 8 years later. But probably this was as much, if not more, about capturing potential leads (it was a real estate office) as actually checking references. A really gross, scammy way that in hindsight completely fits with some of the other stuff I learned about them that prompted me to drop out of the hiring process.

  39. The Prettiest Curse*

    Since the OP is not employed by the same company as her sister, they should fill in all the required fields of the form with random text and then enter the link to this post (and nothing else) in the section where she’s supposed to give feedback on her sister.

      1. LC*

        I tend to go with Cat Ipsum.

        My husband’s go to is Schwarzenegger Lorem Ipsum.

        There are lots of ways to have fun with this.

  40. Little Pig*

    I’ve heard of this before as a fairly dramatic self-improvement process. Even though we behave differently at work than we do at home, we are still the same person. My husband knows, for example, that I respond to stress by doubling down on the plan. When I got the feedback from my boss that I could practice being more flexible, no one was surprised, not me and not my husband.

    I’d be interested if my employer offered this, actually, as long as it was (A) optional, and (B) confidentially run by a third party. LW doesn’t give enough information to know what LW’s sister’s situation is, and whether it’s really shocking or not.

    1. Observer*

      Even though we behave differently at work than we do at home, we are still the same person. My husband knows, for example, that I respond to stress by doubling down on the plan. When I got the feedback from my boss that I could practice being more flexible, no one was surprised, not me and not my husband.

      This is true. But there are some key issues with what this workplace is doing.

      They are not looking for personal information that is relevant to how you operate at work. According to the OP, their sister said that “some people are different by profession then they are by nature?(!). Her supervisors made her feel that this review will help her get a better view of areas in her life she could improve.

      In other words, they specifically want stuff that does NOT come to work, and they want to get into how people manage their personal lives. Totally not OK.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Commenter Salad Daisy posted an example of something similar on the short comments today:

        ” We were told we had to download a “wellness app” on our phones and complete various tasks on it. For example, upload a picture of your bed and bedroom to make sure you were sleeping properly.”

        My bedroom is a MESS. ADHD piles everywhere. I never make my bed. The accumulated empty glasses and fast food cups on my bedside table are alarming.

        That has nothing to do with my work life and is no one’s business. Similarly here – I don’t need my mother-in-law to be sent a review where she can complain about how I’m not “putting my husband on a diet” and have that factored in to my work evaluation.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          My BED?!

          Ye gods, wonder how’d they react to being told that several of my medications are for helping me actually get some form of sleep – the bedroom looks like Pripyat…

        2. The Prettiest Curse*

          The management team at a previous job were asked at a staff retreat whether they arranged their clothes in the wardrobe by color. Apparently, all but 2 of them said they did…

          1. Persephone Mulberry*

            My grandboss threw something like this into a casual conversation yesterday – he wanted to know if us documentation people were all super organized at home, too – like extremely neat junk drawers, and so on. I gave him some nonsense answer about how I feel better when everything at home has a place, which is true. But in reality, things are rarely in those places. My house is generally a hot mess – because I’m using all of my organizational bandwidth AT WORK.

            1. cosmicgorilla*

              Stealing. “I use all of my organizational bandwith at work.” It explains so much about the state of my home, and my (lack of) motivation to do anything about it on a continual basis.

      2. Little Pig*

        We actually don’t know anything about what kind of information they’re looking for. OP didn’t say. Both comments that you bolded are vague enough to be meaningless, since they’re given without context. We don’t know whether the survey is asking, “Does Sister need to lose weight?”, or “How does Sister communicate when under pressure?”. We also don’t know who sees the responses or how they will be shared with Sister.

        My point is that there’s a scenario where this feels interesting and helpful, and a scenario where this feels extremely icky, but we don’t have any information about which one this is.

        1. Observer*

          We actually don’t know anything about what kind of information they’re looking for.

          It doesn’t matter. What they are asking for is explicitly not work related. Thus, none of their business.

          My point is that there’s a scenario where this feels interesting and helpful, and a scenario where this feels extremely icky,

          Nope. There is NO scenario where it’s appropriate for the employer needs to know about how Employee is different at home and how she could / should “improve her life.”

          Your example doesn’t really help – asking how someone reacts under pressure, for instance does make some sense unless you are explicitly asking about how they react DIFFERENTLY to pressure at home than at work.

          1. Little Pig*

            As I said above, the scenario where this is not icky is the one where it is 100% optional and managed confidentially by a 3rd party. The feedback doesn’t ever go to the employer, just to the employee.

            360 reviews like this are sometimes offered as a perk, sort of like how my office will bring in a nutritionist a few times a year as part of a wellness campaign. The nutritionist doesn’t tell my boss what I eat, and in this scenario, neither would the 360 review program.

            LW doesn’t give enough information to know whether this is the case, or whether it is a truly icky, inappropriate move by Sister’s employer.

  41. CreepyPaper*

    I am reading this with my husband beside me and he said ‘I hope your company never asks for this because you’re a wizard at work and an absolute klutz at home’ and… well, that kind of sums up why we in the Creepy fam think this is a hugely bad idea. I can organise a shipment from the other side of the world at work but am the most disorganised excuse of a human in my own home. Work doesn’t need to know this!

    1. hbc*

      I once had a controller who was really diligent with the books, kept everything in line financially—and lent his near-the-mileage-limit leased car to friends to drive 1000 miles round trip for the weekend. His handling of his personal finances had nothing to do with what kind of job he did for us, and it’s not like us finding out that he was dumb with his own money caused him to reassess his life.

  42. animaniactoo*

    Dear Sister’s Employer:

    If you would like me to perform a work function for your office, I am happy to do so at my normally contracted rate of a gabillion bucks an hour. Please advise who I should submit the invoice to.

    – Signed, you are a lunatic and I ain’t doing this.

  43. Rainbow Care Bear*

    The F50 company I interned at said they did this. One of many reasons I did not accept a full-time job there.

    1. SarahKay*

      Good grod, it’s more than one company?!? Well, that’s a new one to add to my checklist when I next jobsearch.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        “Do you have any questions for us?”
        *whips long scroll open* “Yes, can you please confirm you don’t partake in any of the following management practices…”

  44. kiki*

    I feel like a lot of companies got feedback that they weren’t doing enough to support their employees, especially since the pandemic started, and instead of doing things like making sure their benefits are truly comprehensive or raising wages, they decide they need to enmesh themselves in employees’ personal lives.

  45. QA Mini*

    My response as a family member/ friend would be telling the company that I don’t work for them and thus am not interested in helping evaluate their employees for free. This is essentially asking people to do work for free – in addition to being outrageous in other ways.

  46. Beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk-ox*

    Is this a sneaky way to insure employees won’t take PTO at Christmas as a result of all the family feuds this will cause?

  47. Thursdaysgeek*

    I would like a 360 evaluation from Alison and the commenters, specifically fposte, Windchime, and Amber Rose. We will be discussing the posting frequency and content, as well as the quality of baked goods provided by Detective Amy Santiago. Please respond in the next 3 days, and if you have other comments outside the requested parameters, that is both welcomed and preferred.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          Men love my cupcakes. My cupcakes are moist & delicious.

          (this quote might out me to people who know me well and read this site)

    1. Lizy*

      That’s a rather obnoxious deadline… I think the only deadline allowed on AAM is Wednesday of next week.

  48. Colorado*

    I would flat out refuse to do this.
    “well, Colorado could be a little more attentive to me in the evening and her procrastination for painting the mudroom is at an all time high but I think she’s a good employee because she spends a lot of time there..”
    Yeah, hard pass for me.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      ” but I think she’s a good employee because she spends a lot of time there.”

      Yeah basically this. What else are you supposed to say about someone’s work performance?

      1. alannaofdoom*

        The 360 equivalent of when your kindergartener fills out a worksheet at school and says “Daddy likes to do the dishes.”

  49. Dust Bunny*

    So . . . who else is realizing that even their “bad” jobs could have been so much worse? I’m apparently a very lucky person.

  50. Richard Hershberger*

    Completely serious response: If my sibling presented me with one of these from their employer, I would have them fill it out however they thought would benefit them most.

    1. JB*

      Same. The commenters suggesting LW try to charge for their time have me bewildered. Sure, at a normal company, that wouldn’t be a problem – but a normal company wouldn’t give this kind of ‘review’ in the first place; I’d be pretty sure that any snarky or uncooperative repsonse from LW would be held against their sister.

    2. Sara without an H*

      Same here. If it was an online form, I’d ask them to email me the preferred responses, and I’d copy and paste them into the form.

      Blood is thicker than HR bullshit.

    3. Teapot Repair Technician*

      I would do that just to save myself time.

      But possibly the most beneficial thing I could do for my siblings would be to file the survey in my spam folder where it belongs. Not that I have anything bad to say about them, just that any response from me (or them pretending to be me) would take weight away from the more relevant responses of their colleagues.

  51. Rafflesia Reaper*

    When my sister and I worked for the same company, she brought Stouffer’s frozen stuffed peppers to a potluck and called them a family recipe. Crossing my fingers her new company gives me an opportunity to tell them she’s feeding them lies.

    1. Beth*

      When I was 6, my sister told me that Santa Claus didn’t exist, probably hoping it would make me cry. I’m just waiting for the chance to rat her out to her employer.

  52. ChillinginDC*

    I recall people at my agency asking if they could get friends and family to fill out a 360 for them and I had to ask, so what are they exactly? Peers, supervisors? No? Yeah so you can’t use them for that.

  53. Hiring Mgr*

    It could be that the employer secretly hates 360 reviews like the rest of us, so they’re intentionally going over the top to shine a light on the uselessness of the exercise

  54. AKchic*

    I *am* that petty that I would give very professional (and equally petty, smart-*ss) friends the forms so they could lay into just how unprofessional this kind of weird overreach is and how they hope management comes to their senses before the employees do so the business doesn’t suffer too badly and how I must either be a very good sport or humoring/indulging them to see exactly where this is going out of morbid curiosity.

    Or “I don’t work for you, this is inappropriate and gross” kind of responses. Because yeah… it is. I don’t care how little capital I have, I would not give my friends/family an assignment like that. It would be extremely biased, the majority don’t work with me, and those that do aren’t required to discuss it outside of our volunteer positions (and I only ask very select people for references since I supervise the majority of the volunteers I work with).

  55. employment lawyah*

    This is very very strange. I don’t know WTF the employer is thinking, but (as often happens) I’m going to put my money on some combination of “got incredibly bad advice” and/or “is doing a horrible job of properly combining conflicting, but individually reasonable, advice.”

  56. learnedthehardway*

    The request is so bizarre I feel like the sister really should double check to make sure that she understood it correctly.

    I can’t imagine filling in a 360 for my siblings – I think a good part of my writeup would be comments on how the employer takes an inappropriate and invasive interest in their employees’ personal lives, as evidenced by the 360 review they asked family members to do on their employees. I’d probably want to do a 360 on whoever their head of HR is, to point out that the person is completely out of touch with standards in human resources, as well.

  57. SarahKay*

    I thought I’d used up all my “Wowwwww!”s yesterday on Dr. Flounceypants, but it turns out that no, I still have lots of “Wowwww!”s left for this.
    I mean, are they paying the friends and family consultancy fees? If not, why not? After all, these people are apparently giving valuable input into the business.
    This is just… wow! I mean, really, wowwwww!

  58. mreasy*

    I am waiting for my lunch order and the ppl around me must think I just had some sort of brain event because I’m like panic laughing. This is beyond.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Send them all a link to your 360 review so they can evaluate how you come across in sandwich shops

  59. Natebrarian*

    So… your sister’s employer, who is *not* your employer, wants you to participate in their annual review process… for free.

    Not only is this BONKERS as far as professional boundaries, but (and I cannot emphasize this enough) you do not work for or with that company. They are not paying you. They are asking you to work without compensation. Just… no. On so many levels, no.

  60. Coffee Bean*

    I don’t like 360 reviews as s concept. This takes it to a new level. This company needs to do a 180 on the 360 and not do this.

  61. CommanderBanana*

    Just when I think I’ve seen it all in terms of boundary-crossing employers, something like this comes along.

    Also good luck to anyone who tries this with me – I’ll put you in touch with my mom. Enjoy a monologue on conspiracy theories and a tinfoil-hat fitting.

  62. Benny*

    Compared to a lot of letters we get here, I don’t see how this is particularly stroke-worthy. The 360 reviewer “encouraged” reviews from friends and family but it seems let the employee decide herself if she wanted to. Maybe the employer is thinking it could be helpful if a family member puts something like “My sister is an outstanding coordinator of family events and could use this skills to organize corporate parties”. Of course it’s very silly because chances are most of these comments won’t be helpful and it’s fundamentally intrusive, but compared to other things we’ve seen on AAM (like being told to share your most traumatic moments publicly at work) this seems mild. A while back there was this “bring your whole self to work” thing (which thankfully has gone out of fashion I think) but it sounds like that kind of thing.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I disagree. While I don’t agree with the psychological questions like that, which seem to be a worrying trend, I get the logic. We talk so much about burn out and people being unhappy with their jobs, trying to either create bonds or get a litmus test on how your employees are doing psychologically makes sense. HORRIBLY misguided approaches, but it makes sense.

      This is just out of the box invasive.

    2. Teapot Repair Technician*

      It’s correct for Alison to hold managers to a high standard when it comes to respecting the work-life boundary.

      Just about every such boundary violation that we read about here takes the form of, “It’s not required, but we encourage you to [in some way mix up the personal and the professional.]”

      Not that I actually want Alison to suffer a stroke, but I think it’s a worthy response in this case.

    3. Mockingjay*

      I don’t want to organize corporate parties. Just because I like to do them for my REAL family doesn’t mean I want to do a party for the C-suite on top of my regular duties.

      It may seem mild, but this fishing expedition provides the employer with information about personal habits, preferences, and attitudes that most of us would never, ever disclose. How can this make me a better employee? It’s making me an irritated employee and I don’t even work there.

  63. Bilateralrope*

    So the sisters employer wants a non-employee to do work for them without pay. I have questions about the legality of this.

    If I track the time I used to fill in the review, can I then force the company to pay me money under minimum wage laws ?

  64. irene adler*

    So, um, my sibling (my incarcerated brother) says I’m a saint.
    Shouldn’t that garner me some additional % points on my next raise?

    On the serious side, there are some families where such a request would trigger some very real ugliness to come out. Is management prepared for that reality?

  65. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    I’m definately in evil mode today, because I’m seriously considering how they’d like to hear feedback from me in full schizophrenic mode. I mean it wouldn’t be *accurate* feedback but I can guarantee a really fun read! :p

  66. ThereAreThoseWhoCallMeTim*

    I have basically no real work experience (been at one retail job for a while), but even I read posts like this and just…guh. My brain…

    OK, after a soft reset, I think it’s safe to say that any feedback a company got from this would be useless at best, and actively detrimental at worst. I mean, even if the company got some information out of this, what are they going to learn about work-related issues that they can’t learn…FROM OBSERVING THE WORKERS AT WORK? It boggles the mind.

  67. GS*

    Holy moly! Always thinking we heard it all, but then comes a new gem like this. I’d love to know what industry this is, if this is one of those hip startups like WeWork. What the what. Your sister should run fast and far from this place.

  68. JQWADDLE*

    I filled out a questionnaire for a friend a few years ago when she was interviewing for a management position in banking. It was 100 questions and they kept basically asking the same thing over and over. At the end there was a free form text box where we could say anything we wanted about the candidate.

    I think the rationale was to sift out nuanced things that could become problematic later. There were a lot of questions about behavior and how the interviewee handles stress/certain situations/human interaction.

    The company was big on personality tests to, so I wonder if there is a relationship.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      This makes it sound like a security clearance investigation. But those are best done by trained investigators, not Cosmo quizzes.

  69. nnn*

    All the employees should get their family and friends to write stuff along the lines of how they’re overworked and underpaid and underappreciated.

  70. Let’s Bagel*

    I haven’t read all the comments at yet so it’s possible someone already mentioned this, but what about the time of the person filling it out?? Sorry, I already have a full time job, 2 kids, etc— you get my point. It is incredibly presumptive to think that someone who is not being paid by the company should do any “work” for them!

  71. MsMaryMary*

    This reminds me of the job who wanted a personal reference in addition to professional references, and then asked my friend if I work well in a team and how I manage my time. She told them we’d been friends for 15 years and usually she was the one running late to meet me for dinner or drinks.

    I got the job and took it. That should have been a sign, though.

  72. Jay*

    These were my exact thoughts when my cousin approached me about this exact type of review. Glad to see I wasn’t off – if anything, I seem to have needed to be MORE shocked.

      1. Jay*

        MY THOUGHT WHEN I SAW THIS HEADLINE!!

        I almost wish I’d emailed Alison then… lol It was in late January of this year (although who knows… maybe this letter was first sent in earlier this year and they’re the same company… it is a small world!).

  73. CW*

    Wow. Just wow. You don’t work with your sister or for your sister. You should not have been dragged into this in the first place. As someone with a sibling, I can’t imagine if out of the blue my brother sent me the same thing – and like OP, my brother and I don’t work together and are in totally different fields. I would be shocked speechless.

    But like Alison said, this is not a new trend. And this is not normal. This is completely violating boundaries to a whole new level.

  74. I'm just here for the cats!*

    So…. I’m a little confused. Did the sister forward this to the LW or did the sister give LW email to the company? I would be a bit pissed that my sister gave my personal info to their work. Unless its for emergency contact reasons they have no business getting my personal info!

  75. Elle*

    I’ve seen a big push towards “complete authenticity” and “showing up as your whole self” at work a lot in the last decade. I think some of it is coming from a good place, trying to make the workplace more inclusive for PoC, LGBTQ+, neurodivergent people, etc. However, it often comes off as super gaslighty and invasive. Work is work — no one is ever going to be their “whole self” at work because it’s just….work!

    We are not going to talk to our boss about diarrhea. I am not going to complain about a minor annoyance to my boss the way I might vent to my husband. I’m not going to tell the same expletive-laced jokes at work as I would with my buddies. And I shouldn’t! Why can’t we all just acknowledge that some workplace behavior is going to require not being 100% purely authentically exactly how we are all “naturally” feeling, but that rigid outdated professional norms were also not necessary.

  76. Concertina*

    Just the thought of this situation has had me walking around the lab internally screaming for the last hour. o_o I was stressed just knowing my boss was on vacation in the town where my parents live, let alone having my parents/friends give feedback about me to my boss.

  77. Storm in a teacup*

    This is bats**t
    I’d insist they send to ALL my family. Every Single One on both sides. 40+ first cousins and their other halves and all the different aunts and uncles and kids? Including that random uncle (great uncle?) and aunt at all events but no one is sure how they’re actually related to the clan.
    wonder how many it would take to break the system?

    1. quill*

      Ooooh I have a large midwestern catholic extended family and I was a show-offy child. Third cousins don’t even necessarily know my last name, but I bet my mom has contact info for them!

      over 100 review’s of Tom’s Annie’s Carrie’s Quill (names of all my ancestors changed) and her attempts to recite poetry from memory, circa age eight, coming right up!

      … My brother would probably just send them back a picture of a lizard.

      1. Storm in a teacup*

        Haha this is exactly what my brother would do. Or an embarrassing pic of me as a child at that awkward age

      2. Teapot Repair Technician*

        I have no idea how many first cousins I have, and of the one’s I have been told about, I don’t know their full names, much less how to contact them. I guess I’m fired!

  78. Jaybeetee*

    That company is gonna do this 360 thing exactly once and get so spammed with ridiculous family complaints they’ll never do it again.

  79. Tinker*

    Ahahahahahahaha

    The thought of inviting my partner to deliver their full opinion of me, unavoidably with an extensive aside into their full opinion of my employer… oh, I would be a good boy who deeply understands the importance of the feedback process. I would deliver that invitation to them immediately. I would sell tickets to the show. It would be GLORIOUS.

  80. Jennifer Juniper*

    I can only see one way to use this:

    Discriminate against people who aren’t exactly like their employers’ ideal morally correct person in every. single. way.

    This could be weaponized by someone who wants to punish someone for being atheist. Or someone who doesn’t think her employees aren’t committed enough to social justice.

    Who the hell does OP’s sis work for? The Texas legislature?

    1. quill*

      More likely it’s going to be used against people who are disabled, queer, or “not committed enough” to the cause… AKA people whose relatives mention any health concerns, people whose same sex partners are mentioned, anyone who is known to complain about this apparently batshit job…

  81. Jean*

    “Some people are different by profession then they are by nature” Uhhh… no shit? How is this a justification for anything, let alone this unhinged request?

  82. Rainy*

    If I were the employee I’d simply refuse to supply any contact info. Yes, I’m different in my personal life, that’s the point of having a personal life.

    If my sister’s employer reached out to me like this I’d ignore it, and if they pressed, I’d have a few tart words to say about this kind of overstepping.

    1. Jennifer Juniper*

      I would lie like a rug.

      “OP loves their job! They talk about how wonderful company X is all the time and how much they love embodying the company mission every day.”

      Companies like that one would never question the positive feedback.

  83. Charlotte Lucas*

    The same things that make my sister a bit challenging to deal with as a family member are the personality traits that make her excellent at her job.

    Also, this seems like they’re asking others to do non-paid work for them. I’d tell my sister my consulting fee. (Not that she’d ever be OK with her employer doing this.)

  84. ThePear8*

    You did it OP, you broke Alison!

    And I think I and many of the commentariat are also experiencing rising blood pressure…

  85. ThePear8*

    I’d also have to wonder about how this works for friends/family who are mostly in other countries? I have a lot of relatives in China, most don’t know much English. What about my 6 year old cousin? Do I need his evaluation too?

    1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      “What about my 6 year old cousin? Do I need his evaluation too?”

      I will accept his evaluation in the form of a drawing (using a medium of his choice) of the two of you hanging out.

      Joking, this review process is bananas!

    2. Teapot Repair Technician*

      What if some of your cousins have died? Are you required to hold a séance with a printout of the survey taped to a Ouija board?

    3. Nanani*

      Oh good point! Most of my family doesn’t speak English comfortably if at all (and that’s excluding the cat)

  86. Analytical Tree Hugger*

    A reminder to all: “No” is a complete sentence.

    Not one to use lightly in a work setting with REASONABLE people. OP’s sister? You are not working with reasonable people.

  87. Suzanne Brown*

    Just when you think you’ve heard everything. Allison’s comment in response-about her blood pressure- made me crack up laughing. This column is never dull.

  88. anonymous73*

    I understand that many people are afraid that if they say no to a request at work, no matter how bizarre or inappropriate, they will lose their job. But this would be a hard no for me. It is so many ways of inappropriate I’ve lost count. Wow, just wow.

  89. Greg C.*

    Good lord what is with these companies and thinking they own their own employees to the point of being super invasive into their employee’s lives?

  90. Who Plays Backgammon?*

    “Thank you for contacting me regarding Sunflower’s 360 review. Please provide me with your company name, headquarters address, management structure, description of products and services offered, analysis of customer base, demographics of your workforce, and contact information for at least three of your own friends and relations. I am job hunting myself so I want to know what I would be getting myself into if I wound up working for you.”

  91. Mister Lady*

    this is so astonishingly bonkers. who thinks they can just demand work from people who are not their employees?? you want me to do an eval of my family member? then you can pay my exhorbitant consultancy fee for me to give you a lot of “I don’t know, I’ve never worked with this person” style comments. yeesh!!

  92. Lady Tina Dasilva*

    My cats would be like “shes super grumpy when we walk on her head on the middle of the night. Very stingy with treats. Very stuck in her ways, never permits me to eat plastic”

    1. Vesuvius*

      You have described how my cats would respond perfectly LOL.

      “She’s super irritated when we wake her by screaming at 5am. Very stingy with treats, never lets us into the kibble bin. Doesn’t allow me to eat plastic or the blinds.”

  93. AnonInCanada*

    Is this 2016 all over again? When bad bosses try to out-bad themselves for the dubious honour of Worst Boss of the Year? WTF did I just read?

    It’s none of their business what friends and family think of an employee, unless they’re actually a coworker. Nope, nope, nope, and a million more nopes to whoever this employer thinks they are for asking someone not in their employ to do a 360 review on someone of their employ.

  94. anon4eva*

    I had to take 360 reviews in my job and they required a minimum number of 10 friends/family that HAD to answer. It was strange to say the least.
    The funniest part was, we’re a small company and the (bloated) leadership team got their reviews and were noticeably very upset by everything and announced shortly after the 360 review concluded that we would never do them again.
    It took me over 2 weeks of answering numerous coworker’s reviews and we paid a company $50k to help “facilitate” these reviews.

  95. Nanani*

    This is awful in so many ways I can’t even.

    There are so many obvious ways that it could be abused by malicious actors in someone’s life, or accidentally ruined by clueless jokers, or a lot of things that have no business in one’s work life.
    And that’s BEFORE the intrusive nature of the thing! Some people aren’t out at work about important aspects of their lives, and that NEEDS TO BE RESPECTED. I AM TYPING VERY LOUD because THIS IS VERY BAD

    AAAAA

  96. AnonForThis*

    Holy Work-Life Boundary Violations, Batman! I cannot see what purpose this serves except to violate OP’s sister’s boundaries and make everyone involved really uncomfortable! Jeez. I’m not surprised Alison’s upset — this is beyond strange and makes me think of the worst bosses from different years! (Including, as one other commenter mentioned, the boss who cited an employee’s personal spending habits as a way to avoid giving them a raise! This employer gets my vote for one of the worst bosses of 2021!)

    (TBF, this is probably an “out the employee who doesn’t work hard enough” scheme or something to evaluate whose work is less important, or what have you. I’ve seen a few of them going around before. This is the kind of BS I’d expect one of my friend’s grandbosses to pull to deny them vacation time (their HR department does not do its job) but there, it would be considered too much work to follow up on.)

    Compared to a lot of letters that arrive on AAM, I’d say this is fairly stroke-worthy just given how rude and weird it is. It’s not quite as bad as “share the most traumatic experience of your life with your employer,” but still, whoa Nelly! Why is this employer so involved in OP’s sister’s personal life? I don’t know OP’s sister’s situation, but my advice to her would be: Job search, RIGHT NOW. No job is worth this level of boundary violation. Yiiiikes. I’d be so tempted to answer with a bunch of rambling unrelated info dumping stuff in short-answer form, just to make this review utterly useless.

    Hopefully we’ll receive an update (fingers crossed for soon!) that OP’s sister has found a new job somewhere else. Alison, please do something wholesome? Pet your cats, play with them, sit with one purring, or go for a walk outside. Augh. Who. Why. AUGH. It’s time for me to go play with cats.

  97. it's-a-me*

    “Her supervisors made her feel that this review will help her get a better view of areas in her life she could improve.”

    Is this an employer or a cult?

  98. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

    It does not appear Alison has replied to any comments on this article, if she is in medical distress and doesn’t have health coverage we need to crowdfund her some hospital bill paying money.

  99. dedicated1776*

    These are useless exercises. One of my close friends recently left a job at a Big Bank and a couple of years ago his manager decided this was a good idea. She read a leadership book and this was the hot new thing in it, I guess. He knows I am used to corporate BS, and he knows my husband is a good sport, so he put us down for the review. His attitude was, “I have a limited number of people I can actually impose upon to do this for me. Thank you for being a good friend.” lol The whole thing was ridiculous and we really had to fudge stuff because it didn’t seem right to tell his boss stories that start, “So this one time we were all drunk…”

  100. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

    I did a 360 review involving family and friends, but it was part of a leadership class in college (long story) and entirely focused on personality rather than work style or something like that. It was awkward and invasive then, and that was more justifiable than this!

    My now-fiance gave me the most critical responses because he actually believed me when I said “they told us you have to be honest.” My parents were the most glowing. XD

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