360 degree feedback questions [with examples]
How can you make your feedback more constructive? It's all about the questions you ask. 360 degree feedback is a process for evaluating people in an organization by soliciting input from their peers, subordinates, supervisors, and sometimes customers.
The key to success with 360 surveys as a method of evaluation is asking the right questions, that will produce meaningful data to help employees grow. In this article, we discuss the different types of 360° questions you can use and share a list of 360 survey sample questions. We'll guide you on how to get started with 360 feedback questionnaires for managers and or employees, and we'll go over some of the common pitfalls to avoid.
Keep reading to learn about:
What 360-degree feedback is
The benefits of 360° feedback surveys for managers and peers
What the best 360 feedback survey questions are
The difference between open and closed questions in 360° questionnaires
Best practices for 360-degree feedback
360-degree feedback tools and software
What is 360-degree feedback?
360° feedback is a process where employees receive anonymous feedback from the people who work around them. Put simply, a 360-degree feedback system allows team members, managers, and colleagues to all give their own anonymous feedback on an individual.
A 360 review is a valuable way to gather employee feedback and work with employee performance, performance management, and professional development. A good review process that includes multi-rater feedback is a great tool for Human Resources, team members, and managers alike. It can help improve leadership communication and support your leaders in developing their managerial skills. When done well, a 360 survey helps employees and managers understand their own areas of strengths and weaknesses better.
Benefits of 360-degree feedback for managers
Focus on the “How” as well the "What"
Improved employee relationships
Increased accountability and transparency
Enhanced individual performance
Enhanced team performance
Improved leadership skills
Benefits of 360-degree feedback for peers
Focus on the “How” as well the "What"
Improved dialogue with manager and colleagues
Improved peer relationships
Enhanced individual performance
What are good 360 feedback questions?
In this blog post, we'll go over some common 360-degree feedback survey sample questions with examples so you can get started on building out your own set of engaging, helpful questions. We'll look both at so-called closed questions, where participants rate different statements on a scale, and open questions, which bring more qualitative responses.
Related reading: The best employee engagement survey questions – what to ask and why
Closed 360-degree feedback questions [Examples]
Closed questions, which means questions where the respondents choose between the options of "strongly disagree," "disagree," "neutral," "agree," and "strongly agree," are great to include in your 360-degree feedback review. Closed-ended questions enable quantifiable analysis and help you track changes over time.
Examples of 360-degree feedback questions include:
[Name] is good at prioritising their workload and meeting deadlines.
[Name] communicates clearly and efficiently with other coworkers and me.
[Name] has strong leadership skills and is a good leader.
[Name] exhibits strong interpersonal skills and helps people feel welcome and at ease.
[Name] provides timely and clear feedback.
[Name] prioritizes teamwork and puts the team first.
[Name] takes the initiative in problem-solving and is solution-oriented.
[Name] is open to receiving feedback, both when it's negative and positive.
[Name] embodies our company culture and values.
[Name] values different perspectives and welcomes diverse opinions.
Open-ended 360-degree feedback questions [Examples]
To get more qualitative information, including open-ended questions in your 360-degree feedback is also essential. These questions should focus both on an employee's strengths and their areas for improvement. This will help ensure that each 360-degree review includes a balance of positive and constructive feedback.
Examples of open-ended 360-degree feedback questions include:
What would you say are the strengths of [Name]?
What is one thing [Name] should start doing/do more?
What is one thing [Name] should continue doing?
What is one thing [Name] should stop doing?
How well would you say [Name] manages their time and workload?
Can you share an example of a company value that [Name] has brought to life?
What three words would you use to describe [Name]?
[For leadership roles] If you were [Name], what would be the first thing you would do?
How well does [Name] adapt when priorities change?
Can you name an area where you'd like to see [Name] improve?
5 things to keep in mind
Several factors play into the effectiveness and usefulness of feedback questions. The type, length, timing, frequency, phrasing, and structure can all impact how well participants receive them. That's why it is essential to choose carefully when designing these types of surveys for your organization, and when choosing a 360-feedback tool.
An organized and structured approach to peer feedback is necessary if employees are to develop from the feedback over the long term. A 360° feedback tool enables HR and managers to create actionable feedback loops, to increase engagement and productivity in the workplace.
1. The purpose is to evolve, not to be evaluated
During the 360° feedback process, it's essential that the employees understand and feel like the goal is to evolve, rather than be evaluated. Otherwise, the feedback can cause stress. Remember: 360° feedback tools should be employee-centric and take other things than numbers into account, which is what makes them very different from regular performance measurement tools.
2. Focus on strengths and opportunities
When thinking of employee development, it's a common mistake to start pointing out all the negatives you'd like to see removed. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of the employee, and try to reproduce the productive behavior. However, there is always room for growth, both on an individual and organizational level. Combining questions about the employee's strengths with questions about areas where they can grow and evolve, will help you avoid scenarios where people feel overwhelmed or unfairly assessed.
3. It's all about the employee
Self-leading individuals who take responsibility for their growth and career development are every employer's dream. Allowing employees to take their own initiative and receive feedback whenever they want, from whomever they want, is empowering. That's why it's essential for 360-degree surveys to be employee-centric.
4. Numbers are important, but not everything
Moving beyond numbers is vital to achieving actual change from the feedback given to the employee. Many factors in the workplace aren't quantifiable, at least not in a way that makes employees feel motivated. Instead, your 360 feedback tool is a great complement to other performance appraisal methods, as it adds the qualitative and interpersonal aspects of performance.
5. Effective surveys keep the employee engaged
Although often neglected, the length of your survey has a big impact on its effectiveness. If it's too long, people may not put the same effort into each answer. It can also be challenging for the person being reviewed to handle too much data. It's usually best to keep your 360 surveys short and sweet, focusing on the most important questions.
For more information about which style might best suit your needs or how we could help you with this process, please reach out to our team!
Read more about 360 feedback systems in performance appraisals: 360-degree feedback in performance reviews
What should be included in 360 feedback surveys?
360-degree surveys should include both open-ended and closed-ended questions about an employees performance and behaviour. The questions should be phrased in a way that encourages constructive feedback.
Is 360 feedback anonymous?
360 surveys are typically anonymous to ensure honest responses from the participants.
Why is 360-degree feedback important?
Multi-source feedback provides employees and managers with insight and understanding into if and how they are behaving in accordance with the values that are important for team success.
How to process 360-degree feedback?
The best way to manage and process 360-feedback is to use a holistic tool that not only runs the surveys, but also allows you to connect the outcomes to 1:1s, action plans, and impact analytics. This way you can take the step from gathering the insights, to taking the actions needed.
How to ask for 360-degree feedback in an email?
It's often a good idea to tailor the email message to the group that will receive it, and to make sure they have access to all information they need to understand the 360 feedback process.
What is the best 360 feedback tool or software?
A holistic employee engagement tool that not only runs the 360 surveys but also allows you to connect the results to 1:1s, action plans, performance management, and impact analytics. This will allow for a proactive approach to the survey results, on the individual, team, and organizational levels.
How to give 360° feedback?
360 feedback should be given in a factual and constructive way, focusing on behaviors rather than on the individual.
How can 360 feedback improve performance?
Multi-rater feedback from peers and direct reports allows managers and team members to think about expectations around goals for performance and behaviours. 360 reviews provide a good platform for employee development and manager development as well as personal growth.