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How To Write Effective 360 Feedback Questions [13 Examples]

September 22, 2021
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Writing 360 feedback questions may not be easy, but a good understanding of the 360 process and survey philosophy can help you craft effective, easy-to-understand questions that elucidate all the info your company needs from their survey.

What are 360 feedback questions?

 360 feedback is a process where, instead of just one manager conducting an annual performance review on their employee, the employee gets input from all of their various managers and/or teammates throughout the year. This ongoing feedback helps the manager, mentor and team member identify more clearly how to support each other's development goals, while also giving valuable information about how others perceive the individual's abilities and behaviors.

360 degree feedback questions are open-ended, multi-part questions that provide 360-degree evaluations for employees at almost any organizational level. They can be used during annual performance review time or distributed in a self-review survey throughout the year. The responses from multiple people who work with or around you can help paint a more accurate picture of your performance and competency than just the input from one manager.

Benefits of 360 feedback questions

There are many benefits to 360-degree feedback, including: 

  • Increased self-awareness
  • Improved communication/ interpersonal skills 
  • Enhanced leadership abilities
  • Better employee engagement
  • Better performance management throughout an organization

A 360 degree feedback survey can provide the company with an accurate, multi-dimensional view of the employee. This feedback provides information on strengths as well as weaknesses and can be invaluable in helping the company decide where to delegate tasks as well as in determining promotions or planning employee development classes. 360 degree feedback surveys also allow employees to see which skills they will need to work on, such as project management or leadership abilities.

Keys to writing effective 360 feedback questions

When developing 360 feedback questions, keep in mind that these types of evaluations tend to be more accurate when there is not a strong "rating scale" involved. That's because employees- and managers- tend to lean toward giving answers that fall into their pre-defined categories, rather than thinking about how the participant actually does their job day to day. 360 questions work best when they call for responses that are more qualitative, rather than quantitative.

 Here's a list to help ensure your 360 evaluations give you valuable data:

  • Ask open ended questions: Closed-ended questions essentially provide the answer you're looking for before asking the question and limit respondents' answers. An open ended question allows participants to fully explain their reasoning and approach, which is much more revealing than just checking yes or no boxes.
  • Avoid "yes or no" type questions: Again, these limit people's responses and don't allow for as much room to answer as necessary. If there needs to be a yes or no answer in your employee assessment, try adding in an explanation for each choice.
  • Ask the right amount of questions: 360 feedback is generally best when it's given continuously throughout the year, rather than just once annually. This allows employees to receive continuous support and development opportunities based on consistent input from management and their teammates. The more 360 evaluations you ask for over time, the better it works! If an ongoing formal survey is too much for you, introduce team feedback software like the free Slack app Matter to make regular employee feedback a built-in part of the employee experience.
  • Evaluations should be simple: If 360 evaluations take too long to complete by both managers and team members then they will not be given consistently throughout the year-which defeats the purpose of 360 feedback altogether! 360 evaluations should also be simple enough that employees can understand and apply their own feedback.

Sample 360 feedback questions

360 feedback questions can actually be extremely engaging and insightful if written well. Sometimes when you are stuck in a rut a look at 360 feedback questions from another organization’s survey can give you the inspiration you need. Here are ten sample 360 feedback questions:

  • "How do you think the employee could best improve their communication skills?"
  • "What is one thing, if done differently, would strengthen your trust in the team member's ability to accomplish her job?"
  • "To what extent does this person hold themselves and/or others accountable?"
  • "What suggestions do you have for Jim going forward as a team leader?"
  • "Do you feel that Mary understands how her actions impact other people? If so, how?"
  • "Please share any additional thoughts or ideas about what we can do to recognize and celebrate success."
  • "As a manager, what are the three most important competencies you have observed in this team member?"
  • "What do you appreciate about Sally's work approach?"
  • "How well would you say your manager is at communicating with their team? If not so well, how could they improve?"
  • "How effective is your manager in providing feedback to you? If they could do more, what would you like them to be doing?" 

When writing 360 feedback questions to ask a manager, make sure a) the question is relevant and b) it applies to all types of employee opinions (in other words, try not to give too many prerequisites for answers). Manager feedback can be especially important for leadership development. Here are some sample 360 evaluation questions written for managers:

  • "What do you think your team members most appreciate about working with you?"
  • "What is one area where you wish you had more/less opportunities for delegation of work to team members?"
  • "How do you feel we can better balance our time and attention between day-to-day tasks and long term projects?"

Note that the responses to each sample question above have the potential to be translated to constructive feedback when reported to the participant. Emotional intelligence is also a common thread among 360 assessment questions, and many survey items focus on leadership style.

Final tips for writing 360 evaluation questions 

Asking 360 feedback questions in a way that everyone will find helpful and effective is not always easy. Fortunately, there are some guidelines to keep in mind while formulating new 360 feedback questions:

  1. 360 evaluations should capture how an employee views themselves versus their view of others' views. Recommending 360 evaluations to provide an "objective" view of an employee is not only inaccurate, it's actually counterintuitive to 360 feedback! Multi rater feedback is about collecting various types of feedback (not just one or two) in order to create the most accurate and thorough picture possible.
  2. Make sure 360 evaluation questions feel relevant; if an employee feels like the performance appraisal doesn't have anything to do with their job, you will lose them very quickly.
  3. 360 feedback questions must be value-based; ask questions that help employees see how their work contributes directly to the company's success (or lack thereof). It's also helpful if 360 evaluation questions are framed as things an employee can change/ versus traits where employees think they have no control over.
  4. 360 feedback questions should always focus on employee performance and behavior, not personality traits. 360 evaluations are about understanding how it feels to work with someone, which is best captured through 360 evaluation questions that help clarify what good behavior looks like.
  5. 360 feedback questions should be phrased so that more than one type of answer is both acceptable and encouraged. 360 evaluations sound the best when each feedback provider gives different though consistent answers (so try not to ask two or three questions that all require "strongly agree" types of answers).

A survey question does not have to feel tedious or overwhelming. Thanks to technology, there are many 360 evaluation apps that make 360 ratings easy and intuitive. And thanks to your employees, 360 evaluations are one of the most engaging ways to get information about how people are feeling in the workplace! 

360 review questions can often feel like an "extra" task on an already hectic schedule. However, a 360 feedback questionnaire is extremely important for improving performance within any given company or business. Asking 360 degree survey questions is typically a rewarding experience for everyone involved- managers who receive 360 evaluations will be more aware of their strengths and weaknesses, while employees will gain insight into what they do well (and what they could improve upon). After all, 360 evaluations are ultimately about creating a better workplace and guiding a future development plan. 360deg feedback questions can create stronger teams and encourage employee engagement if employees feel that they know how to improve their work contribution. 

Following these guidelines will help ensure your 360 degree feedback process serve its purpose: to give an accurate, continuous picture of how employees are performing and developing and guide necessary constructive feedback. 

It's not as hard as it looks, and once you start writing it will only get easier! As you continue to ask 360 evaluation questions within your company, the process of asking effective employee evaluation questions will become more intuitive and easy to implement. It won’t be long till you are a pro and writing the how-tos yourself!

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