A guide to 360 feedback questions (with example questions)
Updated 22 November 2022
360-degree feedback involves asking staff members from around the organisation for feedback on an employee's work. It's a technique many workplaces now use as part of annual performance appraisals. The wide spectrum of feedback collected can help line managers to assist the employee in maximising their potential. In this article, we discuss what 360 feedback questions are, why they are useful for an employee's annual appraisal and provide examples.
What are 360 feedback questions used for?
Many companies use 360-degree feedback to formally assess how employees are performing. The approach is sometimes even used to decide whether or not to award bonuses. A survey is circulated in advance of the employee's annual appraisal. Staff across the company who have worked alongside the employee answer the questions. It is typical for the person's line manager to send out the questions and receive the responses. The line manager collates and anonymises the answers before giving the feedback to the employee during their appraisal.
Who do I send 360-degree appraisal questions to?
If you're a line manager, think about who your team member has worked alongside. This could be other team members, managers of other teams or colleagues in different departments. Also, consider asking the employee to nominate people they have worked alongside who they feel would provide valuable feedback.
If the employee you are appraising manages others, make sure that you send the questions to the team they manage. Upwards feedback is just as important as feedback from peers. Depending on the nature of your business, you might even consider asking clients with whom your employee works closely for feedback.
360-degree feedback questions examples
The questions in a feedback survey provide insight into the employee's overall performance and strengths over a specific period. Make sure the survey asks straightforward questions that the respondent can answer quickly and easily. For this reason, closed questions are preferable to open-ended questions. You could consider using a yes/no/don't know format, with some free text boxes for respondents to add detail if they wish. The following template questions can be used to create a simple survey:
Is this person good at solving problems?
Are they punctual?
Does this person respond appropriately to constructive criticism?
Do they take on additional responsibilities when required?
Do they use logic and sound reasoning to provide carefully considered responses to problems?
Do their behaviours reflect the organisation's values?
Can they control their emotions, even when things are not going to plan?
Do they keep you up to speed with the progress of projects?
Do you receive timely updates when they have concerns about meeting deadlines?
Have they undertaken any additional training or looked for opportunities for personal development?
If you want detailed feedback on a particular aspect of the employee's performance, you could consider including a small number of open-ended questions. The following are examples of questions that include an open-ended element designed to invite more detailed responses:
What are this person's verbal communication skills like? Are they confident and comfortable speaking to a range of different people?
What does this person do if they don't understand something? Do they seek advice from others or try and solve the problem alone?
Questions to identify future talent
There are several questions you can use to assess employees who are at an early stage of their careers. This can help you identify future potential and the next generation of leaders. This kind of question can be helpful if you are quite new to line management responsibilities too. The feedback can help you to understand the extra support and guidance that you can provide to help your new team members to develop:
Do they share expertise and help other team members?
Can they quickly take on board large amounts of information?
Does this person have good attention to detail?
Do they make mistakes in their written work?
Do they understand their work and how it aligns with the company's strategy and goals?
Questions on employees with line management responsibility
If the employee manages other people, you can include questions on their management style and performance. Reassure everyone answering the questions that you are anonymising all feedback. This encourages people to be open and honest when they answer:
Does this manager show their team members respect?
Does this manager treat everyone fairly and take steps to ensure equality across the team?
Is this manager able to successfully resolve conflict?
Does this manager recognise good performance?
Have there been occasions when this manager has asked a team member to step up because they are not pulling their weight?
Does this manager help you to understand the organisation's overarching goals and priorities?
Do you feel that this manager sets clear directions to guide the team?
Does this manager appropriately deal with situations where emotions are highly charged?
Do you feel that you get sufficient feedback from this manager?
Do you get regular opportunities to receive informal and formal feedback?
Questions on interpersonal skills
The way that someone interacts with you as their line manager might be very different to how they interact with people elsewhere in the business. You can include questions that will give a fuller picture of an employee's interpersonal skills. Some useful questions to include are:
Does this person work well with others?
Do they treat others with respect and communicate with them as equals?
Are they able to build meaningful relationships with others?
If this person becomes stressed, do they show it?
Are they compassionate and empathetic to their teammates?
Does this individual follow instructions well?
Do they ask questions if they don't understand something?
Questions on problem-solving skills
Problem-solving skills are important in almost all industries. Colleagues working around the business may have seen the employee demonstrate different skills whilst tackling challenging issues. This is why it is worth including questions about problem-solving ability in your survey:
Does this team member show initiative and creativity when faced with challenging situations?
Can this employee work autonomously?
Is this person able to adopt a systematic approach when faced with a challenging issue?
Does this person show an ability to break problems down into component issues?
Does this employee consider the short- and long-term implications of their decisions?
Does this employee consider how their decisions and strategies tie into the wider team/department/organisational goals?
Is this person able to communicate their plans or strategies?
Does this person seek out and take on board new information when looking for a solution to a problem?
When you circulate this kind of survey, it's important to explain how you're going to use it. Make it clear to the respondent that the employee doesn't see specific answers or know who has provided the feedback. As a line manager, it is your responsibility to transform all the feedback you receive into more general comments. This means that the person receiving the feedback can't identify where it has come from. Failing to anonymise and generalise the feedback undermines the process and could cause people to avoid giving feedback.
At the end of the survey, you can ask a few open-ended questions that give the respondents an opportunity to share any additional feedback they might have. Such questions can capture useful perspectives on aspects of the employee's performance not already covered. The following are examples of open-ended questions you can use to conclude the survey:
Has this employee demonstrated any noteworthy behaviours?
Are there any areas that this employee could improve in?
What makes this employee stand out?
Which areas of the business do you think this employee would benefit from more exposure to?
Are there any final comments or additional feedback that you would like to share?
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