6 Guidelines for Developing Effective 360 Degree Feedback Questions

Written by Explorance.

In a prior post, we reviewed how to develop an effective 360 degree feedback process. To ensure your 360 is productive you’ll want to include questions that accurately measure competencies. In today’s post, we’ll provide six guidelines to help you develop effective 360 assessment questions.

  1. Competencies & skills:

    Design questions around competencies that are applicable to the company, position and job level. You may decide to review employees based on a set of core organizational competencies and on skills particular to the role. The competencies used will vary based on the person’s position (senior manager, manager or non-manager). Some examples of competencies are strategic thinking, problem solving, creativity & innovating thinking, accountability & dependability, etc.

  2. Observable indicators:

    The survey questions should focus on observable behaviours that are linked to each competency. For example, the competency to evaluate is ‘leadership’ and we want to discover whether the employee delegates effectively. One applicable question could be: ‘does the employee provide clear direction to others?’ Another question could be: ‘does the employee delegate work fairly across the team?’

  3. Clear questions:

    The questions in your 360 degree assessment should be clear and concise. Make sure that the form asks questions in a logical sense, one question at a time. One way to achieve this is by avoiding double-barreled questions. Using double-barreled questions may cause the results to be unreliable and inaccurate. A double-barreled question example would be: ‘is the employee a good communicator and listener?’ Raters will be unsure how to answer this as it is asking them to evaluate two separate behaviours.

  4. Active tense:

    It is recommended that you write 360 questions using the active form of the verb. Remember, the questions are attempting to measure observable, actionable and current behaviours. An active question example would be: ‘does the employee establish systems for measuring results?’ Avoid using the past tense in survey questions: ‘has the employee established systems for measuring results?’

  5. Avoid jargon:

    When writing questions you should avoid using jargon, corporate-speak or abbreviations. You are striving for clarity with the questions and do not want to confuse respondents with terminology. If you need to use abbreviations, be sure to spell the word out fully the first time in the questionnaire.

  6. Clear ratings:

    There are a variety of scaled ratings used in 360 degree reviews. Which you use will depend on what the 360 is trying to measure. Some companies use scaled ratings based on frequency to assess how often the person is observed doing something (i.e. never to always). Organizations that are focused on development use evaluation ratings to measure how skilled a person is at a particular competency. One example of development ratings are: 5-exceptional strength 4-strength 3-fully competent 2-development need and 1-significant development need. No matter the rating system you choose be sure that it is clearly marked and unambiguous.

360 degree feedbackSurveys

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