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360 Degree Feedback Survey: Your A-Z Guide to Questions, Tools & Templates

Kate William

7 min read

Whether you’re investing 10,000 hours or 21 days, it takes more than a magic number to learn a skill. What people actually need is a frequent, unbiased feedback loop. But for most organizations, regular feedback is not on the priority list.

  • As per a Gallup study, one-half of the workforce receives feedback only a few times a year (or less).
  • According to a feedback study by Joblist, the longer a person is at the company, the less likely they are to get reviews.
  • Also, 33.4% of full-time employees said they’d prefer to receive more feedback.
  • As per CEB, only 5% of managers felt they receive meaningful feedback.
  • Even in this digital era, nearly 80% of businesses are still using traditional performance reviews.

Here’s where a 360 degree feedback survey can help. How? Rather than investigating why people leave, it makes more sense to review them from multiple angles, figure out the reasons why they stay, and strengthen those reasons. And 360 feedback surveys are the perfect tool for this purpose.

What is 360 degree feedback?

A 360 degree feedback survey is designed to collect anonymous feedback about an employee. It collects this feedback from the people that work closely with them. This includes their peers, managers, and direct reports.

So, how is it different from traditional performance reviews? 

  • 360 reviews don’t just focus on performance. They also focus on the employee’s behavior, skills and impact on their team.
  • 360 degree reviews are anonymous. This means you can give and get candid feedback without fear of judgement.
  • 360 degree feedback surveys have multiple sources. This lets you see a more realistic portrait of the employee and what they can do.
  • Through a mix of open-ended questions and rating styles, they provide more accurate data. This is helpful for promotions, transfers and role changes.

Here’s a 360 degree feedback example created with SurveySparrow:

Employee 360 degree feedback survey by SurveySparrow

Like what you see? You can sign up to create your own 360 degree feedback survey.

What are the benefits of a 360 degree feedback survey?

Employee engagement: Did you know? A whopping *5% of your employees have become disengaged at work.

  1. Increased engagement: Many studies show that employees disengage when they feel ignored. 360 feedback provides two antidotes for this problem – appreciation for their work, and suggestions for improving their skills.
  2. A wider lens: Let’s use an example: your employee is a superb marketer. Her team admires her for her work ethic but her peers outside the team take a different view. Why? Because they aren’t as involved with her work. 360 reviews combine these perspectives to show how she is perceived within and outside the team.
  3. Team development: 360 degree performance reviews enable two-way feedback between all team members. This helps teams develop a better sense of accountability and motivates them to up their game.
  4. Career development: Through 360 reviews, your employees get plenty of chances to learn their strengths, and where they need to improve. What’s more, each employee gets a personal development plan (PDP)  – a kind of how-to guide for improving their performance.

What questions should I ask for 360 degree feedback?

Good question! You can easily customize this performance review form if you are short on time. But each organization has its own culture, skill sets and business needs. So we recommend putting some thought into your 360 degree feedback survey.

Here are five types of 360 review questions you can include in your survey. What’s more, you can customize them accordingly.

1. Leadership

There are three kinds of leaders in every group: the born, the made, and the ones that need shaping. To help you identify which is which, here are some questions that you can ask.

  • Rate David’s understanding of his industry on a scale from 1-10.
  • On a scale of 1-10, rate how well David handles conflicts within the team.
  • How does David motivate others to achieve their goal?
  • How often does David give feedback and coaching?
  • Describe David’s relationships with his team members.
  • How often does David reward his team?
  • Please rate David on attitude and behaviour in high-pressure situations.
  • How does David respond to negative feedback and criticism?
  • Give an example of something that demonstrate David’s leadership.
  • On a scale of 0-10, how would you rate David as a leader?

2. Motivation

Did you know that, as per Gallup, disengaged employees can cost their company 34% of their yearly salary? Yikes! That’s why we use motivation assessment questions. They help you find key motivators, track current engagement levels, and learn what you can do to improve it. Here are some sample questions.

  • How excited are you to work on Monday? Say it with emojis. 😎🤯😭😵‍💫🥱🤩
  • What motivates you at work?
  • Pick any 5 words to describe our work culture.
  • What can we do as an organization to help you?
  • How would you rate our employee engagement activities?
  • What improvements would you make to this company or your role?
  • Does the company motivate you to go beyond your role?
  • Do you have all the resources you need to work at your best?
  • Okay, tell is what resources you need.
  • On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend our company to others?

3. Performance

Performance assessment questions measure performance at 3 levels:

  1. The employee and their manager
  2. The team and its employees
  3. The employees and the organization as a whole

Your 360 degree feedback surveys should include a good mix of feedback from all of these levels. Here are a few sample questions to help you with that.

  • What were Ali’s biggest achievements this quarter/year?
  • Can you share an example of something Ali does well?
  • Do you have any specific feedback on Ali’s strengths?
  • What are the areas where Ali needs to improve?
  • What do you think is the biggest motivation for Ali?
  • How would you describe Ali’s approach to work?
  • What are the 3 words you would use to describe Ali as a team member?
  • Would you recommend Ali for [position name]?
  • Rate Ali’s performance this year on a scale of 1-5.
  • Which of Ali’s skills will be useful for the organization as a whole?

4. Problem-solving

According to Berke, there are 3 types of problem-solvers in every company:

  1. Logical: Critical thinkers, methodical approach, big-picture people, organized, good at strategic thinking
  2. Rapid:  Multi-taskers, quick decision makers, intuitive, good in a crisis
  3. Spatial: Visualizers, systems thinkers, tech-savvy, good at spatial tasks and problems

But, what questions can help you measure problem-solving skills? Here are some examples.

  • When Eva is faced with a problem, what does she do?
  • While solving a challenge, does Eva ask for feedback from others?
  • Does Eva look at problems from different perspectives?
  • Can she come up with multiple solutions to a problem?
  • Will Eva measure a new potential solution against a set standard?
  • On a scale of 1-5, how often does Eva multi-task?
  • There’s a sudden change of plan. How does Eva respond?
  • A colleague has made a mistake and Eva finds out. How does she respond?
  • What is the biggest challenge that Eva had to face at work?
  • How does Eva reach a decision? Describe it in 5 steps.

5. Communication

Are you prepared for the challenges of the hybrid workplace? Always at top of the list is remote communication. This is why communication skills have become more vital than ever before – whether your staff work in-office, remotely or a mix of both. So here are some questions to help you test communication skills.

  • Do you think Maria is an active listener?
  • Rate Maria’s communication skills – verbal, written & visual – on a scale from 1-10.
  • Does Maria present her views clearly and appropriately?
  • How would you rate Maria’s presentation skills?
  • Talk about a time Maria had to give bad news to a colleague.
  • What would Maria do if she misunderstood an important communication?
  • Rate Maria’s skill in simplifying a complex idea/problem
  • A colleague’s not good at communicating. How does Maria handle it?
  • Written or verbal communication: what is Maria better at?
  • How would Maria react to a typo like thsi?

That wraps up this section. But here’s an additional point to keep in mind; timing is as important as the questions. So check out this primer on when to use 360 degree feedback.

A 360-feedback process, when done right, greatly increases the chances that change will occur. – Jack Zenger & Joseph Folkman, Harvard Business Review

Tips for creating a 360 degree feedback survey

  • Set a long-term goal. For example: “improving our work culture”, “creating a better rewards program”, “boosting productivity by 50%”.
  • Choose the evaluators and employees. In 360 feedback, you can limit the process to certain parties. For example, the employees and their peers, employees and their supervisors, and so on.
  • Select the approvers. Approvers are the people who review the employee along with the evaluators. They also approve the list of evaluators as well as the final report.
  • Inform your employees. Educate them about the purpose of the 360 degree feedback survey.

In addition, here are a few tips you can use to increase your responses.

  1. Keep the questions simple and clear.
  2. Avoid corporate jargon.
  3. Use an active voice.
  4. Personalize with your employee’s name, brand color and fonts.
  5. Make customization and automation easy with 360 degree feedback software.

That takes us to…

How to choose 360 degree feedback tools: 5 key features

From creating forms to generating reports, 360 review software like SurveySparrow makes performance evaluations more efficient than ever before. But there are 5 critical features you must look for while choosing a 360 degree feedback software. Let’s review.

1. A customization module with:

  • Survey design & branding capabilities
  • Ability to set minimum scores
  • Email customization
  • Diverse survey sharing options

2. A dedicated employee portal with:

  • Feedback tracking
  • Task management
  • Evaluation status tracking
  • Self, Peer, Manager & Custom reviews
SurveySparrow – Executive dashboard for data

3. A built-in reporting module with:

  • Auto-generated reports
  • Report customization
  • Ability to select various competencies for analysis
  • A section in the employee’s Personal Development Plan for the reviewer to add their comments

4. Survey automation capabilities with:

  • Ability to set recurring surveys
  • Scheduling surveys
  • Cut-off dates
  • Automatic reminders
  • Automatic scoring for each survey section
SurveySparrow – Integrations, webhooks and workflows

5. Finally, you need security features like these:

  • Custom SSL
  • IP whitelisting
  • Domain customization
  • Audit logs
  • HIPAA enablement
  • Account access management

Wrapping up

Goodbye, spontaneous office chats? New hybrid work models and flat work structures are now the norm. That’s why more and more companies are turning to annual and even quarterly 360 degree feedback surveys.

For the best results, we recommend a system of 360 surveys with meeting ratings and weekly check-ins. Why? Because no one wants to wait months to give an urgent feedback! When combined, these surveys create a constant feedback loop that builds up to an effective employee, better teams and ultimately, a stronger company.

Kate William

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow

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