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What to ask in 360 feedback: Example questions and free template

5 min read
Want to get the full picture when it comes to your people? 360° feedback is a valuable tool for employee development – but what should you ask and why?


As we navigate flexible working environments and uncertain economic times, it’s critical that our leaders and our people understand their strengths and weaknesses. This not only means your people can pinpoint what they need to do to improve, but also helps build stronger teams, and fill critical managerial and leadership roles throughout the organization.

Why use 360° feedback?

360° feedback helps to give a fuller picture than just relying on one or two opinions. Multiple sources of feedback give a 3D view of an employee so they can better understand their personal development gaps.

But 360° feedback shouldn’t be just about gaps – it should highlight your employees’ strengths, while giving them constructive ways to improve upon their weaknesses.

Additionally, HR and senior leadership need valuable qualitative and multi-rater data to inform talent management processes like promotion, succession, and transfers.

What should we ask?

Many managers agree that 360° feedback is a useful tool for employee engagement programs, mentoring, employee review periods, and adds to the employee experience; but when it comes time to create questions to ask in your 360° feedback assessments, many people draw a blank. An open-ended question asking for opinions of an employee’s performance – both good and bad – isn’t helpful. It’ll give you an unorganized cacophony of data. There are better ways to ask.

Every organization has unique characteristics, a distinct culture, and a wide variety of leadership needs. We’ve taken some of the basic practices in 360° feedback survey design and package them up in a sample assessment to help you get started or benchmark your existing efforts.

It’s important to keep in mind that every employee needs feedback in different areas for it to be useful. For example, you obviously wouldn’t ask coworkers of an employee in the creative department:

How well does (Subject Name) organize, analyze, and present large data sets that drive business decisions?

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Instead, look at a structured format for your 360 reviews. Without a structured question format you’ll get a lot of information, but it’s unlikely to help provide constructive and actionable insights to help an employee develop personally.

360° Feedback survey template: Sample competencies and statements

Hello (Evaluator Name),

You’ve been asked to provide employee feedback in this 360-degree survey for (Subject Name).
Below are 6 items about key leadership principles that apply to (Subject Name)’s development.

Please provide your anonymous feedback by answering the following questions:

Self-Awareness

Please rate (Subject’s Name/Yourself) on self-awareness relative to peers:

Among the bottom 10% Among the bottom third Typical Among the leading third Among the leading 10%
Keeps control of their emotions and behavior, even when involved in high-pressure situations
Is highly ethical
Acts professionally
Learns from their mistakes

Please provide any additional feedback you have about this competency:

 

Drive for Results

Please rate (Subject’s Name/Yourself) in terms of drive for results relative to peers:

Among the bottom 10% Among the bottom third Typical Among the leading third Among the leading 10%
Is focused on the needs of the customer
Is a problem solver

Please provide any additional feedback you have about this competency:

 

Leadership

Please rate (Subject’s Name/Yourself) proficiency in leadership relative to peers:

Among the bottom 10% Among the bottom third Typical Among the leading third Among the leading 10%
Inspires continuous growth and learning in others
Handles conflict in an appropriate manner
Takes initiative to solve problems
Motivates others to reach their goals

Please provide any additional feedback you have about this competency:

 

Communication

Please rate (Subject’s Name/Yourself) ability with interpersonal communication:

Among the bottom 10% Among the bottom third Typical Among the leading third Among the leading 10%
Communicates openly/effectively with others
Is open and receptive to feedback/seeks out feedback

Please provide any additional feedback you have about this competency:

 

Teamwork

Please rate (Subject’s Name/Yourself) ability with teamwork:

Among the bottom 10% Among the bottom third Typical Among the leading third Among the leading 10%
Works well in a team
Gives constructive and helpful feedback
Treats others with respect
Responds constructively to the mistakes of others
Is open to change and innovation

Please provide any additional feedback you have about this competency:

 

(Subject’s Name) contributes to my ability to do my job well

Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Neither Agree nor Disagree
Agree
Strongly Agree

Share a concrete example of something (Subject’s Name) does well:

Share a concrete example of something (Subject’s Name) could improve:

Are there any comments you would like to share with (Subject’s Name)’s manager?:

 

Want all these 360 Feedback questions in a PDF, along with more best practices and program tips? Download our 360 Feedback best practices guide

Best practices: 360° feedback eBook