Creating an effective 360 degree feedback survey means understanding the difference between 360 degree feedback surveys and employee engagement surveys. They both serve different purposes and should be used according to what your business wants to accomplish.


Use the right question items on the survey.

The single biggest mistake made by most companies when designing their 360 degree feedback process is using items that are inappropriate for this type of survey. Using items that represent important or relevant skills, abilities or characteristics are not the correct type of items for this approach.

To illustrate, if you want to know if someone is a good speller, which approach makes the most sense?

1. Asking ten people who work with that person to rate their spelling regardless of their own ability to spell or their own experience with that person’s work.
2. Giving that person a spelling test and asking an expert speller to review samples of the unedited work.

In the same instance, if you ask this person’s employees to rate their strategic planning skills or competitive market intelligence, the results will be close to meaningless—unless they have a lot of highly qualified experts on their team.


Remember to keep it simple. You don’t want to ask people to evaluate abilities or complexities that they either have no knowledge of, or have not proven their competence and skill levels in. In these situations it’s best to ask qualified experts, who are familiar with the factors you are rating for feedback.

However, if you want to know how someone interacts with, listens to, communicates with, motivates, recognizes, inspires, holds accountable, develops, encourages, etc. then there is no better group of people to ask than those who work with them every day.

Here is a list of sample effective items to include on a 360 survey:

• My manager listens to me
• My manager provides me with timely and helpful feedback
• My manager has made a personal investment in my growth and development
• My manager cares about my well-being
• My manager recognizes me when I do good work
• My manager involves me in decisions that affect my work
• My manager helps me understand how my job contributes to the vision of this company

Utilizing simple, straight forward items that measure specific behaviors exhibited by the very best managers will ensure a much more meaningful process.

For more guidance on designing your process, please visit our website.