How to spot a good and bad 360 degree feedback survey

You’ve made the decision to undertake a 360 degree feedback process and you’ve got your colleagues and the wider business on-board…now’s the time to design the survey itself. Deciding what questions to include, and how many, may seem daunting, but there are some easy ways to make sure your feedback survey is quick, efficient and useful in the long term. Here are our top tips to help you spot a great feedback survey and avoid producing a bad one…

What Does A Good 360 Degree Feedback Survey Look Like?

+ A good 360 degree feedback survey always has a grounding in privacy and the confidentiality of those taking part. People are only likely to spend time on the survey if they feel confident that their anonymity will be respected. Similarly, they need to see the survey as something worth spending time on, which means you’ll need to share the importance of the survey before, during and after sending it to the necessary people.

+ Does your survey match your company’s brand language? Consider the way your business normally communicates with its employees and structure your report accordingly.

+ The best 360 degree feedback surveys take into account the opinions of key stakeholders and focus groups. A large proportion of questions may be inspired or directly supplied by those due to take-part. It is this process of co-creation that will inspire individuals to invest in the process and give the resulting data the validity it needs to make real business improvements.

+ A good survey should be quick and easy to complete. Keep questions focused with just a single concept or theme, and aim for eight words or less to have maximum impact.

+ Is your survey future-focused? Your 360 degree feedback survey should result in data that can assist with future development. Start by finding out what stakeholders and focus groups want to see in the future and work from there.

+ A good survey has a carefully considered rating scale – will you use 1 to 5, where 1 is poor and 5 is excellent; or a ‘develop’ or ‘strongest’ choice with a middle ground control response? Whatever you choose, make sure it is consistent and clear to those involved.

What Are The Tell Tale Signs Of A Bad 360 Degree Feedback Survey?

+If you ask irrelevant, unclear or distracting questions then you will get similar answers, so great care should be taken to discern and decide on the content of any 360 degree feedback survey.

+ The size of a 360 degree feedback survey has gradually decreased over the years. We recommend around 50 to 60 items, which should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. A survey that is too long will look daunting and time consuming, potentially putting someone off taking part.

+ A 360 degree survey shouldn’t just be a reflection of a manager’s opinions. They may have had strong opinions in pilot test groups, but managers don’t always know best. Keep this in mind and use your own gut instinct when designing questions.

+ A poor 360 degree feedback survey won’t factor in the necessary questions for overwhelmingly positive feedback. For example, a member of staff may be well respected and receive hugely positive feedback across the board – a good survey prepares for this eventuality and still factors in clarity on development needs.

+ It is important to tailor surveys to different levels within your organisation, but bad surveys remove universally relevant items just because someone is at a more senior level. For example, both senior, mid-level and junior members of staff could be surveyed on their listening and inter-personal skills.

For more on this and other incredibly powerful insights and advice, get your copy of 360 Feedback : A Transformational Approach today.


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