Defining your 360 degree feedback questions

There are two main types of 360 degree feedback questions which work best – quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative questions using a rating scale to ask raters how much they perceive the person receiving the feedback demonstrates a behaviour.

Qualitative questions are open questions or free text questions that allow people to provide more descriptive feedback.

The three rules of defining quantitative 360 degree feedback questions

There are three rules we adhere to when it comes to defining questions:

  1. Each question should contain one behaviour rather than multiple behaviours. For example “listens attentively when others are speaking” rather than “actively listens and evaluates options”. In the second example listening and weighing up options are different behaviours so it becomes difficult to rate someone who is effective at evaluating options, but not so effective at listening.
  2. The behaviour should be observable. 360 is less effective where people are asked to rate how much they believe people think or understand things.
  3. The behaviour should be worded succinctly and clearly so raters know what is meant. 

Can we include free text questions?

Free text questions can be really useful when it comes to adding more detail to help the person understand the reasoning behind their feedback scores.

We would recommend limiting the number of free text questions though as people tend to make their points quite quickly – if you ask lots of open questions we tend to find that results in repetition. Raters can also get frustrated at the extra time it takes to complete the questionnaire if there are lots of free text questions.