Do your managers solicit input from other managers and employees when they provide developmental feedback to their reporting staff? If they don’t they are missing one of the best opportunities they have to provide legitimate, effective feedback with examples to employees.
But, organizations that use an informal 360 review process in which managers ask for input about employee performance from an employee’s coworkers may find themselves awash in a sea of data. A free form question that asks for feedback about the coworkers’ view of the employee’s performance, both good and bad, elicits an outpouring of unorganized data and opinions.
Without a structured format with questions for 360 reviews, free form answers from other employees may provide a lot of data, but not data that will help the employee grow and prosper. The manager will have a challenge to provide useful, actionable feedback to employees. The response to the request, in an organization that has a culture of trust, can be overwhelming.
Managers can feel that the time invested in organizing feedback from the 360 reviews outweighs the benefit they and the employees receive from the process. This is not good. 360 reviews are crucial to an employee’s ability to understand and act on feedback that will help him contribute more effectively.
Ken Blanchard once said that a river that has no banks is a pond. His words echo forcefully in the realm of the 360 review. I have written earlier about how to make the 360 review effective. Here are suggested questions that will help you provide your review with banks.
Determining Questions for a 360 Review
You can, of course, develop one set of questions that you use in each 360 review request that you send out. This is a step in the right direction. Just as I advocate an individual new employee onboarding process, I recommend that you develop a sample group of questions from which you pick and choose when you ask for an employee’s 360 review.
In this approach, you can decide on which aspects of the employee’s performance to concentrate your attention. You can work on developing different strengths each year. A variety of approaches fit each employee’s individual needs.
In deciding which characteristics, traits, and activities to develop questions about for 360 reviews, I used data provided by Indeed.com. They tracked the attributes employers most frequently sought in potential employees from their employment ads for a period of time. I figure that these attributes will still be essential in an employee’s performance.
360 Review Questions
Use these questions when you request feedback in a 360 review.
Instructions: Please answer the following questions about the job performance of (employee name). Emphasize your individual experience working directly with him and his team. We’d like to learn about what he does well in each of these areas. We’d also like you to suggest areas for improvement where possible.
Your answers will be combined with the rest of the feedback we receive and provided to the employee. Because of individual incidents that may be identifiable by the employee, we don’t guarantee the confidentiality of your feedback. We need to use examples so the employee can obtain a realistic and actionable picture of his performance.
- Does this employee exhibit leadership qualities in the roles he plays in the company?
- If so, can you provide examples of how he positively contributes through his leadership?
- If not, how can the employee improve his leadership?
- When this employee works with coworkers, what interpersonal skills does he demonstrate?
- Have you experienced any problems with him interpersonally?
- How would you recommend that the employee improve his interpersonal and relationship building skills?
- Does the employee effectively solve problems?
- If so, what are the skills that he has demonstrated in solving problems and arriving at solutions and improvements.
- If less than proficient in problem solving, in what areas of problem solving would you recommend that the employee work to improve his skills?
- Does the employee appear to be motivated by his work-related tasks, job, and relationships?
- How does the employee demonstrate that he is motivated and committed to success in the company?
- Have you experienced any difficulties with the level of the employee’s motivation?
- Are the employee’s work methods and approached to accomplishing his job effective, efficient, and continuously improving?
- Are there areas of improvement that you would recommend for this employee that would help him accomplish his work more effectively?
I've provided five examples of the types of questions that will improve the effectiveness of your 360 reviews. They help the employees responding know what you want to know. They organize the feedback in a way that promotes your ease of organization. Providing feedback to the employee is more effective when you frame questions that guide the feedback that you receive. You can use these sample questions to prepare your own 360 reviews or write your own based on these examples.