As humans, there is always room to grow. Even the Bill Gate’s, Steve Jobs’, and Elon Musk’s of the world can improve. So, a great way to evaluate managers and employees is to conduct annual 360-degree review surveys. 

Not only do they allow employees to gauge how they are doing in the company, but they also provide constructive feedback for employees to take and grow with. As Jack Welch, CEO and business executive, says, 

“No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.” 

What is 360 feedback (and what should be included)?

One of the best ways to get feedback is through 360 feedback. 360 feedback is feedback given from an employee’s co-workers, supervisors, and direct reports about their performance. This typically annual feedback incorporates feedback from multiple sources, ensuring that the employee is evaluated on all aspects of their performance. 

For example, while John Doe may perform excellently in front of his direct reports, they may act poorly towards other co-workers; and, unless a complaint is filed against them, their direct reports would never know this information. Therefore, 360 feedback is also an important tool for evaluating employees to foster a healthy work environment. 

Pro tip

Organize respondents and their feedback all in one place with a feedback tool like Fellow.

360 feedback

What makes a good 360 feedback question?

A good 360-degree feedback question is a question that does not include or encourage subjectivity. To ensure that reviews are objective, they should not be leading. 

For instance, if you believe that your colleague is not doing their best work and acting lazy on the job, rather than asking “Do you believe John Doe is lazy on the job?”, ask “How would you rate John Doe’s productivity while working?”. In the second question, the person answering the survey is not led to believe that John Doe may be lazy nor is that idea placed in their head; their answer will be formulated by their personal experiences working with the person. 

It is also important to ensure that the 360-degree feedback is sent to the right people. If you send a 360 feedback request to a co-worker that has no experience working with the person, they will not be able to give you detailed feedback. Thus, look at who has worked with the employee before, evaluate their relationship with the employee (to also see biases), and then decide which people would provide relevant and unbiased data. 

Open-ended vs. close-ended questions

Oftentimes for simplicity, close-ended questions are asked in 360-degree feedback surveys. These questions are usually “yes” or “no” questions or a rating scale. And while close-ended feedback gives a good idea of the employee’s performance – for example, the employee is rated 8-10 on productivity by their colleagues – it does not provide information that answers WHY the employee is rated as such.  

Thus, it is important to also ask open-ended questions, too. A good tip to help you come up with open-ended questions is to ask them following close-ended questions. For example, if you ask, “Does John Doe show respect to his co-workers?”, follow by asking “Can you explain a situation when John Doe showed respect?”. 

64 of the best 360 feedback questions to ask

1 Manager questions

Having a great manager can make a world of difference. Marcus Buckingham, Harvard Business Review contributor, describes good managers as checkers players and great managers as chess players. This analogy demonstrates how in checkers, all the pieces hold the same values and strengths. And while it takes strategy to win, the pieces are seen as interchangeable. However, in chess, each piece holds its own values and strengths. In this game, the strategy is to move the pieces based on their strengths, not interchangeably. Thus, as Buckingham said, 

“Great managers know and value the unique abilities and even the eccentricities of their employees, and they learn how best to integrate them into a coordinated plan of attack.” 

So, now that you understand what a great manager should look like, let’s learn which 360-degree feedback questions should be asked to evaluate if your manager is a checkers player or a chess player…

  • Does your manager foster a psychologically safe environment? Give an example of how or how not?
  • Does your manager provide you with the necessary resources to succeed?
  • How does your manager act under pressure?
  • Does your manager prioritize tasks well?
  • How does your manager encourage your team?
  • Does your manager address your team’s needs and questions?
  • Does your manager treat all employees equally?
  • We can always grow. What are your manager’s areas for improvement/growth?

2 Leadership questions

360 feedback reviews are also a great way to spot potential leaders. These leaders are people who step up and take initiative when work needs to be done and who communicate well with fellow employees. It’s important to identify effective leaders so that when the time comes to promote somebody or make somebody responsible for a big team project, you will know who will lead the project best.  

Here is a list of questions that will help you identify potential leaders within your team:

  • Does the employee take accountability for their work?
  • Does the employee meet deadlines?
  • Does the employee take the lead in projects? If yes, can you give an example of this?
  • Does the employee contribute in group settings?
  • Does the employee show respect to their colleagues?
  • How does the employee problem solve?
  • Does the employee offer help or reach out for help to other colleagues?
  • Can you explain a time when the employee showed leadership? 

3 Communication questions

One great quality that all employees should have is communication skills. Communication skills are important because they help us build relationships with colleagues and customers. 

Additionally, according to Harvard Business Review, “companies that communicate effectively had a 47% higher return to shareholders over a five-year period (mid-2004 to mid-2009).”

So, without further ado, here is a list of questions to ask to evaluate how your employees communicate:

  • Does the employee communicate well with fellow employees? Give an example.
  • Does the employee communicate well with customers? Give an example.
  • Is the employee an active listener?
  • How does the employee take feedback?
  • How does the employee give feedback?
  • How does the employee act when talking in a group/presenting?
  • Does the employee use work-appropriate vocabulary while at work?
  • Does the employee create a welcoming atmosphere for you to communicate in?

4 Interpersonal questions

An employee’s interpersonal skills are important to evaluate during a 360-degree feedback survey because they demonstrate how the employee maintains relationships between their colleagues and customers. An employee who can maintain relationships with their team members is important to ensure that productive teamwork is fostered. 

Here is a list of interpersonal questions to identify which employees create and maintain work relationships:

  • Is the employee a team player? Give an example.
  • Does the employee foster inclusion? Give an example.
  • Does the employee show empathy and compassion for their colleagues?
  • Does the employee make an effort to help out their colleagues?
  • Does the employee exemplify the values of the company?
  • Does the employee keep their emotions out of decision-making?
  • How does the employee act in group projects?
  • How does the employee manage stressful situations? Give an example.

5 Problem-solving

The best employees are the employees who can problem-solve. Although managers always encourage reaching out to them or other team members when a problem arises, managers also appreciate employees who are self-dependable and can problem-solve on their own. 

So, here is a list of questions to see how employees problem-solve in the workplace:

  • Does the employee ask for help when there is a problem?
  • Does the employee suggest ways to fix the problem? Give an example.
  • How does the employee act when a problem arises?
  • Does the employee evaluate the consequences of their decisions before making them? Give an example. 
  • Is the employee open to suggestions when problem-solving?
  • Can the employee problem-solve under pressure? Give an example. 
  • Does the employee problem-solve quickly?
  • Are the employee’s problem-solving skills effective most of the time?

6 Alignment questions

Ensuring that employees align with the company’s goals and values is important as it ensures that employees are representing the company well. 

Here is a list of alignment questions to evaluate how employees are aligning with the company values:

  • Is the employee aware of the company’s values and goals?
  • Does the employee reflect the company’s values? (List values to remind them)
  • Does the employee reflect the company’s goals? (List goals to remind them)
  • Does the employee speak up in meetings and group settings? Give an example.
  • Does the employee accept feedback well about their goals? Give an example.
  • Does the employee represent the company well to customers?
  • Does the employee recommend the company to customers?
  • Is the employee maintaining a positive attitude with co-workers and customers?

7 Motivation

A productive employee is a motivated employee. Without motivation, employees become lazy and their quality of work suffers. So, it is important to evaluate your employee’s motivation during 360-degree feedback surveys. 

Here is a list of questions to help you evaluate your employees’ motivation:

  • Does the employee meet deadlines?
  • Is the employee motivated to complete their work? Give an example.
  • Does the employee ask for more work when they complete their assigned work?
  • Does the employee offer their help when needed? Give an example. 
  • Does the employee work their designated hours each day?
  • Is the employee giving their best effort? 
  • Does the employee motivate their fellow team members? If yes, how?
  • Does the employee’s motivation vary depending on the day of the week? If yes, are they more motivated at the beginning or end of the week? 

8 Efficiency

It probably comes as no surprise that an efficient employee is a good employee. These employees get things done using only the necessary resources. This is an important skill to have because oftentimes efficient employees save the company money and time to get their job done. 

Here is a list of questions to ask during your 360-degree feedback survey to evaluate the efficiency of your employees:

  • Does the employee meet deadlines without needed extensions/resources? Give an example.
  • Does the employee complete work promptly?
  • How efficient is the employee?
  • Can you give an example of a time when the employee was efficient?
  • Does the employee meet or exceed the expectations of their job?
  • Does the employee foster collaboration with team members?
  • Does the employee make use of their available resources to complete their work?
  • Does the employee aim to improve the current processes to make them more efficient?

Parting advice

360-degree feedback surveys are ultimately a great way for managers and their employees to evaluate each other and be evaluated. It is also an opportunity to see which employees stand out and deserve to be promoted or given more responsibilities when the time comes. 

At the end of the day, companies not only want employees who are good at their jobs but also employees who can build and maintain work relationships and showcase the company’s values and goals.