We’ve all experienced how stressful and uncomfortable office evaluations can be. Being called into your boss’s office to discuss your shortcomings in detail isn’t most people’s idea of a good time. It’s awkward and unpleasant to say the least.
However, evaluations don’t have to be this unbalanced one-way communication style. This is where 360-degree feedback comes in.
Here, we’ll discuss what 360 feedback is, how it works, and 360 feedback examples.
What is 360-Degree Feedback (360 Feedback)
360-degree feedback (sometimes called 360 feedback) is feedback given to an employee from multiple sources as a form of performance management. These sources are typically colleagues, peers, direct reports, and/or clients.
Traditionally, evaluations are given to an employee from their supervisor in a “top-down” approach. 360 feedback, on the other hand, is meant to give a more rounded review of the employee.
The employee will typically complete a self-assessment questionnaire. Then, about 6 to 10 other respondents will complete the questionnaire about the employee, as well. The goal is to give the employee a well-rounded view of their performance, with feedback from all groups they interact with.
What are the Benefits of 360-Degree Feedback?
360 feedback can be more beneficial than traditional feedback in a few ways. It can:
- Increase self awareness
- Offers a more objective, holistic evaluation
- Reduces bias, increases equity and inclusion
- Creates a more open, trusting work culture
- Provides insight to a range of employee relationships
When was 360-Degree Feedback First Introduced?
This type of feedback may sound modern, but in actuality, multi-source feedback dates back about 100 years ago. During WWI, the American Military employed multi-rater feedback among their soldiers. However, while this feedback did take feedback from multiple sources, it still lacked input from subordinates.
During WWII, the German military began using true 360-degree feedback. Here, they would determine a soldier’s performance by gathering feedback from supervisors, peers, and subordinates alike.
Shortly after WWII, 360 feedback began to make its way into the workforce. In the 1950s, The Esso Research and Engineering Group was the first company to use multi-source surveys to evaluate their employees.
Due to the company’s major success, the demand for 360-degree feedback grew exponentially.
360 Feedback Examples: Questions and Answers
360-Degree Feedback Example Questions
When writing a 360 feedback survey, it’s a good idea to have a mixture of close- and open-ended questions. This will provide both quantitative and qualitative feedback.
Close-Ended 360 Feedback Example Questions
Have respondents use a scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree” to answer the following questions.
- This person exhibits strong leadership skills.
- This person is organized.
- This person meets deadlines.
- This person communicates clearly and effectively.
- This person is reliable.
- This person is respectful of others.
- This person is a good listener.
- This person is open to feedback/improvement.
- This person works well collaboratively.
- This person is an effective problem solver.
Open-Ended 360 Feedback Example Questions
- What’s something this person does exceptionally well?
- What’s an area where this person could improve?
- What should this person start, continue, and stop doing?
- What’s an area or skill this person could improve?
- How would you describe this person in 3 to 5 words?
- How well does this person adapt to changing priorities or last-minute edits?
- Does this person offer valuable insights during meetings and collaboration?
- What does this person uniquely bring to the team?
- How does this person contribute to the company’s culture?
- Is there anything that you’d like to change about working with this person?
360 Feedback Examples for Peers
Not sure what feedback to give your peers? Here are a few responses to help get you started.
Positive Peer Feedback
- This person is great at understanding what needs to be done and organizing an action plan.
- This person speaks with such confidence – I always feel like we’re headed in the right direction when they’re in charge.
- This person does a great job of making sure everyone is heard. Even with lots of voices in the room, I never feel dismissed or unheard.
- This person communicates their ideas very effectively. They’re patient and thoughtful with their words, which makes it easy to understand their ideas.
- I think this person has what it takes to make a strong leader. They’re confident, clear, understanding, and flexible.
Needs Improvement Peer Feedback
- I think this person could be a bit clearer when they communicate. Sometimes I’m unsure of what deliverables they’re asking of me and when they’d like them.
- This person could give more recognition to coworkers. Sometimes it feels like they don’t appreciate it when others go out of their way to help them.
- This person does great work, but sometimes they need to be reminded about projects/details/deadlines. This can feel a bit unreliable.
- This person doesn’t seem very open to other people’s way of doing things. It can sometimes feel that they want things done only their way.
- This person sometimes has difficulties prioritizing the most important projects and tasks.
- This person can be unapproachable at times. It feels like sometimes I’m annoying them with my questions/comments.
- At times, this person seems distracted by non-work-related issues, like excessive personal phone calls, social media usage, online shopping, etc.
- I think this person could improve by learning to think more strategically and long term. Sometimes it feels like the decisions they make are quick fixes.
- I've noticed this person could work on their confidence. They have great ideas and some extra confidence would encourage others to support them.
- This person occasionally neglects some of the more tedious, but important, parts of their job. It can make things more difficult for others down the line.
How to Give 360 Feedback to Your Boss (Examples)
It’s undeniable that giving feedback to a superior can be awkward. There may be areas you’d like your boss to work on but telling them could risk getting on their bad side.
To help, we have a few rules and guidelines to make giving 360 feedback to your boss as painless as possible.
1. Categorize your feedback into a few buckets.
A few areas to consider include:
- Leadership skills – Think about how well your boss communicates expectations, motivates, leads by example, and is a part of the team.
- Problem-solving skills – Consider how well your boss resolves conflict, brainstorms, collaborates, and accepts accountability.
- Employee engagement – Think about how well your boss builds trust, listens and supports employees, is accessible/available, and how much they care about the team as people – not only employees.
2. Avoid speaking in absolute terms.
As with all effective communication, it’s a good idea to avoid using words like “always” and “never.” This is because it’s unlikely to be true and it doesn’t really address the root problem.
So, it may feel like your boss never listens to your ideas. However, in reality, it’s likely your boss does hear you and considers your input. But they may lack the active listening skills that show you you’ve been heard.
Instead, try softening your feedback. Rather than saying “You never listen to my ideas.” Say, “At times it feels like my ideas aren’t considered. I’d love to learn why they won’t work so I can continue to improve.”
3. Be objective, empathetic, and solutions-based
It’s not always easy, but being objective is important during evaluations. You may really like your boss but that doesn’t mean they have no areas that can be improved (and even if you dislike someone, they probably do some things well).
Try to put your feelings about the person aside, and instead focus on their actions. What do they do that works for your team? What hasn’t been working? Why?
Then, write your response remembering that your boss is still a person. No one is immune to harsh or mean comments. So, strive for your feedback to be constructive and helpful for your boss and the team.
Drive Better Engagement with Terryberry
360-degree feedback is just one way to engage your employees. Terryberry provides even more solutions to help drive performance and retention through effective employee engagement. These solutions include:
- Service Awards and Performance Awards: Recognize and reward employees based on years of service awards, anniversaries, or performance.
- Social Recognition: Empower your employees and managers to recognize their peers and celebrate successes with an easy-to-use social recognition application.
- Feedback and Communication: Unlock improved feedback and communications with employee and customer feedback solutions.
- Wellness Programs: We make it easy to run wellness programs and activity challenges that increase engagement, expand corporate health, and build team camaraderie.
Ready to learn more? Schedule a demo with our team to get a hands-on walkthrough of how Terryberry can transform the culture of your workplace.