The 60-Second Consultant

By Timothy Bentley

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Making A 360 Questionnaire Can Be Fun

12 February 2019

by Timothy Bentley

Not every workplace task is enjoyable, but designing a good questionnaire for 360-degree feedback can be satisfying and intriguing for a small group. 

From known to new

360-degree feedback generally has its foundation in an existing document, maybe a Vision Statement, Mission Statement, Strategic Plan, or Core Competencies. 

These provide a solid basis to check your questionnaire against, making it easier to decide how relevant each potential question is. Because you’re basing the questionnaire on core values rather than political score-keeping, your group will enjoy working together. 

Templates and precedents

Questionnaires don’t usually need to be designed from scratch. For instance, Core Competencies can often be lightly rewritten to suit the 360. 

As well, your feedback provider can offer hundreds of excellent pre-written questions. Pick the best, edit lightly, and there’s your questionnaire. 

Add color to data

Generally questions are responded to on a scale of, say, one to seven, providing lots of quantifiable information.  

But an interesting task is designing the open-ended comments. They allow responders to offer suggestions that may be hard to make in person, and because they throw color onto the quantified data, they’re often highly motivating for the recipient.

 Limit your task

From personal experience  you know the best surveys are often short. 

Aim for, say, 25 questions. If you exceed this slightly, it’s ok. But if you hit the 40s, think twice; some of your responders will have to assess several individuals. 

Collaborate

Near the end, you’ll likely invite people from several areas to review the draft. You’ll discover how particular questions are viewed around the organization. For instance, the term “collaboration” may mean different things to workers on the shop floor and middle managers in committees. 

If you enjoy surprises, typically you’ll encounter a few. They’ll result in a more effective questionnaire. 

So fear not. Look forward to designing your next 360-degree feedback questionnaire. And if you have questions. ask your 360 provider for friendly assistance.

Timothy Bentley is Chief Operating Officer of Panoramic Feedback.