Where To Start:

Questions The 360 Design Team Needs to Ask

By Timothy Bentley


(Excerpt from The Complete 360-Degree Feedback Resource Kit, published by Panoramic Feedback. References to volumes, below, are to the Kit).

These four sets of questions will help your design team ensure they cover the crucial issues in 360 planning.

Fundamental questions

  • Do we intend to run the survey every 6 months, every year, or less often?
  • Would an Internet-based tool be valuable to us?
  • Will some employees need paper versions?
  • Do we want to provide administration or hire a service bureau to manage the service?
  • Do we need consulting support to design the project or questionnaire, provide training, coach Subjects and responders, and/or provide statistical analysis?
  • What is the budget in money terms?
  • What is the budget in effort terms?
  • Do we wish full 360-degree feedback, upward feedback only, self-only, or supervisor-only?


  • Do we want to use benchmarked, validated questionnaires or questionnaires that reflect our organization's culture, location, industry, and employee group?
  • Should the questionnaire force a reply to each question or allow a "Not enough info" response?
  • Do we want to use a second scale to ask how important each skill is for the Subject's work?
  • Do we want to invite unstructured (or narrative) comments?
  • Do we want everyone invited to offer them?
  • Do we want them displayed in the Subject's report, or reserved for a coach to see?
  • Do we want to offer questionnaires and reports in languages other than English?

Subjects and Responders

  • Who will and will not be within the group of Subjects being assessed?
  • How large a responder group do we want, per Subject?
  • When will we schedule introductory training workshops: The Art of Receiving Feedback (Volume 2) and The Art of Giving Feedback (Volume 3)?
  • If we were to upload Subject and responder data from our HRIS, spreadsheet, database, or contact program, would it make for easier administration?
  • Who should select responders for each Subject: administrators, supervisors, Subjects?
  • How do we want to gather that information?
  • Do we want automatic emails sent to responders inviting them to answer the questionnaire?
  • On what dates should pre-announcements, catalysts, and reminders be dispatched?
  • Should recipients who don't want to participate be allowed to opt out from receiving further emails?
  • How will we get notifications to those without email access?
  • How will we encourage high response rates?
  • How will we deal with inadequate response rates?


  • Who will generate reports?
  • How will we maintain the confidentiality of reports?
  • Do we want to merge responder groups that have few responses, in order to maintain confidentiality of responders?
  • Do we want reports to provide a summary of best-rated and lowest-rated skills, or encourage Subjects to discover them for themselves?
  • When will we schedule The Receptivity Workshop for Feedback Subjects (Volume 4)?
  • Will we use Coaching Sessions for Individual Subjects (Volume 5)?
  • Would a guide to development available to all Subjects increase their opportunities for positive change?
  • Do we want to provide support to help Subjects comprehend their reports: workbook, supervisor, external coach, etc.?

Timothy Bentley is Chief Operating Officer of Panoramic Feedback