Surveyonics - Online Survey Software
Creating a 360-degree Feedback Survey

A 360° feedback survey is a way to gain insights into how several people view one employee or manager. Opinions are gathered from fellow workers, immediate/direct supervisors, managers, and others whom the person works with. For leaders or managers in a company, 360° feedback survey gives critical feedback in addition to other work evaluation methods. As seen in Figure 2, this type of feedback has a number of uses.

  1. Employee development – This type of feedback can be used to develop both the technical and soft skills of leaders in an organization. For example, feedback from subordinates can tell a manager whether he or she needs to improve their communication skills.

  2. Performance appraisal & management – 360° feedback is used to give a more balanced view of a manager or leader’s performance. With more than one person’s input, the manager is more likely to take the feedback seriously and make necessary changes to performance. It is also used to manage performance in the long term.

  3. Training needs appraisal – 360° feedback is useful in appraising the training needs of managers. If a production manager needs more training in budget management, a 360° feedback can give information on the type of the training needed. This feedback is especially important in appraising management training needs such as conflict resolution and time management skills.

  4. Post-training evaluation – If a manager is sent to training after 360° feedback, that same feedback can be used to check whether they’ve gained the skills and knowledge needed. 360° feedback can reduce the cost of training and development on the job because managers can check which seminars are effective and which aren’t.

  5. Organizational assessment – A 360° feedback survey can give a wide-range view on how employees view the organization. Managers and employees at all levels can share what they see as successes or failures at the company. They can also share suggestion on improvements. Company owners and executives can also gain information on employee satisfaction.

  6. Customer/client satisfaction – A 360° feedback survey can gather information about a company’s performance from customers or clients. For example, a consulting company may choose to give out surveys to the 50 major clients they’ve worked with in the past year to get information on their satisfaction. This information can be used to assess managers and employees’ performance.

5.1.Conducting a 360° feedback survey

Conducting a 360° feedback survey is a lengthy process with multiple steps. Initially, managers must make sure that the company is ready for this type of evaluation. This means that the managers and employees are aware of it or will get some training in it. Once that type of ‘macro’ readiness is done, the company must decide on the purpose. It must ask the question: Will the survey be used for performance or development?

According to Figure 3, the following steps are taken when conducting a 360° feedback survey:

  1. Develop survey questionnaire – A 360° feedback survey is usually lengthy. Creating the right type of questions is important. Questions or statements are rated on a 5-point scale. In a typical survey, there are 50-100 questions or statements. These are written in simple, short formats so that the person can answer each question or statement in one minute or less. The questions measure different dimensions of job performance/development (e.g. communication, benefits structure, leadership, advancement/training, etc.).

  2. Provide training to employees – Once the questionnaire is developed, managers and employees are given an orientation. The goal of the orientation is NOT to give out the questions ahead of time. The goal is to familiarize individuals with the purpose and format of a 360° feedback survey. It is also to remind employees that their assessment of managers is important and will be considered by the company.

  3. Administer the survey – Since the survey takes a minimum of one hour to complete, managers and employees should be given enough time to do so. Subordinates filling out a survey on their managers and supervisors should be assured that they will be confidential and anonymous. In some companies, the scores of subordinates are averaged to protect individual employee answers from being identified. Online administration is a convenient way of administering a 360° feedback survey. However, it is critical that the identity of employees filling out the surveys is not revealed. This makes it easier to gather truthful answers on the survey.

  4. Collect/Analyze data – In a pen & paper administration, the results are collected and entered into a program. In an online administration, the results are automatically compiled into a data analysis program. The simplest analysis that is done on the responses is an average of the ratings. More complex analyses would be item and factor analyses. Depending on the dimension, the highest and lowest rated statements can be identified for further analyses.

  5. Develop/Discuss the results – Feedback received should be shared with the employee. When a subordinate fills out a survey, they should not be forced to share it with their manager. For leaders and managers interested in critical assessment of their managerial skills, they can request the results of the survey in a compiled format. This will make sure that individual employees are not identified by their manager.

Many companies arrange for individual and group review sessions to discuss survey results. In the group results, a facilitator familiar with 360° feedback is included. The facilitator makes sure that everyone understands how the ratings were compiled and analyzed. He or she also leads the group in brainstorming ways that results could be translated to improvements in performance.

5.2. Complete 360° feedback survey

We selected you to provide feedback on the supervisor/manager whose name is listed above.

Your feedback in this survey is an important part of -------------[Organization’s name]’s employee leadership development program.

When completing this survey, please think about your interactions with this supervisor/manager during the past six months. Your answers will be averaged with other respondents’ answers and shared with the supervisor/manager. This will improve their leadership and managerial skills in the future.

Please remember that your answers are CONFIDENTIAL.

The dimensions that you will be providing feedback on are as follows:

  • Communicating effectively

  • Inspiring commitment

  • Technical expertise

  • Business perspective

  • Project planning

  • Supervisory skills

  • Problem solving

  • Leading organizational change

  • Decision making

  • Conflict resolution skills

You will read a number of statements in this survey. Then, you will be given a number of choices on how much you agree with them as follows:

  1. Strongly agree (Rating = 5)

  2. Agree (Rating = 4)

  3. Neutral (Rating = 3)

  4. Disagree (Rating = 2)

  5. Strongly disagree (Rating = 1)

Please make sure that you answer as honestly as possible.

      1.Communicating effectively

Strongly AgreeSomewhat AgreeNeutralSomewhat DisagreeStrongly Disagree
Communicates effectively with all team members
Responds to e-mails and phone calls
Speaks in a clear and energetic way
Writes in a clear and comprehensive way
Uses proper language skills (grammar, spelling, etc.)

      2.Inspiring commitment

Strongly AgreeSomewhat AgreeNeutralSomewhat DisagreeStrongly Disagree
Is enthusiastic about my contributions
Is enthusiastic about the team’s contributions
Focuses on the strength of team members
Participates with energy in projects
Shows and communicates progress to the team

      3.Technical skills

Strongly AgreeSomewhat AgreeNeutralSomewhat DisagreeStrongly Disagree
Has strong systems’ knowledge (Windows, Unix, Linux)
Has strong hardware knowledge (Servers, Routers)
Has strong software knowledge (MS Office Suite, MS SQL Server, Visio)
Has languages’ skills (Visual Basic, C, C++, HTML, JavaScript)
Can adapt to new technical environments quickly

      4.Business perspective

Strongly AgreeSomewhat AgreeNeutralSomewhat DisagreeStrongly Disagree
Is aware of global business concerns
Understands competition well
Networks with a wide range of professionals
Incorporates new business knowledge
Displays an understanding of complex business concerns

      5.Project planning

Strongly AgreeSomewhat AgreeNeutralSomewhat DisagreeStrongly Disagree
Inspires shared goals and vision in team
Communicates short-term and long-term objectives
Controls project scope and resources
Delegates tasks to team members
Provides common purpose to build a strong team

      6.Supervisory skills

Strongly AgreeSomewhat AgreeNeutralSomewhat DisagreeStrongly Disagree
Sets clear project objectives for team
Plans and forecasts project activities
Provides guidance to team members
Monitors project progress
Provides performance feedback to team members

      7.Problem-solving skills

Strongly AgreeSomewhat AgreeNeutralSomewhat DisagreeStrongly Disagree
Uses consensus building to solve problems
Seeks creative solutions to problems
Uses critical thinking skills to solve problems
Relies on data to solve problems
Sets realistic goals for problem solving

      8.Leading organizational change

Strongly AgreeSomewhat AgreeNeutralSomewhat DisagreeStrongly Disagree
Creates a detailed plan for change
Understands the organization’s culture when leading change
Communicates change successes and challenges to all team members
Solicits support from all members of the team
Sets short-term, achievable objects towards organizational change

      9.Decision making

Strongly AgreeSomewhat AgreeNeutralSomewhat DisagreeStrongly Disagree
Requests the “right” information before making a decision
Facilitates brainstorming sessions
Encourages everyone’s input before making a decision
Generates viable alternatives before making a decision
Uses tools such as SWOT to make decisions

      10.Conflict resolution skills

Strongly AgreeSomewhat AgreeNeutralSomewhat DisagreeStrongly Disagree
Can transform problems into possible solutions
Address problems and not individuals
Manage emotions (fear, anger, frustration, etc.)
Map conflicts clearly
Develops effective options in conflicts

5.3.Final thoughts on 360° feedback surveys

Despite its wide-ranging benefits, it is important to address the validity concerns of 360° feedback surveys and their implications. The following are some concerns:

  • Responder bias and worry about their jobs can lead to ratings inflation. When subordinates are asked to rate their managers, they worry that it would affect their jobs negatively. One of their worries is that the manager will retaliate. However, making sure that surveys are anonymous and answers confidential reduces this bias. When employees are not worried about being identified, they can be truthful.

  • Consistent ratings are usually indicative of stable qualities. However, a “positive” rating means different things for different responders. Seeking answers from multiple people is important for maintaining consistency.

  • In some surveys, there could be one responder whose answers are much different than the other responders. This is referred to as the “Outlier effect”. An outlier in statistics is a value that is clearly out of step with the rest of the data. In a 360° feedback, the outliner should NOT be ignored. The outlier results could point to a personal quality or skill of the manager that could be useful for the company.

Companies invest in 360° feedback to improve leaders’ performance and the job development process. After the analysis of results, the survey feedback is translated to actionable items that help the individual leader or manager. This action plan will include a number of questions such as:

1. What is the goal that you can accomplish from these results?

2. What are the short-term objectives that will help you achieve this goal?

3. What resources do you need to complete these objective in terms of finance, staff, and time?

4. When do you anticipate that you will achieve these objectives towards your goal (specific date in the coming year)?

5. How will assess whether you’ve reached your goal (specific examples such as customer satisfaction scores, increased profits, more    efficient processes, etc.?

Once the feedback is gained from the survey, a number of personal and organizational changes can be carried out. These changes can be incorporated into the manager’s other performance appraisal processes that are conducted.

At the personal level, the manager who received feedback can:

  • Gain a better understanding of skills to develop

  • Seek mentorship or coaching in areas that they are deficient in

  • Change the focus of objectives to address gaps in performance

  • Address their weaknesses in a critical manner to find better solutions

  • Use their strengths to improve project performance

  • Change strengths from average to great.

At the organizational level, the following changes can be made:

  • Make sure that all managers and employees are aware of major organizational goals. Their individual objectives and daily activities should lead to the organizational goals

  • Adjust organizational goals so that they are attainable with realistic deadlines and budgets

  • Make sure that managers have adequate financial and human resources to achieve their goals

  • Afford organizational support for managerial endeavors

  • Foster a culture of improvement and performance assessment.


Fleenor, J.W., Taylor, S., Chappelow, C. (2008). Leveraging the impact of 360-degree feedback. Pfeiffer, A. Wiley Inc.

Somekh, B. & Lewin, C. (2005). Research Methods in the Social Sciences. London: Sage.

Previous                                          Back to Index                                             Next Chapter

Survey Features

User-friendly survey creation
Surveyonics online survey software gives you the freedom to create, analyze, and publish surveys in minutes. Use existing survey templates or create fresh surveys.

Choose how users can respond to your Survey questions
Define responses as single correct option, multiple correct options, text boxes, priority lists and various other formats.

Popularize your Surveys
Allow more and more users and friends participate in your survey. Easy sharing tools from Surveyonics help you link your surveys with your social network profiles.

See results as they pour in
Instantly view all the responses to your surveys in real-time. Surveyonics guarantees speedy reporting and uninterrupted reporting.

Customize Result Report
Smart survey result reports from Surveyonics help you to apply various filters and parameters to your reports.