It is common to use ratings in 360-degree feedback questions as it provides a short cut for people to prove a lot of feedback across many different subjects, quickly and easily. In other blog posts, we've looked at making sure the right scales are included in your 360 degree feedback assessment.
Certainly within performance management, there has been a shift away from ratings (see our blog post here). The trend for written feedback continues and while it's common to have a few open ended questions in 360-degree feedback projects, often they are little more than 'start, stop, continue' (which we don't rate much!). How can we ask better open-ended questions and get better feedback?
In some cases it can be difficult to change the questions or sections looked at as part of the 360 assessment itself because of the history of the tool. But what you can do usually quite easily in online 360 systems is to add in free text fields or open-ended questions to get more qualitative feedback.
You could think about adding an open-ended question or free text field after each question, or competency, or at the end of the 360 assessment itself - or, of course, after all three. With our software, people can even pose their own free text questions to those providing them feedback!
We have a resource that we are happy to share with you which offers some suggestions about the type of questions on which you could be asking for comment or observation - and you can request this below
But before your start, grab a few moments to think about how you're using 360 and consider the following areas...
The feedback that you need. What do you want to get out of the review - and for what purpose? What’s going to be most helpful to the participants - or the business?
The people you need to consult with about these questions. Are there people within the organisation who would have a valuable viewpoint on this? Are there people you need to engage in order to get buy-in?
Decide if the open-ended questions are to be mandatory or optional. In our Talent 360 system we can set the system to require answers if you feel that we should be encouraging participants to support their ratings with comments, qualitative feedback, examples and evidence. In a recent survey, 97% of our 360 participants said that the open-ended comments were the most interesting and useful aspect of their feedback!
Missing areas. Perhaps there is something that isn’t covered in your competency model and therefore 360. For example, do you want to ask about potential, rather than current performance?
More detail. Do you want to have people provide more detailed explanations of their competency ratings?
Once you know this, you can start to design and draft your open-ended questions. There are plenty of examples in our resource which you can request below.
If you'd like to learn more about our approach to 360 and how we work with clients, then do get in touch for an initial conversation.