A Guide to 360 Degree Feedback: Free Template

August 31, 2022
Clock Icon 5 min read

In the majority of workplaces, it’s common for employees to receive feedback on their performance and attributes from a supervisor or manager. However, it’s just as beneficial to be given feedback from colleagues of all levels as it can help an employee to gain a greater insight into their strengths and weaknesses. One way of gathering this information is by using a 360 degree feedback template.

In this article, we will explore what is meant by 360 degree feedback, and the benefits of using this compared to more traditional methods. We will also look at some examples of typical questions that are used in a 360 degree template, and provide you with a free template to use.

What is 360 Degree Feedback?

A typical performance review involves an employee and their supervisor/manager discussing the former’s overall work performance, their strengths, skills and areas that would benefit from further development. Conversely, 360 degree feedback is a system or process in which employees receive confidential, anonymous feedback from not only their superiors, but also from the people that work with and around them. This creates a full, balanced picture of an employee’s overall performance and skillset from a range of different perspectives.

A 360 degree feedback template often includes a range of questions that involve the participants scoring or grading the employee on a scale, and also asks raters to provide written comments. 

Any number of colleagues can participate in filling out a 360 degree feedback form; however, typically, four to eight people will be selected to complete it. Those chosen are likely to be a mixture of supervisors/managers and peers that regularly communicate and interact with the employee receiving feedback. 

Receiving 360 degree feedback is a great way for employees to understand their strengths and weaknesses and can be beneficial when creating a personal development plan (PDP). For more information, check out our article: A Personal Development Plan Guide & Template.

What are the Benefits of 360 Degree Feedback?

There are a number of benefits from using 360 degree feedback compared to a traditional performance review. As we’ve already mentioned, receiving feedback from a number of different colleagues provides a rounded view of an employee’s overall performance rather than just the opinion of their manager.

However, it is not only employees who can benefit from using this style of feedback. 360 degree feedback can be beneficial for employees of all levels – for example, a manager can learn about their own leadership skills and approach by using this system. 

Advantages of 360 Degree Feedback

Aside from gaining feedback from a number of different sources, other benefits to using a 360 degree feedback template include:

  • Strengthening a team’s relationships. For the employee receiving feedback from their peers, it provides an opportunity to learn what their peers believe their strengths are, and this can lead to feeling more valued amongst colleagues. For those who are providing feedback, it also offers an opportunity to reflect on a colleague’s contribution to the business.
  • Promoting accountability. By asking for and receiving feedback from peers, employees are accepting responsibility for their own actions and behaviours. This can increase their engagement and commitment to the business, along with their job satisfaction.
  • Revealing specific areas for development and improvement. The questions included in a 360 degree feedback template are designed to focus on specific areas of an employee’s performance. This can reveal both strengths and weaknesses that an employee may not have previously considered. For example, there may be a general consensus that the employee in question is a natural leader and would be suitable to take on more responsibility, which could otherwise have been overlooked by a manager, or the employee themselves. Equally, the feedback could reveal a weakness that the employee was not previously aware of. 
  • Reducing biased feedback. One of the disadvantages of having one-on-one employee performance reviews is that it only involves one person’s feedback, and there is an increased risk of recency bias – this is the tendency to focus on the most recent time period, for example, if the employee has excelled or disappointed a short time before the review. As there are more people involved in a 360 degree review, it is less likely that this will occur. 

Disadvantages of 360 Degree Feedback

Along with the many advantages of using this type of feedback, there are also some disadvantages to consider.

These include:

  • A potential lack of accuracy. While many would endeavour to complete a 360 degree form accurately and fairly, there may be instances where the feedback given isn’t entirely accurate due to the raters that were chosen. For example, if a rater hasn’t worked at the company long enough to be able to answer the questions sufficiently or if a rater has a personal relationship with the employee, they may purposefully inflate or deflate their scores. 
  • A possibility of creating a negative culture in the workplace. If an employee receives negative feedback from their colleagues, they could take it personally which may result in resentment – even if the feedback is anonymous. 
  • An increased focus on weaknesses. This would depend on the questions that are included in the template, however, the review could focus too much on the employee’s weaknesses rather than their strengths.
expert icon

Need a Course?

At High Speed Training, we offer a number of Business Essentials Courses that cover the fundamentals every business needs to be successful. These include important aspects such as Communication Skills and Leadership and Management.

Examples of 360 Degree Feedback Questions

There is no rule as to how many questions a 360 degree feedback template needs to contain. However, there needs to be enough to gather valuable insights but not so many that those providing the feedback lose focus. 

A 360 degree feedback template can also be tailored to a business’ needs. It may be used to measure employee development and identify areas that need further training. Equally, it may be tailored towards each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. The questions are also likely to differ between industries to make them sector-specific.

For example, depending on the purpose of the review, the questions on the template may focus on:

  • Communication skills.
  • General or specific strengths.
  • General or specific weaknesses.
  • Leadership or management skills.
  • Interpersonal or teamwork skills. 

Every question in a 360 degree feedback template should aim to elicit constructive feedback. There is little to learn from having overly positive questions, where there is no room for negative feedback, as this restricts opportunities for learning and development. Equally, the feedback form shouldn’t be wholly negative, either. The idea is to create a rounded, balanced, unbiased template that enables a complete review of an employee’s performance. 

Typically, a 360 degree feedback template will include both closed and open-ended questions. Closed questions are narrow in focus and can either be answered with a “Yes” or “No” or have a limited set of possible answers – for example, “Do you think this person communicates well?” On the other hand, open questions are broad, and allow those filling out the form to answer in as much or little detail as they like – for example, “What do you think about this person’s work ethic?” Having a mixture of closed and open-ended questions provides both qualitative and quantitative data about an employee’s performance.

Free 360 Degree Feedback Template

As we’ve discussed, there are many benefits to receiving feedback through a 360 degree feedback system, which typically involves a range of questions that score or grade an employee and also asks raters to provide written comments. It can be difficult to know where to start with drafting questions to use, so to make life easier, we have created a free template that you can download.

The template has two sections. The first section asks the person filling out the form to assess their level of agreement or disagreement using the options ‘strongly disagree’, ‘disagree’, ‘neutral’, ‘agree’ and ‘strongly agree’ for the following statements:

  • This person has good communication skills.
  • This person is organised and can meet deadlines.
  • This person has strong interpersonal skills and works well as part of a team.
  • This person is able to problem-solve. 
  • This person is a positive representative of the workplace and exhibits the company values.

The second section includes the following open-ended questions:

  • How would you describe this person in three or four words?
  • What would you say this person’s biggest strengths are?
  • What would you like to see this person start doing in their role?
  • What would you like to see this person continue doing in their role?
  • Where do you think this person could improve?

You can download our free template here:

The template we’ve created has general statements and questions. However, if you’d like to use a blank version in order to devise your own questions and tailor them to a specific industry or role, you can download our blank template here:

We hope you’ve found this article on 360 degree feedback helpful. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – at High Speed Training we have a range of different courses available, along with a number of free resources, to help you with your learning needs.

Further Resources