5 Reasons to Customize Your 360-degree Feedback Survey

iPad 360-Degree Feedback Survey FullUsing a customized 360 survey allows organizations to tailor leadership competencies and behaviors to create a more relevant and actionable survey tool. But customizing a 360 survey takes time, expertise, and usually expense. Here are five reasons when customizing a 360-degree feedback survey makes the most sense.

  1. You already have leadership competencies. If you have invested the effort to create unique leadership competencies and behaviors for your leaders, build a customized 360 survey that measures them accurately. Stay away from a standard survey because it can make it difficult for leaders to prioritize the importance of the organization’s competencies versus those on the survey.
  2. You have a large group. If you are planning to conduct 360 surveys with more than about 40 leaders, you have enough volume where it makes sense to use a customized 360 survey. This allows you to create a survey that is more relevant to your leaders. You can measure the specific competencies and behaviors that matter most and lead to success.
  3. There are multiple levels of managers. Administering the same survey to your executive team and front-line leaders is not a good idea because they have different priorities. Executive leaders need to focus on more strategic behaviors compared to team leaders who have more functional responsibilities. Many times, the same competencies can be used, but the behavior descriptors are modified to match the leadership level.
  4. There are specific functional responsibilities. Some organizations have large groups of leaders with specific functional responsibilities (sales, manufacturing, operations, IT, etc.). Healthcare has patient-facing leaders and non-patient facing leaders. If you have large groups of leaders in different functions at the same level, it makes sense to create a 360 survey that is more specific to their responsibilities.
  5. Your process has gone stale. If you have been using the same 360 survey for multiple years, one way to breathe new life into the process is to revise the survey. You can add a new section, change a few questions, or do a complete overhaul. Just be sure to gather input from your leaders first so that they buy in to the new changes.

Many organizations that implement 360 degree feedback surveys for the first time use a standard instrument offered by a survey company. Standard 360 surveys are a good option because they usually have benchmarking comparisons and have undergone years of testing and validation. But you’ll have the same advantages over time with a customized 360 survey as you gather enough data to create a benchmark and test and validate the results to ensure that your survey is gathering relevant and actionable feedback.
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