One of the most common problems we see with 360-degree feedback surveys is the use of non-actionable survey questions. Survey items that are actionable describe specific and observable behaviors related to overall leadership competencies. When survey questions are not specific enough, leaders struggle to determine what to change or improve based on their feedback.
Here are two common reasons and remedies for non-actionable 360 survey questions:
1. General 360 Survey Questions
360 survey questions that are too vague are often used to measure an overall competency such as Communications. To measure such a broad topic effectively, it needs to be broken down into the various components that define effective communications in your organization. For example:
- Non-actionable 360 survey item: Communicates effectively.
- Actionable 360 survey item: Establishes effective two-way communication with others.
2. Double-barreled 360 Survey Questions
Double-barreled questions include two or even three ideas in one question which leaves participants wondering which one applies to them. The solution is to create a separate item that evaluates each of the topics. Using the Communications example:
- Non-actionable 360 survey item: Communicates effectively in writing, one-on-one conversations, and presenting to groups.
- Actionable 360 survey item: Communications effectively in writing.
Detecting non-actionable 360 survey questions isn’t too hard. Simply read through the questions and ask yourself: “How would I create a development goal around this question.” If you find yourself lacking enough specifics to create a goal, then you know that the question needs to be modified.