When clients send me draft 360 assessments for review/edits, I initially look at five key elements.
First, I look at many competencies there are, and how many questions per competency? I want there to be a similar number of questions per competency (e.g., 3 – 5 or 4 – 6 questions per competency), and I want there to be no more than around 55 questions in the entire assessment. Backing in to this number, you can have 8 competencies with around 6 questions each, 10 competencies with around 5 questions each, 12 competencies with around 4 questions each. Sometimes you may have to move questions from one competency to another to get this weighting. For example, a question around conflict resolution may be placed in the Communication, Collaboration or Leadership competencies.
Next, I look for duplicative ideas in different questions. Going back to the conflict question, sometimes I see multiple questions around one theme within an assessment, like:
- Handles conflict effectively
- Brings conflicts and disagreements into the open and attempts to resolve them collaboratively
- Effectively addresses and resolves conflict
Usually one question around conflict should suffice.
I then look carefully at the questions to make sure there are not two thoughts in one question. This can be apparent if there are two thoughts connected by an ‘and’. Some people do this to make their assessment shorter, but when the participant sees the ratings, they may not understand which issue is being rated high or low (or if both are). You want to minimize this potential confusion. An example of this type of question is “Able to adjust to changing work requirement and leads others through change.”
Are there any questions missing? It’s always hard to know the answer to this. In a general leadership assessment I recommend touching on integrity, collaboration, approach, decision-making, results orientation, flexibility and managing people. We also share a list of 160 questions with our clients so they can review these to see if there is an area of importance that was missed. Often our clients start building their assessments from this list (please let me know if you would like me to send you this library of questions).
Don’t forget open-ended questions! Some people like putting these questions after each competency. Doing this can elicit rater fatigue. Also, some raters will start off providing feedback for the first several competencies and then either stop taking the entire survey or just stop providing the open-ended comments. I recommend using these two open-ended comments at the end of the assessment:
- What do you value most about working with this person?
- What would make this person more effective in their job?
These two questions usually provide professional examples that can help qualify the quantitative results.
When reviewing a draft assessment, use these five points to help design the best set of questions to enable participants to understand and take action on their feedback.