Should you let your employees evaluate you?

performance rating documentThe evaluation of employee performance by supervisors has been a standard part of organizational life for many years.

But increasingly, employees are invited to comment on their supervisor’s work—and in some organizations this is still not done.

Should it be? Would it be a good idea for employees everywhere to review their supervisors’ performance? Should your employees evaluate you?

While you’re wondering whether they should or should not, the fact is, they do. They are constantly observing you and passing judgment on what you do. They just don’t tell you about it. So the real question is: Should you ask them what they think? And the answer is yes, there’s a lot to gain if you do it the right way. Here’s how:

  • Explain why you’re asking. You care about the employee’s opinion and want to get her view of you as a supervisor. Put the emphasis on better understanding. Avoid creating false expectations about changes you might (or might not) make in your style, in previous decisions, in department work rules, and so on.
  • Keep the discussion separate from the performance appraisal process. Don’t get in the middle of reviewing the employee’s work and then ask him what he thinks of the job you’ve been doing. What you do obviously has an impact on what the employee does, but the appraisal interview should focus on the latter.
  • Don’t hound them. Avoid putting pressure on the employee for an opinion. You want to know what people really think—and you won’t find out if they feel cornered.
  • Keep asking. You’ll get more (and more reliable information if you make the question a regular part of your communication with employees.

If you want to be more formal about it, here is a 15-point assessment you can hand out to your employees. For each behavior described, tell your employees to give their honest assessment of your performance, using this scale:

Tough Talks D

5: Always

4: Usually

3: Occasionally

2: Seldom

1: Never

Manager's evaluation