The Advantages and Disadvantages of Comprehensive Performance Evaluations by Subordinates
In a comprehensive performance evaluation by subordinates, the employees that a manager supervises provide a detailed assessment of his performance. This is a common element in a 360-degree feedback system, where you have each employee rated by supervisors, peers, clients and employees. The subordinate review adds a more comprehensive layer to the review process, but brings some challenges as well.
If effective leadership and employee development are important in your business, a subordinate assessment is the best way to measure these qualities in your supervisors. Employees are in the best position to judge the abilities and impact of their managers in providing day-to-day direction. With a thorough assessment, you can coach, train and develop the abilities of supervisors, which should have a trickle-down impact on your company. You may also find that some people in supervisor roles aren't getting the job done.
Front line workers in some organizations feel like they are simply cogs in the machine and have no voice in company operations. Even aside from the tangible benefits of manager assessment, you can give employees a sense of involvement and importance with a subordinate evaluation tool. If employees have become frustrated with a particular supervisor and feel like they have no control over various facets of his leadership abilities, the ability to discuss their concerns as part of a formal evaluation process allows them to be heard.
Supervisors may feel threatened by the notion that their workers will evaluate their performance. This may impede a manager's willingness to use discipline and tough leadership when necessary for fear of retaliation by subordinates in appraisals. To overcome this challenge, a business needs to have a culture where employee development is a top priority. If supervisors generally feel supported in their work and view the assessments as a developmental opportunity, the negative impacts should be minimized.
Some companies already have a culture where employees gather around the water cooler and gossip or nitpick about their supervisor. A formalized evaluation system may simply open the door for workers to pile on, or vent all of their frustrations with the company, the job and the manager in one shot. This can lead to a negative culture where the subordinate assessment is viewed simply as a time for employees to air their grievances. Subsequently, supervisors may feel a negative reaction to employees if his reviews are generally weak. Companies usually keep subordinate evaluations anonymous for this reason.