Employee evaluations are commonplace in most small-business environments, giving supervisors the chance to provide feedback to staffers about performance issues. Reverse evaluations turn the tables and let employees rate their managers. This can be a useful way to gather data about how well your supervisors are doing their jobs.


Supervisors should be evaluated on criteria that relates to how they interact with their supervisees. For example, it’s valuable to know whether employees think their manager is supportive and provides them with the tools and resources they need to do their jobs effectively. Create a questionnaire or evaluation form that allows supervisees to indicate their supervisor’s strengths and weaknesses with regard to your specific industry. For example, ask if employees get adequate direction, feedback and coaching. Find out if a supervisor is motivational or discouraging, and if he is fair and equitable in his treatment of workers.


In a close-knit small business, employees might not be comfortable providing critical feedback about a supervisor face-to-face. Many small-business owners allow this type of reverse evaluation to take place through anonymous questionnaires so they can gain valuable and honest insight. Use a format that prompts employees to rate their supervisors on a scale from “poor” to “outstanding,” and leave space on the form for suggestions and elaboration on comments. Let employees submit their forms directly to you via a drop box in your office.

How to Use Feedback

Use the information you gather to aid in conducting your supervisor performance evaluations. Help managers set goals and objectives aimed at overcoming deficiencies and capitalizing on strengths. Don’t allow a small number of negative performance evaluations to cloud your overall judgment of a supervisor, but do look for patterns of feedback that suggest areas for legitimate improvement of skills.

Things to Watch For

In a small business, supervisors are often friends with supervisees. They might be hesitant to provide negative feedback, even when warranted, particularly if it means their supervisor may be denied a raise or promotion based on their comments. If this is not the case in your operation, emphasis to staffers that feedback will be used strictly to help improve overall operational performance and efficiency.