Upward Feedback Surveys: How to Evaluate Manager Performance

manager making presentation to his team

Giving your boss feedback about their performance is uncomfortable, nerve-wracking, and awkward. So much so, many employees avoid it altogether. 

After all, managers and leadership teams are the ones responsible for their promotions and salary increases. 

Despite employees’ hesitancy, it is important for those in managerial positions to get feedback from their staff to know what they are doing well and what they can improve upon.

In fact, 82% of workers would consider quitting their jobs because of a bad manager. 

It’s why upward feedback surveys serve a vital role in any organization.

They are a great vehicle for employees to share their honest thoughts and feelings about their superiors, without the fear of being penalized.

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Interested in working with our employee survey company? Reach out to Drive Research through our online contact form or by sending an email to [email protected].

What is an Upward Feedback Survey?

An upward feedback survey is a questionnaire that is sent to employees with the purpose of gathering feedback on their experience with their supervisor(s).

They are also referred to as upward evaluation surveys and supervisor evaluation surveys.

Some companies conduct upward feedback surveys with direct managers as well as higher-level supervisors. 

For example, a front-line employee may do an upward feedback survey for their direct manager, another higher-level supervisor, as well as other executive-level leaders. 

The purpose of upward feedback surveys is to get feedback from employees on what the manager does well, what is working, what is not working, and other thoughts/ideas to create a more effective work environment.

💡 The Key Takeaway: An upward feedback survey is a vehicle for employees to express their opinions about upper management. Leadership teams can use this insight to establish better working environments, rather than assuming what changes need to be made.

Upward feedback survey definition

Benefits of Conducting Upward Evaluation Surveys

Remember, employees will still have the same thoughts and feelings whether you gather the feedback or not.

So, isn’t it better to collect their opinions in the hope to resolve any wrongdoings before employees look for a new job?

We think so too.

Below Drive Research recaps some of the top benefits of conducting upward feedback surveys.

Using data-driven insights to create a more effective work environment

It’s easy to assume what employees want from their leadership teams and/or direct supervisor.

But it’s likely that assumption is wrong. And, if the assumption is right, how do you know they are receiving the things they need? 

On the contrary, upward evaluation surveys provide actionable recommendations for how to improve employee well-being based on data and direct feedback. 

Organizational leaders can better understand…

  • Drivers to satisfaction
  • Drivers to low retention
  • Employee net promoter score (how likely they are to recommend working at X company)
  • How company culture compares to other places employees have worked
  • Factors most important related to managerial relationships 

Identifying what problem areas exist and taking steps to fix them go a long way in improving workplace culture for better long-term employment

Recommended Reading: What is an Employee Net Promoter Score?

Greater profitability and retention rates

Improving hiring and retention rates are likely to lead to greater profitability.

In fact, research from Gallup found that organizations that have made a strategic investment in employee development report 11% greater profitability and are twice as likely to retain their employees.

Organizations that have made a strategic investment in employee development report 11% greater profitability and are twice as likely to retain their employees

Additionally, research shows there is a strong correlation between client and employee satisfaction. 

A study conducted by Gallup found organizations with highly engaged employees outperform other businesses in customer loyalty/engagement, profitability, and productivity.

Ignorance is not always bliss

Oftentimes leaders can overthink what it means for them if they ask for feedback and need to adjust. 

There’s an assumption that after a company conducts an upward evaluation survey it’s going to create a lot of new work for leaders and there’s a fear of the unknown. 

However, our employee survey company has experienced a different story when managing projects for our clients. 

At the end of every employee survey project, we find that leaders feel motivated and empowered with information rather than assuming ignorance is bliss. 

While it’s important employee feedback is taken into account in a timely manner, taking the next steps and thinking about ideas can often be divided up and accomplished throughout a 12-month period.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Remember, ignorance isn’t always bliss. Collecting feedback from your staff can improve employee retention, increase employee engagement, and identify baseline data/monitor progress. 

How to Collect Employee Feedback on Management

Collecting employee feedback on management is a pretty simple process. 

In fact, by partnering with a third-party upward evaluation survey company like Drive Research you can feel confident all best practices are being met. 

Plus, when working with an employee survey company, the team will help ensure:

  • Employees feel comfortable responding knowing their data will be anonymous and kept confidential
  • The research team will put the data into perspective and help turn the data into insights and next steps
  • And, the research team will provide outside recommendations to help consider other improvements

When using a third party for employee surveys, you can expect the following steps when collecting team feedback on management.

Drive Research Online Survey Process

1. Attending a kickoff meeting

During this meeting, the upward evaluation survey company will meet with the company to discuss the goals and objectives of the project, timeline, and provide an overview of how the process works.

2. Designing upward feedback surveys

This process is pretty simple! Survey questions will be developed using the goals and objectives discussed in the kickoff meeting.

Oftentimes, companies will want to use survey questions that can be benchmarked in addition to a few custom questions for their specific employees.

Note: Benchmark questions can be used to compare the survey results to other, similar types of companies. It’s really helpful to put the scores into perspective!

3. Preparing the employee database

When asking employees to take a staff satisfaction survey, this is an important step and helps companies ensure anonymity.

Through this process, the company will provide various information to the third-party employee evaluation survey company.

The market research team will then assess the results and deem ways the results can be segmented (pending sample sizes are large enough to protect anonymity and confidentiality). 

4. Sending out the survey

This step is easy! The research team will prepare the survey and send out survey invites.

Several best practices are used throughout this process (i.e., the look and feel of the survey, format of invites, timing of invites).

5. Analyzing and reporting on the data

Once fieldwork for the upward evaluation survey is complete, the research team will begin analyzing the data.

The results are shared as an online report of charts/graphs, prepared into a short report, or prepared into a more comprehensive report depending on the needs of the client team.

💡 The Key Takeaway: When working with an upward evaluation survey company, conducting these types of surveys is easy. Plus, employees are more likely to provide their honest opinions because they know their responses will be kept 100% confidential.

george kuhn writing on white board

George Kuhn, Owner and President of Drive Research

Example Upward Feedback Survey Questions

Below are a few examples of upward evaluation survey questions!

These questions should use an agreement scale such as the following: Strongly agree, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat disagree, and strongly disagree.

  • Communication between [insert manager] and myself is good in my organization.
  • [Insert manager] allows me to make decisions affecting my work.
  • [Insert manager] recognizes strong job performance.
  • [Insert manager] and I have a good working relationship.
  • [Insert manager] and I trust each other.
  • [Insert manager] takes the initiative to help other employees when the need arises.
  • [Insert manager] inspires me to meet my goals at work.
  • [Insert manager] is willing to take on new tasks as needed.
  • [Insert manager] willingly accepts change.
  • [Insert manager] supports a safe work environment.

It’s important to remember that these survey questions can be customized as needed. 

However, keeping the survey questions as written allows the research team to use employee survey benchmarks.

Survey benchmarks are excellent for comparing your results to similar types of companies and competitors. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: There are many different types of upward feedback survey questions. When choosing what to ask, be sure the questions closely align with your project objectives and goals.

Contact Our Employee Survey Company

Drive Research is a national market research company, specializing in employee surveys and upward feedback surveys.

Our team works with various types of companies across the country to earn feedback from their employees. Doing so helps to improve employee retention, increase employee engagement, and identify baseline data/monitor progress. 

Interested in learning more about our Voice of Employee services? Contact our team today.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily taylor about the author

Emily Taylor

As a Senior Research Analyst, Emily is approaching a decade of experience in the market research industry and loves to challenge the status quo. She is a certified VoC professional with a passion for storytelling.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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