Info You Can Use: Telling Your Boss What You Really Think

One of the challenges non-profit organizations often face is in relation to personnel evaluation. Many organizations don’t have a formal human resources department and don’t often engage in a constructive evaluation process. Even if they did, so many companies are so small it may be a little difficult to speak candidly without fear for repercussions.

I became aware of a website, Tell Your Boss Anything, which provides a tool that can help with this process a little. The site allows employees to submit feedback anonymously. This can be used by employees who want to tell their bosses something, but also by bosses who want to solicit feedback from their employees/team about programs and situations.

The service can be set up so that upper management in the organization can monitor what people are saying about a manager, though the anonymity of the commenter is preserved and the lower/middle manager apparently doesn’t receive direct access to the feedback.

There is a cost involved with the service but it seems pretty reasonable. A manager can solicit unlimited feedback for $20/month. Larger companies can get plans to solicit feedback for multiple managers.

There doesn’t seem to be a cost involved for an individual providing feedback to their boss. I suspect there is probably some mechanism which monitors and limits how much feedback is going to a particular email address in a given period to thwart an attempt to avoid paying for an account.

There will still be challenges using this tool in smaller organizations since it can be difficult to avoid providing information that makes one identifiable. Unless everyone in the office is openly disgusted with the boss, it may be easy to deduce who is complaining about lack of opportunities, the sick leave policy, or that big project with which only three people were involved.

Whatever feedback is submitted goes through a moderation process. I initially assumed it was to prevent people from using anonymity to issue a stream of explicative laden invective, but perhaps they would also suggest changing elements that might make it easy to identify an individual.

If nothing else, the tool can be useful to solicit feedback from employees on many topics where perceived expectations and peer pressure might keep them from more publicly voicing their true thoughts: the board’s proposed capital campaign plan; health insurance and retirement plans; reflections on how a controversial decision might have been better handled.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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