There isn’t a manager alive who can get the full picture of an employee’s behavior, attitude or performance. A manager simply cannot be everywhere at once, nor do they necessarily get to see all sides of an employee. This can account for why more than 50% of surveyed employees see traditional performance reviews as inaccurate.
Peer-to-peer assessments have become very popular recently because they have proven to be an effective tool to more accurately measure performance as part of a 360-performance evaluation process. When combined with self-assessments and manager reviews, peer evaluations round out the big picture of performance.
As with any new initiative, it just makes good business sense to find ways to optimize your investment. The following are ways to get more out of your peer assessments:
Define the Purpose and Provide the Context
I can’t stress enough, the importance of giving context, or “the why” behind these peer assessments. If you fail to give workers enough context to the process, their input isn’t likely to be as accurate as you need it to be in order to be effective. They may contemplate questions like these:
- Are you asking me to tattle on my co-workers?
- Will the information that I give you get someone fired?
- If someone has a grudge against me, how much weight do these assessments carry?
Peer assessments should be one piece of the performance management puzzle, and the entire process needs to be defined and communicated. Ask that workers be just as generous with positive feedback as they are with the negative. Note that you are looking for important, relevant insight into how employees interact.
Peer Nominated Employee of the Month
Don’t just ask employees to nominate one another, ask them to define why they would nominate that particular employee. This behavioral data is a gold mine when it comes to creating ideal candidate profiles, when you’re considering raises and promotions, or even just so that management has a clear picture of whom to celebrate and why.
Did you know that strong recognition at work is proven to be more powerful than a 5% bonus? Peer-nominated awards and acknowledgements can really fortify an effective rewards program.
What currently happens with the data collected from any type of reviews? No, what really happens? 53% of surveyed employees reported that performance reviews do not motivate them. I contend that this is largely due to the fact that there is little accountability for any type of follow through in the review process. Like many processes in HR, we have collected all of this valuable data, put it in a nice report and then done absolutely nothing of meaning with it.
“The worst offense is when a manager drops a report on someone’s desk and says, ‘Looks like you’re doing OK.’ Or, ‘You’ve got room to improve,’ then walks away…That’s inexcusable, and unfortunately, not uncommon.” - Marion Their, Expanding Thought Consultant
Ask the Right Questions
Well no-duh right? What I mean is that these peer assessments should be tailored. If everyone has different KPIs, how can you hand them a standard form and expect to get relevant answers? The right performance management platform will allow leaders to create tailored forms so that these assessments are as effective as possible for each employee, no matter what department or industry they are in.
“Do you need people who are adept at technology and willing to learn new platforms? Is your business service-oriented, where it's important that employees be good under pressure, open to collaboration, and accessible? This will give you an idea of the types of questions you should be asking an employee's co-workers, as well as the type of feedback you should be looking for in review results.” - Gwen Moran (@gwenmoran), Workplace Leadership Expert
As part of a 360-performance management system, peer reviews are an extremely effective tool for managers to get more in-depth and accurate with their performance evaluations. Beyond evaluating performance, this information gathered can be helpful in succession planning, rewards programs and so much more. Remember, if you’re going to collect the data, use the data.
As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent thousands of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.