Are Peer Reviews the Future of Performance Evaluations? | Harvard Business Review

Talent Management

As work becomes more team-based and interdependent, and managers have less direct visibility into their teams’ day-to-day interactions, high-quality peer input has become a useful source of effective performance feedback. This article proposes a socially-based performance feedback approach that captures employees’ performance from a larger group of people with whom they work regularly. And while peer feedback is not new to performance management, this social feedback system provides the employee with disproportionate feedback (often 50 or more instances over a year) from peers and others. This approach can have several benefits, including reducing bias since it relies less on a single person’s (or few people’s) potentially biased view. And with technology allowing quick and real-time feedback, this approach can be effective. The article offers six questions to consider when implementing a social feedback approach, such as is the feedback spontaneous or prompted, or does all feedback carry the same weight? The authors recommend testing the approach in a business unit for at least three cycles (can be monthly, quarterly, or other cadence depending on a firm’s operations). This experimental tactic allows a firm to evaluate the impact before determining if it should be rolled-out across the organization.

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