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Why Employee Performance Reviews Should Include Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Performance reviews should have peer to peer reviews

Performance reviews are essential for helping employees reach their potential and feel more engaged and satisfied at work. While this process has traditionally happened between a manager and an employee, including peer feedback is becoming more popular as an element of performance reviews because peers know each other’s work the best.

This guide covers the benefits of having a peer-to-peer recognition component, as well as a few tips on how to implement the process and a peer review template.

Benefits of Peer Feedback in Employee Performance Reviews

Peer reviews might only happen during an annual or twice-yearly review period, but they can have an important, year-round impact on multiple aspects of team cohesion and performance.

Download Peer to Peer Review Template

Increased Transparency

Workplace transparency describes an environment where communication flows openly, without silos. According to Glassdoor, it’s important to a whopping 96% of job seekers.

 

Workplace transparency quote

 

Peer feedback increases transparency by adding another layer of feedback to one’s manager. When employees are on the ground working with each other every day, they often have a better sense of each other’s strengths and areas for improvement.

Increased Engagement

Engaged employees are emotionally committed to the company’s mission and goals, which in turn helps them be more efficient and innovative. When peers give thoughtful feedback on their performance, this reinforces a sense of community that contributes to greater engagement.

Increased Camaraderie

Getting along well with coworkers is one factor that influences job satisfaction. Peer feedback encourages people to be thoughtful about their coworkers and recognize when they’re doing well. This may spill over into peers giving each other peer recognition publicly (and private feedback on what they can do better) throughout the year, not just during performance reviews. This is especially true if you also launch a peer-to-peer recognition program.

New Insights About Your People

Managers can’t be everywhere and see everything, nor should they be! Coworkers can offer insights into an employee’s performance, from noting each other’s strengths to identifying areas of opportunity. With peer feedback, managers have a better idea of how to support each person and what talents they can better leverage on an upcoming project, for example.

Increased Autonomy

It’s natural for employees to rely on their manager to drive collaboration and hold the team together, but it’s not necessarily the best method for achieving either goal. Peer reviews shift some of the responsibility to employees and give them opportunities to grow closer to coworkers without a manager nudging them. In the long run, employees will have a greater sense of ownership over the work and their work relationships.

Fosters Collaboration

Employees who have strong relationships with their coworkers are more likely to communicate with them often and contribute their best work on a project. Honest feedback can decrease redundant efforts, make workflows more efficient, and create an environment where ideas thrive.

Increased Employee Retention

Increased engagement and camaraderie can improve retention rates, as employees are more motivated to stay and continue working with a team that values them both personally and professionally.

Tips for Giving Peer Feedback

Before gathering peer reviews, managers should coach employees on how to give effective feedback using these tips:

Consider communication styles

Before giving feedback, think carefully about how the person being reviewed communicates. Do they prefer face-to-face communication or can they get defensive? Do they need time to mull things over? Would they like written feedback best? Keep their preferences in mind before giving feedback.

Be forthright and specific

Spend time thinking on specific examples so the listener has a frame of reference. For instance, you might frame feedback like this:

“Sometimes when I share ideas, I feel like you discount them before giving me a chance to finish. For example, yesterday when I brought up a new marketing strategy, you cut me off before I could finish.”

People interpret things differently, so giving the listener a clear example helps you be on the same page so you can move forward.

Leverage their strengths

The final piece of the puzzle is to encourage growth. The most effective way to do this is by making connections between what an employee needs to improve on and the skills they already possess.

One great tactic is the sandwich method. Start by sharing something you think that person is doing exceptionally well. Then, share the tough feedback. But end on a positive note.

For example, for someone who is having trouble meeting their sales quota, start the conversation by making note of their natural gift for remembering details about coworkers’ lives, like their spouse’s name or their favorite restaurant. Then give the feedback about their quota. You can end by encouraging them that their memory for detail could help them develop relationships with prospects.

Peer-to-Peer Feedback Template

Peer evaluation is a no-cost, low effort way to increase workplace transparency, employee engagement, collaboration, and retention. All these factors combined contribute to increased profitability. In fact, a survey from SHRM and Globoforce shows that praise from peers is more likely to have a positive financial impact than praise from managers alone.

Download Peer to Peer Review Template

Once you’ve gone over best practices and tips with employees, hand out this peer review form before your next round of performance reviews. The form includes general questions about hard and soft skills—just alter them to reflect your employees’ job descriptions.

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