Don’t Fear the Peer Review

Posted by Lauren • April 14, 2016 (Last modified July 29, 2018) • 3 min read

Ah, the peer review. Some leaders swear by it while others fear or loathe the idea of its implementation. A few weeks ago we addressed the struggles of employee peer review practices and how those issues can be resolved, but why exactly should the practice exist in an organization? Why should managers work so hard to make a 360 degree review fit within their company’s walls? Let’s explore…

Beauty in the Feedback Madness

Constructive feedback isn’t fun. Seeing an issue and verbalizing it can make some uncomfortable. If you agree, you aren’t alone. When asked why they don’t give constructive feedback or drive accountability, 50% of managers admit it’s the fear of being the “bad guy” holding them back. Being the bearer of bad news isn’t pleasant, but being a leader is all about hitting challenges head on. Flip the switch and consider if you were the employee. Would you rather someone spare your feelings by completely ignoring performance adjustments from the team? Or would you rather someone went over areas of improvement before you were surprised by reprimands?


As a people manager, you are not just responsible for making sure that the work gets done but also for helping each individual reach their full potential by getting the feedback and coaching they need, learning new skills, and finding the right assignment in which to shine.”

Anna Lundberg, Wolf Leaders Academy

Employees Are Expecting Feedback

Here’s the real kicker: you may feel bad about delivering bad reviews, but employees are expecting the feedback. Not just expecting, they are hoping for it. The previously referenced study found 72% of employees believe more feedback would improve their performance. Even more, 74% of Millennials, now the largest generation in the workforce, feel “in the dark” about how their managers and peers think they’re performing. As Lundberg pointed out above, being a leader means accepting the responsibility of your team’s growth and adopting any resource that will do just that. One such resource is the input of an employee’s colleagues. Managers may feel like the bad guy delivering less than stellar results their people, but dedicated employees won’t take the criticism personal, knowing the purpose is to make them the best they can be.


Peers Paint a Bigger Picture

If working with others has taught us anything, it’s that no two people are the same.. It doesn’t matter how similar you might be to a colleague, there will be a time when the two of you don’t see eye to eye. Peer reviews and feedback give employees a healthy outlet to release some of the challenges they are facing with their coworkers. Many of these obstacles may be unknown to the manager, but severely jeopardizing the office’s ability to accomplish projects. Of course, it’s not all negative. Be sure to invite compliments in the peer review process as well because 76% of employees say praise from peers is very or extremely motivating.


Peer to Peer Opens Doors

When employees gain the trust of their team and you as a leader, they feel more empowered to enact their own performance initiative. Managers haven’t reached the ceiling of growth and with a more supportive environment, your employees will offer feedback on your performance, too. Embrace the constructive feedback because this back and forth communication only happens when employees care about their work, the organization and trust the leadership they are under. You wouldn’t have made it this far without a few tough conversations anyway.



Peer reviews are only one step in a complete performance appraisal process. If this article has inspired you to consider a better feedback process for your team, then check out Trakstar’s employee evaluation software. It’s easy to implement and provides an eye-opening look at your organization.

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