The moral of 2016’s story is that feedback is an employee’s earth, moon and sun. From positive to constructive, and everything in between, employees want a constant view of their work from the perspective of management, for better performance management. Often, that is where we think it stops, but your workers spend a great deal of time and energy supporting their coworkers as well. For continuous self-improvement, employees should hear feedback from their peers as well.
Why Peer-to-Peer Feedback?
You could be the most down-to-earth manager who has fostered a tight-knit relationship with the individuals on your team, but as a manager you will never have the same bond that an employee has with another employee – for better or for worse. Your subordinates and you are working towards the same goals, but employees work together on the same level to support those objectives.
Employees spend more time with each other, which means more opportunity to understand strengths and weaknesses, as well as offer a hand or advice. In fact, employee happiness is 23.3% more correlated to connections with coworkers than with direct supervisors.
See why more people believe the best performance management plans include peer-to-peer feedback.
Preparing for Liftoff: 360-Degree Reviews
There’s a great deal that stands between a successful peer-to-peer review process implementation, and an unsuccessful implementation. If not approached wisely, the very employees who crave feedback will be left feeling unfulfilled, disengaged and possibly insulted. A process like this should not be put into practice without ample planning.
Begin the planning stages with these considerations:
- Who is most qualified to deliver feedback to this employee? This will have nothing to do with tenure, and everything to do with the relationship the peer has with the employee being reviewed. Deciding who delivers feedback can be very important since there’s a good chance some colleagues may be on the same team but never share the same projects. Their view of the employee may be skewed or lack any real validity or value.
- What’s in it for the employee? When implementing any new program that affects an employee, it’s important to explain what that individual will actually get out of the change. Some changes will seem intuitive, but others, like 360-degree reviews, can seem a little frightening. Explaining that this new process was built to better productivity, communication, and knowledge-sharing can help alleviate any fright.
- How can I organize this for positivity? In situations like this, it can be difficult to see a balance between positive and constructive feedback. If the program structure leaves the review process up to the main reviewer completely, there’s a good chance the resulting information may lean too much to one side. Creating a peer-to-peer review template will make sure weaknesses of the employee won’t be the only focus.
Read more about the common employee struggles of 360-degree reviews and how to fix them!
What Every Feedback Process Needs
For the most effective feedback, leadership has to create a culture of trust that extends from manager to employee and employee to employee. Building trust doesn’t happen overnight, but should definitely begin today. In order to take steps in the right direction, encourage employees to share input on little things around the office. That can include project details discussed in meetings or simply what brand of coffee that is stocked in the break room. People feel more comfortable sharing their feelings, and are more prepared for the reviews of others, when they know they are a part of a trustworthy company.
Trust also depends on how leadership reacts to feedback. If leadership cannot comfortably share challenges with their supervisor, they will never feel completely capable of trusting the organization. Following the feedback loop model can begin those tough conversations and show the progressive steps your company is taking to improve communication on all levels.
Read more on how to better prepare your team for 360-degree reviews.
As 2017 approaches, we’re looking forward to all of the amazing programs HR leaders and people managers will be implementing for healthier workforces. Every step you take to help your employees is a step in the right direction. Peer-to-peer feedback is one process that brings together the entire team, all with the intent to help one another become better professionals. That’s exactly why we think 360-degree reviews will be such an important addition to your performance management program in the new year. What do you think? Share your new performance management technique with us on Twitter @Trakstar_hr!