Peer Appraisal

Peer appraisal occurs as it is often believed your immediate colleagues know more about your performance than your manager or subordinates. It is a relatively new concept, but has shown to reveal intricacies about individual performance that may not show up with more traditional methods. The process has the potential to build relationships, improve performance and illuminate individuals or teams that are underperforming, however, it can also cause friction and disagreements. For this reason, it is important the process is carried out professionally.

There are many clear benefits to the employee of this process. The key outcome should be to receive detailed and broad insights into their performance and develop their skills based on this. The feedback is also objective and honest and may reveal issues an employee was aware of, but had never fully accepted. It can also create a sense of unity and supportive environment within the team, as everyone is looking out for each other and not just themselves.

However, given the nature of the process, there are also a number of potential problems. It can be time-consuming and many employees believe it is not their responsibility to monitor their peers’ performance. An employee’s peers will generally have accurate insight into their performance, however they may also protect them or exaggerate their performance due to the relationship they have built. The reviews can also create tension within teams as individual’s try to work out who has said what about them.

Tips for Completing Your Peer Appraisal

As previously mentioned, it is important to be honest and accurate when reviewing your peer’s performance in order for them and the company to get the most out of it. For this reason, we have outlined 6 key tips for completing the process.

1. Understand your role – You are only asked to produce information about what they have been doing, not solution to how this can be solved or why them may be performing like this.

2. Ask for support – Consulting your manager about this process will be helpful as they will have performed it regularly and it is likely you will not be so familiar with it.

3. Be accurate – Referring to your peer’s job description can be helpful before assessing their performance.

4. Be objective – Reducing objectivity by protecting your peer’s career, or if you are too scared to be honest, makes the whole task pointless, as well as wasting your own and your company’s time. This is commonly cited as a major drawback of peer appraisals.

5. Neglecting office politics – Previous experiences with your peer, be they positive or negative, are not relevant for how well they are performing. The whole process relies on a certain degree of professionalism from everyone involved.

6. Confidentiality – The whole process will be ruined if individuals are aware of what has been said by who and hence maintaining confidentiality is crucial to it being a success.

Peer appraisal is certainly not going to give a perfectly accurate and detailed review of an employee’s performance, however, it should be considered as a method of revealing intricacies about employee performance that have previously not been acknowledged.