Don’t Think The Performance Reviews are Accurate? Crowdsource!

April 28, 20157:45 am1113 views

Forty-five percent of human resources (HR) leaders don’t think annual performance reviews are an accurate appraisal for employees’ work. Also, 42 percent don’t think employees are rewarded fairly for their job performance.

These stats, from a survey by Globoforce and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), show that HR has lost confidence in the traditional review process. Most people know that employees dread annual reviews, but when nearly half of HR professionals agree, it is clear we need a new approach to how employee performance is measured and evaluated.

The debate around the effectiveness of annual performance reviews has surged in recent years, as managers criticise the inflexibility and infrequency of a formal, forced process. It is an industry awakening to a system that is no longer effective on its own for the way companies and people are managed today.

For example, managers are tasked with using only their own observations and analysis to appraise employees, yet many don’t have the tools to record pertinent events as they happen.

No matter the grievance, the effect is largely the same: managers lack the insight into employee performance to make traditional performance management processes work most effectively. But we are on the cusp of a major change that uses the power of social to fundamentally shift from a traditional, top-down management hierarchy to a new bottom-up approach.

Enter the wisdom of crowds (i.e.crowdsourcing). A group of independently deciding individuals is more likely to make better decisions and more accurate observations than those of an individual.

Crowdsourcing, by leveraging social recognition data, is a better way for managers to collect, evaluate and share information on employee performance. In many leading organisations, it is already redefining performance management and transforming all of HR.

Many of us already use crowdsourcing for idea generation and problem solving, but consider the power it has to change the way we manage our employees and organisational culture.

By capturing input from many stakeholders we are able to extend performance evaluations beyond a single point of failure. We can reveal how employees are truly performing and influencing others in the organisation.

Why is it more effective?

It is organic and in real time. Recognition is something that comes naturally to employees — they want to recognise their peers for great work. When the crowdsourcing concept is applied this way, co-workers and peers can identify and reward desired behaviors and cultural attributes through unsolicited recognition, as they happen.

Unlike 360 degree reviews, which require specific colleagues to provide a formal, forced review of an individual, crowdsourcing is inspired peer-to-peer performance feedback. This stream of recognition, which often appears in internal social newsfeeds, provides timely, measurable insights into your talent, top influencers and performers.

Here are five ways crowdsourced feedback and recognition can help business leaders and managers:

  1. Capture achievements throughout the year. With social recognition, individual and team achievements and successes are captured at the moment they happen throughout the year. Employees better understand what performance is desired on an on-going basis while managers can see first-hand an employee’s true performance, behaviors and influence.
  2. Widen the input circle beyond a single point of failure. By leveraging feedback from across the organisation, managers can expand the singular viewpoint of traditional performance reviews to include positive feedback from co-workers and peers alike. These ongoing reviews provide a more accurate collection for how individuals are performing within teams and across departments.
  3. Use inspiration, not obligation. Social recognition is the epitome of effective reviews: they are truly inspired, not forced by antiquated performance review processes. When peers give reviews of each other via recognition, it is due to the strong performance they witness. It is a purer performance evaluation and not diluted by a check-box mindset.
  4. Expand accountability for reputations and careers. By incorporating feedback from peers across the company, you lessen errors for how an employee’s performance and career is judged and nurtured. For most companies, the performance review is an anchor for documentation. By rounding it out with recognition, you are creating a more complete assessment around employees’ reputation and work performance.
  5. Empower employees to create a performance mosaic. With relationships and workflows extending beyond immediate teams and divisions, management and HR can create a performance mosaic to appraise true company performance. This social graph of the true performance of individuals and teams develops as employees and peers recognise one another.

When looking for better performance management processes and outcomes, look to the collective intelligence of your enterprise. Armed with the wisdom of the crowds, managers can leverage crowdsourced recognition and feedback for more effective appraisals, talent development, succession planning and even flight risk assessment.

How does your organisation evaluate talent? Do you think widening input would provide valuable insight? If yes, try crowdsource.

See: Handling Team Dysfunction

The original article first appeared on Harvard Business Review.

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