Crowdsourcing performance reviews can truly democratize the process and allow a wider pool of employees in the workforce participate. This process delegates the responsibility of performance review from a single manager and lets peers of the reviewed employee offer wisdom and insight on the employee’s performance.
Employee Performance Review is an important part of the Performance Management in an organization. It enables managers to evaluate how an employee has performed in a given review period, how much he/she has achieved and what he/she is expected to achieve in the next review period. With the consolidation of these reviews, they can paint a picture of the organization’s overall performance. This in turn will help the management to steer the organization in the right path.
Being a part of the performance management process, performance appraisal recognizes the contribution of employees to the organization and rewards them with promotions and career growth. Performance reviews should ideally enable the best performing employees to get the right compensation and result in their promotion to the most appropriate position. No wonder 45% of employees believe that their pay rises are directly linked to their evaluation.
But performance reviews are not always entirely accurate every single time. If the employees feel that their achievements are not duly recognized, then it means the conventional, periodic performance appraisals have significant shortfalls. Some of the problems in the performance reviews are as follows.
The Shortfalls of Conventional Performance Appraisals
- 1. Reviews rely on rigid templates
No matter how you customize an employee evaluation form for every single role and every employee in the organization, it is still a fixed and rigid tool to capture information from an employee. It does not offer the scope for the employee to say everything he/she wants to share with the organization. This has an impact on the amount of relevant data collected and the recognition he/she receives.
- 2. Reviews do not capture data real time
When you conduct annual reviews or quarterly reviews, employees are made to recollect their achievements and put them in an employee evaluation form for the manager to assess. While the manager can see the employee’s contribution in it, many achievements may go unmentioned or unnoticed due to various factors.
The template may not have enough flexibility for the employees to mention every significant achievement during the review period.
It might become impossible for the employee to recollect all the important achievements he/she had made in a lengthy review period.
Achievements need to be presented with context. Achievements during the past review period might have already lost relevance and their significance could be lost along with the relevance of their respective contexts.
This can have a significant impact on an employee’s career growth.
- 3. Reviews rely on the judgement of an individual
Data can be collected from various sources during a traditional review. For instance, 360 degree reviews may eliminate the biases of individuals, as everyone involved with an individual employee rates him/her. Also, other sources of information can be tapped, such as the customer feedback about the employee. These can give a comprehensive idea about the performance of the employee. However, the ultimate decision lies in the hands of the manager who might have his/her own biases and errors in judgement. A performance review can be more reliable when more than one person is responsible for the rating of an employee’s performance.
- 4. Traditional reviews makes employees feel disconnected
We have mentioned the importance of constant, continuous and informal reviews for checking on the progress of the employees towards their objectives here. Continuous, informal reviews help build a rapport with the employees and constantly evaluate progress in a more participative manner. In contrast, periodical and formal performance reviews have an inherent disconnect from the employees.
- 5. Organizations and their operations have evolved
The traditional performance reviews were designed for organizations, whose teams function within the strict confines of their allocated responsibilities. But organizations today have cross-functional teams. So, the top-down approach to reviews is no longer relevant for modern companies. Feedback needs to come from a wider spectrum of employees.
Crowdsourcing is not a concept that is exclusively associated with performance management. It is the process of engaging a crowd towards a common goal, whether that goal is problem solving, innovation, or efficiency. Like-minded individuals can support or participate in the initiatives. It allows participation from a wider pool of people and helps in the realization of ideas and projects that are in popular demand rather than the whims of an elite few. It truly democratizes initiatives and also offers flexibility in terms of the size of one’s contribution.
If you are building a culture where honest expectations are communicated and peer accountability is the norm, then the group will address poor performance and attitudes.
Crowdsourced reviews are implemented through a performance management platform that mimics social media. The feedback employees give on their peers’ achievements is publicly visible in the feed for everyone to see, providing managers with real-time ‘social recognition data’. Following are some of the advantages of crowdsourcing performance reviews.
- 1. Performance management from bottom-up
Performance appraisal becomes a democratic process where the collective wisdom of the employees help evaluate the performance of peers across the organization. It is completely in contrast with the traditional performance reviews, where the managers are solely responsible for reviewing and rating the performance of an employee based on available inputs. Managers still capture all the inputs from every employee, but act more as consolidators of the reviews rather than being the almighty decision makers.
- 2. Reviews become continuous
As mentioned before in here, reviews need to be continuous and informal for managers to be able to fully appreciate an employee’s efforts involved in achieving objectives, to identify and acknowledge the smaller milestones, and to constantly monitor the progress of the employee towards his/her goals. Crowdsourcing reviews makes this possible. It would help in evaluation of performance on an on-going basis and in the continuous identification of best practices, preferred behaviors, and positive influences of individuals on teams. It would also result in the early identification of problems and necessary course correction.
- 3. Achievements and recognition arrive in real-time
As the achievements of individuals are acknowledged in real-time, every significant contribution of the employees is captured by the managers immediately, when the context of the achievement is still relevant. This results in employees getting better recognition.
- 4. Data becomes more reliable
When peers across the organization give consistent feedback about the performance of an individual in a public forum, it eliminates potential biases and opaqueness inherent to the conventional performance appraisal, where the rating of an employee is entirely dependent upon the judgement of an individual – the manager. As a result, the data and ratings become more consistent and reliable.
- 5. The culture of mutual evaluation and appreciation
The more a person appreciates his/her peers, the more appreciation he/she gets it back from others. As a result, crowdsourcing reviews cultivates a positive culture, where employees prefer to appreciate and acknowledge their peers’ performance and achievements. In contrast to the conventional reviews, where an employee is asked to review someone else, crowdsourced reviews are entirely voluntary. This creates a positive work culture and makes reviews more engaging.
- 6. Ownership of performance
As employees want recognition and appreciation from peers, they are motivated to perform better and achieve more. This creates a healthy competition, where performance becomes a desired trait rather than a necessity. It results in employees taking ownership of their performance and deriving inspiration from each other.
- 7. A new way to paint the bigger picture
As reviews happen continuously in real-time, it becomes easier to consolidate the data and track the performance and progress of the organization more frequently. As the data is more reliable, fresh and relevant, it enables managers to build a more accurate snapshot of the performance of the organization, identify weaknesses, and address problems efficiently. Overall, it helps the management to reach the organization’s goals faster, achieve growth and have complete control over the outcomes of the organization’s day-to-day operations.