What’s it: Peer appraisal is an appraisal program involving colleagues at the same level and division or team. It excludes the supervisor or manager as an appraiser. This method seeks to provide an objective assessment by involving more people. In addition, it is important to build constructive feedback, trust, and synergy within the team to achieve common goals. But, like other appraisal methods, it also contains drawbacks such as opinion polarization.
Why is peer appraisal important?
Peer appraisal is similar to a 360-degree appraisal. Both involve more people to evaluate performance. Yet, the former involves fewer individuals, i.e., only friends around them. They are in the same position in the same division or department and do not involve managers or superiors.
Then, unlike the self-appraisal method, this method seeks to evaluate employee performance as objectively as possible by involving several colleagues. In addition, because they are on the same level, they can be more open to expressing judgments about each other.
Then, peer appraisal should reduce bias, as in one-to-one appraisal. The latter is done by managers to their subordinates. The results may be more subjective because it depends on how the manager perceives his subordinates.
Revealing employees’ interpersonal skills is another reason why this method is important. Coworkers can judge better than managers because they collaborate with each other daily. For example, they can assess how well their colleagues have worked together so far. Whether it needs to be maintained or vice versa, it needs to be improved.
Feedback between fellow employees is an important input to build relationships and synergies. They consider peer feedback to be constructive and in the common interest. As a result, the trust between them strengthened.
How does peer appraisal work?
Colleagues in one division evaluate the extent to which their colleagues are performing and achieving the set targets. How it is done can vary between companies.
For example, your employees fill out a key performance indicator form to fill in measurable metrics, especially those related to individual core targets. Then, their colleagues provide feedback on the results.
In another approach, colleagues also have the opportunity to assess other metrics. They evaluate the observable aspects, which are not the core target for each individual.
Or your employees assess their coworkers on shared performance metrics, the same for each individual. This approach is typically for employee development programs instead of appraisals to determine pay or promotions.
What are the advantages of peer appraisal?
A more objective and fair assessment is a major advantage of the peer appraisal method. By involving more people, it should reduce subjectivity as in traditional appraisal and self-appraisal methods.
In addition, this method can appreciate and recognize good employees who may escape management’s attention. Or, in other cases, it reveals hidden talents.
Other advantages of peer appraisal are:
More comprehensive. Peer appraisals provide broader information about how an employee performs and works in a team. It can reveal just about anything a coworker needs from the employee. Due to day-to-day interactions, coworkers should know better than their managers.
Interpersonal skills. This method provides complete insight into how employees interact and how each other’s interpersonal skills are. Thus, management can develop appropriate programs to build a strong and synergized team.
Self-reflection. Often, employees overestimate personal abilities when evaluating themselves. And, they don’t realize what’s missing or what’s wrong from the other person’s perspective. Thus, this method overcomes such problems and allows employees to better understand their shortcomings, which were previously unnoticed.
Self-improvement. As the judgments come from within a team, each spurs to work harder to impress their comrades. It leads to competition for self-improvement.
Synergy. Constructive feedback is important for building trust and better collaboration between team members. They criticize each other for less-than-performing and reward those who perform well. And, they understand the criticism from teammates is for the common good, not to bring down.
What are the disadvantages of peer appraisal?
The polarized opinion is one drawback of peer appraisal. For example, a department has many employees. Some employees may form small groups and tend to be loyal to these members but not to others. Then, they may take more criticism to bring down non-member employees they don’t like by focusing on weaknesses when providing feedback.
Demotivating. For some employees, negative evaluations are a driving force for self-improvement. But, others may be the opposite. Their mentality is down because they get negative evaluations, which may be due to office politics or polarized opinions.
Extra work. Evaluation adds to the workload because the process is time-consuming. Moreover, the workload gets heavier if the evaluation involves more employees. So, in turn, it hinders their routine tasks.
Disharmony. Poor judgment can strain a coworker’s relationship. It can be very pronounced if the assessment is done publicly, not anonymously. As a result, it leads to disharmony.
For such a reason, these assessments are usually conducted anonymously. In addition, adopting this method also requires mutual understanding and encouraging them to provide constructive feedback, not the other way around.
What to read next
- 360-Degree Appraisal: Advantages and Disadvantages
- Employee Appraisal: Types, Costs, and Benefits
- One-to-One Appraisal: How It Works, Advantages, Disadvantages
- Peer Appraisal: Importance, Advantages, and Disadvantages
- Self-appraisal: How it Works, Advantages, Disadvantages