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What Is Peer Appraisal & How Do You Implement It?

By Logan Mallory
Illustration of a laptop with a peer appraisals box on the screen surrounded by plants.

We’ve all sat through a performance appraisal before. Whether we’re sitting on the comfy side of the desk or sweating it out in the hot seat, about 80% of modern companies still use the formal appraisal process. Most of us aren’t super happy about it, but we know it’s just another part of working in the 21st century.

But does it have to be?

Performance appraisals don’t have to be impersonal, awkward conversations between an employee and their supervisor (who usually doesn’t know them very well). What if we created a world where relationships, AKA peer appraisals, ruled the roost? And what if they were even better than traditional methods?

Peer appraisals are starting to become the industry standard for performance evaluations, guiding decisions, fostering growth and, better yet, creating accurate portrayals of team members. In fact, some experts believe that peer appraisal could be the future of performance evaluations. Bye, awkward evals!

Let’s explore the concept of peer appraisal in greater detail, including how it’s measured, why it’s beneficial, and how you can implement it into your business.

What is peer appraisal?

Before we talk about peer appraisals, let’s chat for a second about traditional performance evaluations.

image with text - Peer appraisals are the process of evaluating team members based on feedback from colleagues.

These outdated dinosaurs are used for one purpose: to measure an employee's performance based on metrics, data, or a numerical scale. This usually includes their work output, team cohesion, or random factors like dress code. Although every business has its own way of measuring and ranking performance, it typically expresses itself as a five-point scale — 1 being the worst, and 5 being the best.

In case you didn’t know, traditional appraisals are totally busted. Not only do they fail to capture the whole person, but they rarely involve people that know the employee and their workflow. This keeps your real star players from being recognized - and worse, makes them unhappy.

Enter a better solution. Peer appraisals are the process of evaluating team members based on feedback from colleagues. Coworkers and direct-contact employees have the opportunity to communicate honestly about a person, and provide insightful details to boot.

The benefits of peer appraisals

image with text - The benefits of peer appraisals: Extremely honest, fair and accurate, and inclusive measurements.

Peer appraisals are getting a lot of attention these days, and for very good reason. These are just a few of the most obvious benefits of making the switch:

1. Peer appraisals are extremely honest. They come from real people with ear-to-the-ground knowledge.

2. Peer appraisals estimate work fairly. Plus, they’re far more accurate than numerical, top-down approaches.

3. Peer appraisals measure colleagues much more inclusively. No team is left behind!

Honest, accurate, and inclusive? Sign us up!

Tips for measuring peer appraisal

Image with text - peer appraisals can be a lot more dynamic in assessing the value and output of your employees.

In all this talk about peer appraisals, let’s not forget about the meat and potatoes! Unlike traditional evaluations, peer appraisals can be a lot more dynamic in assessing the value and output of your employees.

There are three major processes to choose from:

• Peer ranking

Like picking a team for P.E., peer rankings allow employees to rank colleagues from best to worst. Keep in mind that lower rankings don’t necessarily mean that employees are bad at their jobs. It just highlights which members of the department are outperforming their peers.

• Peer ratings

In this approach, teammates will measure their colleagues using performance metrics. All members of the team are given a sheet from which to assess their coworkers, which will be collected and averaged. This option is best for more traditional companies trying to break the mould.

• Peer nomination

This measurement type is definitely the most fun one on the list! Employees are given the agency to pick and choose the best overall worker from a pool of others. While some metrics can be used to shape their choices, the goal is for the group to reach a decision based on what they know about their teammates.

You might decide to use a peer appraisal measurement that’s different from this list, and that’s okay! Just stay away from anything too formal, okay?

3 ways to integrate peer appraisal into your business

Ready to join the peer appraisal revolution? Start small and work up to full integration by using these four steps.

• Inform your leadership

Equip managers to confidently lead peer appraisals by providing plenty of details and training documents.

• Go digital

Allow teams to provide their feedback through multiple channels, including anonymous survey software.

• Involve your teams

Give your employees a heads-up about the new evaluation process, and connect them with any resources they might need.

With a bit of time and a tub of elbow grease, you’ll be well on your way to establishing peer appraisals in your own company.

Let Motivosity pave the way to success

Maybe you don’t feel ready to manage peer appraisals alone. Maybe you don’t have the software to scale up your processes quickly. Or maybe you just feel a little lost. In either case, Motivosity is here to save the day!

Our revolutionary employee engagement tools are perfect for listening to peer appraisals, with a real-time data dashboard that puts a smile on everyone’s face. Seriously! Dive right in with a demo today, and see how much we can do for your organization.