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Director of Online Marketing for Salesforce Work.com. Fascinated with all aspects of digital marketing and social business. David has posted 99 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

How Performance Reviews Can Un-Earth Top Performers

11.21.2013
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When your performance reviews are an annual process, the best performers can often slip through the cracks because the appraisals inevitably focus primarily on the core tasks from each employee, such as their sales figures or product stats.  Whilst these are undoubtedly important, there is often more to people than those headline statistics.  Here are a number of things that more frequent, peer reviews can un-earth.

Who has the power?

In traditional organizations, power is often held by those high up the hierarchy.  In knowledge organizations however, power can often reside in unusual places.  Think of the individual with incredible knowledge of their subject for instance.  They might not have formal power, but they are nevertheless crucial to the wellbeing of the company.  Peer reviews can do a great job of finding these people.

Who has the influence?

Alongside power often sits influence.  Traditional appraisal processes tend to focus solely on individual achievements, meaning that collaborative work can often be overlooked.  A peer review process by contrast allows you to dig into who the influential people are in your workplace, whether and how they cross over departmental lines and so on, all of which is crucial information when looking to put together your A team.

Who can fill your talent pipeline?

Succession management is a key role for any manager, and especially so when the baby boom generation are hitting retirement age.  Being able to discover the people with knowledge and connections within your organization can play a huge role in identifying the best candidates to succeed your best employees.  What’s more, peer review allows you to discover these high potential individuals at an early stage, and thus invest time in grooming and developing their talents.

Who has itchy feet?

Central to succession planning is having insight into who is happy and unhappy in the workplace.  By the time these feelings emerge in a formal review process, it’s often too late and the employee has one foot out of the door.  Using peer review gives you an early warning sign.  For instance, if an employees peers give them great feedback, but their manager does not, it surely won’t be long before they become disengaged.  The earlier you can spot these trends, the quicker you can rectify them.

Who binds your team together?

Culture is critical for any organization, and there are undoubtedly people who embody your ideal culture more than others.  At a time when how you work is as important as what you do, these people are of critical importance.  They can act as champions for the kind of organization you wish to become, encouraging others to behave in the right way.  These people can often sit outside traditional positions of power and influence, yet a good peer review process can help to identify them very quickly.

These are just some of the key nuggets of information that can be un-earthed by more frequent, peer supplied performance appraisals.  Let me know via the comments if you have any more.

Original post

Published at DZone with permission of its author, David Austin.

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