Crowdsourcing Performance Management: A Discussion on How to Do It Right

Recognize This! — You can’t have a meaningful discussion about performance, goals, and successes in an environment of fear, dread and anxiety.

How do you feel about performance reviews? Personally, I think the annual performance review (as most commonly implemented) is broken. It’s too infrequent, too fraught with anxiety and fear (for the manager as well as the employee), and too ineffective at doing what it is supposed to do – deliver solid, actionable praise and feedback on employee performance for a year’s worth of work (not just the work completed within the last week or so).

What’s the solution? I recently shared two case studies from companies that kicked the annual review to the kerb quite successfully. But the answer really isn’t as simple as that.

One benefit of the annual review is it forces managers to have conversations with employees about their work. But everyone hates and dreads them. And if you go into a meeting full of fear, dread and hate, are you really in any position to hear what is being said in a constructive way?

Of course not. Several peers of mine from various organizations providing HR services chimed in on this topic in an article appearing today from SHRM: “Inviting the Masses to Rate Employee Performance.” (Membership required for access)

In the article I speak in favor of crowdsourcing feedback and performance, commenting: “It’s hard to see the downside to crowdsourcing because it’s tremendously important to give employees a voice.

Another commenter voiced concern about inappropriate comments and passive-aggressive behavior, but I don’ think this should preclude people from considering crowdsourcing feedback. As I say in the article: “It’s the same as inappropriate comments in an email or team meeting. There are HR processes for people who don’t act with integrity.”

This idea is very different from 360 degree feedback, a difference aptly explained by Scott Erker, senior vice president of DDI:

“360 is a single point in time and is typically structured around a competency model. People answer questions only in that structure. It’s a process that sits in a box. Crowdsourcing, on the other hand, is always on, every day, and it lacks structure. It’s going to be much more organic.”

How do you get to crowdsourcing feedback and performance? Social performance management is an important factor, allowing anyone – peers, colleagues and managers alike – to share their detailed feedback and praise on the achievements and behaviors of their fellow employees. Folding this informal crowd-sourced feedback into more formal processes is the trick that brings value and insight into the true performance of employees.

Do you see a place for crowdsourcing feedback or do you prefer the more formal annual review process?

Derek Irvine

About Derek Irvine

The VP of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their organizations. As a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition, he teaches companies how to use recognition to proactively manage company culture. Derek holds a B.Comm and Masters of Business Studies from the Smurfit Graduate Business School at University College Dublin.

7 Responses

  1. Mark says:

    I like to use “crowd sourcing” for performance management. Although I manage a staff of 10, I do not always “see” their work as closely as Project Managers or their peers. I like to gather feedback from these stakeholders during the review process. Although we have a “formal” process in the way of forms, etc., I like to gather as much feedback as possible from the “crowd” in giving feedback that the employee can use to improve their performance. I have a quasi-360 that I created to help put some structure to it, but I also gather a lot of verbal feedback. I find it is the best way for me to get useful feedback from a lot of people.

  2. [...] I wouldn’t go that far. The formal review process can have a place, but only when part of a much more useful and meaningful process of frequent, timely feedback and praise from far more people than just the manager – essentially, crowdsourcing performance management. [...]

  3. [...] Crowdsourcing through strategic, social recognition [...]

  4. [...] year, anyway? Nearly everyone agrees the annual performance review in its existing form needs to be kicked to the kerb. But what should replace [...]

  5. [...] year, anyway? Nearly everyone agrees the annual performance review in its existing form needs to be kicked to the kerb. But what should replace [...]

  6. [...] solution? Applying the wisdom of the crowds to performance management (and not through a forced 360-degree review process, but through a more natural [...]

  7. [...] solution? Applying the wisdom of the crowds to performance management (and not through a forced 360-degree review process, but through a more natural [...]

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