Everything You Need to Know About Employee Peer Reviews

Many companies consider peer-reviews a critical element of the employee performance evaluation process. This is because employees work closely with each other and have a better understanding of their peers’ performance.

Furthermore, an employee peer review process acts as a mechanism of holding each other accountable, along with gaining useful feedback. We shall discuss peer-to-peer performance review in this article and its benefits of it.

What is an employee peer review process?

The term employee peer review refers to a process that involves colleagues assessing each other’s work capability and performance. During the peer performance evaluation, managers typically hand over a peer review form to all employees to anonymously fill out the information about their colleague’s performance. The anonymous nature of the process allows employees to express their honest opinions about colleagues. 

Also read: Getting Started With Real Time Performance Management 

Though many methods exist for employee peer reviews, organizations may opt for a ‘peer-to-peer performance review model’ that integrates all approaches or may choose only those they deem relevant. The usual popular peer-to-peer performance review approaches are as follows: 

Simple Review:

In this type of methodology, comments are sought from employees about their colleagues’ contributions and accomplishments. Usually, employees are approached either privately or with a group, and relevant information is gathered from those discussions or interviews.

 As a general practice, feedback providers, peers, in this case, keep their identities anonymous. In some cases, however, an individual’s identity can be disclosed when the employee peer review is communicated directly to the employee being reviewed, but not to his supervisor.  


This methodology is an elaborate and detailed version of a simple review. It demands both time and resources, wherein inspections happen in phases that all employees must complete. This practice is usually adopted when the purpose of the peer performance evaluation is to precisely determine the weaknesses or limitations of an employee being evaluated.  

 Team Reviews:

During this process, a panel or group makes an evaluation of each employee individually. The panel and employee often discuss the employee’s assessment together and reach a consensus.

How does an employee peer review process improve performance at the workplace?

Since the peer-to-peer performance review process serves as a reliable technique to fetch honest opinions about your colleague’s performance, the process can render a better understanding of an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. For instance, you may not be aware of your certain habits and behavior at the workplace – which may be good or bad, but any observation from a colleague will allow you to continue your positive behavior and improve on your negative ones.

Can the process be overwhelming for employees?

Employee peer-review process can turn out to be stressful for certain employees when it comes to offering colleagues’ feedback, as they may dwell on the colleague’s reactions after the review process. However, employees should try to give constructive frank inputs instead of mere criticism, keeping their personal feelings aside. Essentially, every employee has room for improvement, and through peer performance evaluation, you are helping your peers to assess and work on their areas of weakness.

Also read: Signs That Your HR Department Is Overwhelmed

Is there a one-size-fits-all process?

An organization’s employee peer review process will be mainly dependent on an employees’ responsibilities. In the field of software development, many employees may be part of the peer-to-peer performance review process. This ensures that the software or application has gone through multiple reviews before its launch.     

 In the field of copy-writing, editing, and publishing, a write-up is edited by SMEs and editors before being published. In such a case, a different peer review process will be required, focused on an individual’s performance and flawless completion of writing and editing work. 

 All in all, there is no fixed peer-review approach or one-size-fits-all peer review process for all employees. It is entirely up to top management and depends on the industry and the organization.

Role of employee peer review process in performance management assessment

Let us have a brief look at how different performance review processes occur and why an employee peer-review process is an inalienable part of the employee performance management process.

Supervisor/manager review:

In supervisor’s reviews, the final outcome is more important than the process itself. Hence, it is incomplete and has its own set of flaws.

Employee’s direct report:

Reviewing an employee based exclusively on direct reports, after having a conversation with an employee, may again be an incomplete assessment. The reason is that all information you’ll receive will be subjective, based on an employee’s assumptions.

Client’s feedback:

Relying solely on a client’s feedback gives you only an impression of how an employee works on their problem-solving skills.

Peer to peer performance review process:

Employee peer-review process will enable you to analyze an employee’s personality, correlated to his interactions with his peers.

This single reason makes employee peer review an indispensable part of the whole employee performance management process.

Also read: 10 Employee Performance Review Tips To Improve Performance 

Advantages of the employee peer review process

One of the key benefits of peer review programs is that they lighten the workload of managers and supervisors. Furthermore, an employee peer-review process has multiple benefits that go far beyond easing managers’ workloads. 

  1. In-depth evaluation

A manager may be excellent at assessing his employees, but he is likely to overlook key performance insights during a manager’s feedback process, as he may already have a set of notions of an employee.

Employees behave differently in front of their supervisors than they do in front of their peers, even in the best of work environments. Consequently, managers cannot entirely rely on the information presented by the employee. The peer-to-peer performance review process allows employee assessments to be conducted in a more objective manner, allowing a deeper look into the employee’s strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities.

  1. Holistic Employee Reviews

A performance review based solely on the output and financial results of a company is meaningless. By identifying gaps in performance that may have gone unnoticed, peer reviews offer you the opportunity to address an employee’s shortcomings. Having constructive feedback will allow an employee to concentrate on the areas of improvement and ideally receive support to do so. 

Also read: Qualities Of A Good Manager: 10 Skills You Need
  1. Better Understanding Of Business Processes

In addition to evaluating whether your business processes are still relevant and efficient, peer reviews help determine if it needs any adjustment. They can also point out changes that the organizational structure needs. 

By comparing the peer review process to the company’s objectives, you get a deeper understanding of the relationship between the quality of the work and the results. Also, a look at performance data by role and/or team can reveal insights into performance gaps in a business.

  1. Improves teamwork

The most successful way of motivating employees to enhance their performance is by building a strong team and cohesive team. Including the peer review process in your team-building exercises can maximize its benefits. If peers contribute to employee bonding through the employee peer review process, this can have a positive impact on employee performance.

One of the best ways to support collaboration and teamwork within an organization is through a peer-to-peer review process linked to performance appraisals, rewards, and recognition for employees.

How to conduct employee peer reviews effectively?  

A sloppy review process wastes time, effort, money, energy, and resources. As a consequence, a peer review mechanism becomes inefficient. Hence, you must ensure that your employee peer review mechanism is reliable, practical, efficient, and comprehensive. Here’s how to go about doing it.

  1. Choosing Peers thoughtfully

Select peers carefully for the employee peer review process so that they may provide an accurate picture of an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. These findings will help managers to build training and development programs, tailored specifically to the requirements of each employee.

Further, based on the peer review, a one-on-one meeting can be arranged with an employee to discuss the feedback. In this discussion, the managers can work with an employee to set realistic goals, aligned with the company’s objectives.

Peer appraisals may also aid managers in spotting hidden talent, such as the underappreciated heroes who consistently deliver excellent work while going unnoticed.

  1. Identify and align core values

In an employee peer review process, you’d elicit feedback from employees regarding their teammates. But if you don’t know their colleagues’ core values, you won’t have specific answers to enhance their performance and capabilities. Thus, you’ll just be wasting your time and the peer review process will be ineffective.

As an example, think of an IT/software company where an employee’s work quality, smartness, and dynamism are highly prized. In such a case, the company’s core values should be based on the above qualities. So, it makes sense to search for the same attributes in your company’s top performers through the peer-review process.

Also read: How Performance Management Software Helps in Employee Development
  1. Don’t be afraid to use and experiment with new technologies

In order to gather feedback from employees about their peers, you don’t have to rely entirely on conventional approaches. Employees often use social media for work-related purposes these days. Your employee peer review system may also integrate the use of social media and other comparable technology resources.

Peer-to-peer performance review processes may be made more efficient by using intranet or software that streamlines the review process while still eliciting important information and ratings from employees. 

  1. Take a pro-employee stance

Employees in certain workplaces worry about the mere mention of the term peer review. They may feel uncomfortable and become extra cautious of anything linked to a review’s conduct.

In certain cases, employees may see the task of evaluating or assessing a co-employee as an unnecessary element of their job. They may react in this manner assuming that it would affect their future or their relationship with their colleagues. 

This is when a manager has to play a vital role in understanding what scares them about the peer review process; allay their concerns regarding the peer review process and convince them that it is for the betterment of the employees.

  1. Outline expectations

Clearly communicate the objective for the peer performance evaluation process to your team. Make it clear to your team that the goal of peer evaluations is to assist each other to become the finest professional versions of themselves. Encourage your team to appreciate one another as well as to provide constructive critical analysis. Employees’ motivation and dedication to their profession improves when they can identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Also read: 10 Actionable Tips To Boost Workplace Satisfaction
  1. Benchmark matters, but so does written feedback

It’s fairly uncommon for peer evaluations to incorporate a Likert scale, which allows employees to rate the performance and achievements of their peers on a range from 1 to 7. Make sure you offer a place for employees to express their own views and opinions in addition to the numerical scales. Getting detailed written comments is much more valuable than giving just a number based on their level of agreement.

  1. Focusing on all aspects of day-to-day work activities

You may wish to concentrate on one aspect of your employees’ job performance, but try to analyze everything they would accomplish while at work. Instead of focusing just on a single project, you may talk about their day-to-day activities as well. Getting a more in-depth look into how others see their work might be very beneficial to them.

  1. Timely and regular praise

What happens after completion of an employee peer review? If you don’t know the answer, how can you expect to encourage desirable behavior in an employee? Thus, after completion of a peer-review process, it’s crucial to follow-up. 

To do a peer review now and provide accolades a year from now is counterproductive. If you wait so long, you lose a lot of relevance. Employees will be more engaged in the process if they see that their contributions are promptly and often acknowledged after a peer review process.

Also read: Employee Rewards And Recognition For An Engaged Workforce

Putting it all together

Peer review must begin with the creation of a well-defined and detailed peer review system. The most essential thing is to set up an employee peer review process; put it into action and keep refining it with time. Engagedly’s real time performance management software helps in implementing a scalable and efficient peer review process.

Request a demo with us to know how Engagedly can help you.

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