ali khan
Ali Khan
Published On
December 14, 2023
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Effective Peer Feedback in the Workplace

Truthfulness is the best policy, and peer feedback builds a supportive work environment by ensuring complete and total transparency. Learn more about the value of peer review and how this might be of assistance. Check on your team culture more often. 

Is your team working well, or do you feel like competing? Encourage peer feedback to ensure your team has a supportive environment and positive team culture. When peers provide improper constructive feedback, your team will feel attacked and likely react negatively. There are a lot of benefits that come when giving feedback. Though the writing process of the direct reports can be long and tiring but it is definitely worth it. Overtime in the office you can freely depend on your employees self assessment.

Let's discuss peer feedback in more detail and how to offer it without discouraging your teammates. This will boost your morale at work.

What is peer feedback?

Employees gain insight into their work and the work of their peers through peer feedback. In this way, employees will be able to more effectively utilize the skills of their peers and be more productive as a team with the help of their project managers and team leaders.

By regularly asking your peers for feedback, you can identify your areas for improvement. You can also communicate your suggestions and ideas effectively with peer feedback. As a result, the team receives input from different sources, allowing everyone to self-evaluate and grow.

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Peer feedback: importance in the workplace

Peer feedback is crucial because it offers many advantages in the workplace, such as the chance for coworkers to interact freely, the opportunity to get peer feedback before getting manager feedback, and the potential for performance management strategies to be more successful with peer feedback than without it. In addition, peers can provide each other constructive criticism as part of the feedback process, and good peer feedback can even increase coworkers' sense of camaraderie (mutual trust).

Peers can provide each other constructive criticism as part of the feedback process, and good peer feedback can even increase coworkers' sense of camaraderie (mutual trust). While some people mix up performance assessments with peer criticism, they could not be more different from one another. Peer reviews are given by fellow peers and cover the routine, everyday stuff, unlike performance reviews, which are usually conducted by one's manager or supervisor and may be highly nerve-wracking.

Remember that your coworkers are more familiar with you than your manager. For example, if a communication breakdown between you and your direct report is broken, other team members may have witnessed it firsthand. Annual performance reviews that include a peer evaluation allow employees to share feedback that their managers might not have known about or chose not to share. Employees now have the chance to get qualitative peer feedback data that would not otherwise be available through regular talks with supervisors at work.

How to give peer feedback

Writing appropriate peer feedback can often be very challenging; being too critical can risk upsetting your colleague while being too lovely is ineffective and will accomplish nothing. Nevertheless, we advise you to follow the guidelines listed below when offering constructive feedback to a peer because there are many considerations worth keeping in mind.

- Prove sincerity

- Distinguish between content and process

- Model the behavior you’d like to see

- Allow time for follow-up

Prove sincerity

This is extremely important. If you ask someone to provide you with feedback and it turns out they either didn’t think long enough about it or they do not have the knowledge to provide useful feedback, then your employees will question whether they should bother giving you any feedback at all.

Distinguish between content and process

If someone is making a mistake or not following the right process, you have to make sure you’re giving them feedback on that, rather than the whole project. Feedback on process can be pretty tricky to manage. It’s easy for people to feel a little harsh if they are working towards a deadline, for example, so it’s best to do this in a one-to-one conversation rather than a team meeting.

Model the behavior you’d like to see

This is more about your actions more than anything else. If you want your direct reports to be honest, then you need to be honest too! It also helps if you can demonstrate the behavior that you’d like from others, so that your employees can see how it’s done. This doesn’t mean that you should micromanage everything, but it does mean giving feedback when you need to and praise when it’s due.

Allow time for follow-up

Sometimes when people fall short or miss deadlines, the first thing they do is apologize and blame something outside of their control. Even if it is something outside of their control (e.g., a supplier delivers later than expected), there is still room for improvement within your organization. This means that even if someone missed a deadline because of external factors, they still need to work out how they can improve their processes so that they won’t miss another deadline in future. By allowing time for follow-up, your team members will be able to discuss these issues freely rather than feeling defensive or anxious. Keep in mind that this is a learning process and to do these you have to have or be in a company that has a good company culture.

Prepare in advance

The key is to prepare yourself before providing peer feedback. To ensure that the feedback is uninterrupted, write down what you want to say. Verify with your management whether your peer is at ease giving and receiving feedback from one another and whether they would like to be present throughout the discussion. It is also beneficial to discuss any potential sensitivity issues with the employee before the peer review process. By assuring them that you will respect their worries during peer feedback discussions and reminding them that this action is an opportunity for change, which can only result in higher performance at work, you can create a secure atmosphere for them.

Get your colleague's approval.

Make sure the discussion about peer feedback is both needed and necessary. Begin by letting your peer know that you want to give them some feedback. Then, describe how a peer assessment is designed to be beneficial and encouraging rather than hurtful or severe.

Before starting the peer review, ask them if there is anything they would like to discuss if they decide to proceed with peer feedback. Doing this can assist you in avoiding overlooking any crucial details during the feedback process.

Approach Respectfully 

Once you've been given the go-ahead for peer feedback, it's important to use constructive criticism and approach it with respect for your peer's thoughts and feelings. Start by validating their concerns and assuring them that you understand what they are saying, even if you disagree with them on specific points.

Remind the peer you are delivering peer feedback to that this evaluation is meant to be beneficial and allow them to ask questions or express concerns if they appear concerned by the discussion.

Keep the discussion on all sides.

Peers should not prevent peers from asking questions or raising concerns about the feedback they have received throughout the conversation. Encourage them to ask these kinds of questions in an appropriate setting if peer feedback queries come up (e.g., when they are not busy working). Avoid requesting private information while asking for peer feedback.

Encourage the peer's efforts without giving them specific instructions on improving themselves with their peer reviewer (e.g., be precise but don't directly tell them what habits they need to modify). In the peer feedback process, constructive criticism helps a lot.

Peer-to-peer feedback examples

For anything from regularly scheduled peer reviews to biannual and annual appraisals, you can acknowledge and train your employees using the positive performance evaluation language below:

"I know I can depend on you to..."

For example, 

‍"You are an honest worker who adheres to deadlines."

‍"Your customer support is outstanding. You always make everyone feel welcome and at ease, no matter how busy things get."

‍"In the long run, the accounting work you do for our team benefits us."

‍"Thank you for providing training to new hires. Even though you're busy with other tasks, you always seem willing to take some time out of your day to show them how things are done at [COMPANY]."

"It's nice to see you completing your task on time. You never miss a deadline, and at [COMPANY], we value it greatly."

"I know I can always count on you to get things done quickly."

"Your communication abilities are outstanding, and I value the clarity with which you constantly convey your ideas."

"You are always willing to listen to someone who needs assistance or has a query. You excel at serving as the person others turn to for guidance."

“I value your capacity to foresee our clients' demands." If handled properly, negative performance review language can be beneficial and frequently helps the person perform better. 

Here are some phrases you can use during bad performance feedback. 

You appear to have difficulty sticking to the organization's procedures. I want you to improve at knowing what needs to be done and doing it on schedule.

"I'm worried that the caliber of your recent work has declined. Although you continue to fulfill deadlines, some of your work appears hurried or lacking. I want to ensure that everything is getting the consideration it needs.”

"I have seen that you've recently received many client complaints. Is something happening? Perhaps we can collaborate to develop ideas for how peers might handle things more effectively in the future.

"Your current state of overload is impacting the quality of your work. I want to work with you to determine how we can more evenly spread the responsibility so that you stop feeling this way."

When was the last time you received or gave peer feedback? Tell us your story. 

Send leadership a question or feedback anonymously!
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More Articles From Ali Khan

Ali is a co-founder of Wrenly known for his innovative thinking and exceptional drive to create value for every Wrenly customer. His dedication, mentorship, and leadership skills have not only shaped various careers but have also made him an invaluable asset to the Wrenly team.

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