HBR: Crowdsource performance reviews give more comprehensive views on performance

Our Summery: On-going reviews provide real-time insights into employee performance and set expectations for desired outcomes.  The collective intelligence of the enterprise widens points of inputs and the positive peer recognitions are sources of inspiration for teams.

Crowdsource Your Performance Reviews

by Eric Mosley
Originally Published on 6/15/2012

Forty-five percent of human resources (HR) leaders don’t think annual performance reviews are an accurate appraisal for employees’ work. And 42 percent don’t think employees are rewarded fairly for their job performance.These stats, from a recent survey by Globoforce and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), show that HR has lost confidence in the traditional review process. Most people know that employees dread annual reviews, but when nearly half of HR professionals agree, it’s clear we need a new approach to how employee performance is measured and evaluated.

The debate around the effectiveness of annual performance reviews has surged in recent years, as managers criticize the inflexibility and infrequency of a formal, forced process. It’s an industry awakening to a system that is no longer effective on its own for the way companies and people are managed today. For example, managers are tasked with using only their own observations and analysis to appraise employees, yet many don’t have the tools to record pertinent events as they happen.

Enter the wisdom of crowds — or crowdsourcing. A group of independently deciding individuals is more likely to make better decisions and more accurate observations than those of an individual. Crowdsourcing, by leveraging social recognition data, is a better way for managers to collect, evaluate and share information on employee performance. In many leading organizations, it is already redefining performance management and transforming all of HR.

Read the full article on Harvard Business Review here.

4 thoughts on “HBR: Crowdsource performance reviews give more comprehensive views on performance

  1. Eric, I’ve been looking at your HBR article on crowdsourcing and performance reviews, and find it terribly flawed in a number of ways, and that the claims that it is a “better way for managers to collect, evaluate…information on employee performance” is a claim that is not supported by ANY data. I invite you to comment, here or at:

    Not only do you seem to inaccurately characterize 360 feedback, but in that article you confuse performance management with performance appraisals, and that’s a fatal flaw that contributes to why appraisals are so ineffective.

  2. Robert, while the article was published by Mr. Mosey and not me, I am a bit confused by what you write. Arguably, the whole idea of open-book management overlaps with crowdsourcing and there are numerous examples given by John Case in his Open Book Management that demonstrate when open-book management was applied with very positive results. There is also SEMCO. Granted these are not just about performance and appraisals. As far as crowdsourcing performance reviews, there seem to be various implementations here and there, however, overall it’s very surprising to me to hear someone attempting to discredit the notion in its entirety… I tend to agree with Mr. Mosey on the idea that allowing information to flow from bottom-up as well as top-down is a productive trend. At the end of the day, only a peer knows how to properly set expectations…

  3. I’m also confused. Mosley doesn’t mention open book management in his article, so I’m not sure how it enters into the discussion of replacing performance management and performance appraisal with crowdsourcing. I get the notion of information flow but having anonymous “feedback” and expecting it to work isn’t going to work, not to mention it adds additional encouragement for managers to abdicate their responsibilities. So, wondering if you could clarify, and point me to where Mosley talks about open book management in his HBR article?

  4. Robert, I am mentioning open book management, because when companies run and manage with open books, this most often goes with some flavor of crowdsourced decision-making and has been a fairly successful approach.

    You mention anonymous feedback. While that is indeed one flavor of feedback, neither Mosley nor I mentioned it (or did I miss it somewhere?) I also do not see the connection between distributed feedback (anonymous or not) and managerial abdication of responsibilities. In fact, if correctly set up, anonymous feedback places additional pressure on management if they are part of the review process.

    Now I agree with you that no approach comes without risk and there are ways that things can go wrong with crowdsourced performance reviews. That said, your criticism seems so unbalanced that I am having trouble finding a constructive way to address it…

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