Sunday, March 05, 2006

Performance Evaluation by Stealth

The Motley Fool decided to employ an unusual feature with its Intranet; anonymous peer reviews.

Employees would type recommendations and criticism about specific work habits by the names of staff on the Intranet. While taking care to keep the individual sources of the criticism anonymous, the information was used by department managers in their frequent one-on-one interactions with the employees.

Although the sources of the suggestions were not revealed, the small size of the company meant people could make educated guesses as to who wrote what, ensuring plenty of office chatter on the subject.

The information was not used in reviewing who gets a promotion. Instead the review was moved into a suggestion box on the Intranet to help employees improve their performance by bonus time.

Motley Fools’ approach is not for everyone. Peer reviews need to be handled properly to ensure that they are used responsibly and not abused by staff. If you are sensitive to people’s feelings and use criticism constructively, you can build a stronger business.

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