Carolyn Williams reports:
"Whether done on an anniversary, all at once for the entire firm or every few weeks, writing an evaluation for a fellow employee can be touchy. Knowing how to use the evaluation to both support your colleague's strengths and identify weaknesses with diplomacy ensures a successful process...When providing your input on a fellow employee's performance, you must understand the scale used and how it affects the overall review. Some companies rate employees into quadrants based on their salary and performance level. Other companies use an objective rating system; still others set up a series of statements about an employee that you agree or disagree with at various levels. Once you have the form for the review or have received pertinent training, be consistent with your ratings and feedback...In a 360-degree performance review program, your input to your colleague may be important to his overall development at the firm. In this type of review, not all employees review all other employees in the group. Instead, those who regularly interact with the employee are selected to provide feedback. The employee then uses this feedback to identify career development goals such as specific training or skill mastery that benefit his performance...The process of providing feedback and packaging the feedback into clear and focused coaching for an employee is a useful development tool. However, performance evaluations to determine raises or promotions using the 360-degree method don't work...Competition clouds peer evaluation -- if you see the performance evaluation as a means for your colleague to move ahead, for example, you're more likely to downgrade the employee. In this case, the process itself is flawed. If you are faced with this approach, discuss the outcome with your manager and evaluate whether you are unbiased enough to provide useful feedback...If your firm is implementing [crowdsourced] employee reviews, then you may be on tap to review dozens of colleagues many times a year. The theory is that as organizations become flatter, sourcing information from more than just one reviewer -- traditionally, the manager -- provides more specific and detailed feedback. However, make sure you know what your colleague's responsibilities are so you can rate her fairly. These types of performance evaluations have the potential to focus on the extremes of both positive and negative, rather than providing substantive feedback that helps employees grow."
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