Feedback is crucial to growth, especially at work. It can often be hard to identify the behaviors or assumptions that are holding us back as well as the skills and talents that make us uniquely valuable. And the typical performance review isn’t much help.

Too often, performance evaluations are one-sided, top-down analyses imparted with limited insight that are more geared toward expectations than personal or professional growth. And while both employees and managers feel dissatisfied with appraisals, most people crave feedback.

Research from OfficeVibe finds that 83% of employees appreciate receiving feedback, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative.

In addition to being decontextualized, delayed, and one-way, traditional performance reviews also exclude many experiences and interactions, and often work that a manager never even sees. The result? More than half of workers believe annual reviews don't improve their performance at all, according to a 2019 Workhuman Analytics & Research study.

But people want feedback—just not like that.

Helpful Peer Feedback

In many teams, the majority of interaction and work occurs between team members. For team leaders looking to empower their direct reports, the majority of feedback should occur within that same context. Peer-to-peer feedback allows team members to receive input from those they work closely with and rely on.

In the OfficeVibe study, 62% of employees wish they received more feedback from their colleagues. This number may be even higher if we focused on training people to give better feedback. We all want feedback that is specific, actionable, and kind. To foster feedback that meets these criteria, the process should be:

  • Frequent: even quarterly isn’t frequent enough. Shorter time between cycles helps people remember experiences more clearly.
  • Qualitative: rating things on a scale of 1-10 isn’t helpful. Evaluation in the form of words is inherently more actionable.
  • Private: allow team members to own their feedback data, not HR.
  • Customizable: crafting a feedback survey yourself ensures you get insight into the areas you care about and are already aware of.

These four characteristics enable employees to take control of their own personal growth and design the feedback questions and topics they most care about.

Building a Culture of Feedback

A culture of feedback is one where feedback is frequent and given in multiple contexts: one-on-one meetings, written informally (e.g., over Slack), and collected more formally with a tool like peer.haus. But it also relies on the collective perception of feedback as positive, even when it’s negative. How do you build this perception? Practice and openness. Encourage employees to share stories of how receiving feedback (especially if it’s negative) helped them become aware of something and ultimately grow in a given area.

Building a culture of feedback isn’t done in a day—it’s an ongoing practice of encouraging feedback of all types and committing to meaningful change based on the data. Even if you’re not in the position to decide how your organization responds to feedback (a topic for another day), you can still start with your team. Create a practice of regular peer feedback that truly helps your team grow.

How peer.haus Can Help

Designed to help people take charge of peer feedback, peer.haus is a feedback collection tool that empowers personal growth. Define a topic you’d like to grow in (say, communication skills, facilitating meetings, or project management), build some questions you’d like to ask your peers, set a cadence, and analyze their responses over time in your private dashboard.

Create a free account today to get started!