Employee Peer Review: The Internal Market

There are various approaches to employee peer review. Comprehensive multi-level feedback, top-down and bottom-up comparisons, and even the lightening fast Stoplight 360 I wrote about here a few years ago. In many instances, however, the most powerful rating system is the internal market.

Employees work with other employees whom they like, can depend on, and who carry their own weight. Terrific technical expertise is wasted if no one calls on it. The most popular employee remains idle away from the water cooler if he or she can’t be relied on to deliver in a timely fashion.

I’ve worked with numerous businesses who have faced a reduction in force (RIF). In most cases they try to develop a fair selection system for laying off people. A few have measurable productivity. In those companies, the decision is easier. Those who don’t produce are higher on the list.

Whether you have productivity metrics or not, employee peer review, the work pattern of colleagues, is still the best barometer.

pencil standoutIs there a supervisor or project manager who seems to spend most of his time waiting for the next job? A technician who is snapped up by another team the moment he becomes available? A support person who always has a disproportionate backlog of help requests? An engineer who spends most of his time working on tasks that are below his pay grade?

The Internal Market isn’t sensitive to seniority, education or job title. It’s the vote of colleagues on how valuable a person is to the organization.

How do you determine whether a less experienced hire has potential? It’s a pretty safe bet that it’s someone who is busy. It’s someone who other people are making an effort to mentor and train. It’s the employee everyone wants to work with.

You don’t have to wait for a crisis to pay attention to the Internal Market. It doesn’t require long forms, goal setting or meetings for guidance. It is an integral part of your organization. Performance documentation is usually just an attempt to codify what everyone knows and sees daily.

Deriving value from employee peer review is simply a shift in how you observe your workforce. Pay attention to the Internal Market, and a lot of personnel decisions become obvious.

 Do you know a business owner who would enjoy Awake at 2 o’clock? Please share!

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