our management, working in a matrix-style 160-people internal IT organisation, want to improve quality and quantity of feedback. For this purpose, they intend implementing a feedback database to support the semi-annual appraisal process. Project team members are asked to rate each other on a scale of 1..5. Dimensions: team orientation, skills, results orientation etc. You will see the rating and the comments each colleague gave to you. The results will impact bonus and salary.
I suspect that this approach may create more friction than benefits ánd learning. The intention is certainly laudable (transparency; more feedback). But I do wonder whether shifting a management task (rating/grading) to staff will lead to good results. Or am I just being too old-fashioned in believing that a database of mutual ratings won´t help with feedback quality and learning?


Anonymous's picture

Hi Peter,

Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. This approach seems to me to have so many weaknesses, I initially wondered if it was serious. These are the main faults, as I see them:

1. The possibility (actually, the liklihood) of hard feelings generated by feedback perceived as unfair (this is the one you alluded to).

2. The possibility of positive feedback exchanges (I'll rate you well, if you'll do the same--we both get raises and bonuses")

3. The possibility (actually, the likelihood) of bad feedback left due to jealousy, personality conflicts, one person eating another's lunch by accident, or just cranky moods.

4. The possibility (actually, the likelihood) of NO genuine negative feedback being left due to fear of retribution by your co-workers.

5. The possibility (actually, the likelihood) of positive feedback being initiated solely to garner favors from certain co-workers.

WIth so many reasons to question the validity of the feedback, who would trust it? And, if you can't trust it, why implement the process?