What is a peer review?
Traditionally, peer review is an evaluation of scientific, academic, or professional work by others working in the same field. However, peer reviews are now making their way into the world of work as a performance appraisal tool.
As mentioned, peer review was originally used in the education realms but is more recently becoming a concept used within corporate learning environments. With the rise of appraisal performance reviews, integrating peer reviews into this process is helping to produce more effective feedback than ever before.
Peer reviews are not an opportunity to moan about your colleagues’ but a chance to recognise, facilitate accountability, improve performance and even surface hidden talent. The concept of peer review allows for a more collaborative approach to learning, where other persons of your own experience level and understanding are able to identify hindrances and offer advice from personal experience.
What is a peer review?
For years, peer reviews and observation have been used as a teaching and learning practice within education and are often a methodology used to improve the quality of teaching itself through a four-step process.
Pre-observation, observation, post-observation and reflective summary. This breakdown allows the individual conducting the reviewing a chance to engage with their colleague’s teaching methods from theory to practical.
The most important part of the peer evaluation is the reflective summary. It can provide valuable feedback that can be used in subsequent peer reviews but is also an opportunity to turn experience into learning.
How can peer review be used in appraisals?
Many businesses will only run appraisals annually or twice a year although more and more are adopting a more regular appraisal approach with a peer review system built in. If you’re choosing to only run a couple of appraisals a year, then the more you can get from them, the better.
By getting multiple peer reviews in a single appraisal you gain multiple viewpoints and can produce much more informative feedback than that of a single manager. It also gives employees a chance to feel empowered. There is no stronger business than one where team collaboration is at the heart of its working practices so by giving employees a chance to assess one another and address feedback as a collective, you are able to open up the discussion to a wider audience.
What peer review can also offer is a mentorship approach to learning. Peer mentoring is another brilliant way to develop employees; both the individual being mentored and the mentor themselves. By creating a ‘buddy’ systems you, not only, give your employees a great learning opportunity but a confident for them to turn to for all manner of advice and guidance.
Are peer reviews more effective for professional development?
There are a number of benefits to peer reviews, with the key aspects allowing for both parties an opportunity for learning and development.
Peer reviews and learning can also be adapted into a diversity and inclusion strategy plan. By bringing together employees from different disciplines or departments, you might find you overcome previous limitations.
By providing a new perspective and introducing different ways of thinking into a learning and development process, you unlock huge potential for both your business and your employees.