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Is a Multirating System a Fit for Us?

Should our company use multirater feedback? —Hearing Voices, employee and organizational consultant, government, Washington
July 17, 2012
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Related Topics: Performance Management Systems, Performance Management, Dear Workforce, Talent Management
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Dear Hearing Voices:

Here are some important points to keep in mind:

Understand the key benefits

Certain organizations collect input from multiple raters to ensure performance gets accurately assessed. It's a form of performance management especially suited for project-centric organizations, in which collaboration among many people (and even across cultures) is critical to success.

Multirater feedback is on the rise as companies shift from command-and-control structures to networked environments.

From a performance culture perspective, multirater feedback provides an added benefit: increasing a person's awareness of, and personal accountability for, individual performance. If done correctly, multirater feedback provides a richer and objective evaluation of individuals and serves as an aid in identifying future potential.

Sidestep potential pitfalls

Education is critical. Many organizations launch multirater feedback without adequately educating their people. This often is the first time that individuals receive written feedback about their performance. Thus, make sure your managers and other leaders learn how to do so.

Culture can kill feedback. Even if the feedback is anonymous, it may be possible to identify the individual(s) who provided negative feedback. Many will fear retribution or strained relationships and thus not provide any negative feedback or examples, making the feedback difficult to interpret accurately.

Identifying raters is a struggle for most organizations. Think about how you can fairly identify the raters for an individual.

Be prepared for the administrative effort this process requires. Organizations frequently underestimate the amount of administration necessary to support multi-rater feedback.

Knowing where to begin

Your company should ask this question: "Why do we want to use multirater feedback?" The answering should help determine the scope and approach of the implementation.

Gain management sponsorship. This is a big cultural shift that has significant organizational impact, making senior-level support pivotal to its success.

Consider a pilot. Perhaps the first time you do this, the feedback should be used for developmental purposes only, rather than included in a performance assessment.

SOURCE: Fumiko Kondo, managing director, Intellilink Solutions, New York

LEARN MORE: Once-a-year feedback via the performance review isn't cutting it anymore.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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