Social Assessment is great for improving employee performance, particularly soft skills.
Social assessment is a great tool for allowing employees to gain valuable insights into their performance on a day-to-day basis. Feedback is the key.
Unlike comprehensive, 360-degree annual reviews, social assessment is all about enabling constructive feedback on demonstrations of skill—using video for social assessment is especially beneficial in the workplace—that allows for conversations around all kinds of deliverables, as well as for iterative improvement of employee performance. That feedback can come from different groups within your organization, each with its own benefits.
Leveraging the following four types of social assessment feedback can help you drive performance improvement across your organization while developing a feedback-focused culture.
One of the easiest ways for employees to get feedback quickly is from their peers. Peer-to-peer feedback often focuses on personal examples and appreciation for demonstration of skills— “here’s something that worked for me” or “I like how you did X.”
A drawback of peer-to-peer feedback is the difficulty employees can have in soliciting a meaningful critique—especially if peers are concerned about how their feedback might be received and possibly damaging peer relationships. Focusing on how feedback should be structured and building a culture of trust where negative feedback can be received in the interest of growth are ways to improve the quality of peer critique.
Expert feedback is useful for focusing on the specific issues that can help move the needle on the quality of employee performance. Experts can be found across your organization. They can be experienced peers or senior leaders, or even new employees who bring a fresh skill set to the organization—for example, a developer who knows a programming language that others in the company are just learning.
Expert feedback also carries weight that feedback from people of similar experience or expertise does not. Experts are respected and, as such, their feedback and input on performance is critical. However, experts may have difficulty giving suggestions on how to improve performance. Sometimes, experts internalize their knowledge to a point that it becomes second nature—they have difficulty remembering what it was like to not be an expert or how to build expertise. When leveraging experts for feedback, make sure that they are not just providing a critique, but also suggestions on how to improve.
Managers are usually required to provide feedback to their employees to help improve their performance and support them in accomplishing their career goals. Employees value manager feedback because it typically ties directly to how their performance is perceived and evaluated by the organization. Manager feedback is often provided in the context of an evaluation or assessment, and because of this, it carries an assumed impact that other types of feedback don’t carry.
Managers may or may not be experts in the areas where they provide feedback to employees. Because of the implied impact of manager feedback, organizations should be clear and explicit about when manager feedback is being used for evaluation, or just shared in the interest of performance improvement. For instances when a manager isn’t an expert for a particular skill area, it should be determined if the manager is the best person to provide feedback, or if an expert should be found to provide the feedback instead.
A final type of feedback that’s often not thought of in organizations is meta feedback, or feedback on feedback. Meta feedback is used to help those who are responsible for providing feedback to improve their feedback-giving skills. Meta feedback is particularly important for leadership development— giving feedback is an important skill and leaders are expected to help improve the abilities of people across the organization.
Feedback, especially when it comes from the right person at the right time, can help employees improve their performance and build skills and expertise faster. One way to ensure that feedback is having the desired effect is to make sure that the person receiving feedback knows what the expectations are for their performance—what good looks like. A good approach is to structure feedback so that it aligns with performance expectations, what they call a rubric in education.