Where Is The Push To Crowdsourcing Performance Reviews Coming From

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First, why is this question important?

Should the source of the idea matter? Yes. In an age where companies are trying to use technology to make tasks easier and/or faster, and with respect to performance management, companies with large marketing budgets selling expensive computer software are pushing the performance management industry here and there. Typically they offer up a suggestion that just happens to be embedded in the products they sell. Quelle surprise!

That's not to say there's dishonesty involved, or even that their agendas for pushing one approach or another to the HR community involves deception per se. While their task is to create a market for their product, it's likely that companies pushing the concept of crowdsourcing linked to performance reviews are simply stuck in a particular mindset -- that of believing that the problems with appraisals are those that can be solved through technology.

Whatever drives companies to push particular concepts, we have to examine the possibllity their goggles are restricting their understanding of performance management and performance appraisal and thus offering poor advice to managers and human resource professionals. If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail!

The problems with performance appraisal are PEOPLE problems, not tool or technological problems. Therefore, technology solutions will not address the fundamental reasons why appraisals are so disliked.

So, Who Are The Proponents of Crowdsourcing Reviews?

If you do a search on the Internet you'll find that the sources come from a small set of companies:

Halogen Press Release On Social Feedback and Crowdsourcing

Globoforce On Crowdsourcing Performance Reviews (access their "whitepaper".

The rest of the search results on the topic are deriviatives of press releases, whitepapers, or "articles" written by employees of those companies. These press releases and resources on the topic have appeared ON major sites such as the HBR blog.

So, it appears that the idea of crowdsourcing performance reviews is NOT coming from a strong groundswell coming from managers, CEO's, human resource professionals, or even expert consultants that work int he performance management field. Nobody, as far as can be seen actually grappling every day with the real world tasks of managing and assessing performance is saying: "Hey, let's crowdsource this stuff."

I suspect this matters.


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Bacal & Associates was founded in 1992 by consultant and book author, Robert Bacal. Robert's books on performance management and reviews have been published by McGraw-Hill. He is available for consultation, training and keynote speaking on performance and management at work.


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  • Performance management and appraisal MUST be a partnership between manager and employee where BOTH benefit.
  • Performance management can be the lever for improved employee engagement.
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