Connect With Your Employees With a “Crowdsourced Performance Review”





crowdsourced performance reviewWhen I think of crowdsourcing, I think finance. But can it be associated with other activities, such as our work performance?  After all people do have a lot of ways to view you, but how accurate are the views?

The book that best tackles how employees are acknowledged is The Crowdsourced Performance Review: How to Use The Power of Recognition to Transform Employee Performance by Eric Mosley.  Mosley combines the latest research with his experience as Co-Founder and CEO of Globoforce, an employment performance firm. I discovered the copy via NetGalley and was impressed with its argument of how much the performance review had become a relic.

A Panoramic Photo of a Career Instead of a Single Snapshot

When I first read the title, I immediately recalled the 360 degree performance reviews from my days at Ford. So I wondered if Mosley was advocating something already available.

But I did not have to read further than the opening chapter for the answer. It clarified the value of the 360 review in Mosley’s view  – much of the reality surrounding a 360 performance review is less authentic than intended.

In practice 360-degree reviews can actually muddy the waters. According to an authoritative 2012 study conducted by Gallup, a serious problem for multi-source appraisals is that they often present the employee with conflicting messages about his or her performance. . .The result? In the 360 degree environment the input is watered down to the point where it becomes generic.  Whenever people have to give an opinion, they become diplomatic in their responses.

The opening chapter also clarifies Mosley’s thesis for the book – that the performance review structure is outdated.

To draw that conclusion, Mosley relies on the latest research. He describes how the discoveries increment the current quality of reviews.  For example, he notes the degree that review timeliness is out of sync with an employee’s current performance.

Typically managers’ judgments about performance that will color the next 365 days are based on reactions to the last 365 days.

Mosley advocates social recognition as a remedy.  Three trends serve as an influence for the review model:

  • The spread of crowdsourcing information of all kinds.
  • The universal adoption of social media.
  • The rise of culture as a competitive advantage.

The third influence particularly caught my imagination. When I read that I recalled all the small startup firms that tout their quirky team of super-savvy-awesome professionals who miraculously balance work and play. The specific way culture enhances competitive advantages becomes clear.

Mosley goes on to outline the basics for a timely employee performance assessment. He sums how the new influences give social recognition an advantage:

When we bring these three innovations of crowdsourcing, social media and culture as a competitive advantage together for the purposes of talent and culture management, the result is social recognition, a systematic asset of practices in which many people consider and recognize an employee’s performance on a daily basis.

The ability to relate performance to larger issues is what makes this book appealing. Mosley’s writings and the supporting research connect the results from today’s digital landscape to the activities of managing people well.

Your Employees Can Not Improve if Your Measures Do Not Improve

Analytics, while not covered in full-force detail here, takes a secondary undertone.  Noting Moneyball, the story of the analytics success the Oakland As had with its baseball roster, Mosley advocates data as a way to explore untapped potential in employees:

Statistics are not the whole answer: Concentrating only on data can blind a manager to other relevant information…HR employees instinctively know that last point but too often it leads to a view that performance management is more art than science.  It’s both art and science, and the key for using data is separating the signal (relevant but selective data) from the noise (irrelevant but plentiful data).

Data visualization for managing employee metrics is highlighted to explain its value and to drive the salient points regarding employee improvement and proper monitoring of related performance.

I have two interns, my first “employees” since starting my business. The work arrangement is not complex, but I know that when the day comes for more formal reviews, I will have to consider new criteria to evaluate employees.  Such considerations will happen for most small business owners who adopt the cloud and incorporate various levels of partnerships.

When owners do reach for more sophisticated evaluation, The Crowdsourced Performance Review illuminates how evaluations should be done.

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Pierre DeBois


Pierre DeBois Pierre Debois is Associate Book Editor for Small Business Trends. He is the Founder of Zimana, a consultancy providing strategic analysis to small and medium sized businesses that rely on web analytics data. A Gary, Indiana native, Pierre is currently based in Brooklyn. He blogs about marketing, finance, social media, and analytics at Zimana blog.

5 Reactions

  1. Really interesting Pierre, thanks​!​

    I think that you would be really interested in some recent research that I have come across about crowds and citizen science.​ ​

    It’s called “The Theory of Crowd Capital” and you can download it here if you’re interested: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2193115

    Really powerful stuff!

  2. Great find, Pierre! Thank you for including the run-down of the first chapter. I was thinking about the 360 as well… completely true that it has to be watered down.

    Tell me: for a small organization like yours (and mine. and many other readers), what do you think the minor league version of a CROWD-SOURCED performance review would look like? Serious question.

    I (half-jokingly) thought about installing RESCUE TIME on everybody’s laptop to see how much time they spent on ESPN.com. Haha.

  3. I created HERO with the express mission to make managing employees easier for a manager. It concentrates on getting the job done with open daily communications and comments in a single tool.

    HERO is definetly not a performance appraisal but a tool that will allow a manager to see the entire performance of the employee on a daily basis.

    In future we will incorporate an appraisal module but with a focus on performance against the needs of a job not just on wooly terms that are never monitored.

    • Hello, I just went to learn more about HERO and see that things are still in development. I am very interested in learning more about this tool for managers. When do you anticipate thigns being ready to launch? Demos available? Etc.?

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