Results of trying more explicit dimensions on employee reviews

A little while ago I resolved to use explicit dimensions to solicit peer feedback and to organize my feedback on employees I needed to review. I also said that I’d let you know how it goes.

Quality – HMT (how might they) contribute to better results for the users of the product/project

Content – HMT improve the delivery of their own work

Collaboration – HMT foster greater collaboration among the team

Client – HMT better serve the needs of the client

Improvement – where have we noticed improvement in the review period

My previous post: Reviews

I’ve done two such reviews this way so far, incorporating these dimensions into the existing structure.

Peer feedback quality was greatly improved. Not everyone had something to say for each dimension, but when they did it was more useful and a nice mix of specific praise and specific constructive feedback. And the recipients of the feedback noticed and appreciated this difference. Granted, the prior peer feedback solicitation questions were pretty slim, essentially “do you have any constructive feedback for {person}” and “do you have any other feedback for {person}?” So anything might be better.

In each review I’ve gone over the peer feedback and my own thoughts for each dimension, and brought key points for praise and development in the summary. Employees have found this helpful, and the specificity (both topic and feedback) sparked good discussion. Granted, without the usual tight connection of the review to compensation there was less pressure on the employee’s part to maneuver the discussion toward whatever would get them the biggest raise. We were free to talk about the future, informed by the past, rather than be tempted to merely put the bravest face we could on the past.

There’s an opportunity to reinforce team or company values, or other desired behaviors, with review dimensions such as these. As we hammer out which behaviors these are, I expect the dimensions will change. For now I’ll go on using them as-is, as they have already been bearing fruit.