How to Deliver Effective Peer-to-Peer Feedback

Many employees struggle to write feedback about colleagues, and understandably so. Whether it’s because they’re worried about how their feedback will be perceived, don’t want to cause tension in a close working relationship, or feel uncomfortable reviewing a peer, the process is a source of anxiety for many.

We’re here to put your mind at ease about peer-to-peer feedback.

First of all, know that your colleagues want to hear from you: 72% of surveyed employees believed their performance would improve if they were provided corrective feedback. And actually, the majority of employees actually prefer corrective feedback (constructive criticism) over praise/recognition.

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Guide to Real-Time Feedback

Delivering negative feedback is a challenge, but people do see the value in it: 92% of those surveyed employees agreed with the statement that “Negative feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.”

You can offer unique insight on your peers, and vice versa, since you work closely on a daily basis. Working together on projects, presentations, pitches, etc. means you probably have a better understanding of your colleagues’ strengths and weaknesses than a manager or executive, who often only sees the final results of the work.

The goal is to use peer-to-peer feedback to help teammates improve on their weaknesses and promote a culture of learning and growth.

The goal is to use peer-to-peer feedback to help teammates improve on their weaknesses. Click To Tweet

In that spirit, here are some tips and examples of peer review feedback:

Keep a Positive Mindset

The first thing to remember when giving or receiving feedback is that it’s intended to help. It shouldn’t be viewed as a personal attack. Feedback should be written/delivered with positive intentions: To help your peers grow as they progress along their career journey.

Commit to Consistent Feedback

One way to reduce anxiety over peer reviews is to make feedback a regular part of the weekly routine. The most effective constructive feedback comes right away, when projects/events/problems are still fresh in people’s minds.

The most effective constructive feedback comes right away. Click To Tweet

You should also celebrate wins and recognize the great work of your peers. This will inspire confidence while making feedback a positive part of company culture.

And real-time feedback technology can help. This software makes it easy to send, receive, save, and categorize feedback, which gives managers a pulse on their team and makes for more productive conversations during performance reviews.

Be Specific and Actionable

Skip the feedback sandwich and jump right into the constructive criticism. Often, you won’t be catching peers off-guard: 74% of surveyed employees said they weren’t surprised by negative feedback they have received.

One way to incorporate positive comments into criticism is to highlight how a peer’s existing strengths can help to solve a problem.

When possible, try to provide actionable steps for improvement. For example, rather than saying, “You need to be better about finishing projects on schedule”, you could say, “It would be helpful if you provided weekly progress updates so that we can offer additional support as deadlines approach.”

Focus on Problems, Not People

Again, constructive criticism shouldn’t feel like a personal attack. To avoid defensiveness, you should focus on your peers’ work, not their personality. Writing comments in the passive voice can actually help with this. For example, rather than saying, “You didn’t provide enough data in the PowerPoint presentation,” you could say, “The PowerPoint presentation would be more convincing if it included more data.”

To avoid defensiveness, you should focus on your peers’ work, not their personality. Click To Tweet