2022 Guide to Peer Feedback in the Workplace

October 16, 2021
4 Min Read
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Anastasia Golub

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Finding good peer feedback in workplace environments from one's peers can be difficult, as there are many things to remember when giving and receiving it. This article outlines why you should seek peer feedback for your colleagues and how to go about soliciting a peer review in the workplace.

Why peer feedback is important in the workplace

Peer feedback is incredibly important as it provides many benefits in the workplace, including the ability for fellow coworkers to engage in open dialogue with one another, the ability for them to receive peer feedback before receiving manager feedback, and can result in performance management techniques that are more effective than without peer feedback. 

The feedback process also allows for peers to give one another constructive criticism, with effective peer feedback even improving the overall camaraderie between coworkers.

Peer feedback vs performance reviews

While some confuse peer feedback and performance reviews, the two could not be more different from one another. While performance reviews are conducted by one's manager or boss and can often be quite nerve-wracking, peer reviews are given by fellow peers and deal with the mundane, everyday issues.

Remember, your co-workers know you better than your manager does. For example, if there is a breakdown between you and your direct report, other employees within your team may have experienced this first hand.

Asking for a peer evaluation during annual performance reviews allows subordinates to provide negative or positive information that their managers might not have known or chose not to disclose. This gives employees an opportunity to receive quantitative peer feedback data that otherwise wouldn't be available through typical workplace conversations with supervisors.

How to ask for feedback from your peers

There are two different ways that peer feedback can be solicited: asking for peer feedback and peer feedback template form. When asked directly, one might feel pressured to provide positive peer feedback, but it is important to note that honest peer review is vital to the process.

If there's a concern about company culture or other issues in the office, suggesting formalizing peer feedback solicitation through the use of a feedback rubric or form may be helpful. This way it becomes an organizationally managed initiative rather than relying on just one person to do peer reviews.

Possible downsides to peer feedback

Though peer reviews are a relatively simple way of soliciting peer-to-peer feedback, there are some potential pitfalls of peer reviews that should be considered. One important aspect is basic courtesy and respect when it comes to giving a peer review. These reviews should not devalue another person's work in any way; the hope is for all parties involved to leave effective feedback with constructive criticism they can use to improve or develop their skills at their position

Things to remember when giving peer feedback

When asking for a peer feedback session, keep in mind these tips:

  • Always post your request somewhere where everyone will see it. This could either be around the office (such as on a bulletin board) or on an internal site (such as through intranet software).
  • Be clear about the peer review process. It is important to lay out guidelines for peer reviews so that expectations are set, peer feedback can be given in a way that's helpful and constructive, and peer reviews do not become too involved. Consider using a peer feedback rubric when the peer assessment is conducted.
  • Remember that there is a key difference between positive feedback and effective feedback. A peer review shouldn't only consist of giving praise to a fellow peer, but should also be critical in order to provide valuable insight. But at the same time, be careful with getting too personal or sharing negative feedback; there's a difference between honest feedback and giving feedback that is just plain harsh. you should offer some constructive feedback with valuable insight, and have a fair balance between negative feedback and positive feedback.
  • Also remember to keep the peer feedback process simple. Though you might want to have a more formal peer feedback process with specific questions, this could overwhelm workers or make them feel uncomfortable answering questions because it could seem like they are being held accountable for their performance.

For more information about peer feedback, feel free to take a look at our comprehensive guide to peer feedback. If you found this helpful at all, consider trying Matter which is a free Slack app that allows team members to recognize one another with praise or Kudos, and give constructive feedback. Try out Matter for free today.

Make employee recognition & rewards fun with Matter!
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