Peer Review Feedback Forms (+10 Writing Strategies)

Cody
December 13, 2021
8 Min Read
Photo by
Nikita Krushko

Table of Contents:

What is a peer review feedback form?

Executives say that employee engagement is critical to a business's success. Part of fostering this engagement is providing regularly scheduled peer reviews, and peer review feedback forms allows these reviews to happen.

In addition, the evaluation form outlines what a reviewer needs to provide when they are giving their feedback. They can be as straightforward or as detailed as the company would like them to be. However, they should be relevant to the employee department or position and their skill sets to be effective.

The forms usually contain questions about different aspects of an assignment, proposal, or project. They are used by the person who generates copies of them or provides them online to be filled out. That way, the reviewer picks the relevant copy that applies to the person being reviewed, and the employee being reviewed knows precisely how they are doing and what areas need improvement.

Feedback forms can also be used for groups and teams instead of just employees.

The difference between templates and forms can be confusing, but there is an easy way to differentiate between the two. A peer review feedback form is a set of questions that are used for giving feedback. Alternatively, a peer review feedback template outlines all the reviewer needs to include when they provide their feedback. 

You can also think of an evaluation form as a section of the peer review feedback template that must be completed and signed.

How peer review feedback relates to peer review forms

Peer review feedback should be completed by someone familiar with the employee's quality of work and the way they work. The task is usually performed by co-workers or the employee's direct report. When doing the peer review, the reviewer evaluates the employee's work, including their skills, competencies, team efforts, attitudes, etc. The exact process may differ from business to business, but the reviewer is usually someone the employee regularly interacts with.

On the other hand, a peer review form is the media used to convey and receive this peer review. It can be communicated digitally, or a hard copy of it can be printed out to use.

Who uses peer review feedback forms?

A peer review feedback form can be used in a variety of different contexts. It is most commonly associated with the education sector, but it has been adopted by other areas such as business, creative industries, and even by government departments that provide reports. 

Peer reviewers, project managers, and supervisors can use a peer review form for giving an employee peer review feedback. Still, they should be regularly interacting with them and familiar with how that employee performs their duties.

77% of HR executives believe that the ubiquitous biannual or annual performance review doesn't accurately represent employee performance, according to LinkedIn. Also, employees surveyed say they leave the reviews not knowing what the manager thinks of their performance. 

So having a regularly scheduled peer review assessment (once or twice a month) addresses issues such as these, and the forms and other tools used with it help employees achieve better job satisfaction.

What are the benefits of using a peer review feedback form?

There are many reasons why an individual or organization would use a peer review feedback form, including the fact that they are accepted as best practices by organizations that use them. Other key benefits they provide include:

  • Ensuring that essential aspects of an assignment or project are not missed by the reviewer which, in turn, increases the quality of feedback being given.
  • Providing a structure for reviewers and those who created it to use.
  • Being part of a formal review that managers can use to give employees a better picture of their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Assisting HR and managers in developing a learning and employee development program that includes the areas that the employee needs to improve.
  • Allowing supervisors to discover hidden talent through formal peer review. These employees are typically quiet performers who give exceptional results and need to be recognized.
  • Promoting growth. Employees want to know how they are doing and where they need to improve. The feedback from the reviews can help them grow.
  • Helping to ensure reviewers have considered all aspects of the work performed.

10 strategies for writing a peer review form

The good news is that there are no set rules for writing a peer evaluation form. However, some strategies or approaches can be helpful.

They include:

  • Plan beforehand. It is important to plan before you fill out a peer evaluation form. Some questions that might be helpful include the following: Who will use this form? What information needs to be included or gathered from those who complete it? Where and when will they complete it? How often should these reviews take place if I write one?
  • Keep it anonymous. Forms should be set up in a way to maintain anonymity and eliminate bias. Employees often form strong relationships in the workplace or form cliques or relationships in the workplace. As such, it may make them feel uncomfortable saying something negative about their co-workers.
  • Make it relevant. When you fill out the peer review forms, feedback should be relevant to the department or position. For instance, positions such as a sales agent or receptionist may require a greater emphasis on soft skills vs. those for network engineers or database administrators.
  • Use examples. The reviewer needs to understand why they are receiving certain types of feedback. This can be accomplished by using relevant examples of peer review feedback that support the review process and offer context and timeframe around the positives and negatives discussed.
  • Explanations often help. Take your time if you need more space to explain your feedback. The reviewer and employee need to understand why you are giving them a certain type of peer review feedback. If you find that there isn't enough space in the form, use an annex or add more pages instead.
  • Be fair. Give constructive feedback. For instance, talk about what they did well as much as their weaknesses. It is just as important to let the reviewer know what they did well. This can be done by mentioning specific examples that show outstanding performance and effort in some areas of their work that might not have been picked up otherwise.
  • Emphasize the positive. According to Hubspot, 69% of employees say they would work harder if they were appreciated more. Therefore, you must emphasize what the employee did well more than anything else.
  • Be clear about expectations for future work. The feedback can help employees understand what is expected in their next project or assignment at work. This will allow them to focus on areas they need to improve upon which are relevant moving forward, rather than irrelevant topics that do not apply anymore.
  • Benchmark. Review another company's peer evaluation form, and make it an original, bespoke solution for your company. For example, you can manage the peer feedback process by watching this short video below. The video teaches you how to use a Google form, document, sheets, and autoCrat to give a peer assessment. Later, you can customize everything to your needs.
  • Do it frequently. Employees, especially when it comes to Millennial employees, want rewards immediately for a job well done. A peer review can help managers reward their employees for great work or behaviors in ways and times that may not have been possible otherwise. For instance, you can use Matter for giving co-workers kudos immediately, weekly on Feedback Fridays, or at any frequency you want.

This simple act could result in greater engagement and the ability to reward ahead of time.

What should be on the peer review feedback form?

The peer-review feedback form should include:

  • A section where you can provide an overall assessment of employees' performance on a scale such as "meets expectations" or, even better, add comments next to it that clearly describe what they do well and what areas they need improvement. The goal is not just to assess if someone met the requirements of their job but to assist them in developing and growing.
  • A section where you can provide feedback on specific work projects, tasks, or deliverables that they were responsible for completing with enough information about the project (timeframes, deadlines, budget) to understand how it all came together. Also include some overall comments on their performance.
  • A section where you can provide feedback on their soft skills and capabilities such as communication, teamwork, or problem-solving abilities. This should be tied into an overall assessment of them in this area (ex: "communication needs improvement" vs. "provides effective feedback"). These are areas that often get overlooked when it comes to feedback.
  • A section where you can provide specific examples of how they performed in their role and some key accomplishments, positive or negative, that you observed throughout your working relationship (this is often a good place to tie these things together). 

Don't go too far back though, as it may be difficult for them to recall specific things. The goal is to give them a sense of your thoughts and what you feel was valuable about their work performance based on the facts, not just opinions or feelings.

How can peer review forms be applied to small, medium, and large businesses?

There are many ways that a peer review feedback form can be used to provide structure for reviewers and those who created the document within the context of small, medium, and large businesses.

Here is an outline of how they could potentially look in each industry:

  • Small Businesses: A simple list of questions that can be used for quick peer review and feedback.
  • Medium-Sized Businesses: A slightly more detailed form with sections on different aspects of the work such as finance, marketing, or product development and how the reviewer is doing on supporting the goals concerning their soft or hard skills and performance.
  • Large Businesses: This could look very similar to what is used in medium-sized businesses with some additional sections for specific areas of improvement, performance reviews, etc. The main difference with the form for large businesses is that there will also be a headline question that provides the reader with an overview of what they should be focusing their attention on.

Peer review feedback forms are a good way of providing feedback on work done by another person or group, and they help to make sure all aspects of their work are considered.

In addition, they can be used to provide quick and simple feedback or more detailed information. Employees need to understand what they are doing well and where they need improvement so that their skills develop over time. This will lead to a positive work environment with people who want to excel in their roles which is great for all involved.

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