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Candid Review Feedback Requires Anonymity
People sometimes need a little help to be honest.
This is especially true when it comes to performance reviews. The suspicion that those on the receiving end of candid feedback might hold a grudge or seek retribution makes brutal honesty too risky.
Leaders who believe that good colleagues must learn to be brave enough to offer candid views regardless of the consequences live in a dream world. The unrealistic expectation that team members will find the courage to be honest without anonymity results in highly filtered commentary that skews toward useless.
Team members don’t get better without the unbridled criticism compiled in performance reviews. Review processes that involve everyone who works closely with the team member offer the richest insight. The only way to encourage honesty in peer-driven reviews is to give the reviewers the peace of mind anonymity creates.
Good leaders and organizations invest in data collection methods that ensure complete anonymity for those completing performance reviews. Anonymous data collection allows team members to feel safe when providing feedback without the fear of retaliation.
Where this data is housed in the future and who has access to it is also of grave concern. The best organizations often turn to third parties or a trusted guardian to keep this data secure from curious minds.
Performance review data often sets the tone for how colleagues share ongoing criticism. When they know they can periodically offer a frank and anonymous assessment of the overall work product of others, team members are more likely to provide actionable feedback in everyday settings. Anonymous performance reviews get team members into the habit of frank and candid evaluations throughout the year.
Team cultures benefit greatly from consistent and trusted methods for gathering performance feedback at all levels of the organization. The more performance review feedback is strictly confidential, the more candid the evaluations become.
As it turns out, confidentiality and honesty reinforce each other, making the other stronger.