4 steps to effective peer evaluations

27 July, 2021
Blog | Peer Evaluations
Article by: Rasmus Hallgren

Do upcoming peer evaluations cause a collective sense of dread among your board? Most of us don’t look forward to performance reviews. And the task of overseeing them rarely has many takers!

But business today is hypercompetitive. If you want to gain an edge, you need to use all the available tools to increase performance. And one of the most effective ways to maximise the productivity of your board, and consequently of your business, is by using peer reviews.

The common pitfalls of peer evaluations

Peer-to-peer reviews are not without their hurdles. The anonymous nature of the reviews means that some people use them to criticise a director on their popularity, rather than their performance, potentially leading to serious friction between individuals. Some board members might also find the evaluations difficult to hear. So, if you do want to explore peer evaluations, it is important to gain a consensus from board members beforehand.

While many boards skirt around the topic of peer reviews, when done right individual evaluations can nurture strengths, spot problems early, and streamline how your board functions. Today, more and more businesses are realising this!

In 2019, 39% of Fortune 100 companies conducted director self-assessments. This was up from 24% in 2018. A further 25% sought peer evaluations, which was a rise of 15% from the 2018 figure.

Here is how your board can master peer reviews.

How your company can run successful peer reviews

Peer reviews can offer invaluable insights. But to capitalise on them, the focus should be on the value they create. Knowing how to use the data to see how it affects the board and its performance is the key to unlocking long-lasting board excellence.

1. Make sure you have a clear objective

Why are you doing peer evaluations? To run successful evaluations, your board needs to have a clear, well-defined purpose. The goals must be discussed and agreed upon within the whole board. A good place to start is by answering these questions:

  • What do you want to achieve by doing peer evaluations?
  • What’s the evaluation process going to look like and what format will you use?
  • What will your evaluation focus on? What questions or aspects are important for your board or company?

2. Practical tips for conducting your peer evaluations

Using individual peer evaluations together with a wider board evaluation is the best way to improve board productivity and efficiency. That’s why we have merged peer reviews as an integral part of the overall board evaluation process.

One of the most valuable tips we have discovered is to include self-assessments as a part of the evaluation! They help you to spot discrepancies and give your directors the chance to reflect – encouraging professional growth and self-development.

3. How to turn peer evaluations into better performance?

A more streamlined peer-review process means improved board performance. And improved performance means more time and resources are spent on the growth of your business.

You don’t want to waste the skills of your directors. Using evaluation feedback can maximise their potential. But it can also offer ideas for long-term development by providing crucial information for the nomination committee on board composition. This encourages sustainable and continuous development.

4. Long-lasting improvements and continued optimisation

We at BoardClic believe that it is crucial to commit to working with the data and the insights over a longer timeframe. There is nothing we hate more than wasted effort. Hence, we want to make peer evaluations an integral part of how boards everywhere function to help you capitalise on long-term improvements.

Looking past the life cycle of an individual board can help you to boost your board composition, productivity, and continuity. There is no reason to start from scratch with each new board. Instead, review data can help you to encourage sustainable development and learn from past mistakes. And if, by making reviews more accessible and useful, we can break the unnecessary stigma around peer evaluations – all the better!

Conclusion

If you want to learn more about how peer evaluations can unlock the potential of your board, our new ebook “Board Evaluations Have Changed – Here’s How To Conduct Them Today” is for you! This book combines decades of experience in the boardroom with the most exciting recent advances in data analysis.

You might also be interested in reading more about our most recent product: Peer Review. As the name suggests, it’s an evaluation for individual director feedback.

Recognise top performers, create alignment, and improve board composition. All in one platform.