PeerPraise: Performance Review in a Teal Company

A while ago I wrote a post called The Importance of Listening, in which I talked about how we use the tool Officevibe to share feedback and monitor people’s happiness at work. The tool has been in use for a year now and has proved very useful to us. However, as always, growth and evolution of the company kick in, and we come up with fresh ideas and new improvements to try out.

As often happens, it was our CEO Francesco who had a brilliant idea: instead of just giving feedback on company issues and discussing these, why don’t we send a message of praise to every colleague now and then? If we are to bring our whole selves to work, in the true spirit of a Teal organization, we should also spread our wholeness to others and be able to thank people for making our lives better.

So one evening during the Christmas holidays Francesco embarked on the task of writing a message of praise for each team player in mondora (and that’s almost 40 people!). Rather than the idea being a one off activity, we decided to turn it into an established practice, and called it PeerPraise. A Slack channel, #peerpraise, was created and Francesco posted his praise for each of us. The response to this was amazing: other colleagues immediately began writing their own praise for their team mates!

To give you an example of what these praise messages look like, here’s the one I received from Francesco:

Game changer, this is the summary of what Kirsten is mastering inside the company. Things can change once you have people that have the courage to be the first during the process. I really thank Kirsten for teaching us that we can change the world by being ourselves.

And here’s an example of colleagues’ responses to the praise they received!

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-18-12-11
#peerpraise in action on Slack

I think if we had set this up in a “traditional” way, asking everyone to write a message of praise to each colleague and making the activity compulsory, it would have been a disaster. People would have dreaded the task, not known what to write, complained that it was too difficult… Instead we simply set the example and let the project evolve by itself. And guess what? People responded by writing their own genuine praise to colleagues and creating an atmosphere of sharing good vibes and thanking people for their hard work.

The aim of PeerPraise is to share with others your recognition of how much they help you and teach you each day. It makes people feel valuable and included in the company without the need for ineffective, selfish bonus plans. Knowing your work is genuinely appreciated by those around you is a much greater and more motivating reward – and knowing you are actually helping and teaching something to your peers makes you feel good about all that extra work you do!

Francesco is now working on automating PeerPraise by creating a Slack bot that reminds people to praise their peers now and then. In this way we hope this will become a long-lasting practice that will integrate into our company culture. We have already seen a really positive response rate to our Officevibe bot on Slack, now let’s see how successful PeerPraise can become!

Please get in touch and let me know if you do something alike in your company, or start doing it: it will be a surPRAISE !

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