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Rating Game

Multiple reviews give you a well-rounded picture of employee performance.

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This story appears in the December 1996 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

A decade ago, "multirater" performance feedback for employees was a fad found in just a handful of businesses. Today, "it's used by over half the Fortune 500," says Susan Gebelein, a senior vice president at Minneapolis-based Personnel Decisions International, a creator of staff development tools. That makes multirater feedback--where employees get formal insights on their performance from multiple sources such as peers, their subordinates and their boss--the hottest human resources trend around. The question is, Why is it so rapidly replacing the traditional boss-to-subordinate, one-way performance feedback model that has prevailed for generations?

Simple, says Mick Mount, chairman of the Department of Management and Organization at the University of Iowa in Iowa City: "We have come to recognize the boss does not know all the answers. Certainly, the boss's perspective is valuable, but is it the only one? When we supplement it with the perspectives of others, we are much more likely to get a comprehensive picture of a person's performance."

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