Secondary reviewers in performance reviews

The fluid nature of modern work environments means we sometimes find ourselves outside of traditional team structures, working in flat hierarchies or lending our skill sets to ad-hoc projects. The secondary reviewer concept allows admins to add a second person to contribute to a manager review, thereby making it a more complete review. 

Use this approach if the direct manager is not the only person who needs to provide input into a review. Or if there is no direct manager at all, for instance in the case of the CEO. This document explains when the secondary reviewer role can help, and where there are some limitations to the add on feature.

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Overview

Most companies rely on every staff member having exactly one direct manager. Managers are responsible for writing and signing their team members' performance reviews, for setting and tracking their objectives, and (if required) viewing and delivering their team members' 360° peer feedback.

Small Improvements is optimized for that use-case. Managers have direct access to their team's reviews, and get reminder emails for providing them with their feedback. In some cases this use case is not sufficient though, and the secondary reviewer role can help!

Setting up a Secondary Reviewer

Every employee can have one secondary reviewer in addition to their manager. You can choose a secondary reviewer just like you choose a manager:

  1. Navigate to a user's profile.
  2. Click the "manage" menu in the upper right corner
  3. Click edit
  4. Next to the field where their direct manager has been defined- Use the user picker to find and add the secondary reviewer. 

The Secondary Reviewer's perspective

Accessing the review

When performance review cycle has been kicked off by an HR Admin, the option to prompt a secondary reviewer with an email notification will be available just as it would for the direct manager. 

In addition to the email informing the secondary reviewer their contribution is needed, the secondary reviewer will also see an action item on their Small Improvements homepage:

Multiple navigation shortcuts exist for the secondary reviewer to access the review. Here is how a secondary reviewer can find their secondary reviewees in the top nav search:

And here is how the secondary reviewer can find the review in the Team page, and the Reviews module: 

*Note in the example above, the secondary reviewer is also a manager. Thus on her team overview screen, she has access to a "magic column" where she can sort reports by those with a secondary reviewer. Non-manager secondary reviewers will also have access to a team overview screen, just a leaner version.

 

Contributing to an assessment 

The secondary reviewer contributes to a colleague's performance review simply by typing into the manager's side of the performance review. They are, in essence, sharing the manager assessment with the employee's direct manager.

The secondary reviewer cannot share nor sign the review with the reviewee, this is entirely the manager's decision- And there a warning message which will alert the secondary reviewer to this: 

How is the secondary reviewer's feedback delineated from the direct manager's? Good question! Right now there are two recommended solutions:
  • Use our rich text options to annotate feedback. 
  • The secondary reviewer can tag themselves next to the feedback they are about to leave.

For examples of both, see the animated gif below.

Review Resources 

Secondary reviewers can access their secondary report's relevant data as part of the review process by scrolling to the bottom of the review form and clicking into the resources. However, being assigned the secondary reviewer role does not grant them the same visibility privileges that the primary manager has. 

Secondary reviewers will be able to see any pertinent content from any existing review cycles that are still open - so, if multiple cycles are open at once, they will have visibility to each of those. They won't see older reviews from cycles that are finished and have closed - this is where their privileges are limited. For example, any objectives set by the employee in the given cycle that have been made publicly visible will also be visible to the secondary reviewer.

HR and Manager perspective

While the main focus on this feature is on the secondary reviewer role, both the direct manager and the HR Admin have tools at their disposal as well. 

Manager perspective

In addition to the secondary reviewer column located within the list view of a manager's team overview screen, the manager is also notified that there is a secondary reviewer participating. Right on the review form: 

HR Admin perspective

As mentioned above, HR Admins can send an independent notification to secondary reviewers when it is time for their contribution to be added. They can also send reminders (nudges) if more input or an adjustment is needed. 

Much like managers have a secondary reviewer sorting column in the list of their team overview screen, Admins have this for all cycle participants in their company overview screen. See this option in action in this gif:

As mentioned above- Once enabled, you can pick a secondary reviewer for any employee both from the "edit user" screen. It's right next the user-picker which lets you select a person's manager.

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