That’s according to Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of People Operations at Google.
Bock recently gave a talk at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, in which he discussed the value of taking power away from managers, especially when it comes to performance evaluations.
Because most everyone tries to impress their boss by highlighting their accomplishments and downplaying their shortcomings, managers may have a distorted view of their employees’ performance.
“When you’re a manager, your employees have an incentive to be less than truthful because they want to be successful in your eyes,” Bock said. “You control their pay, their promotion, [and] their self-esteem to an extent.”
That’s why Google relies heavily on peer feedback, Bock said. He believes coworkers are generally less biased than managers.
In fact, Bock writes in his book “Work Rules!” that peer evaluation is a key part of performance reviews at Google. Googlers and their managers select a group of peer reviewers, including employees who are junior to them. Each reviewer is asked to list one thing the person should do more of and one thing they could do differently.
Presumably, this process also makes it harder for managers who have an unnecessarily negative view of employees’ performance to hurt their careers, if their coworkers think they’re doing a good job.
Ultimately, employees at Google know that their opinions of their coworkers will be heard and valued when leadership is determining things like promotions and compensation.
The goal at any company, Bock said, should be “creating a relationship where your employees have an incentive to be honest with you.”