A while ago I wrote about an idea to use crowdsourcing to provide feedback and appraisal to employees. My views at the time were that there is a place for information sharing and some positive reinforcement within close teams, but that the nature of unstructured feedback can make it a double-edged sword.
So let's hear it for Knozen, a new app that allows you to 'rate' your colleagues anonymously. And not just rate your colleagues, but their 'personality'....
To summarise, each team member is presented with a set of questions. They then have to choose between two colleagues, as to which is more likelyto do something. Question types include: Which person is friendlier?" or, "Who is more likely to buy cookies from a girl scout?"
The outcome is a 'personality description' based on your most likely and least likely traits. You also get to see how you rated against other colleagues in the team. You could say that it's just like informal 360 Degree Feedback.
I disagree, for the following reasons:
360 generally is not about ranking people top to bottom; the ratee can get very helpful feedback without being in competition with their colleagues.Instead, 360 shows the trends in the feedback from the raters, so the ratee can see where there is agreement about what they're like to work with. It also allows the ratee to compare feedback trends from people with different working relationships to him/her, and to do a self review.
360 isn't a test of personality, although there are some excellent 360s that are linked to psychometric tools. In my view, the great benefit of 360 is that it balances the individual's perceptions of their own behaviours against the perceptions of their colleagues, ideally based on visible actions and behaviours. The output is a set of behaviours and actions that are visible to a greater or lesser degree to others, and that is all that raters are asked to comment on.
More broadly, psychometric tools that provide 'personality indicators' need to be very carefully positioned and managed. There could be huge potential for misunderstandings and ambiguities around the personality traits that emerge from the Knozen process; generalities like 'Conservative' or 'Creative' can mean many things to many people, some positive, some negative.
Second, personality traits are generally understood to be fixed. Leaving the office early to go on a date may be a behaviour you can change, but being 'Reliable' or 'Empathetic' is permanent , so the message can be quite different.
Finally, what happens with this feedback when each person gets their personality profile, who's going to see it, who's going to take care of any fallout, and what decisions are going to be made based on it?
Knozen certainly looks like fun and a bit of a laugh, and would be great as part of a teambuilding day (maybe) where people are able to openly discuss the questions and rankings. But will employers embrace it for recruitment, assessment, performance rating - I'm not sure.
Would you consider using Knozen, or have you already used it? I'd love to hear your views.
At Track, Jo has advised on, and led the development of 360 and other online assessments for leading organisations including John Lewis Partnership, Waitrose, Baker & McKenzie, Nuffield Health, Fujitsu and Saudi Telecom.