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Why Peer Reviews?

Peer reviews are used many worker-owned cooperatives and collectively-managed workplaces (which can be worker-owned or owned by other stakeholders but managed by a staff collective).  Peer reviews (also called evaluations) empower workers to share feedback and voice concerns related to job performance and participation.  While this page is primarily concerned with peer reviews in  worker cooperatives and collectives, much of this information is applicable to other kinds of co-ops.

Scheduled peer reviews are not a replacement for informal, ongoing, on-the-job communication.  However, peer reviews create an opportunity to compile and document feedback from all workers (or all members of a department) and address any concerns.[1]

Peer Reviews and Intake Processes

Many worker-owned cooperatives and collectively-managed workplaces have a probationary intake period.[2][3][4][5][6][7]  During this intake period, prospective members (also called subs, interns, or apprentices)[2][5][7] are trained on essential job duties and exposed to the rights and responsibilities associated with membership.[8]  Intake periods typically range from two months to a full year.  Sometimes the intake period is measured in hours worked.  Prospective members may receive evaluations more frequently during this intake period.[9]

Peer Reviews and Membership

In worker-owned cooperatives and collectives, full membership is granted after certain requirements are met.  Membership requirements may include a monetary buy-in, an investment of labor hours, and the successful completion of the intake period.  Membership requirements should be outlined in the Bylaws and explained in detail in policy documents. 

Peer reviews are often used to assess whether a prospective member has satisfied expectations related to job performance and participation during the intake period.  If the peer reviews are generally favorable, new members are confirmed by a vote or consensus of the current membership.[2][8][9] 

Long-time Members and Peer Reviews

Peer reviews are not just for new and prospective members!  Many worker cooperatives and collectives find it useful to review long-time members periodically (perhaps once a year).[7] This practice empowers all workers to offer each other feedback, regardless of membership status, position, or seniority.  

Peer Review Forms

Many cooperatives use peer review forms in order to solicit structured written feedback (See Usworker.coop/doclib for examples!)  Peer review forms include questions or prompts regarding the reviewee’s job performance and participation.  Peer review forms may also prompt users to brainstorm solutions to any concerns.  Reviewees may be asked to outline concrete goals or commitments.  A resulting “Plan of Action” may be approved by other members.[9][10]


References

  1. Why and How to Do Worker Evaluations: http://usworker.coop/node/277
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Collective Copies Bylaws: http://usworker.coop/faceted_search/results/taxonomy%3A287
  3. Collective Copies Comments on Bylaws: http://usworker.coop/content/comments-bylaws-collective-copies
  4. Electric Embers Bylaws: http://usworker.coop/content/electric-embers-bylaws
  5. 5.0 5.1 Firestorm Cafe and Books Operating Agreement: http://usworker.coop/content/firestorm-cafe-and-books-operating-agreement
  6. Quilted Bylaws / Operating Agreement: http://usworker.coop/content/quilted-bylaws-operating-agreement
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Red and Black Hiring, Intake, and Peer Review Procedures: http://usworker.coop/content/red-and-black-hiring-intake-and-peer-review-procedures-0
  8. 8.0 8.1 Firestorm Cafe and Books Contract of Association: http://usworker.coop/content/firestorm-cafe-and-books-contract-association
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Red and Black Hiring and Intake Procedures (Link coming soon!)
  10. Arizmendi DSC Evaluation Form: http://usworker.coop/node/252