Hello, my name is Arnas Stuopelis. I am the CEO of Hostinger, and I would like to tell you a very personal story about why we use a particular method adapted from Montessori schools in our peer review system.
First of all, I am a product of Montessori education. In terms of Hostinger as a business, I firmly believe that using the Montessori principles of independence, freedom, and personal development will help any professional to perform better day-in-day-out. We have applied some of these principles to our peer-reviews in order to up our game of providing even better customer service to our millions of website hosting service users around the globe.
The concept we borrowed from Montessori schools is the gradual introduction of team members to group feedback sessions for peer reviews, or ‘360-degree reviews’. But before we get to that, let me give you some history about why we chose this alternative method of employee evaluation.
In mid-2017 Hostinger introduced peer reviews for the first time. If implemented properly, they can seriously drive employee productivity skywards and managers can step aside.
To begin our peer review scheme, we gathered 100 of our Service Agents to provide constructive feedback to each other about their work; in which fields they are doing great, and in which areas they could improve.
In line with our policy of being completely transparent in everything we do, I will admit that the initial result was chaos because our staff was largely untrained in how to use objective evaluation methods.
Then I remembered my school days, and how the Montessori method would gradually introduce new children to our group to help them learn and adapt to their new surroundings. Instead of placing all the newbies together, they would be placed one-by-one in a group of children who had been attending the school for a longer time. On the first day at school, one new child would be introduced to the group; the second day, two new arrivals would be added; the third, three would be placed with us, and so on and so forth. This progressive approach avoided a ‘pack’ mentality in which all newbies joining at the same time would club together, because the new arrival would have to adapt to their new surroundings based on the behavior of their group-mates who had been there for a longer period. Their behavior changed in accordance to their surroundings and the school’s learning culture was not altered.
In order to fix the problem we encountered during the initial roll-out of our peer review, it made sense to build the peer review system on the progressive introduction model I encountered at school. We scrapped the idea of grouping 100 colleagues together to provide feedback on each other, and initially trained just three with the necessary skills required to carry out effective peer reviews. Each day we introduced a new member of staff to the group. As what happened in school, the group newbie adapted their behavior to their surroundings and learned how to carry out an effective peer evaluation. As each day passed, we added more staff to the rapidly growing group. Just six months later, we have managed to train almost 100 employees using this method without and most importantly, our group working culture has improved dramatically.
Like Hostinger, Google and Amazon combine “progressive ideas such as open plan offices and fun with traditional methods like encouraging internal competition and measuring performance”. If that approach is good enough for these two international giants, then it is certainly good enough for us!
If you have also tried an alternative learning method in improving your business, we would love to hear from you!
Thanks for listening!