Inventor of Enterprise Feedback Tool Files Patent

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Skillrater, developed by Louis Carter and Best Practice Institute, modernizes performance management with activity-based, request-driven feedback.

Louis Carter and Best Practice Institute filed today for a nonprovisional patent for its new social business tool, Skillrater. Skillrater went online ( in 2012 and has been in beta testing since. Carter and BPI filed a provisional patent application in March. They describe Skillrater as a unique business method and technology application that will revolutionize business rating systems.

Skillrater is an enterprise feedback and performance appraisal tool built on a cloud-based social collaboration platform. The tool facilitates real-time workplace communication, ongoing 360-degree feedback, and continuous performance management and appraisal.

How Skillrater Works

After completing an activity, an employee using Skillrater requests a rating from a supervisor, peer, customer or all of the above. It takes just a few seconds to make an online rating request and just a few seconds for the rater to provide the requested feedback.

Skillrater feedback centers on simple one-to-five ratings on day-to-day activities and skills. Supervisors identify the skills needed to excel at specific activities, and those skills became the criteria for the numeric ratings. Along with the metric-based feedback, Skillrater provides a familiar social network environment in which qualitative responses can also be exchanged.

That's Skillrater's dual-tracked feedback system: numeric evaluations which are easy to give, receive, understand and measure alongside qualitative suggestions, praise and instructions.

What Makes Skillrater Unique?

Corporations and organizations have a glut of existing feedback systems to choose from, but Skillrater introduces several unique improvements to the feedback process which form the basis of Skillrater's nonprovisional patent application.

  • Activity-based: Existing rating systems lack context. When a supervisor or peer gives a worker a "3 star" or "above average" rating, what does it really mean? Most such ratings are arbitrary or subjective. When a supervisor is required to rate an employee's performance over the previous year, is he or she really able to recall and consider 200+ days of performance and render an objective evaluation?

Workers want to know how they are doing, but they deeply resent arbitrary appraisals. When a feedback system produces resentment in the ranks, it is counterproductive to the goal of increased productivity. Studies have demonstrated that work often suffers a decline during the weeks immediately after a performance review.

Skillrater is a huge improvement over the much-dreaded conventional review process. Skillrater feedback is always tied to a specific activity and is delivered one activity at a time, which results in ratings that are delivered in context rather than in a vacuum. The result is positive, objective, meaningful feedback that encourages continuous improvement.

  • Skillset-based: Not only are ratings tied to specific activities, but Skillrater ratings are also based on the specific skillsets which supervisors have identified as crucial to successful performance of those activities. Basing ratings on pre-defined skillsets further removes subjectivity from the feedback process. The result is that unlike conventional feedback systems, Skillrater feedback is not "all over the charts."
  • Request-driven feedback: One of the most revolutionary and unique aspects of the Skillrater system is that workers request their own feedback. That empowers employees to take control of their own development and advancement. Ratings on specific activities and skills can be requested at any time. Ambitious employees want to request ratings so that their good work gets noticed.
  • Progress over time: Skillrater's numeric ratings create a way to record and measure progress over time. The metrics transform feedback from something that is quickly forgotten to something that becomes a springboard to higher levels of achievement. Because the feedback is tied to specific activities that employees do repeatedly, workers are motivated to improve, knowing that their progress will not go unnoticed.
  • A new way to do 360: 360 reviews are a staple of most corporations. As in other 360 systems, employees can use Skillrater to request feedback from all of the internal and external members of their workplace circle. However, conventional 360s tend to generate vague feedback that falls to promote concrete progress. Reviews from year to year follow no scheme nor share any common context. Skillrater's activity-based, metrics-based ratings are a significant improvement over conventional 360s.
  • Standardization: Because Skillrater ratings are activity- and skillset-based, it becomes possible to standardize feedback across an organization (or group), as well as over time. Team members receive objective feedback on a consistent set of activities and skills. Conventional feedback systems lack such standardization. When employees are rated on standardized criteria, the company also gains the ability to do horizontal comparisons of employee performance.
  • Customization: The ability for ratings systems to define groups is not new, but the ability to customize ratings criteria for each group is new. Skillrater is highly customizable to the specific activities and skills needed by a company or group.

Carter and Best Practice Institute believe these innovations are long overdue in the field of workplace evaluations, and that Skillrater will revolutionize workplace management and performance appraisal.

About the Best Practice Institute

Best Practice Institute is a leadership and management association focusing on best and innovative business practices. BPI has more than 42,000 subscribers, from managers to senior and C-level executives. BPI was named to Leadership Excellence magazine's "Best in Leadership Development" 2012 ranking. It has corporate and individual members in about two dozen countries on five continents, including executives and employees of more than half of the Fortune 500.

BPI services and activities include innovations in assessment and online distributed learning, cutting-edge business research, a faculty of hundreds of thought leaders and business leaders, a wealth of online knowledge including hundreds of webinars, and intimate, ongoing consultation provided to its premium membership. BPI's website,, offers members a treasury of research, case studies and more than 300 interactive webinars led by BPI faculty members, which include world-famous thought leaders and Fortune 500 executives. Human resources training and accreditation (PHR, SPHR, GPHR) are available. BPI also offers, a 360-degree assessment tool built on a social networking, cloud-based platform.

Louis Carter: Since founding Best Practice Institute in 2001, Louis Carter has led the company to become one of the world's top associations for leadership and human resource development, with more than 42,000 subscribers, receiving Leadership Excellence's Best in Leadership Development Award and Training Industry's Innovations in Leadership Development Watch List. Carter has written eleven books on best practices and organizational leadership, including the Best Practice series and the Change Champion's Field Guide, published by John Wiley & Sons.

Carter became chairman of the Best Practice Institute Senior Executive Board in 2005 after Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Bank of America, Corning, Saudi Aramco, Volvo, Boston Scientific and The Gap became founding corporate members. Carter is creator of, the new 360-degree feedback tool based on a new social networking platform, and creator of the BPI Online Learning Portal on He received his undergraduate degree from Connecticut College and Brown University with honors in political science and economics and his graduate degree in social/organizational psychology from Columbia University with honors.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Louis Carter: 800-718-4274; lou(at)bestpracticeinstitute(dot)org.

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