Blogpost

Is Continuous Performance Management Here to Stay? Absolutely.

Joanne Holbrook

Principal Strategist, Cloud Solutions at Alight Solutions

About five years ago, I worked with a client who bristled at the idea of typical annual performance reviews. What they wanted to implement was a "conversation-based" performance review process. The process had to be employee driven; managers and employees held an ongoing, continuous dialogue about the employee’s performance throughout the year. At any point throughout the year, the employee’s colleagues or customers could also contribute performance input but the most important objective was that they didn’t want a performance rating. No rating. None. At all. And certainly not a numeric rating.

I had never heard of such a thing. I thought it was a radical, unstructured by design, way out of left field concept for measuring someone’s performance. Quite honestly, the whole premise felt like a flower-power, peace, love and happiness sort of approach to me. In my HR experience, I had only ever managed annual processes in which reviews were to be held at the end of the fiscal year and culminated in each employee receiving a score (maybe even a rank), that triggered the next major step in the process: performance improvement planning. Needless to say, I struggled to understand what was so wrong with annual reviews that this client wanted to throw it out wholesale.

Fast forward to today when the idea of continuous performance management is starting to take center stage. Many organizations, large and small, across a broad cross-section of industries, are adopting the philosophy. And there is a growing body of research that supports its necessity in today’s workplace. For instance, in 2015, 58 percent of HR leaders described their performance management process as an ineffective use of time. Let’s take a closer look at why.

There is no getting around it; today’s work landscape is vastly different from the days of traditional, annual performance management.

The way we work is different. Corralling employees in the office 40 hours a week, every week is a thing of the past. A recent survey found that 60 percent of companies offer employees telecommuting opportunities—a threefold increase in just 10 years.

The makeup of today’s workforce is unique. For the first time, there are four generations of workers in today’s workforce. Employers are challenged with meeting a wide spectrum of employee needs and expectations. There is no more "one size fits all" approach.

Technology continues to advance. Technology enables us to give and receive immediate feedback all the time. We rely on feedback from others for everything from which app to download to what to order for dinner.

Worker expectations have changed. Workers want meaning in their work, to be more empowered in their day to day decision making, and to be in the driver’s seat as they progress through their career. Top down decision making and rigid chains of command are outdated concepts. Workers want their managers to develop and guide them, not tell them what to do.

What does all this mean? Quite simply, it means traditional performance management thinking is outdated.

As I started researching continuous performance management, I came to understand it is not a new technology; it is a way of thinking. Successful companies weave performance into day-to-day thinking. While there is no secret sauce, I quickly found that there are a handful of key concepts that make up continuous performance management.

1) Continuous performance management means regular employee/manager check-ins.

Conversations about performance become an agenda item for ongoing manager/employee one-on-one meetings. Managers may offer observations or feedback from recent interactions or meetings. Employees may seek input for an upcoming task or activity. Goal progress may be discussed. Updates and outcomes from previous conversations are shared.

2) Continuous performance management incorporates input from others.

Given the nature of many virtual work environments, employees are encouraged to solicit feedback from others. Colleagues may also offer recognition for a job well done. With a continuous model, multiple voices contribute input to employees, often offering new perspectives for consideration. Taken in tandem with regular manager check-ins, the employee is now afforded an opportunity for ongoing self-reflection that is often lost in typical review processes.

3) Continuous performance management includes frequent data collection.

Rather than attempting to gather performance evidence once or twice a year, check-in data may be gathered as frequently as every two weeks. The data may also include input from others, outcomes from check-ins, or updates to goals or development plans. With fresh, current data in hand employees are empowered to take ownership of their development, potentially changing direction to perform better on the fly; giving more meaning to the employee’s work.

4) Continuous performance management captures periodic performance snapshots.

If you, like I, have ever been on the receiving end of feedback during an annual review about a growth opportunity that happened nine months ago, you can appreciate the value in capturing periodic benchmarks. Snapshots ensure that issues are addressed as they occur and provide a tangible way to demonstrate improvement. With employees driving the direction of their own development, mangers take on a supportive, coaching role with employees (vs. assessing and holding employees accountable) ultimately creating an environment that fosters trust and builds relationships.

Adopting a continuous model requires a cultural change, yes, but it does not necessarily have to mean abandoning traditional performance components like company goals, development plans, year-end reviews or ratings. In fact, because a continuous model assumes employees want to improve, companies may find the approach strengthens goal alignment, increases commitment to personal development plans, and makes for more meaningful reviews.

It may, however, require taking a look at the talent management system currently in place to ensure it will support continuous performance management. Recall the client who wanted to implement the "conversation-based" performance model I wrote of earlier? Well, my job was to guide their performance management system implementation to support it. Once I got over myself and got to work with the technology, I’m pleased to say that we did it. Using Cornerstone OnDemand, we built a development plan framework where employees tracked their conversations with their managers, we created a mechanism (via social collaboration) for employees to ask for and receive feedback from others within the organization and we devised a review process allowing managers to gather data to form a snapshot of the employee’s performance. With nary a single review rating in sight!

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Slimmere recruiting – Drie technologietips voor 2021

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We kunnen gerust stellen dat 2020 een jaar vol onverwachte wendingen is geweest. Er is veel veranderd voor bedrijven en dat geldt ook voor recruiting. De belangrijkste vereisten voor het bedrijf – wendbaar zijn, voor een geweldige ervaring zorgen, meer diversiteit – hadden voor recruiting altijd al de hoogste prioriteit. Die vereisten bestonden al vóór de pandemie en zijn nu alleen nog maar belangrijker voor zakelijk succes. Recruiters staan nu wel voor nieuwe uitdagingen, bijvoorbeeld als het gaat om flexibiliteit, thuiswerken en welzijn. Bekijk onze video over de rol van recruiters in deze veranderende wereld: Het vinden van de juiste technologie voor talentacquisitie is behoorlijk ingewikkeld. Maar geen zorgen. We hebben de belangrijkste aandachtspunten voor u op een rijtje gezet. De ervaring die u creëert U moet goed nadenken over de verwachtingen van uw kandidaten. Ons leven is gevuld met intuïtieve technologieën waarop we zijn gaan vertrouwen. De verwachtingen zijn hooggespannen. Bovendien vormen kandidaten zich tijdens de eerste contacten al een idee van het type werkgever dat u bent en dat is vooral belangrijk als u met andere werkgevers concurreert. Vraag uzelf af: Is mijn carrièresite aantrekkelijk en weerspiegelt hij echt ons werkgeversimago? Moderne volgsystemen voor sollicitanten Er bestaan veel Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), maar ze moeten aan uw behoeften kunnen worden aangepast. Met een systeem dat alleen maar de sollicitaties volgt en de gegevens van kandidaten opslaat, kan het wervingsproces niet worden geoptimaliseerd. Uw ATS moet sourcing ondersteunen, de betrokkenheid vergroten, sollicitatiegesprekken helpen plannen, geavanceerde analysemogelijkheden bieden, zoals benchmarking en metrics, en moet natuurlijk naadloos in uw carrièresite zijn in te passen. Vraag uzelf af: Kunnen recruiters en hiring managers, afgezien van alle machtigingen voor gebruikers- en toegangsbeheer, de views aan hun persoonlijke voorkeuren aanpassen? Beheer van uiteenlopende vereisten voor recruiting Het centraliseren van een proces en aanpak mag niet ten koste gaan van de specifieke behoeften van een land, dochteronderneming, businessunit of merk. U kunt de complexiteit van een groot aantal technologieën vermijden en de consistentie en kosten onder controle houden. U zorgt er door een basis te creëren ook voor dat u schaalvergroting en groei in uw organisatie kunt ondersteunen. Vraag uzelf af: Kunnen recruitingteams voor verschillende landen, dochterondernemingen, businessunits en merken hun eigen workflows en carrièresites beheren en kunnen ze hun eigen kandidaatervaring cultiveren? Investeringen in technologie worden steeds strenger getoetst, en dat is eigenlijk geen verrassing. De pandemie heeft de transformatie misschien versneld, maar het budget moet zorgvuldig worden besteed en de juiste partner moet met zorg worden gekozen. Beoordeel dus niet alleen de technologie maar ook het bedrijf erachter. Controleer bij het evalueren van technologie in de laatste fase of uw leverancier financieel stabiel is, referenties kan verstrekken en over beproefde implementatiemethoden beschikt. Vond u deze informatie nuttig? We hebben ook nog een complete, uitgebreide checklist voor u. Download hier de volledige gids voor kopers van recruitingtechnologie. Deze blog is oorspronkelijk gepubliceerd in de Cornerstone Blog. 

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Cornerstone Skills Graph is de beste manier om vaardigheden centraal te stellen in uw talentstrategie. Welk Cornerstone-product u ook gebruikt, u heeft altijd toegang tot onze intelligente verzameling van meer dan 53.000 vaardigheden verspreid over 250 miljoen functies. Dit is in elk medewerkersprofiel inbegrepen. Download de datasheet en ontdek alle belangrijke technische details over Cornerstone Skills Graph, van taalondersteuning en ethische AI tot implementatieprocessen en beveiliging.

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