3 Steps to Implement Continuous Performance Management

man going up performance stairs Continuous Performance Management

Is the Annual Performance Review Dead?
If not completely gone, this old-fashioned system, universally acknowledged as painful, seems to be on its way out at many companies like Adobe, Deloitte, Gap, Accenture, and even GE to be replaced by a continuous performance management process.

The Annual Review
Once upon a time annual performance reviews served the purpose of giving the employer and the employee an opportunity to talk one-on-one and take a measure of performance. But we’ve come a long way since then and have learned more about what it takes to improve individual and team performance.

  • Employers can no longer wait a full year to discuss and boost performance and engagement levels.
  • Employees are apt to jump ship and go where their contributions will be appreciated if they do not know where they stand or if they are not adequately recognized for their work.

So What’s the Answer?
Many companies are adopting a peer review system to provide continuous performance management feedback. Done right, the advantages of Continuous Performance Management are many:

  • Timely – the feedback is as close to real-time as possible
  • Recognition – positive behavior is immediately recognized
  • Exposure – managers have more information on the strengths of their teams
  • Clarity – employees have a better picture of how they are doing and where they stand

The key words are “done right.” Many peer review plans have not panned out and are fraught with defects.

Three Steps for Implementing Continuous Performance Management
But if you follow these three steps, you have a better chance to be among those who rave about ongoing and continuous performance management and rejoice that the annual performance review that used to plague us has been abandoned.

  1. Actively Include Key Stakeholders in the Design and Make It Easy and Engaging
    Work with your managers to explain the benefits of Continuous Performance Management and the desired outcomes. You will need the active and enthusiastic support of leadership to pull this off. Everyone from the C-level on down should participate.Do the upfront work required to ensure leaders understand how a Continuous Performance Management aligns with creating a high performance culture by recognizing and celebrating positive behaviors that matter most.  Use technology that is simple to use and interactive. Ideally, you want employees to be able to salute a peer without having to work through multiple steps.
  2. Link the Behaviors You Want Recognized to the Core Values of the Company
    For improved performance to be meaningful, Continuous Performance Management should have a clear connection to what the company stands for. If, for instance, a key corporate value is collaboration, there should be a category of recognition that emphasizes teamwork and the breaking down of silos.  If an employee observes a situation where a peer works effectively with a teammate to solve a long-standing problem, this should be publicly recognized as an “Atta-boy” on the system.
  3. The Feedback Should be Frequent, Timely and Earned
    When positive feedback is given almost on the spot, the link between the behavior and the encouragement is strong and it is more likely that the desired behavior will be repeated. This is why a Continuous Performance Management system works.  But recognition should be earned.Undeserved praise can have a negative effect. Not only will the praise seem empty to the employee, but others will also be demotivated observing that praise can be too easily earned. Many proponents of a peer review system follow the mantra of “praise publicly and criticize privately.”

The Bottom Line
From our perspective, Continuous Performance Management can be at the heart of a high performance culture by creating performance clarity and by exposing where people stand.

Tl learn more about performance management trends, download Performance Management Best Practices – 5 Factors

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