What is Continuous Performance Management?

Continuous Performance Management

Continuous performance management (or agile performance management) is performance management that takes place throughout the year on an ongoing basis, as opposed to those based on traditional annual appraisals.


It includes:


  • near-term objective setting, rather than annual objective setting
  • regular one-to-ones or ‘check-ins‘, rather than an annual appraisal, and 
  • real-time or in-the-moment feedback, rather than annual feedback.


What are Check-ins?


Check-ins are regular 1-1 sessions between the manager and the employee where they will typically discuss:


  • Changes in objectives, new objectives added, previous objectives that are no longer required, priorities, how things are going vis-à-vis the objectives
  • Issues or concerns
  • What supports they need from their manager or roadblocks to be removed by their manager
  • Personal or professional issues


In some companies, check-ins happen every week and are now part of the feedback and feedforward culture.


Why Continuous Performance Management?


Research by Gallup  found that employees whose managers hold regular one-to-ones with them are almost 3 times as likely to be engaged than those who don’t.


Frequent feedback, and the use of feedforward to propel employees and leaders forward, is now being labelled the ‘killer app‘, having been shown to boost performance by up to 39%.


Research has also found that over 50% of companies where goals are reviewed each month are in the top quartile in terms of financial performance, whereas, in contrast, only 24% of companies where goals are reviewed once a year made it into the same bracket.


Who has adopted Continuous Performance Management?


Adobe were the first well-known organisation to adopt continuous performance management when they ditched their annual appraisal process in 2012 in favour of ‘check-ins‘ and frequent feedback.


Adobe worked hard to embed this new approach into their culture and that work has paid off with voluntary staff turnover decreasing by 30% since they introduced check-ins.


US food producer and distributor, Cargill, also transformed their outdated performance management process in 2012, launching ‘everyday performance management‘ instead.


They got rid of their annual review forms and performance ratings and instead encouraged managers to have regular, on-the-job conversations and give frequent, constructive feedback.


They too have seen remarkable results with 70% of their employees now indicating they feel valued due to their ongoing performance discussions with their manager – a massive improvement.


More recently a number of leading, global organisations have implemented continuous performance management, including Deloitte, Microsoft, IBM, Accenture and General Electric, who had previously pioneered annual appraisals and rankings.


For more detail, download our document on Re-Engineering Performance Management


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