How to shift towards continuous performance management

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Employees aren’t the only ones dissatisfied with the traditional performance review process; a mere 4 per cent of HR professionals believe their organisation’s performance management system is actually effective, says Rae Steinbach

Surveys indicate that annual performance reviews offer little value to employees. Team members are actually far more engaged when they have the opportunity to receive consistent feedback throughout the year. Meeting with a supervisor once a year to discuss their performance doesn’t provide a worker with the insights they need to improve.

Managers and HR professionals have begun to address this issue by shifting towards a continuous performance management approach. By regularly checking in with employees, supervisors can make sure they are on task, offer them resources for building their skills, and recognise them for their achievements on a more frequent basis. 

Interested in implementing this approach in your organisation? If so, keep the following points in mind. They’ll help you develop employee performance management processes that offer genuine value to your workers and the company as a whole.

1 Discuss your options

Ideally, all managers throughout your organisation will use the same employee management system. This ensures every department reaps the benefits of a continuous feedback approach with better team communication. It’s also helpful when employees shift roles; if an employee begins working for a different manager, they won’t have to adjust to a new method of receiving (and giving) feedback.

That’s why HR should discuss this topic with managers before making any official changes to the performance review process. Find out what managers already do to provide their workers with feedback. Ask if there are any aspects of the current system they want to maintain. Find out where they believe the most improvement is necessary. Their insights can help you develop a system that everyone feels comfortable with.

2 Highlight the benefits

Employees aren’t the only ones dissatisfied with the traditional performance review process. According to a survey, a mere 4 per cent of HR professionals believe their organisation’s performance management system is actually effective.

That said, understanding why the current system doesn’t work isn’t the same as seeing why a new system will be any better. You need to promote the benefits of continuous performance management enthusiastically in order to shift the entire company in a new direction. 

Citing valid statistics is key to getting your point across. Let management know that businesses which implement continuous performance management systems typically have a nearly 15 per cent lower turnover rate than businesses which don’t provide regular feedback. 

Workers who don’t get consistent feedback tend to be disengaged, while nearly half of all highly-engaged employees report receiving weekly feedback from their supervisors. Additionally, 65 per cent of employees surveyed report wanting to receive feedback more often.

In other words, adopting a continuous performance management system saves the business money by reducing the turnover rate while also boosting revenue by ensuring workers are more engaged. When managers see the concrete benefits these systems offer, they’ll be more likely to understand why making the switch is necessary.

3 Offer training

No management system is valuable if individual managers don’t know how to implement it. Thus, when putting a new feedback system in place, it’s also important to provide management with thorough training. You need to ensure all supervisors throughout the organisation know how to use the new tools and processes you’ve adopted. They’ll generally be more enthusiastic about the changes if they feel prepared, too.

4 Prepare employees

Although managers will be the ones to actually provide feedback through a continuous performance management system, employees will be the ones to receive it. Thus, their input is also important. 

Give your staff a chance to suggest ways a new system could improve on your current processes. Once you’ve decided to implement the new system, let your employees know how this will impact their schedules and responsibilities throughout the week. When management and employees are prepared, the transition to a new system is seamless.

Conclusion

The end of the annual performance review doesn’t mean organizations will no longer provide employees with feedback. Statistically, meeting with a manager on a regular basis to discuss performance has a major positive impact on employee engagement. Clearly, it’s still important to give valuable feedback. You just need to make sure you’re doing so in a way that yields results. Adopting a continuous performance management approach is an effective way achieve this goal.

(The author is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing).



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