By Natanya Rutstein


The traditional performance management process of annual goal-setting and assessment is no longer effective nor relevant in today’s fast-paced and rapidly changing world. The modern workplace has evolved from a hierarchical top-down structure to a more flexible and transparent structure of a network of teams collaborating in their mission to achieve a common purpose. This necessitated a more agile approach – a process that can easily adapt and change to meet the demands and preferences of the modern workplace.

Introducing the Era of Agile Performance Management…

An agile process of structuring work and managing employee performance entails the implementation of a continuous process of setting flexible goals, regular check-ins and feedback against measurable and transparent objectives. This is supported by continuous coaching- always with a focus on development and improvement. According to Deloitte, companies that review goals quarterly see a 30% greater performance and retention than companies that review goals annually.

Designing Agile Goals

One of the simplest and most successful ways of designing agile goals is by using the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) methodology. OKR is a simple and transparent system of setting goals and was first adopted by Google in 1999. Google executives attribute a large portion of the company’s success to the implementation of the OKR system. The system is currently used by some of the world’s best companies including Linkedin, Oracle, Twitter, Dropbox, McKinsey, John Hancock, VMware and many others.

The OKR methodology breaks annual goals into quarterly objectives using S.M.A.R.T. goal setting criteria which creates long-term and quarterly clarity and focus – everyone knows how it all fits together. Individual objectives are aligned to team, department and organisation objectives in the appropriate balance of top-down and bottom-up organisational and individual priorities.

The increased frequency of setting and keeping track of objectives facilitates a great degree of participation and communication between manager and employee. There is a constant flow of feedback and this helps managers to be more effective and improve coaching and continuous learning and development.

For a more in depth look at OKR’s and how best to implement them take a look at Startup Lab workshop: How Google sets goals: OKRs


 Startup Lab workshop: How Google sets goals: OKRs
 Building a winning team with agile performance management,
 The 3-Step Agile Performance Management Process You Need,
 HR World and the growth of Agile Performance Management,
 7 Reasons Why Google Uses OKRs (and Why You Should, too),

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