By Natanya Rutstein


Performance management has undergone major changes over the last decade with some companies going so far as to completely abandon their rating systems and annual performance reviews. There is growing consensus that traditional performance management does not necessarily enhance individual and organisational performance. New approaches are needed to successfully engage, motivate and develop the workforce to ultimately fuel overall organisational performance and success.

This blog is the first in a series in which we will examine the latest performance management trends, find out what some of the big players leading the trends are doing and provide you with some useful tips to modernise your performance management process and adopt better ways to improve employee results and engage them with your company’s culture and objectives.

What are these changes?

Some of the most fundamental changes to traditional performance management are:


A more flexible process of setting clear and transparent goals which are constantly re-visited and updated has developed. The goals are fewer in number and describe more simply what is expected of the employee, how it will be measured and how each objective is connected to company and team objectives.


The process of reviewing goals once a year at the annual performance review is no longer sufficient and needs to be supplemented with frequent performance discussions and check-ins against goals. Performance objectives can then be updated as and when necessary to align with team and company goals. Continuous progress check-ins encourage a culture of developing talent and improving performance instead of evaluation and assessment.


The focus of performance management has shifted to daily feedback and in-the-moment coaching and development. Managers must be trained as coaches and mentors rather than as evaluators and graders. Forward looking and personalised career conversations are becoming the norm.


A big trend now is to move away from cumbersome performance management processes and systems. New technologies are being adopted to simplify the process and facilitate a feedback rich culture with a much greater degree of transparency and participation by both manager and employee. Feedback Apps are used more frequently.


Organisations are beginning to realise that compensation and reward need to be tailored to individual preferences and should include varied and creative forms of recognition in order to motivate and satisfy employees. Technology can be leveraged to provide personalised social recognition, customised growth and development plans as well as more intelligent and personalised compensation.

If you’re thinking about modernising your performance management system, just remember that you don’t have to get rid of everything you already have. First determine what is working well and what isn’t working and which of the abovementioned areas can you change or tweak to transition to a more forward-looking approach to developing and motivating your employees for continuous peak performance.




  1. Performance Management is Broken: Replace “rank and yank” with coaching and development, Lisa Barry, Andrew Erhardt-Lewis, Stacia Garr,and Andy Liakopoulos, Deloitte University Press, March 4, 2014,
  2. Importance of Performance Management Process & Best Practices to Optimize Monitoring Performance Work Reviews/Feedback and Goal Management,
  3. HBR, The Performance Management Revolution, Peter Cappelli and Anna Tavis, October 2016
  4. Performance Management in the Gig Economy, by Jon Younger and Norm Smallwood, HBR January 11, 2016,
  5. Six Companies That Are Redefining Performance Management, by Kris Duggan, 15 December 2015,
  6. Performance Management Best Practices for 2016 and Beyond, September 16, 2015,


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