Three Tips to Implement Continuous Performance Management

If your organisation is setting performance goals at the beginning of each year, mothballing them and then reviewing them either annually or bi-annually – it’s time to consider switching to continuous performance management.

The results of the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2018 Report revealed that 76% of companies have adopted a more inclusive and continuous process of performance management. Continuous performance management is an ongoing and transparent process of flexible goal setting and evaluation together with real-time feedback and frequent check-ins and developmental conversations throughout the year.

Here are some tips on how your organisation can start to implement the principles of continuous performance management:

1. Agile Goal Management

Start with setting shorter-term employee goals and objectives depending on the nature of the work or current circumstances. Review these goals regularly throughout the year and then adjust when necessary. In the same way that an organisation’s strategic goals adapt to changing market conditions, so should individual employee and team goals.

One of the simplest and most successful ways of designing agile goals is by using the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) methodology. The OKR methodology breaks annual goals into quarterly objectives using S.M.A.R.T. goal setting criteria. Individual objectives are then aligned to team, department and organisation objectives. 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 (

2. Frequent check-ins and performance discussions

Supplement your annual evaluation cycle with regular check-ins and short 1:1 meetings between employees and their line- manager. These feedback and coaching sessions will assist in addressing performance issues as and when they occur and will also promote a culture of commitment to continuous employee development. Check-ins can take place weekly, monthly or on a quarterly basis. Issues typically discussed at these check-ins are: progress against set objectives, changes to existing objectives or the addition of new ones and agreed personal development actions.

3. Real-time feedback

Encourage a culture of continuous two-way feedback and communication between employees and managers. Make sure that managers receive the necessary training to comfortably and confidently provide real-time feedback to their employees so as to reinforce positive behaviours, encourage progress, and correct unwanted behaviours. By the same token, employees must also take charge of their own performance and careers and feel empowered to ask for feedback and coaching when they need it.

A static process of annual goal setting and review no longer makes sense in today’s rapidly changing modern world. It’s time to transition to a continuous process of flexible goal setting and review which will assist in encourage a culture of developing talent and improving performance instead of evaluation and assessment.

By Natanya Rutstein

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