Companies are faced with more changes than ever these days—every single one was forced into proving its agility when the pandemic shut everything down, and each was tested to see how they would continue to perform during the shutdown. Then, it was a wait to see which companies faltered, and which ones came out the other side. For organizations that have made it this far, agility is still a critical feature of any performance management plan. There’s also a lot more that needs to go into it.

If it’s time for the organization to update its performance management goals and plans, the process is pretty simple. Follow the steps below and your company will be on its way to a new world of performance management in no time at all.

Eight Steps to Create a New Performance Management Plan for Your Organization

Step One: Identify what you hope to achieve with a new PM strategy.

This is the most important step in the process. You can’t create goals or a plan without knowing what your intentions are. You have to think about what you want to achieve and accomplish in making this transition—do you want to outrank the competition in sales? Do you want to improve your company culture and employee satisfaction? Make sure that you know the goals and intentions of your future performance management efforts and it will be easier to get started on your plan.

Step Two: Create “umbrella” goals that are broad and can be refined later.

Too often, people try to go right for specific goals when they’re creating a new strategy or coming up with new plans to manage performance. That can be difficult if you’re just starting, though, so try to avoid it if possible. The best thing to do is to create larger, “umbrella” goals that cover similar elements. Then, you’ll have the chance to refine them later. For now, just get ideas on paper.

Step Three: Consider smaller goals that can help you achieve those larger goals.

This is the first step in refinement. Take a look at those big goals and see how you can break them down. Don’t spend more than a few minutes on this—the hours of planning the details come later. For now, just brainstorm different ways you can break the main goals down into achievable tasks and plans. Keep it free-flowing and don’t get locked into a structure or strategy just yet.

Step Four: Imagine the future after the new plan is in place.

Visualizing is a good way to create more refined goals and plans. It’s also a way to get excited about your efforts and make it less stressful. When you’re ready for change, it doesn’t have to be intimidating or feared at all. Take the goals that you’ve started to refine, imagine them being executed and the organization having a totally new approach to performance management. What does that look like? Who is present? What are the goals and metrics used now? All this brainstorming is priming you for the final strategy creation.

Step Five: Write down the tools and resources you’ll need to help execute this strategy.

You can’t be successful in executing a new performance management plan if you don’t have the right tools and resources. For example, a digital PMS (performance management system) can make it easy to track performance and accomplishments, as well as areas for potential upskilling or other opportunities, for the employees within the organization. Make a list of everything that you think you’ll need—you can edit it later.

Step Six: Identify the key people involved in the new strategy execution and loop them in on the situation.

Now, you’re far enough along that you can let everyone that’s involved know that it’s time to get to work. With any luck, some of them have also been brainstorming on their own and getting ready to embrace the new performance management plan. And even if not, you’re at a good place now to offer a substantial presentation that makes some sense, not just a grand idea with no planning or forethought. Get people involved, get them excited, and get ready to start whittling down the details.

Step Seven: Use your visualizations and your team to refine plans and goals into actionable, measurable tasks.

Take all the brainstorming, all the lists, all the visualization details—combine them all into one big pile of ideas and then invite the team to take a look. Get their input. Invite them to help refine the goals. Encourage everyone to come up with tasks that can be measured toward accomplishing this goal. It will take some time and planning, but it’s the final planning step and it deserves the proper attention.

Team members should be working together to nail down the details of the new performance management strategy, test it out to see if it works, and then execute the plan and educate all employees about the new changes. It’s a process that takes time and teamwork, but if you follow these steps, you’ll be on your way in no time.

Once you have a solid set of plans for your new performance management system, you’ll be ready to create a timeline and start getting to work on implementation.

Step Eight: Create an execution timeline and get to work on the new model of performance management.

Now that the planning is done, you can start the hard work of putting your new strategies and tools in place. Rely on those actionable tasks that you created to help you execute the strategy and make sure that everything is done in the proper order. You don’t want to dive in unprepared, so make sure that the plan is solid before a single move is made.

Companies that take the time to plan out their performance management shift will see much more success in the execution and implementation of new methods. Utilizing a proper digital performance management system (PMS) will tie it all together and keep everything streamlined.