A lot of organizations never take time to consider whether singular annual performance reviews are the best way to keep employees on track. Instead, many companies simply follow an annual performance management cycle since that is what has always been in place.
In both cases, the issue is that employee loss can occur since there isn’t an investment into career progression, learning, and development.
Continuous performance management is an alternative to annual performance management. It has a human-centric approach that focuses on creating a healthy and trusting relationship between employees and managers.
With this kind of performance management, managers provide support and feedback naturally across the workday. On the other side of the coin, employees have all the guidance and tools needed to enjoy the development that matters to them.
With this knowledge, organizations have started to implement continuous performance management solutions. This is successful through a combination of learning opportunities and structured training, along with reward platforms and recognition systems.
How Continuous Performance Management Works
When implementing continuous performance management, several steps are crucial to the process. Some tasks are covered by human resources, others by management, and some by other executives.
Below, we’ll walk through the steps of creating and implementing the best system for your organization.
An HR manager or another person will create a continuous performance management toolkit that relates to the company culture, goals, and objectives. The start of implementing a new system begins here. Before these changes to performance management are shared with management, documentation should be available.
Some questions you might ask at this stage include:
- What development and training can managers offer to employees?
- What kind of standard will all employees be evaluated on?
- How will goal-setting be done?
- Which kind of evaluation will managers use?
- How will a manager deliver feedback?
- When and how will the observation period occur?
- How often will performance reviews occur between employees and managers?
Organization of Training
Once documentation is in place, the next step is to build training sessions with members of management. The purpose is to explain the best way to carry out the continuous performance management process. When you get management on board early, you can get feedback from those who work the most directly with employees.
This state lets you better optimize the process so it’s effective for all team members.
Share With Employees
After management has helped optimize the process, employees should be aware of why the performance management process is changing and what benefits it offers them. This can be done through an in-person meeting or a digital presentation. The first option allows employees to ask you questions, while the second lets managers answer inquiries.
Now that continuous performance management is in place, managers need time to start observing the work of employees. This is the time to get an idea of employee behavior under the updated guidelines. At this time, you can learn if the system is fair for the employees since they will be evaluated based on the new rules.
In addition, managers who have been working on the implementation need time to observe employees. There are several choices here depending on what kind of procedures were listed in the documentation phase.
- Jotting down simple notes about witnessed behaviors
- Grading various observations based on company procedures and policies
- Self-assessment forms filled out by the employees
- Feedback from clients and customers
- Feedback from coworkers and additional employees
Begin the First Reviews
Managers should talk about the outcome of their observations during the first review using a continuous performance management process. However, this can be stilted and awkward, which may mean that some employees and managers are resistant to continuing.
Depending on the chosen method, the review meeting might include:
- Role specifications review – The observed behavior of an employee compared to their job description.
- Procedures and policies review – Employees’ conduct and behavior are reviewed in comparison to company procedures and policies.
- Discussion – Employees can speak with a manager about how they feel they performed and why.
- Goal setting – Managers and employees create goals as a team and identify any needed development or training
- Feedback – The employee can offer feedback about the performance and behavior of the manager.
Once the meeting is done, the next meeting should be set and managers should give employees information about catch-up meetings.
Introduce Training and Development
Managers should organize any training and development needed by employees and implement those things to help employees meet performance goals. In addition, employees should have encouragement to hold managers accountable by reminding them to set up training sessions. Since this is a new process, some individuals may have difficulty adapting.
Hold Catch-Up Meetings
One of the most essential parts of continuous performance management is informal meetings. These occur between formal reviews so managers and employees stack on track with objectives and requirements. The meetings should be less structured and include only discussions. This allows employees to talk about concerns or needs for support.
Since the process is new, both employees and managers should be asked to send anonymous feedback regarding how the new system operates from their specific point of view. Then, after one formal review and one informal catch-up session, anonymous surveys should be sent out for feedback. This can provide information about any improvements that should be made.
Make Needed Changes
If any changes have been recommended by employees or management, now is the time to assess them. For necessary changes, implement them at this time.
Start Back at the Beginning
Now that you’ve made it through all the steps, you should go back to encouraging managers and employees to follow these procedures moving forward. HR can be a line of contact for employees if managers aren’t providing needed support. Managers should also reach out to HR when they need guidance or struggle with implementing continuous performance management.
Continuous performance management is a better option than annual performance reviews, but putting a new system in place can be challenging. The process may take effort, but it can also revolutionize your performance reviews and make employees more motivated and efficient in the workplace.