Performance management has come a long way in just the past few years. Companies have been forced to stop just checking the boxes and start to actually pay attention to performance. Along with that comes an increased focus on how to handle performance management both now and into the future. It’s about more than productivity and if companies want to have the best employees on hand, they need to be measuring much more than what people can do.

Performance management is about embracing all that people can be, both personally and professionally, and how you can intertwine those elements to create employees who are strong in their roles and proud of what they do, taking personal responsibility for their own growth and success with the organization. This is because organizations are starting to take more responsibility for helping employee performance and improving the management of that performance.

As organizations realize that performance management is about people, not productivity quotas, the entire world of PM is set to change. It’s been a topic of discussion for years, but the pandemic and the new ways of work have definitely shifted the discussion into action as the rise of hybrid and remote work makes this a critical time to rethink the value and the intent of all performance management programs and practices.

The Future of Performance Management: Predictions from the Experts

The Future Includes Context

82% of all employees surveyed said that they want their company to see them as a person, not just an employee.

No longer will employers and leaders measure employee performance based on arbitrary rules and outcomes. People cannot be pushed against performance metrics like they were in the past—forcing people to somehow get a certain number of calls, transactions, reports, etc. done—it’s madness and it’s only encouraging that worker bee mentality that so many are fleeing from.

In the future, the outcomes will be measured and even created with context. This could include the working conditions, the teams involved, the employee’s personal goals, and so forth. It’s about taking the time to consider how employees are doing, not just what they’re doing or how they are performing on the metrics scale. Metrics count, but people matter more—give them context and they will grow.

Project-Based Reviews Are the Future

In the past, employee reviews were based on goals, arbitrary metrics, and a set of checkmarks on a “performance evaluation” sheet. That’s no longer effective, nor is it how the best companies are keeping tabs on their staff. Now, companies are implementing a project-based review system where employees are being evaluated on a per-project basis. This does several things:

  • It provides more immediate feedback to employees
  • It provides applicable, real-world tips and insight
  • It allows employees to give feedback on projects
  • It provides a way to define and explain how project performance relates to pay

Instead of just doing reviews at the end of the year or on an employee’s hire date, you should be doing them regularly to check in and make sure that everything is going according to plan. In the future of performance management, models like this will become much more commonplace as empathy takes the place of production quotas.

Automated Feedback and Self-Management are Taking Center Stage

Employees know what kind of feedback works for them. They just might not have the means to make the changes or an applicable example of where they are falling short so that they can course-correct. Automated analytics and data collection tools will help automate the feedback process, offering insight on how they are performing on several levels, with data-based insights that are timely.

Plus, managers aren’t going to be doing as much “managing” when it comes to performance. The increasing use of technology will shift this to the responsibility of the employee, while the manager’s focus becomes more about supporting the career path and career development of each employee. Taking a supportive role will allow managers to see what employees are really capable of and will give employees the freedom to grow in their roles without constant oversight and micromanaging.

Employees Will Be Creating Professional and Personal Goals

Goal-setting has long been a point of contention in performance management and performance reviews. Employees often feel like goals are set for them, and thus they feel disconnected or disinclined to achieve said goals. By giving employees the chance to be people, and to embrace the goals set before them, you will be creating a staff that strives to create and achieve all of their personal and professional goals related to their role.

Naturally, these are the kinds of employees that organizations today want to have on their payroll. However, they don’t come ready-made. You have to help people realize that they are people, not just part of your organizational machine and that their goals and interests matter. Then, you can show them how to create and accomplish all of their goals through modern performance management tools and methods.

The Future is Shifting for Employees and Employers Alike

Remember, you’re not alone in this shift. Employees are feeling the changes in performance management, too, and they’re doing their part to try to keep up. Of course, they can only do this if they’re given the best resources for the job. When organizations embrace the new ways of performance management, it will be easy for employees to feel valued and have the incentive to continue on the new path of PM and their success in the organization. It’s a shift that everyone is going through, so it’s time to stop acting like you’re on separate sides of the fence.

It’s not “us versus them” in this culture shift—it’s about creating a team that can work together to meet the new demands of performance management and deliver a better working environment from onboarding through to position changes and promotions. That starts by understanding that you’re not competing against your employees—you’re working with them to create a performance management model for the future of your organization that works for all.