Moving towards continuous performance management

Document revision

This week, we are pleased to present something a little different – a post offered to us by David Mizne from the award winning 15Five blog on methods for working continually towards continuous performance management… continuously.  I’m pretty sure there are at least two continuity errors in that last sentence, but you get my gist. 

Anyhow – here is the advice from Miz…


Surveys indicate that annual performance reviews offer little value to employees. Team members are actually far more engaged when they have the opportunity to receive consistent feedback throughout the year. Meeting with a supervisor but once a year to discuss an employee’s performance doesn’t provide them with the insights they need to improve.

Managers and HR professionals have begun to address the deficit of once-a-year reviews by shifting towards a continuous performance management approach. By regularly checking in with employees, managers can make sure they’re keeping the right priorities, offer them resources for building their skills, and recognize them for their achievements on a more frequent basis.

Interested in implementing this approach in your organization? If so, keep the following points in mind. They’ll help you develop employee performance management processes that offer genuine value to your workers and the company as a whole.

1. Discuss Your Options

Ideally, all managers throughout your organization will use the same employee management system. This ensures every department reaps the benefits of a continuous feedback approach with better team communication. It’s also helpful when employees shift roles; if an employee begins working for a different manager, they won’t have to adjust to a new method of receiving and giving feedback.

That’s why HR should discuss this topic with managers before making any official changes to the performance review process. Find out what managers already do to provide their workers with feedback. Ask if there are any aspects of the current system they want to maintain. Find out where they believe the most improvement is necessary. Their insights can help you develop a system that everyone feels comfortable with.

2. Highlight the Benefits

Employees aren’t the only ones dissatisfied with the traditional performance review process. According to a survey, a mere 4 percent of HR professionals believe their organization’s performance management system is actually effective, meaning 96 percent are unsatisfied.

That said, understanding why the current system doesn’t work isn’t the same as seeing why a new system will be any better. You need to promote the benefits of continuous performance management enthusiastically in order to shift the entire company in a new direction.

Citing valid statistics is key to getting your point across. Let management know that businesses which implement continuous performance management systems typically have a nearly 15 percent lower turnover rate than businesses which don’t provide regular feedback.

Workers who don’t get consistent feedback tend to be disengaged, while nearly half of all highly-engaged employees report receiving weekly feedback from their supervisors. Additionally, 65 percent of employees surveyed report wanting to receive feedback more often.

In other words, adopting a continuous performance management system saves the business money by reducing the turnover rate, while also boosting revenue by ensuring workers are more engaged. When managers see the concrete benefits these systems offer, they’ll be more likely to understand why making the switch is necessary.

3. Offer Training

No management system is valuable if individual managers don’t know how to implement it. So when putting a new feedback system in place, it’s also important to provide management with thorough training. You need to ensure all team leaders throughout the organization know how to use the new tools and processes you’ve adopted. They’ll generally be more enthusiastic about the changes if they feel prepared, too.

4. Prepare Employees

Although managers will be the ones expected to provide feedback through a continuous performance management system, employees should also be encouraged to provide input.

Give your staff a chance to suggest ways a new system could improve on your current processes. Once you’ve decided to implement the new system, let your employees know how this will impact their schedules and responsibilities throughout the week. When management and employees are prepared, the transition to a new system is seamless.


Many organizations are revamping their annual review process to include ongoing performance conversations, which takes into account the needs of the modern workforce. What today’s employees desire most is personal growth as well as learning and development opportunities. Through a continuous performance management approach, managers will be able to provide these opportunities as they arise in real-time rather than squeezing in all this valuable feedback one time each year.

Assistant Librarian (Promotions) at the University Library. An enthusiastic advocate of libraries, diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice for all, inside and outside the workplace.

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