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Continuous Performance Management - How to Get Started

The last five to ten years have seen nothing short of a revolution in the way organisations tackle performance management. During this time, the once universal annual appraisal has been replaced with a more modern, iterative approach – the continuous performance management model.


As a result, more businesses than ever are considering updating their performance management practises. But overhauling such a large process – one that touches every single employee in your organisation – is no small task.

That said, with careful planning and preparation, a seamless, successful transition is certainly achievable.

Secure senior stakeholder buy-in

Anyone who’s experienced organisational change knows that it’s a challenging process for most firms, with some resistance to be expected no matter the justification for the changes. Securing buy-in from key stakeholders ensures the rest of the workforce has a strong, united example to follow.

Take some time to walk the senior leadership team through the business benefits of implementing an agile performance management model, answering any questions and addressing concerns in the process.

As an added bonus, intelligent, targeted questions from senior leadership may highlight issues that hadn’t previously been considered.

Seek out best practise

There has never been a better time to implement a continuous performance management model. What was once considered a risky and unproven methodology is now very much a part of the mainstream HR landscape.

Pioneering firms such as Deloitte and Microsoft have paved the way for those looking to follow in their footsteps. These days there’s a wealth of knowledge out there to be drawn upon, including some of the common challenges encountered and lessons learned.

Using the success stories as a basis can help to identify tools, processes and best practises that may help you with your own implementation.

Apply a tailored approach

Every organisation is different, so while learning what worked for others is certainly useful, it’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to performance management.

Take what you’ve learned from outside and apply it to the unique conditions that exist within your own business. Factors such as the complexity of your organisation, the industry in which it operates, and the location, culture and makeup of the workforce will all have an impact on what ‘good’ looks like for you.

Prepare your personnel

Something that’s all too often overlooked when key processes are changed or introduced is the readiness of the workforce. With its greater emphasis on coaching and development, the continuous performance management model demands a great deal more from managers than simple annual appraisals ever did.

Appropriate training should be provided to ensure all managers understand how to conduct meaningful, high-quality performance check-ins and provide structured, constructive feedback.

Reap the benefits

Organisational change takes time and careful planning. But once the wheels are in motion, the benefits to be had from implementing a continuous performance model are typically felt very early on.

Take technology firm Adobe as an example, who saw employee attrition fall by as much as 30% soon after implementing an agile approach to performance management. Or Cargill, who reported 70% of employees surveyed feeling valued due to regular check-in meetings with their managers.

The continuous model of performance management is an incredibly powerful tool that is capable of changing the culture of an organisation almost overnight. With a little planning and foresight, it can be successfully rolled out across your business.

Hope Mears Østgaard

Hope Mears Østgaard, 26 October 2018

Hope Mears Østgaard is Senior Vice President Marketing at CatalystOne. She loves tech marketing and has over the course of her career built the marketing teams for successful growth of several SaaS companies. She is a passionate leader, tech advocate and communicator.

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