5 continuous performance management trends for 2018

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Performance reviews are not only important for the growth of your business, but also in relation to employee matters of career progression and personal development.

Over the past 12 months, we have seen how organisations have increasingly become employee-centric and less process-driven. With leading companies such as Google, Deloitte and Microsoft realising that the traditional annual review process wasn’t working anymore, companies are rethinking their performance management processes and strategy in order to drive higher levels of engagement and personal development for better employee retention rates.

Over the course of 2018, we expect to see the popularity of continuous performance management trends to rise even more, with quality, growth and simplicity at the forefront of progress.

1. QUALITY AND QUANTITY

Companies of all sizes are now shifting away from the annual appraisal process to more regular, less formal, ‘check ins’ throughout the year to monitor progress and track feedback in real-time.

This allows managers to have meaningful conversations in bite-sized dialogues, ensuring that every success and difficulty that employees face can be discussed and subsequently worked on.

2. GROWING, NOT SETTLING

Performance management tools can help companies with large millennial workforces to plan development and growth opportunities. With 83% of millennials stating that growth and development opportunities are critical aspects when they look for a job [1], companies need to prioritise their workforces' development opportunities.

A modern approach to performance management encourages employees to plan out their desired personal development plans. When combined with regular ‘check ins’, managers and employees are able to have constructive conversations about their continual professional development (CPD).

This enables managers to advocate the investment of training in individuals to improve capability and drive higher performance. In turn, employees can clearly see their development plan and have open conversations about their progression and what they need to do to achieve it.

3. SIMPLICITY, NOT COMPLEXITY

Performance management systems should be easy to use and user-intuitive. By being ‘fit for purpose’ and flexible, the software will be able to support regular meaningful conversations and feedback.

Best-in-class software will be developed with user-experience at the forefront, and require little to no training for its use – it should encourage purposeful dialogue rather than preventing it with awkward, cumbersome processes that managers and employees are reluctant to use.

4. CONTINUOUS PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT, NOT APPRAISALS

Annual performance appraisals alone are falling out of favour and regular one-to-ones are becoming the norm when managing performance.

The principles of continuous feedback are simple but, as with most things, new habits take time to develop. An intuitive software should provide a structure to the conversation. This will actively encourage ways of managing performance, compared to a jumbled conversation where past achievements may be overlooked or forgotten.

5. POSITIVE, NOT NEGATIVE

The performance management process needn’t be dreaded! Successful performance management helps employees to focus on accessing resources and mentors to continuously improve their performance throughout the year.

This is a stark contrast to the yearly appraisal, which often demotivates employees during the anxious build up to the formal conversation in most cases.

Online performance management systems also have the added benefit of providing HR with visibility of those that are (and those that are not) completing the process, which will help to ensure the greater adoption of continuous performance management.

As we saw in 2017, rising performance management trends remove the pressure from managers and employees through the use of online systems, which allow for the formal annual review to be transformed into a quick reflection on past performance with more emphasis on what can be achieved in the future.