The issues with performance reviews far outweigh the benefits. In fact, annual performance reviews can be actively damaging to employee morale and development. It is impossible to cover an entire year’s worth of performance in a single meeting, let alone solidify clear goals for the future.
Rather than thinking of evaluations as an annual event, you must make it part of the weekly routine in your organization. Real-time or continuous performance management (often with the help of the right software) is a rapidly growing approach that offers a number of advantages compared to annual performance reviews. In this post, we’ll look at some of the key requirements to successfully adopt the regular performance management system.
Best Practices for Continuous Performance Management
- Regular Communication
Effective performance management requires open lines of communication throughout your business. Issues with employee performance should be brought up when they’re noticed, and ideally before they have a major effect on your organization. Similarly, employees should be recognized for their efforts regularly, not after the fact.
Consistent communication ensures that your employees have clear expectations, so by the time your quarterly or bi-annual review comes around, nothing comes as a surprise. With the continuous performance management system, performance reviews are more strategic and are based on documentation of your employee’s work instead of your personal views of them, which is a common mistake.
- Clear Templates
Templates are an easy way to standardize the review process throughout your business. They allow you to tailor each evaluation to your company’s larger goals. Review templates must guide the discussion in a way that is productive for both sides and relates to the most important factors for each role.
Rather than being solely directed at past performance issues, each evaluation should include at least some discussion of future plans. For example, if a manager documents an issue, they should also be required to add information about how they plan to address it. Remember that performance reviews are intended to improve productivity, not simply cover previous successes and failures.
- Peer Feedback
Managers can sometimes offer valuable ideas, but peers and coworkers are often in a better position to provide truly relevant feedback. You’ll need to develop an environment of open communication before you can gather honest feedback. This is one of the key reasons why fostering open lines of communication must be at the center of your company culture.
Once employees get in the habit of offering and receiving feedback from their peers, they’ll quickly grow comfortable with the process. Make sure to reinforce the idea that both positive and negative feedback should be documented. Also, stress the fact that honest feedback is extremely valuable. It is typically easier for employees to give negative feedback if it is framed as a suggestion for the future rather than a criticism of past behavior. It should not be considered as criticism, but rather an insight into how things could be done differently.
- Focus on Improvements and Business Goals
It is all too easy to get bogged down on the performance of individual employees when conducting regular performance reviews. This isn’t always the best strategy. Of course, considering how each person in your organization has performed over a period of time is important. However, you must also look at how much they have improved since the last performance review. Also, look at how much they have contributed to the company’s goals.
When you highlight improvements in an employees work output/quality, he/she is motivated. It is important to set measurable goals after each performance review and let every employee in your organization know the part that he/she has to play towards achieving that objective. That way, everyone knows their duties clearly and can focus on them.
- Performance Management Training
Managers and employees at all levels need a clear understanding of the continuous performance management system as well as its benefits. They should be able to confidently adopt the practice, and know what their role is in the new system.
Also, managers should document honest feedback throughout the year for continuous performance management to be effective. They can then refer to this information to make more informed business decisions. If your managers fail to document problems with performance, it can be hard to justify certain decisions later on. Managers have to understand that documenting reviews are crucial to the continuous performance management system.
As part of the continuous performance management training in your organization, managers and supervisors must be taught how to use your chosen performance management software solution properly. Failure to do this will amount to chinks in your company’s armor, and this may hamper your efforts to implement a continuous performance management system.
Benefits of Continuous Performance Management
There are numerous benefits of continuous performance management. It improves efficiency in your organization and keeps employees motivated. Also, you have a thorough database of each employee’s performance over time. This is very important for making major decisions.
Continuous performance management takes away the pressure associated with annual performance reviews. Rather than worrying about how they’d perform in the end-of-year review, continuous performance management allows you to “touch base” often with everyone in your organization. Therefore, employees can identify their shortcomings and focus on improvement with clearly defined roles. Also, it ensures that both employees and management are on the same page.
Annual performance reviews are nearly obsolete. The most progressive organizations in the world today are shifting to a continuous performance management system. The fact is that companies who fail to adapt are already losing ground to the competition. Continuous performance management is a more flexible and efficient approach that allows for more communication and better results.
Although the continuous performance management system may sound complex, it is very easy to implement. It is not only important for multinationals, but also small and mid-sized businesses stand to benefit from this. All that is required is that you use the right software and promote the right culture within your organization. There are numerous performance management apps on the market today. The most important things to keep in mind when choosing software is its interface, ease of use, customizability, and goal management.
The tips highlighted in this post will help you develop more effective practices and build a company culture that promotes engagement and a drive to meet your company’s targets.