How to Build a Best-In-Class Performance Management Strategy for 2020 and Beyond

Achievement and business goal success concept

As organizations redefine the way they handle performance management, they are employing different strategies to make the ongoing performance management process more effective and increase employee engagement.

Here are six examples of how companies are implementing a best-in-class performance management strategy for their teams.

#1: Transparent Feedback

Historically speaking, performance reviews have tended to be one-sided. Managers give direct feedback to employees, and employees passively listen. By widening the lens, the employee receives a broader picture. Incorporating feedback from peers, clients, direct reports, and others enables the employee to better understand how they are perceived by those they work closely with.

TIP: In order to transition to a culture of transparent feedback, upskill employees on how to give and receive feedback that is constructive and highlights strengths and areas for improvement. Additionally, encourage and train managers to be champions of the process and encourage proactive, transparent feedback.

#2: Development Coaching

To help support a smooth transition, organizations must identify the appropriate channels to communicate the changes and build a timeline for when those changes will be announced. Communication should occur often and gradually. Organizations should build a coalition of supportive leaders to help deliver the key messages and garner support for the new process.

TIP: Coaching should be about active listening and appreciative inquiry. Ask questions to learn more information like:

  • “What would you do in this situation?”
  • “Why did you come to this conclusion?”
  • “How would you approach that situation differently in the future?”


#3: Check-ins

Companies embracing ongoing performance management are now implementing “check-ins” to support the growth and development of employees. While they vary by organization, check-ins are typically informal performance conversations initiated by either the manager or the employee. Many Talent Management systems allow individuals to upload documentation for one-on-one meetings with managers to track progress and notes. Check-ins help employees understand how they are progressing against their goals throughout the year versus only receiving feedback during review cycles. It also allows goals to be updated as organizational priorities change.

TIP: Wondering if check-ins are taking place? Measure how frequently your managers are meeting with their direct reports by using a system to record check-ins.

#4: Mobile Goal Setting

With the proliferation of digital channels, many employees are turning to mobile devices to improve performance tracking and accommodate employees in real time. If an organization has a performance management solution with a mobile app or responsive design, managers can easily record conversations on-the-go with employees and keep track of goals and progress. This approach simplifies goal management for employees that are working in the field.

TIP: Build an easy-to-find button on your performance management system homepage, so managers can quickly find where to go to track conversations with direct reports and employees can see how they are making progress against their goals.

#5: Employee Reward Programs

Employee rewards programs support the performance process by incentivizing employees to develop and grow in their career, and in return, help organizations retain quality talent in the workplace. Many Talent Management platforms have tools that organizations can leverage to track development and performance feedback. For example, companies can provide badges to employees for completing learning courses. They can also allow employees to use badges to recognize their colleagues for strong performance on a project or task. Those badges can be redeemed for specific prizes, and they can be inserted into the employee’s performance review to show they have worked towards developing in their role/careers.

TIP: Encourage healthy competition in the workplace by providing high-value items (think Fitbit, iPad, etc.) to employees who reach a certain number of badges.

#6: Goal Alignment

The purpose of goal alignment is to showcase how each employee in an organization is directly affecting the firm. This creates synergy within a company as individuals work collectively toward a common objective. It also ensures that employees create relevant goals that are meaningful to the organization. Providing visibility into what is important to the company and how the individual can contribute, assures the employee that the work they are doing is meaningful.

TIP: Use your organization’s Talent Management system to manage organizational objectives and allow managers and employees to align individual goals to those objectives. As progress against individual goals is tracked, also update organizational goals so that employees can see company progress.

To learn more about implementing a best-in-class performance management strategy for your organization, check out our Performance Management eBook.

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