Continuous Performance Management is Essential to Your Strategic Plan

By Betterworks
July 7, 2021
3 minute read

Strategically implementing continuous performance management relies on consistent communication, buy-in from leaders, and intuitive software.

Performance management, when executed effectively, increases engagement, bolsters retention, and creates space for feedback, coaching, and recognition. But the implementation of performance management has historically been at best a headache for most leaders and a pain point for employees. 

But the way we work is changing. Teams and individuals are asked to do more dynamic work, adapt to new goals, and pivot or abandon their current work in favor of priorities. It only makes sense that traditional, once-a-year performance reviews aren’t designed to highlight and examine such work. 

Continuous performance management, a system designed to move away from static annual reviews, is designed for fast-moving teams, collaboration, ongoing feedback, and career coaching. As more companies look to drive growth, attract and keep top talent, and meet the changing demands of the market, continuous performance management must be folded into strategic planning. Here is an overview on best practices to incorporate continuous performance management into your strategic plan and create a foundation for individuals, teams, and managers to thrive.

Assess your current performance management system

If you’re struggling to cohesively get managers and employees to meaningfully engage in performance management even once a year, it might seem overwhelming to implement a cadenced process like continuous performance management. But you might be surprised to find managers and individual contributors who have pieced together their own form of continuous management: through 1:1 check-ins, retrospectives after projects, or team post-mortems.

Involving managers from the start is a great first step. This helps you get a deeper sense of the current landscape of performance management in your organization. It’s also an opportunity to involve key players from the start. As continuous performance management relies on the participation and implementation of managers, folding them into the new process right away will give you more direct information and allow those important individuals to feel heard and get excited about a new system that’s built to support them.

Bring senior leadership onboard

The behavior and mindset of senior leadership guides cultural sentiments in any organization. It’s imperative to get buy-in and enthusiasm from senior leadership when implementing continuous performance management. Any organizational change, in order to stick and be effective, has to be taken seriously and enthusiastically by leaders.

Additionally, senior leaders must be expected to use and follow the design of performance management like anyone else in the company. Continuous performance management done right involves all employees, regardless of where they sit on an org chart. 

Select a professional platform, software, or formalized system

Leveraging technology to facilitate continuous performance management is a necessary, vital key to formalizing a process that works equally for everyone. Software that enables managers, employees, and leaders to track goals, exchange feedback, and schedule 1:1 meetings will help ensure that the new process you’ve built actually gets used. Utilizing performance management software will also help you uncover useful data that will guide decision-making and prioritization.

Train, guide, and promote performance management

Advocating for continuous performance management is key to a successful program. Make sure everyone in your company understands the new system in place, why it’s being implemented, and how the updated process will benefit people and teams directly. Transparency is key when it comes to new ways of working, and there is no exception as it relates to performance management. 

If you’ve chosen to leverage a platform or specific software, look into the training options available. You might find that top-tier platforms offer specialized training, implementation guidelines, and customer support for HR. 

Communicate changes, benefits, and features

In order for continuous performance management to truly adhere to your strategic plans, repetition and communication is extremely important. Key leaders and HR managers need to repeat and highlight the benefits, changes, and features of the new process. A one-off email won’t suffice—communicating through a variety of methods (such as internal newsletters, in-person or virtual meetings, and incentives) means more people will remember and be excited about the change.

Reflect, refine, and improve your continuous performance management 

As with any new project or organizational shift, it’s important to assess the performance of implementing this new management system into your strategic plan. The only way to get better is by seeing what worked, where improvements could be made, and thinking future-first into creating a better system. Feedback isn’t just important for individual contributors—it’s vital to assess the work and how it’s done in organization as a whole.

The benefits of continuous performance management can’t be understated. An intuitive system that encourages individuals, teams, and managers to do their best and work within an ever-changing environment means consistent feedback, open conversations, and real change. 

Continuous performance management goes hand-in-hand with forward-looking strategic plans. The Betterworks platform has specifically designed software to support HR, leaders, managers, and individual contributors on implementing, using, and growing in their performance management journey. Click the link to learn more about our tools and benefits.