A well-rounded performance management process isn't just about measuring an employee's success in the past, it can be an excellent tool for helping them develop skills for the future. A performance management strategy that helps employees both look backward and plan forward supports a culture of continuous improvement.
While many HR teams want to make the performance process more effective and appealing, overhauling your entire process can be daunting. Adopting an agile approach can help you make meaningful changes over time without the pressure of rebuilding everything at once. An agile approach to performance management puts organizations in a better position to improve responsiveness, adaptability and execution – even in times of uncertainty or change.
Below, we'll share an overview of the main components of a performance management strategy to help you determine where you are in your journey and identify opportunities to adopt a more agile process.
Two types of performance management systems
Before digging deeper into the building blocks of agile performance management, it's important to understand how this approach differs from the more traditional process.
Traditional performance management
Traditional annual performance reviews are often associated with compliance and are designed to get a pulse on how employees are performing. While this system can be helpful at a high level, it leaves little room for development or a clear pathway to help your employees grow due to its rigidity.
Agile performance management
On the other hand, agile performance management is based on a continuous feedback model. Thus, the content of the formal review never comes as a surprise, as it's informed by ongoing, peer-based feedback. It also enables multiple touchpoints for employees to work with their managers to determine the best path forward.
Where are you in your performance journey?
Not all companies are ready for a full-scale change, so an agile, modular approach helps create a successful performance management strategy. By starting with certain building blocks, you can tackle quick wins or focus on critical areas of opportunity.
But before you can start making changes, you'll need to determine where you are in your existing performance process. Whether you lack a formal approach or already have a working system, there are various levers or building blocks, you can use to help you continually optimize and evolve your approach to performance management.
We've identified four key stages:
By coupling the knowledge of where you are in your journey with your understanding of your unique workforce, you can identify and prioritize the building blocks that will have the most impact. Tackling the process one component at a time removes the pressure and stress of pulling off a complete performance management overhaul.
Which stage best represents your existing performance process? Check out our latest ebook to learn more about the characteristics of each stage.
Guiding principles for agile performance management
As the world continues to change at an increasingly rapid pace, agility is essential to business success. Adopting an agile approach to performance management has the potential to improve employee engagement, motivation and retention – which ultimately results in a higher-performing organization.
Regardless of where you are in your journey, performance management isn't something you set and forget. Regularly take the time to assess the impact of your performance management process on an ongoing basis.
Keep the following principles in mind as you adapt and refine your process:
- Performance should develop and grow your people
- Review processes should be fair and objective
- Performance management should be straightforward for everyone involved
Learn more about how to apply these guiding principles to your existing performance management process in our HR guide to agile performance management.