A culture of change

As traditional business structures transition into dynamic networks of teams and people seek more diversity and personal growth from their careers, so too must performance management adapt to accommodate the changing needs of companies and individuals.

New studies show that this is now happening with performance management – and rapidly so.

High-performing companies realise that the conventional, annual staff appraisal that was forged in the 1970s is completely outdated.

A 2017 study of 10,000 global business leaders revealed that 82% believe that performance evaluations are a waste of time, and 45% thought that evaluations do nothing to motivate their staff.

There’s no room for obsolete processes in today’s agile and progressive leading companies – including global names, such as IBM, Adobe and Goldman Sachs. Leading companies such as these are re-designing performance management processes with real-world progress, outcomes and engagement in mind.

Goal-setting, incentives and a more fluid, continuous approach to feedback are the order of the day.

Manager coaching staff

Out with the old

Traditional performance evaluations generally tend to be a dry, vague and uncomfortable undertaking for manager and employee alike.

Managers (mostly) hate having to cast judgement on employees and fill out pointless HR documents, based on what they can remember about an individual’s work ethic for that past year. Despite the prospect of a pay rise, employees often find these appraisals to be a painful and possibly nerve-wracking experience.

All in all, this system doesn’t achieve any more than the bare minimum it’s designed to. Because process often comes before people.

Woman looking out office window

In with the new

Performance management is starting to revolve around creating more open discussions, regular check-ins and a shift of focus to professional growth and development for both individuals and teams.

Two-way feedback through employee-led performance check-ins is empowering individuals by giving them the confidence that their views and wellbeing are valued and important.

It’s also helping to break the rigid stigma surrounding performance evaluations with more comfortable, informal conversations with managers that involve setting achievable goals towards personal and professional development.

In turn, this gives managers a more accurate picture of how their teams are performing and progressing towards personal, team and organisational goals.

Female manager with her team

Tips on re-designing performance management

With the above in mind, here are a few tips on where to start if you’re looking to re-think performance management in your company:

Know your needs

  • Formal reviews and traditional, data-based performance ratings are still valuable to many companies. If you’re looking to adopt a more agile, frequent and goal-based approach, ensure that these changes will work with your company’s goals and not against them. Tackle change slowly so that you don’t outgrow processes that are still effective.

Get inspired

  • Look at other companies in your industry that are re-thinking performance management. Learn from the challenges that they may be facing – and overcoming – as this will save you valuable time and effort when starting from scratch.

Equip your managers

  • Continuous, constructive feedback is a cornerstone of new performance management styles. Managers should be proficient in providing regular coaching to their teams to gain momentum with personal development and goal-monitoring. Invest in leadership development training and incentives to facilitate this.

Team gathered around computer


Performance management is adapting and evolving to keep up with companies’ and individuals’ changing needs.

Companies that embrace continuous feedback and goal-oriented communication when evaluating performance foster stronger engagement and greater personal and professional development in their teams.