Reading time: 5 minutes
In these times of uncertainty and rapid change, many companies are adopting Continuous Performance Management (CPM), an agile approach to managing performance that supports growth to achieve business objectives. Here we share five benefits to CPM to help you engage senior leaders, busy managers and teams to make it a success.
The next decades will continue to be challenging for business performance. With a predicted economic slowdown combined with rising inflation, businesses will need to frequently rethink their growth strategies. Many companies are now adopting agile planning and working to increase flexibility, reduce risk and maximise growth opportunities.
And the annual, retrospective performance management process no longer fits this dynamic environment. Louisa Bench, British Council Global Talent and Development Director comments, “It wasn't supporting our business results…it really wasn't enabling us as an organisation in any way, there was a lack of focus on career development, progression and building capability.”
To combat this, organisations are adopting Continuous Performance Management (CPM), an agile approach to performance management with regular check-ins, feedback and re-setting of goals. As business managers are key to successful implementation of CPM strategies, it is essential to gain their buy-in and commitment. However, many HR teams find it challenging to engage busy commercial managers, resulting in a carefully planned CPM strategy failing to be implemented, missing a vital opportunity for growth.
How can you convince stakeholders to implement your Continuous Performance Management strategy to support growth and achieve your business objectives?
Read on to discover five benefits of continuous performance management.
1. Keeps goals current, clear and focused
Teams perform better when goals are clear, understood and regularly assessed. Companies that review goals each month perform better financially than those that do so once a year.
Through Continuous Performance Management, managers and employees set goals collaboratively and regularly assess goals and required outcomes through frequent, informal check-ins. This ensures a more responsive approach that handles challenges as they arise and provides more real-time feedback.
Here are more benefits of regularly assessing goals and objectives as part of Continuous Performance Management.
- Managers can regularly check that their teams’ priorities align with the organisation’s strategic objectives.
- Teams can focus on short-term goals, clarify any uncertainties and refocus priorities when needed.
- Goals can be dynamic and evolve quickly to respond to organisational as well as individual opportunities and threats.
Regular performance management is especially relevant for hybrid workplaces, especially when managers may not meet everyone on their team. In these situations, ensuring clear direction is essential.
2. Provides a real-time picture of performance
Frequent team conversations and one-to-one discussions provide a more recent and accurate overview of performance than the traditional, retrospective yearly review.
Continuous Performance Management helps both managers and teams get a real-time picture of performance, as it:
- avoids recency bias of annual reviews, which can focus more on the quality of the most recent work instead of the entire year’s
- ensures that external factors affecting performance are remembered and taken into consideration
- identifies skills gaps and low levels of performance more quickly, allowing timely follow-up with necessary support, training, coaching or mentoring.
Having a more precise insight into performance is especially useful during times of uncertainty or transformation. Yaprak Yesilada Yalcin, British Council Head of Talent Management says, “Continuous performance management is a key enabler of supporting transformation and change and building the capability of the organisation.”
3. Encourages honest, open communication
If your managers have many direct reports, performance reviews once or twice a year often consist of rushed, unproductive conversations.
Having regular, informal check-ins is a great way to foster open, transparent communication with team members, so that:
- employees feel more valued and can express their opinions freely, without embarrassment or fear of repercussions
- managers and team members can raise and resolve issues, leading to quicker progress in reaching objectives
- companies create a culture of continuous feedback, where everyone is more comfortable giving and receiving it.
Yaprak Yesilada Yalcin highlights another benefit, “Staff will allow themselves to make mistakes, and as an organisation, we need to allow them to learn from those mistakes.”
4. Fosters a culture of learning
Yaprak also emphasises how regular reviews and continuous feedback support organisations to develop a growth mindset, in terms of curiosity and openness to learning, exploration and experimentation.
There are several ways Continuous Performance Management creates a culture of learning:
- regular learning gets integrated into the flow of work, resulting in immediate impact
- individuals play an active part in their own development, taking greater responsibility for growing the skills they need to succeed
- skill development is aligned with the organisation’s strategic and performance objectives and priorities.
We know that today’s employees, especially millennials, want opportunities to learn new skills on the job. A learning organisation is more attractive to new employees, potentially making it an employer of choice.
5. Increases employee engagement
Many organisations today struggle to retain the right talent. Continuous Performance Management is one of the ways to hold on to valuable employees. In fact, companies that conduct frequent feedback have 14.9% lower turnover. Adobe Systems reported a 30% drop in turnover after adopting a Continuous Performance Management approach.
Globally, only 20% of employees feel engaged at work. But when managers and their teams regularly clarify objectives, discuss successes and challenges and give two-way feedback, employee engagement increases. Louisa Bench says, “It’s about providing a lot more autonomy to individuals. So, it is much less about task-based work and being able to monitor what somebody does on a day-to-day basis and much more around allowing them to do their work in a way that works for them.”
Here are some more benefits of Continuous Performance Management:
- regularly connecting individual objectives to the business objectives fosters an increased sense of belonging
- focusing on successes and how to make improvements leads to more positive, constructive interactions
- open, transparent communication fosters better rapport.
Building greater commitment to the team and organisation helps to retain employees.
Overall, recognising good performance and providing opportunities to build new skills makes employees feel more valued and engaged.
The benefits of Continuous Performance Management outlined above can help you convince key stakeholders to commit to implementing your CPM strategy. By taking an agile approach to performance management you can enable the growth needed to stay competitive in times of uncertainty and rapid change.
To make CPM a success, managers will need appropriate training and coaching, especially in communication skills.
Discover how you can upskill your business teams with our Communication Skills solutions.