Continuous performance management: Fueling growth and retention in the workplace

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As an HR leader, a big part of your role is fostering a good company culture that encourages retention and employee growth. You understand that investing in your employees is not optional, in fact, LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report revealed that 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. To address this, HR teams have made “career growth opportunities” a key benefit on careers pages and job applications to help attract applicants. How are your teams tracking individual performance and measuring against personal growth goals? In this article, you will learn how HR teams can cultivate a culture that promotes continuous performance management year-round and help employees reach their goals. Let’s start with the basics.

What is continuous performance management?

Continuous performance management is an ongoing approach to employee performance that focuses on regular feedback, goal setting, coaching, and development. Unlike the traditional once-a-year evaluation, this approach emphasizes real-time communication, agile goal-setting, and individualized development plans.

Sounds great in theory, right? I know what you’re thinking. “Our teams try to prioritize one-on-ones and employee development, but there’s never enough time in the day.” Time is a known constraint, but having flexible online platforms that allow you to communicate, manage and track your performance can help.

Ways to ensure continuous performance management in the workplace

Prioritize regular check-ins

HR leaders should encourage frequent one-on-one meetings between managers and employees to discuss progress, challenges, and provide feedback. With time being a factor, it’s no surprise the frequency and length of regular check-ins will vary. But there are many ways your team can check-in with each other; in person meetings, surveys, or online forums through your Talent Management System (TMS). Regardless of the medium, regular check-ins should be seen as opportunities to focus on collaborative problem-solving, goal alignment, and career development discussions. 1 in 5 employees is unsatisfied with the frequency of feedback from their direct manager (Steben, 2022).  

Encourage real-time feedback

Waiting for quarterly or annual reviews to give feedback is not the most efficient way to help your employees develop or succeed. Instead of waiting for annual evaluations, HR leaders can promote a culture of feedback in which employees receive ongoing, constructive feedback from their peers, subordinates, and managers. (Did you know, nearly 1 in 3 employees reported wanting more peer feedback?) It’s always best to provide positive (and constructive) feedback in person. But keeping a written record of performance feedback will make tracking employee progress and growth easy. Leveraging a tool like a talent management system to keep record of  can help develop and retain talented individuals in an organization.

Require thoughtful goal setting for all employees

Now, most organizations require some HR leaders to facilitate the process of goal setting, especially for managers and above. But how are you tracking all your employees' goals? Whether entry-level, specialized, or director-level – all employees need to feel your organization is investing in their future.  

Implementing a goal framework promoting continuous performance management can help keep employees accountable and managers on track. All employees need to have access to view, update or comment on their goal progress at any time. It’s important the goals align with business objectives, but personal goals for employees can be beneficial too.  For example, in a customer-facing role, an introverted new hire wants to grow their confidence and be more outspoken. While this is a personal goal, it can positively impact the customer experience and therefore aid the business.  

Support skill development for employees

It's important that your organization offers continuous learning and development opportunities through a learning management platform. In addition to required training and certifications, what kind of self-elected professional development training can employees do to better their skill set?

Offer course variety in your LMS 

Offering a variety of courses, in a variety of mediums, and promoting a culture where managers encourage employees to improve their skills can help employees feel valued.

Continuous performance management and learning can be achieved in the workplace, even if it’s not always physically “in” the workplace. Read our paper, “The new way of learning, for the new way of working” to learn how you and your team can stay engaged.  

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