Continuous performance evaluation is how many modern companies excel. They have moved away from traditional performance management, which relies on metrics such as annual reviews, to determine employee effectiveness. Although this is a standard way for HR and managers to keep employees “updated” about how they are doing, this once-a-year occurrence isn’t exactly up-to-date. That’s why organizations are changing review processes from annually to daily with a continuous performance evaluation system.
The Agile Angle
The agile methodology is originally a software development method. But it has been adopted by other industries and functions, including HR teams.
Agile is a project-based system that uses fast development cycles called “sprints”. Among agile’s various features is the principle of learning from failures (as part of a Growth Mindset) to enable rapid optimization of any process. Central to this idea is a constant feedback loop where team members discuss what processes need to be changed.
Evaluation as Part of Continuous Performance Management
In terms of HR, continuous performance evaluation is part of “continuous performance management”. Like any agile process, this method assesses productivity on an ongoing basis, but here it is applied to employees. It is a continual, holistic process that leverages constant feedback. The feedback and assessment portion of continuous performance management is where evaluation comes into play. Essentially, the structure is as follows:
- Employee or team receive and perform task
- On a regular basis, teams and managers meet for one-on-one meetings where two-way feedback sessions are held
- Recommendations regarding the task, manager, and employees are reviewed and (potentially) implemented
- This process continues until the task is complete
Please note the following:
- Frequency of one-on-ones can vary according to the organization. The classic agile approach is for a daily review. But other organizations schedule this function every week, month, or even every three months.
- Topics to be discussed during a one-on-one are whatever is urgent at the moment, Typical subjects include unforeseen barriers; adjustments to timelines; the meeting of objectives; interpersonal issues; new goals; and action points.
- Managers and employees can still have general review sessions that follow the timing and format of a traditional performance management system, for example, detailed feedback and recommendations on a semi-annual or annual basis.
The Benefits of Continuous Performance Evaluation
One of the reasons for the adoption of continuous performance evaluation is that times have changed. New ways of work and new employee attitudes have made this practice more valuable than ever. Among its advantages are:
“Employee feedback” means comments and recommendations from managers to employees. As mentioned, agile methods are related to the Growth Mindset. Due to factors such as the War for Talent, ambitious employees in today’s workplace understand that the potentially negative comments that they receive during feedback sessions will only help them grow as professionals. Through the constant improvements required by continuous performance evaluation, they can now build their abilities at a much faster pace.
Increased Managerial Responsiveness
Let’s define “manager feedback” as that received by managers from employees. Under the two-way feedback system of a continuous performance evaluation framework, managers are also getting frequent advice on how to improve. In turn, this makes them better and faster at handling the needs of their workers, which allows projects to be run in a more efficient way while boosting employee engagement and retention.
Some managers feel that there are no clear annual cycles anymore. Companies can grow at various rates at different times. Similarly, in a technological world where “disruptive” is a popular term, serious competition can spring up overnight. All of this means that, when the pressure is on, regular schedules go out the window. In this environment, it’s no surprise that an estimated 86% of software firms have adopted agile methods as a way to grow more quickly. As this practice trickles down to other industries, related concepts such as continuous performance evaluation are enabling employees to keep up.
A Move Away from Outdated Concepts
The standard practice of performance management actually dates back to the early 1900s. It was originally used as a review process for the military, where individual assessment is necessary for promotion within the rigid structure of an army. But today’s companies have little resemblance to military institutions. Organizations that use an agile framework are more interested in team productivity than individual accountability. With the free flow of ideas and recommendations that are part of continuous performance evaluation, teams can improve as a group instead of as individuals, which is one of the weaknesses of an annual review system.
Growthspace for Continuous Performance Improvement
If you are applying a continuous performance evaluation methodology to employee teams, you are bound to discover that some individuals need to boost their skills. But in an agile environment, the team can’t wait for a training process that lasts months. To maintain a pace of skill building to match that of agile project management, upskilling needs a fast completion time.
In keeping with its innovative nature, Growthspace meets agile frameworks with agile L&D. Growthspace provides sprint-based courses that can conclude within a month, depending on the solution that you choose. Plus, in keeping with Growthspace’s goal-based course setup, each sprint includes constant opportunities for feedback and change. For fast L&D turnaround times that support an agile development framework, count on Growthspace.