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This content is part of the Essential Guide: The essential guide to managing HR technology trends

continuous performance management

Contributor(s): Dan Ring

Continuous performance management, in a human resource management context, is the supervision of an employee's work through one-to-one discussions and ongoing feedback from supervisors and regularly scheduled check-ins.

It occurs more often and is more flexible and less formal than the traditional employee appraisal process, though both types are aimed at improving performance and monitoring personal and organizational goals.

Continuous performance management is a growing trend in human capital management (HCM) and can take place virtually any time, including daily or on a regular weekly or biweekly schedule. It can be facilitated by software or through phone calls and meetings.

Companies often use the continuous method as a supplement to the written annual review, which faces criticism because it is too labor intensive, dwells on the past and puts too much emphasis on categorizing and rating employees. In a high-profile move, General Electric ended ratings in 2016 for all 180,000 salaried employees and switched to continuous performance development and a slimmer version of the annual review.

In addition to performance management software for annual reviews, vendors offer mobile and desktop applications to allow for frequent feedback and coaching. SAP SuccessFactors, for example, in early 2016 introduced a continuous performance management application that includes options such as allowing an employee to track goals and accomplishments or to ask a manager or another worker for rapid feedback.

Applications in the category often measure progress on goals with visuals or charts, display alignment with company-wide goals or allow employees to comment on each other's work. A major objective of the applications is to increase employee engagement because research links engagement to better business outcomes.

Cornerstone OnDemand, Halogen, Ultimate Software and Workday are other established vendors offering continuous performance applications. Newer vendors include BetterWorks, 7Geese, Reflektive , TINYpulse, Workdboard and Zugata .

This was last updated in October 2016

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