Continuous feedback performance management boosts worker productivity

Continuous performance management is transforming an outdated process

Continuous feedback performance management can sound like too much of a bad thing: a steady drip of the awkward conversations and rating systems that most people felt subjected to just once a year. But those who use continuous performance management see it primarily as a positive source of encouragement, coaching and goal-setting that helps employees take control of their careers and increases their job satisfaction. Not incidentally, continuous performance management also helps companies improve their overall performance, manage workforces more economically and develop talent more effectively.

"It's really about enabling people to perform better in their jobs," says Stacia Garr, vice president and talent management research leader at Bersin by Deloitte. "That may seem very obvious, but if you think about historical performance management, I would say that was much more about documentation and assessment and not about actually driving improved performance outcomes."

Continuous performance management is becoming a source of analytics by constantly augmenting a digital repository of employees' skills, goals, training and accomplishments. It is often paired with employee engagement and survey software that takes the pulse of the workforce, providing metrics on factors like trust that have a proven impact on performance.

Greg Pryor, vice president of leadership and organization effectiveness at software vendor Workday, says continuous performance management and employee engagement processes give managers a reality check on their own performance -- from the people who report to them. "We look to hold our managers accountable for the conditions where people feel enabled," Pryor says.

This handbook examines continuous feedback performance management, a major trend in human resources, and shares the experiences of companies that have used it to transform how they manage their most valuable resource -- employees.