Performance management isn’t just a set of boxes to check. When done right, it can help motivate and align your people toward common goals, as well as creating a culture of growth and development within your organization.
However, just two in ten employees feel that their company manages their performance in a way that motivates them to excel in their roles, and only 14% strongly agree that their performance reviews inspire them to grow.*
Clearly, we’re doing something wrong here. If you’re still taking a traditional approach to performance management and running annual reviews with little to no feedback in between, there’s a better way.
Continuous performance management enables you to better engage employees and motivate them to work toward both individual and company goals. Here’s everything you need to know about continuous performance management, as well as three examples of companies that have effectively implemented this approach.
The what: Continuous performance management explained
Continuous performance management is a modern, people-centered approach to performance reviews that encompasses an ongoing, holistic process rather than having these on a one-off basis. It also contains more elements than traditional performance management — such as goal setting, exchanging feedback, and casual check-ins with reports.
Therefore, one of the biggest differences between a continuous performance management cycle and traditional performance management is how many touchpoints it provides between managers and team members. Some common elements of a continuous performance management system include:
- Feedback — Go beyond giving and receiving feedback and aim to create a broader culture of feedback within your organization. That means prioritizing continuous feedback in your company values and facilitating praise and spontaneous, constructive comments. For example, create a wins channel on Slack to share public praise, or use a tool with a built-in praise wall to give employee shoutouts more visibility.
- Competency frameworks — These give your people clear, professional roadmaps for growth within your company. You can also reference them when you write performance reviews, which makes the criteria you have for team members to excel and get promoted to the next level explicit and actionable.
- 360° reviews — Continuous performance management is about looking at employees holistically. In a 360° review, feedback is gathered from many different colleagues that work with the reviewee, making them a much more effective and unbiased way to consider how team members are doing, especially when compared with traditional 1:1 performance reviews.
- Self-assessments — These give employees the chance to think critically about their own performance and development by taking the time to self-reflect, identify areas of strength and areas for improvement, and from this, derive personal growth goals. For example, by having your people review their progress on their individual OKRs in their self-assessment can help them create actionable next steps for achieving their objectives.
- 1:1 check-ins — To monitor and support employees, encourage managers to hold informal weekly or biweekly 1:1 meetings. These only have to last about a half hour and give managers and reports a time and place to take a proactive approach to issues as and when they arise. Check-ins like this are the basis for close, trusting professional relationships.
- Goal-setting — Use cascading goals, OKRs, or SMART goals to align employee benchmarks with overall company objectives. Then, share comments and feedback on goals in order to track progress and make sure everyone’s on the same page, as well as see goal progress during 1:1 meetings and performance reviews.
- Analytics — Collect and understand the data behind what’s boosting and what’s stifling team members’ progress. Performance analytics give you insights into how you can best support your people, and a comprehensive manager dashboard gives you an overview of how you can build a high-performing team.
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Leapsome’s Competency Frameworks let you define the skills your people need to grow and move up.
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The why: 5 top benefits of continuous performance management
Almost three-quarters of professionals receive a performance review once a year or less. Continuous performance management is a better way to assess and inspire employees than the traditional annual review method. Here are some of the advantages of this modern, people-centered approach:
- More engaged employees — A vital part of continuous performance management is telling team members what they do well through instant feedback and praise. When your people feel recognized, they’re five times more likely to be connected with company culture and four times more likely to be engaged.
- Higher retention — Effectively managing team member performance makes people more likely to stay with organizations because of how it contributes to employee career growth and professional development. Indeed, companies that give their people regular feedback have a 14.9% lower risk of turnover.
- Increased staff well-being — Getting employee performance and recognition right significantly reduces rates of burnout, gives people a sense of accomplishment and appreciation for their work rather than feeling stressed, and makes team members ten times more likely to feel a sense of belonging with their organization.
- Greater productivity — When staff feel good at work, they’re more motivated and effective contributors. Organizations with a sound approach to performance management are 1.25 x more likely to report higher productivity than their competitors.
- Better financial performance — Continuous performance management isn’t just good for your people; it’s good for business. Companies that manage performance effectively are 1.48 x more likely to report better financial results than industry peers.
The how: Launch a continuous performance management process with Leapsome
A manual approach to goal-setting and reviews is cumbersome and hard to track, and it can become even more complicated when you try to implement a continuous performance management method.
Given that there are so many elements that make up a continuous performance management process, you need performance management software that enables you to bring everything together under one roof.
That’s where Leapsome can help. With our platform, you can monitor employee progress, set goals and benchmarks, share feedback and praise, and create custom learning paths for your people.
- Reviews lets you set up performance and 360° reviews using our best practice templates and frameworks — or create custom appraisals to fit your needs.
- Instant Feedback helps you build a culture of feedback and praise. Prompt people to share their perspectives more naturally and celebrate employee wins by giving high performers public shoutouts.
- Meetings makes it easy to build an agenda for your calls, summarize your conversations, and assign follow-up tasks, so performance reviews and check-ins are more effective and actionable.
- Competency Frameworks gives you criteria for evaluations and feedback and helps direct your employees’ career and development planning.
- Goals enables you to track individual, team, and company objectives, which keeps everyone aligned and creates a sense of ownership.
- Learning guides employees toward personal development goals with top-quality third-party content or custom learning materials.
Most importantly, these products fit together perfectly to keep everything connected, from the goals you set to the criteria you use to evaluate performance.
💪 Empower your employees to perform better
When you run continuous performance management with Leapsome, you give your people the feedback and resources they need to excel.
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3 examples of companies pursuing an ongoing performance management system
Through continuous performance management, SIDES helps managers make more informed decisions about team development. “We wanted to help our leaders be the career mentors they wanted to be and give them a tool that facilitates the detection of their team members’ strengths and areas for development,” explains Tara Todorovic, People Development Manager.
SIDES has built a successful continuous performance management strategy using Leapsome that helps managers be as objective and unbiased as possible. This approach has also helped to create a more positive workplace at SIDES, fostering a culture of feedback and praise.
“Before, we ran feedback cycles during employees’ probation period. However, SIDES plans to also set up biannual feedback cycles with Leapsome, ensuring every employee receives regular skills assessments and can further optimize development strategies.”
— Tara Todorovic, People Development Manager at SIDES
Blinkist has a cyclical approach to performance management that hinges on planning, goal-setting, continuous feedback, and annual 360° reviews. That means that feedback doesn't only happen once a year during the time of annual reviews, but rather is a regular workplace fixture.
“The option to request feedback through Leapsome is a powerful tool to signal to others that there’s a genuine wish to improve and grow and that honest feedback is welcome,” says Milica Radojević, Head of People. For Blinkist, continuous, direct feedback, both from the manager as well as peers and reports, is probably the most important element of their performance management cycle.
“People shouldn’t be kept in the dark about their performance, only to be caught off guard when they hear all of it at once during annual reviews. Therefore, continuity is key, both in terms of feedback and in terms of frequent expectation and goal check-ins, because expectations tend to be more fluid than we realize.”
— Milica Radojević, Head of People at Blinkist
CHRONEXT is a growing organization that needed to find a better way to manage performance, so they turned to Leapsome. “The tool provides us with a comprehensive overview of performance and behavior and consistently helps us develop and improve our individual performance and hence, the company’s overall performance,” Team Lead People & Organization Leonie Stratbüker describes.
By running 360° reviews and goal-tracking as a part of their continuous performance management process, the CHRONEXT people and culture team has seen an increase in their eNPS score, as well as a positive impact on employee development and performance.
“If you’re looking for a comprehensive feedback tool enabling your organization to profit from further modules — including surveys and goal tracking — and you’d like to use one efficient tool rather than several, I encourage you to use Leapsome.”
— Leonie Stratbüker, Team Lead People & Organization at CHRONEXT
Get performance management right — for better employee engagement & well-being
Long gone are the days of one annual review and radio silence in between. To engage your employees, make them feel better in their roles, and increase their chances of sticking around, turn to continuous performance management.
This approach is about being holistic, consistent, and people-centered. Implementing feedback, a competency framework, 360° reviews, self-assessments, regular check-ins, goal setting, and performance analytics can all help you run a successful cycle of continuous performance management.
Leapsome connects all these processes in our comprehensive people enablement software. Plus, all our products are integrated, eliminating knowledge gaps and empowering your managers to make fair evaluations and decisions that help employees progress.
💥 Spark productivity and motivation with better performance management
Leapsome brings all your performance management processes under one roof and helps you share continuous feedback with your people.
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