Frequently Asked Questions on Continuous Performance Development

September 10, 2018 Sarah Mulcahy

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One of my favorite parts of my job is collaborating with the WorkHuman Analytics and Research Institute on Globoforce’s annual employee survey. There’s a lot of talk about what HR and business leaders should do when it comes to evaluating performance. But in the end, we are talking about people. How do different performance development strategies impact the humans in your organization? What would they change about the review process?

The full report will be out next month, but I thought I’d give our blog readers a sneak peek at the data from our survey of more than 3,600 full-time workers. A common theme we see is the need for more concise and more frequent communication. The organizations that get this right see big payoffs in terms of respect and trust. Employees who check in with their manager on a daily basis are more than 2x as likely to respect their manager and nearly 3x as likely to trust their manager.

This is also a theme that was discussed in our webinar last month, Drop the Playbook: Keep Performance Development Simple and Human, co-presented by Rosette Cataldo, vice president, performance & talent strategy at Globoforce, and Cliff Stevenson, principal analyst at Brandon Hall Group.

According to recent Brandon Hall research, 70% of companies are changing their performance process because more frequent feedback is needed. And yet, only 47% of organizations have a program in place to help managers be better coaches and mentors.

A key ingredient in moving to more frequent conversations and feedback is having a foundation of positivity. That’s something I discuss with Rosette in the latest WorkHuman Radio embedded at the top of this post.

Beyond improving communication, there are many other considerations that need to be made when revamping your performance process. Below I share a few questions we received during the webinar, with answers from Rosette and Cliff. We’re all on this performance journey together – testing and learning to make it simpler and more human for everyone!

Audience question #1: How do you recommend aligning compensation and performance without using ratings?

Rosette: Forward-thinking organizations are rethinking the typical merit increase and using the wisdom of the crowd to give greater rewards and recognition (either monetary or points-based) based on the work that’s actually being done. Remove the onus of the salary increase on solely the manager’s shoulders and opinion or the calibration committee’s opinion. The crowd is actually very thoughtful. The manager is not always around to see all the work that is being done. Of course, make sure cost of living is always being taken care of.

Cliff: I’m a big proponent of separating compensation from performance. There are still jobs where pay can be a motivator, but you have to understand the human mind and how it works. Merit pay doesn’t necessarily motivate for white collar or creative jobs. It’s a whole other discussion on compensation management, but that’s another way to think about it.  

Audience question #2: Do you have recommendations for just-in-time training?

Rosette: The best way to serve it up is to keep it simple. Use discussion points, not a long narrative. Overly engineering coaching can be overkill. Less is more in the new world of performance.

Audience question #3: How can organizations shift from individual-based performance management to team-based performance management?

Rosette: Organizations are becoming flatter. With that we are seeing things like team goals, team check-ins, and team feedback, and the ability to check in with anyone, not just the manager.

Audience question #4: Are people really moving away from the rating system?

Cliff: I’ve been writing our performance management research for years now. This is the first year that there are more companies in some sort of continuous conversation model than aren’t; 54% of organizations are at least going to supplement, if not outright get rid of, ratings. Seven out of 10 said the reason is they need more frequent feedback. We have a more distributed workforce. Trying to manage those groups can be tough without moving to a more frequent feedback type of model.

About the Author

Sarah Mulcahy

Sarah is senior content marketing manager at Workhuman. When not writing and reading about all things culture, leadership, recognition, and appreciation, she enjoys iced coffee, running, and spending time with her daughters, Mabel and Eva.

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