February 28, 2018

The one thing your HR team should invest in this year

BY: Charles Watson
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Three reasons to get off the fence about continuous performance management.

You’ve probably heard of continuous performance management, but you might have ignored the memo. And nobody could blame you. There’s no shortage of ‘hot new HR trends’ that never quite live up to their hype.

But continuous performance management is different.

If you invest in one thing in 2018, it should be this – the movement away from static, annual or semi-annual performance management towards a more continuous dialog. A system where you set agile, collaborative, motivating goals then build a continuous feedback loop to optimise progress towards them. Employees are ready, there are tons of examples of success and there are now strong, easy to use tools on the market to support continuous performance management.

There’s no excuse – its time to drive the change and your employees and the business will be so happy you did. Keep reading and you’ll learn how good it can be.


#1 – Optimize employee performance

As with all things new, the big question is this: can it impact the bottom line? Smarter processes, cutting edge trends and sexy technologies are all well and good, but proving that investment drives performance is the name of the game.

Where continuous performance management has the biggest impact is where it starts - through goal setting. Not just any goal setting. Great goal setting. (Here’s how to set great goals.)

And through having continuous discussions about progress towards those goals. Not just any discussions. Great discussions.

What do great discussions look like? We’ll go into more detail in our next blog, but the basics are:

  • Tell employees in advance how you’re evaluating their performance
  • Seek feedback from anyone who’s worked closely with that employee
  • Focus most time on the positives but do coach for improvement if needed
  • Set the genuine intention to help the employee improve
  • Remember – this is a conversation  
  • Make sure there are no surprises coming into the discussion

When you set collaborative, challenging, flexible, relevant goals, and check-in regularly with employees about those goals, performance improves. This is because your people will focus time in the places that drive most value for the business. And because you motivate them to continue working hard with goals that help drive forward, not hinder. And because you’ll identify challenges earlier, which will keep everyone on course.


#2 – Increase employee engagement

People can perform well without being engaged, but not forever. An engagement problem will eventually become a performance problem and those start costing real money, fast.

(Consider the 2016 Gallup finding that more engaged organisations enjoy a median 20% more profitability than less engaged organisations, for instance.[1])

Continuous performance management nips the problem in the bud, increasing employee engagement by integrating employees’ personal goals with the organisation’s goals. That takes collaborative goal setting between manager and employee, not cascading (dictating) one-size-fits-all goals from the top down.

That disconnect between your goals and your people’s goals is why traditional goal setting is so ineffective. Employees today expect more control over the way they spend their time at work.

Continuous performance management works so well because you’re inviting employees into the performance management process. You work together to set the context and you empower the individual to set the content for their role.

So employees still work towards important organisational goals but those goals are better integrated with their individual career aspirations. They’re not just working to increase sales (your goal), for example. They’re working to increase sales by growing confidence and building negotiation skills (their goal).

Which means they’re more motivated, because they’re not just meeting an extrinsic goal but an intrinsic goal. And when they hit walls, you’re continually providing the tools and support to climb over them.   

And that, in a nutshell, is why 90% of organisations using continuous performance management have seen improvements in employee engagement.[2]


#3 – Make smarter decisions  

There are insights hidden in your data, but many HR teams don’t know how to unlock them. Which means there are easy wins you’re not cashing in.

91% of organisations agree, continuous performance management gives you more and better data to inform your people decisions. [3] Decisions like - who to promote, who to pay more, and who needs performance support.

Which goes a long way to tackling bias, which goes a long way to promoting diversity, which links back to improved engagement and organisational performance.

And it means cost-savings, too. Because you can allocate resources more efficiently, so everyone gets what they need – but nobody gets what they don’t. Like training the specific employees that’ll benefit, and not those who won’t. Or targeting your retention efforts on the right people, at the right time.

Continuous performance management – and the tools that power it – give you the data to amplify everything HR does well, by cutting the guesswork out of your decision-making.


Embrace continuous performance management

You’d be stunned how many forward-thinking, exciting companies are behind the curve on this, but legacy attitudes to performance management are starting to noticeably hamstring growth. The companies driving an evolution towards more dialog in performance management are experiencing remarkable outcomes.

Employees today expect better – and they’ll vote with their heads, their hearts and their feet. In a context where agile start-ups disrupt international enterprises almost overnight, continuous performance management is the crucial transformation HR should embrace.

And it’s easier than you think, with TalTrack’s smart platform. Find out how it works in this short video, then get your free 45-day trial by emailing [email protected] (Complete with all product features, basic systems integration and training for managers and employees. Because it works, and we’re happy to prove it).


[1] Gallup, Q12 Meta-Analysis Report 2016, p29.

[2] Deloitte, Global Human Capital Trends 2017, p65.

[3] Rock et al., ‘Is transforming performance management worth it?’ Cited in Deloitte, Global Human Capital Trends 2017, p67.

About the author Charles Watson

Watson leads the TalTrack team and is a proven marketing and sales executive with over 25 years’ experience developing and managing results oriented, customer-focused and revenue driven teams. He is an operational and innovative partner to HR on critical and complex organizational and leadership issues such as employee engagement, talent development, corporate values, acquisition integration and cultural change.