The Shift to Continuous Performance Management and Enablement

Published on 
Apr 27, 2023
Many organisations are moving from traditional models to modern approaches by discussing performance in real time and that has made all the difference. Get to know the whats, hows and whys of performance management to keep performance and growth at the top of your mind.

🤔 What is continuous performance management?

Continuous performance management is a practice in which employees regularly receive feedback and have ongoing discussions with their managers about their performance. This approach allows for more frequent check-ins and the opportunity to address any issues or challenges as they arise, rather than waiting for a formal annual review. This can lead to improved communication and overall job satisfaction for both employees and managers.

To sum it up, continuous performance management empowers people to do their best work in line with the needs of the organization.

Some amazing benefits of performance management include:

  • Boost in productivity.
  • Increased employee engagement.
  • Higher rates of employee satisfaction.

Seen from the other way around, poor performance management can have negative consequences on the employee experience as well as for the company as a whole. Here are some ways performance management systems can fail:

  • Lack of communication
  • Ineffective goal-setting
  • Managers may not lead by example

📈 The evolution of performance management systems

Sources: HBR, Darwinbox

🪜Stages of a continuous performance management cycle


The HR team figures out exactly what kind of performance is expected from employees. This means defining what good performance is based on objectives that have been set for the company.

Job descriptions are useful to determine what is expected of each employee. Involve your workforce in the process, let them know what is expected of them, and understand their expectations. The more involved they are in the process, the more accountable they become.

While there are bound to be some basic requirements, performance plans should be as flexible as possible, allowing changes to be made according to changes in business objectives or requirements. Remember that the goals set have to be clear, achievable, and aligned with your overall business goals.


Offsite monitoring can be quite challenging. Use the latest technology and tools to ensure an accurate idea of each person’s contribution to the overall process. 

Track every goal set in the planning phase. It allows you to constantly measure the performance against expectations and provide feedback on each individual’s progress. Use employee performance review software that gives you real-time insights and provides analytics about every activity team members carry out.


This is where you look at the information you’ve gained using the performance management cycle and understand the key issues. You may gain insights into why one employee is performing better than another or understand what is causing a particular employee to have poor performance. 

Discuss the results with your employees and talk to them about how far they can achieve the desired goals. Let them know how you think they can improve. Also, make sure you ask them for input on how you can help them get there. If an employee has done great, their performance review discussion could give you performance review tips on how they managed to do better than the others.


The fourth part of your performance management cycle is where you reward your team members for what they have achieved. Employee recognition is a vital part of the performance management cycle. If you want your team to keep trying to meet the desired goals, they need to be rewarded appropriately. 

Being recognized by leadership for their work efforts can be very meaningful for an employee. Spend some time coming up with employee recognition ideas that are motivating and often a surprise for employees, who may assume their contributions are going unnoticed. This will go a long way!

Learn more about the performance management cycle here.

🏗️ Building block model of continuous performance management process

Fitzgerald and Moon's Building Block model set the foundation of modern performance management. 

It forms a forward-looking performance management framework used primarily in the service industry. The model connects an organization's strategy and objectives with the employee's target and motivation. It can establish performance expectations, give feedback, and help employees improve their performance.

The building block model is broadly classified into dimensions, standards, and rewards.


Dimensions are performance criteria defining what an employee is expected to achieve in a given period. It helps us look into six dimensions that are categorized as downstream and upstream results. 

Downstream performance management results focus on assessing past performance, such as competitiveness in the market and financial performance. It focuses on improvements in employee productivity, performance, and motivation. 

  • Competitiveness: Ability to maintain competitiveness, communicativeness, and integrity.
  • Financial Performance: Ability to stay productive and keep up the engagement level in a way that doesn't affect the organization's financial standing. 

Upstream results evaluate the organization's future or trending performance, such as quality of service, flexibility, resource utilization, and innovation. It helps in improved communication between managers and employees and improves decision-making. 

  • Quality of Service: Ability to deliver work with quality and consistency. 
  • Flexibility: An employee's responsiveness to change in business performance. Ability to cope with the increase in workload or change in direction. 
  • Resource Utilization: Ability to use resources efficiently to achieve said objectives. 
  • Innovation: Ability to devise new ways of doing things and develop new ideas to improve processes and productivity.

All in all, dimensions can help to reduce turnover and absenteeism. It further improves customer satisfaction and organizational performance.


Standards are objectives that employees must meet or exceed. It's a set of principles taken to measure the dimensions of performance. 

  • Ownership: Who is responsible for achieving these set standards?
  • Achieve-ability: What are the levels of standards that are set?
  • Fairness: Can these standards be used fairly and equitably? 

Those being measured must take ownership of their responsibilities, possibly by actively participating in setting these standards. These performance measures must also be achievable to motivate the employee further. Additionally, there must be fair play amongst all employees. The standards must be set considering each employee's work environment, so those in the low-growth areas do not feel prejudiced compared to growing employee groups. 


Rewards are performance-based incentives that employees receive for meeting or exceeding performance expectations. They are motivators for employees to work towards the set standards. 

  • Clarity: Do all employees understand their roles and responsibilities?
  • Motivation: Will the objectives drive employee performance?
  • Control-abilities: Do employees have control over their duties? 

⚙️Why switch to the new continuous performance management cycle

Despite it seeming like an unnecessary time-sink, continuous performance management offers tons of benefits in the long run. Here’s some data to back it up:

Other benefits to implementing a continuous performance management cycle are:

  1. Effective goal-setting empowers teams to get their priorities straight.
  2. There are no surprises - people know exactly where they stand in terms of their performance.
  3. Managers can have data-backed performance conversations.
  4. Because feedback is given more frequently, it is more actionable.
  5. Manager and team relationships improve drastically.

With all of these plusses in mind, think about what will best serve your organization’s strategic objectives, and culture. The goal of continuous performance management, after all, is to enhance performance, not hinder your current system. Moving from your discrete annual performance review to something that is more continuous is a risk no matter how you look at it. What you need is an intuitive performance management system that fits in the flow of work. If you’re curious about such tools, check out Mesh!

✨Is your performance management system future ready?

As the business world continues to evolve and change, it is essential for companies to have a performance management system that can adapt and grow with them. This means regularly assessing and updating your performance management processes and tools to ensure they align with company goals and support employee development. It also involves staying current on industry trends and implementing technologies, such as performance tracking software, to streamline the process and make it more efficient.

By taking a proactive approach to performance management, companies can set themselves up for long-term success and maintain a competitive edge in their industry.

Read more about the future of performance management.

🧑💼The role managers play in driving a high-performance culture

Building a high-performance culture might seem like a lofty ideal to aim for, but it’s actually doable. You need leadership buy-in, strategy, and patience. But most importantly, you need your organization’s managers to commit and invest in continuous growth and development. Here are some tips for managers to enable a high-performance culture:

Curious about how else you can leverage your team’s capabilities to its fullest potential? Check out our ebook!

💡How can technology solve for performance management at your organization

If there’s one common denominator for high-performing organizations it’s great tech!

Technology can provide data-driven insights that help identify issues and areas for improvement in performance management. By tracking employee engagement and productivity, technology can give leaders a better understanding of what is working well and what can be improved. Ultimately, technology can play a crucial role in assisting organizations in optimizing their performance management processes.

If you're looking to leverage technology to improve performance management at your organization, here are a few ways to get started:

Implement an employee engagement platform: Employee engagement platforms can help track employee satisfaction and engagement levels. You can use this data to identify areas where performance needs improvement. Moreover, employee engagement platforms often have features that can help automate performance management tasks, such as goal-setting and feedback tracking.

Use data analytics to drive decision-making: Data analytics can be used to identify trends and issues related to employee performance which can further be used to decide how to best address these issues. Data analytics can also help identify well-performing employees and those needing additional support.

Automate performance management tasks: Imagine automating tedious and time-consuming performance management tasks? Doesn’t it free employees to focus on other important work?  This in turn helps ensure that these tasks are consistently carried out, and that data is accurately captured.

Implement a learning management system: A learning management system (LMS) can be used to provide employees with training and development resources. This can help employees improve their skills and knowledge, which can, in turn, lead to improved performance. An LMS can also be used to track employee progress and performance over time.

Use technology to facilitate communication: A workspace that thrives has an excellent two-way communication system in place. Technology can facilitate the communication between employees and managers. This can help ensure everyone is on the same page regarding performance expectations and goals. Additionally, it can be used to provide employees with feedback in a timely and effective manner.

Read more benefits of using performance management technology here.

📝 Continuous Performance management best practices

Keep the following best practices in mind while shaping your performance management strategy.

Have regular performance management conversations

Schedule frequent one-on-ones, either weekly or monthly. Use this time to address challenges, questions and concerns that your team members may have.

Focus on collaborative goal-setting

Team members ought to set their own goals or OKRs. Once they’re done, managers can help them prioritize their goals and align them with the company’s strategic objectives. Then, review the progress of these goals every week or month.

Make feedback a continuous process

Instead of the traditional (and dreaded) annual review, strive towards implementing a continuous feedback culture. Not only does it improve productivity because of its timely nature, but it also goes a long way in keeping everyone on the same page.

Trust and recognize your employees

In this era of remote and hybrid work, many aspects of your employees’ lives may remain unclear. It’s important to have faith in your team and acknowledge them when they achieve goals, display increased effort, and practice valued behaviors. This will boost engagement and morale.

Be data-driven, fair and transparent in your performance evaluations

When you’re honest about the ‘why’ behind a performance evaluation and you have data to back it up, it allows your team to be able to voice their concerns and opinions, too. This enables more transparent conversations and can be a great driver of engagement.

❓Continuous Performance Management FAQs

Why do we have performance reviews?

Performance reviews help companies have a formal, documented account of each employee’s performance during a review cycle. 

How to implement continuous performance management?

Continuous performance management involves regularly checking in with employees, providing ongoing feedback and coaching, and setting short-term goals. This helps to ensure that employees are on track towards meeting their long-term objectives and provides opportunities for growth and development.

Some ways to implement continuous performance management include holding monthly 1-on-1 meetings with employees, conducting regular check-ins during team meetings, offering ongoing feedback through tools such as performance tracking software or an employee recognition program, and setting smaller goals that align with overall company objectives.

By consistently evaluating performance and providing support, continuous performance management can help drive employee engagement and improve overall organizational success.

As a manager, how do you manage and measure performance throughout the year?

At the end of the review cycle, a person's results will be compared to the expected outcome for every goal that was set. Therefore, throughout the cycle, it’s important to capture specific examples of how your team member performed with respect to their goal(s). Conduct feedback sessions throughout the year to communicate and manage expectations, discuss any opportunities to be addressed, and ensure that there are no surprises at the end of the year. The best way to do this is via a performance management tool like Mesh.

How do I keep a track of my performance throughout the review period as an employee?

Keep track of accomplishments and progress throughout the review cycle. Schedule regular one-on-ones with your manager to ensure you are meeting expectations and addressing any bottlenecks along the way. Make a note of the company's core competencies and specific examples of how you displayed those values throughout the review cycle. Be ready for your performance review meeting with all this information prepared in advance. Check out how a performance management tool like Mesh can help you do all this and more!

About the Author


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