Can Continuous Performance Management Position Your Organization for Success?






Consistency is a key to achieving success, no matter what the activity. You would not work out just once or twice a year and expect to achieve your desired levels of physical fitness. Yet many organizations do something similar when trying to ensure optimal employee experience. These organizations utilize performance management systems in which employee-manager discussions occur sometime at the end or beginning of the year, and the results aren’t reviewed until many months later—often leading to surprises (and disappointments) on both sides.

Top-performing organizations know that consistent communication and ongoing development are critical to create an engaging employee experience. Increasingly, these organizations are listening to employees, understanding individual growth aspirations, and curating a personalized experience for each employee. These companies deploy a continuous performance development approach that relies on frequent, two-way interaction between managers and employees. This process generates timely feedback based on data, dynamic goals, and an emphasis on developmental experiences, enhancing employee experience and advancing the organization’s objectives. Our article on this topic in our Employee Experience series offers more insights on how you can use continuous performance management to your—and your employees’—advantage.


What Continuous Performance Management Looks Like

Continuous performance management demands that companies take a more fluid approach to reviews and goal setting—not just waiting for the year-end discussion. In doing so, companies need to make fundamental changes to the way they operate. This means establishing:

  • Frequent dialogue. Managers and employees need to talk and check in more often—at least once a quarter, but ideally weekly or even daily.
  • Dynamic goals. No longer relegated to annual reviews, goals must be revisited several times a year to ensure relevance with the needs of the team, the business, and the employees’ aspirations.
  • Changing roles. Managers should be more like coaches, offering frequent feedback on employee performance against shorter-term goals. Employees now have greater control over their careers and can determine whether they’re still focused on the right goals and have access to the development tools they need to advance.
  • Flatter org charts. Many organizational structures are moving away from the traditional hierarchical model. Today, companies typically use flatter structures in which work is primarily performed in small networks of cross-functional teams. Collaboration and communication are crucial. Team leaders may oversee projects rather than employees, and those responsible for career development (sometimes called managers, coaches, or counselors) may be less directly involved in the actual day-to-day work. One of the key differentiators in a continuous performance management approach is that employee input is used to continually improve and reshape these processes. The bottom line is that most employees want to advance in their organizations—through effective and continuous performance management, businesses can provide the requisite support and structure for them to do so.

If your organization is working on new employee experience initiatives and you’d like to be interviewed as part of our research, please reach out to Madhura Chakrabarti ( or Robin Erickson ( In addition, be on the lookout for an online survey later this summer.

Bersin members can download and read the full article, Understanding Employee Experience: Continuous Performance Management. Not a Bersin member but want to know more? Visit the Bersin website. For more insights into the employee experience, please see our blog series, which continues over the coming summer weeks. Bersin members should watch for our continuing articles in this series that takes a deeper look into the many aspects of the employee experience today.

Julie Hiipakka

Julie studies how organizations create business impact through learning, talent, and organizational change efforts. She has over 20 years of experience in learning and development, talent management, and recruitment in both consulting and in-house roles. She has created global onboarding programs, used peer-created learning within leadership training, led a globally distributed team, and aligned performance and job frameworks following mergers. A certified professional in learning and performance, Julie holds a master’s degree in communication from Florida State University.

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