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ATD Blog

Continuous Performance Management: Fueling Growth and Retention in the Workplace

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

As an HR leader, a big part of your role is fostering a good company culture that encourages retention and employee growth. You understand that investing in your employees is not optional; in fact, LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report revealed that 93 percent of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. To address this, HR teams have made career-growth opportunities a key benefit on careers pages and job applications to help attract applicants. How are your teams tracking individual performance and measuring against personal growth goals? In this article, you will learn how HR teams can promote continuous performance management year-round and help employees reach their goals. Let’s start with the basics.

What Is Continuous Performance Management?

Continuous performance management is an ongoing approach to employee performance that focuses on regular feedback, goal setting, coaching, and development. Unlike the traditional once-a-year evaluation, this approach emphasizes real-time communication, agile goal-setting, and individualized development plans.

Sounds great in theory, right? I know what you’re thinking: “Our teams try to prioritize one-on-ones and employee development, but there’s never enough time in the day.” Time is a known constraint, but having flexible online platforms that allow you to communicate, manage, and track your performance can help.


Ensuring Continuous Performance Management in the Workplace

Prioritize Regular Check-Ins
HR leaders should encourage frequent one-on-one meetings between managers and employees to discuss progress and challenges and provide feedback. The frequency and length of regular check-ins will vary. But there are many ways your team can check in with each other—in-person meetings, surveys, or online forums through your talent management system (TMS). Regardless of the medium, regular check-ins should be considered opportunities to focus on collaborative problem solving, goal alignment, and career development discussions. One in five employees is unsatisfied with the frequency of feedback from their direct manager ( Steben, 2022).

Encourage Real-Time Feedback
Waiting for quarterly or annual reviews to give feedback is not the most efficient way to help your employees develop or succeed. Instead of waiting for annual evaluations, HR leaders can promote a culture of feedback in which employees receive ongoing, constructive feedback from their peers, subordinates, and managers. (Did you know nearly one in three employees reported wanting more peer feedback?) It’s always best to provide positive (and constructive) feedback in person. But keeping a written record of performance feedback will make tracking employee progress and growth easier. Leveraging a tool like a talent management system to keep records can help develop and retain talented individuals in an organization.


Require Thoughtful Goal Setting for All Employees
Most organizations require some HR leaders to facilitate the goal-setting process, especially for managers and above. But how are you tracking all your employees’ goals? Whether entry-level, specialized, or director-level—all employees need to believe your organization is investing in their future. Implementing a goal framework promoting continuous performance management can help keep employees accountable and managers on track. All employees need to have access to view, update, or comment on their goal progress at any time. It’s important that goals align with business objectives, but personal goals for employees can be beneficial too. For example, in a customer-facing role, an introverted new hire may want to grow their confidence and become more outspoken. While this is a personal goal, it can positively affect the customer experience and therefore aid the business.

Support Skill Development
It's important that your organization offers continuous learning and development opportunities through a learning management platform. In addition to required training and certifications, what kind of self-selected professional development training can better employees’ skill sets? Offering a variety of courses in a variety of mediums and promoting a culture where managers encourage employees to improve their skills can help employees feel valued.

Continuous performance management and learning can be achieved in the workplace, even if it’s not always physically “in” the workplace. Read our paper “The new way of learning, for the new way of working” to learn how you and your team can stay engaged.

About the Author

Jaisalyn Santiago has been capturing organizational value through brand development and marketing for over five years. She has a natural knack for messaging and helping bring missions to life through B2B and B2C content. Her experience includes small businesses, large enterprises and high-growth startups. At Learnsoft, she leads content strategy and campaign initiatives.

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