HR Management & Compliance

How Does Continuous Performance Management Work

In a previous post, we discussed the results of the State of Continuous Performance Management Survey. The survey results showed significant reductions in some of the negative impacts of only performing annual reviews when companies instead utilized what is known as continuous performance management.


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According to Stuart Hearn, “Continuous performance management is defined as performance management processes that take place throughout the year on an ongoing basis, as opposed to those based on traditional annual appraisals.” Here, we’ll take a closer look at the process of this appraisal technique.


A key component of continuous performance management is the check-in. A check-in is a one-on-one meeting between an employee and his or her manager where they will typically discuss:

  • Progress against existing objectives
  • Personal development
  • Priorities
  • Issues or concerns
  • Any new objectives to be added
  • Agreed upon action points

These check-ins typically take place every 1 to 3 months. As with formal reviews, check-ins should be documented to ensure that both manager and employee fully understand what is expected in terms of project completion or desired improvements.

Real-Time Feedback

In addition to periodic check-ins, managers should be engaged in constantly providing real-time feedback to their employees. This doesn’t mean hovering over an employee’s shoulder all day, every day.

It means not waiting for a formal review or even a more frequent check-in to provide feedback on how an employee is doing. This is a conscious effort to help reinforce positive behaviors, encourage progress, and correct unwanted behaviors.

Building Continuous Feedback into Your Management Approach

While, initially, it might seem that continuous improvement would require more of your management time, the reverse is true. By focusing on providing and documenting feedback throughout the year, you will save significant time in trying to look back to recreate the year for an annual performance review requirement.

Effective employee feedback is crucial not only for employee development but also for employee morale. Employees can become stressed and anxious when they don’t know how they are performing in the eyes of their managers.

Continuous performance management helps resolve both of these problems, and any company still relying primarily on annual performance appraisals should strongly consider trying out this new approach.

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