How Continuous Performance Development Takes Your Team to the Top
Annual performance reviews can be dreaded by employees… and managers. So why would you want to do them more frequently?
Imagine a world where growth doesn't halt; it simply evolves. Where stagnation is unheard of. That's the world top teams live in. They're not just performing—they're continually upgrading.
That's what continuous performance development implies.
Regular performance evaluations will help your employees stay on track. The mistakes will be fewer and caught earlier. Giving and receiving feedback will become second nature.
It's like having multiple dental checkups per year vs. seeing your dentist once every blue moon: your visits will be less painful, and you'll probably overcome any fear of going to the dentist as it becomes habitual.
This article will explore:
- What happens when feedback isn't a yearly event but an everyday tool.
- The benefits and exact steps to implementing continuous performance development in your organization.
🕵️♀️ What is continuous performance development?
Continuous performance development, or continuous performance management, is an ongoing approach to employee appraisal and development characterized by regular feedback, goal-setting, and open communication throughout the year.
This method promotes frequent check-ins and discussions between managers and employees to ensure alignment, address challenges promptly, and recognize accomplishments, fostering personal growth and enhancing overall job performance.
The frequency can be anything from daily to weekly or monthly.
This system of continuous feedback can be organized through apps or software. In its simplest form, employees can be asked to reflect on their workday and see what went well and where there's room for improvement.
How does continuous performance development differ from traditional performance management models?
The main difference between traditional performance management and continuous performance management is the frequency.
Continuous employee feedback can be given as often as daily or at least a lot more regularly than once a year.
In the past, a continuous performance management process would often be too time-consuming and resource-heavy for small or midsize organizations.
🚨 The administrative work made it implausible.
Thanks to technology, this has shifted. Systemizing and scheduling regular employee performance reviews is now easier than ever.
A solid performance management system software takes out the tedious tasks. It lets you focus on choosing relevant questions, interpreting the results, and creating action plans based on the feedback. Employee development has never been easier!
As a consequence, continuous performance development allows for faster adjustments and improvements.
You can imagine the difference between one yearly course correction vs. many small tweaks along the path. Your organization will be on a straighter path toward your goals, with increased revenue as a natural consequence.
Plus, the top factor for employee satisfaction is for your employees to feel acknowledged and valued. Regular reviews will show that you care and will motivate your people to do a better job.
🪜 5 Steps to implementing continuous performance development in my organization
Now you know the benefits that follow when you manage performance continuously.
So how can you implement a continuous performance management system in your organization?
Start by setting clearly defined goals for each review period. Companies that review their goals on a more regular basis see better results. Mistakes can be caught and corrected early on, and you'll know where you might need to shuffle around resources or hire extra support.
🎯 Check out our SMART goals examples for a refresher on the key points in setting goals.
🔍 And if you want to learn the difference between performance and development goals, we've got you covered too.
Regular check-ins can trigger mixed reactions. Managers can feel uncomfortable giving feedback. Employees can fear receiving constructive criticism. Both parties can perceive it as a waste of time if nothing fruitful comes from the check-in.
There are few things more frustrating than meetings for the sake of meetings, where everyone leaves more confused than before.
With the other steps implemented, this won't be a problem.
Clear objectives and development plans ensure you always have something to discuss and assess.
That's why we highly recommend following all steps in this guide.
Also, having software governing the whole performance development process removes the task of sending out invitations, scheduling check-ins, and other backend tasks.
❓Check out 27 questions for inspiring development conversations.
One of the biggest drawbacks of annual appraisals is the extended period they review. It's better to address an issue within a week than 11 months.
Continuous performance management allows for almost real-time feedback, which is more relevant and helpful.
💬 Learn more about career development conversations in our guide.
An employee development plan helps set goals and outline the practical steps toward reaching a goal. Start with the end goal and reverse-engineer it to derive all the steps.
Estimate how much time each step will take and the cost, and identify any training needs.
👀 Want inspiration? Here are our best employee development plan examples and get the free template below.
A key advantage of continuous performance development is the recognition that comes with it. Acknowledgment is one of the most important factors behind employee satisfaction.
➡️ If you want a refresher on how you can run one-on-one meetings your employees look forward to, check out our guide.
We also have one-on-one meeting templates that you can adapt to your needs.
🏢 3 Examples of companies successfully implementing continuous performance development
Check out these companies to get inspiration about what's possible after implementing a continuous performance management strategy. You can easily replicate these processes through Zavvy.
Adobe abandoned yearly performance reviews already in 2012. Employee performance reviews at Adobe are now done as less formal check-ins.
These check-ins are inspired by pit stops in race car competitions, where the cars quickly pause for service and refuel before continuing the race.
Naturally, this must be done as quickly and smoothly as possible to avoid losing valuable race time.
The advantage of the Adobe method is that employees can easily see how their individual contributions help the organization reach its goals.
The people at Cisco know what they're doing – in 2022, the company was voted number 1 on the "2022 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For" and number 3 in the "World's Best Workplaces" list. These lists look at people-first parameters, meaning that employee satisfaction weighs heavily.
For Cisco, building and nurturing excellent teams is the top priority of the HR department. They use an internal tool to support performance management – a software that took over 2 years to build called "Team Space."
Performance reviews at Cisco leverage an internal tool, "Team Space," by looking at the top teams' qualities and how each employee's strengths contributed. These traits and qualities are then encouraged in other teams too. The performance data collected takes out the guessing game and gives invaluable business intelligence.
Spotify is known for its casual atmosphere. They lack a traditional hierarchical culture and instead perform the work in small agile, autonomous teams of 8 people.
Employee performance reviews at Spotify can be as informal as an employee having a coffee with a manager! They discuss performance, issues, and ambition in these meetings. Spotify works with weekly check-ins to ensure motivation and performance are on top.
They also work with two annual deeper reviews, where the employee's interest and ambition are matched with the company's goals. Spotify encourages a growth mindset in their employees and seeks to satisfy each employee's desire to evolve.
Besides the weekly check-ins and twice-a-year reviews, Spotify also has a "Talent Snapshot." This gives an overview of the team and allows managers to track each team member's performance, strengths, and weaknesses.
🏆 What are the benefits of adopting a continuous performance development model?
Increased employee engagement
Continuous performance assessments are one of the best ways to drive employee engagement. When employees know they'll be assessed regularly, they have more motivation to perform. A Gallup study showed that employees who get daily feedback from their manager are 3 times more likely to be engaged at work.
Contrary to what one may think, they'll also feel more cared for and enticed to do a better job. Acknowledgment and a feeling to contribute to something bigger is one of the most important factors behind employee satisfaction – more important than a high salary!
Besides, regular performance evaluations help employees see how their work contributes to the company's objectives. It's easier to feel motivated when you know that your work matters and makes a difference.
Increased flow of real-time feedback
Naturally, continuous performance evaluations give more relevant and timely feedback than sharing negative feedback 1 year after during the formal performance review process. A lot can happen in a few months, and no one likes to be judged for a past version of themselves.
With software taking care of the performance assessments, real-time feedback doesn't need to be heavy from an administration standpoint. After a quick initial setup, your employees will receive timely evaluations, and their answers will be collected – all you have to do is the fun part (the interpretation).
Improving employee performance
Related to the above point, continuous performance development helps improve employee performance. The more timely the feedback, the faster your employees can pivot. And increased performance translates into happier customers and increased revenue!
Fostering a culture of learning and growth
Employees know what they want these days. When faced with two similar offers, they will go for the company with a culture of learning and growth that offers clear career paths. With continuous performance development, you stay ahead of the competition.
Nurturing trust toward management
Trust is one of the critical factors behind employee retention and satisfaction. Continuous performance development encourages transparency and makes it easier for the employees to see why the management makes certain decisions.
It also helps by removing bias. Accepting that a colleague gets a pay raise because they have achieved specific goals can be easier than because the manager likes them.
➡️ Drive performance and growth with Zavvy’s 360° growth system
If regular performance reviews feel like a lot of work, an automated system will remove much of the hard work. You can drop the tedious tasks and focus on business development.
You're just a short learning curve away from continuous performance reviews, which typically translate into higher employee performance and happiness – and a revenue boost.
And it all gets easier with Zavvy.
Zavvy is an performance development software that makes implementing continuous development a breeze. We offer many different functionalities for employee enablement – pick the ones that suit your needs:
- The performance review software takes care of your regular performance assessments.
- With the one on one meeting software, you can easily schedule meetings with employees in different time zones and locations.
📅 Book a free demo and get a shortcut to continuous performance management.
What is the continuous approach in performance management?
This approach means regular check-ins and performance evaluations – some companies do this as often as once a week. With the SCRUM methodology, the daily standups have an element of feedback, so continuous feedback can be anything from daily to weekly or monthly.
This starkly contrasts with the traditional yearly reviews that many organizations have ditched. They are seen as an unnecessary bureaucracy disconnected from what needs to be addressed in the moment.
Rightly implemented, continuous performance development allows for a more effective performance management strategy. Regular check-ins and short-term goals will enable you to course-correct and revise your plans as needed.
What is continuous performance evaluation?
Continuous performance evaluation is a way to collect feedback regularly.
It can look different for different organizations – from daily standups where everyone shares something that went well and something that can be improved from the previous day to short surveys or having a coffee with a manager or mentor to discuss performance.
Continuous employee evaluations can be similar to yearly reviews with questions about teamwork, communication, performance, etc. The difference is that they take place more frequently.
In short, there's a way of implementing continuous performance evaluation at your workplace that will likely boost employee engagement, decrease turnover, and increase revenue.