Posted on 29 Jul 2016


Performance management has been propelled into mainstream media with several instances of high profile companies leading the charge to ‘abandon the performance review’. Does this mean that the fundamentals of performance management are no longer relevant? Absolutely not.

In today’s competitive, fast paced business environment, goal setting, feedback and employee performance are more important than ever before. But traditional measurement and management practices haven’t translated into results. Here are five tips to transform performance management into a critical business process for your organisation:

1. Clarify purpose

If performance management is the answer, what is the question?1

What are you trying to achieve through your performance process? Do you want to have a direct impact on organisational performance by improving individual and team outcomes? Alternatively, do you expect to enhance employee engagement through continuous coaching, performance and development? Obtaining consensus on your goal will highlight what’s most important and help make better decisions.

2. Less is more

Eliminate practices that don’t add value and streamline performance management based on your primary goal. Work with your performance technology vendor to optimise your process and simplify the user experience. Be mindful of managing risks such as rater bias and non-compliance that can be introduced with less rigorous processes.2 For example, if you are simplifying rating processes consider how you will support managers to evaluate performance consistently and fairly.

3. Invest in goal setting and feedback

Consider frameworks such as OKR (objectives and key results) to define both top level objectives and key results that can be measured on an ongoing basis. Explore technology options that take the pain out of goal setting, provide coaching tips and support continuous feedback and progress tracking. Set up a regular coaching and feedback cycle. Work closely with business leaders until they establish their coaching rhythm and you are confident in their capability.

4. Work for the business

Make the most of flexible cloud-based technology solutions and tailor performance management practices to align with different groups of employees and their natural performance cycles. For example, sales people are likely to work towards financial year targets and to be measured on revenue and activity. For this group, explore options to integrate with your Customer Relationship Management system and set-up a performance cycle aligned with the financial year.

Alternatively, customer service professionals such as flight attendants and retail staff may rotate between different teams and supervisors. A short survey of relevant behaviours completed every shift might be the best approach for these roles. Project-based employees are likely to require a different solution again.

5. Know your audience

Most people want to perform well at work and value progress and accomplishment.3 Performance management practices should support this.

Consider feedback mechanisms that recognise progression and effort, but be wary of Kudos functionality (likes / high fives) that may generate an immediate spike in engagement but lack impact over time.2 Make sure you understand the environment that your employees work in and how they use technology. Consider apps that help perform simple tasks, collaborate and access information on the go. If your employees have internet connection challenges, invest in a solution that works offline.

These tips are an extract from the PageUp whitepaper Organisational Performance: How Can HR Move the Needle?4 Click here to download the full whitepaper or access other whitepapers on our HR resource hub.


  1. D’Souza, David. Disrupting performance management. CMI Conference, London, 2015.
  2. Grogan, Emma, Geard, Daniel and Stephens, Elizabeth. Performance management: change is on the way but will it be enough?, 2015.
  3. Vorhauser-Smith, Sylvia. The neuroscience of performance. PageUp, 2011.
  4. Brady, Alison. Organisational performance: how can HR move the needle? PageUp, 2016.