Performance Is

NOT about a


Tracy Webster

There are rumblings of doing away with the Performance form.

I have seen numerous blogs, posts and rants that complain about the PM form. They say that it is antiquated and a waste of time. Everyone hates doing them and they bring no value. If you use a PM form in a once a year process, I would have to agree with you. I hope that is not the case.

I will map out how you can use the performance module to drive better engagement between employees and their manager, make sure that the work being done is aligned to enterprise goals and help the employee feel heard in a way that is much more robust than a pulse survey with no teeth.

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Goals are launched at the beginning of the year

At the highest level, what are the company's strategic objectives? The CEO (highest most manager) defines the goals. From here you can either have a push or pull strategy:

  • PUSH: Let's start with the CEO (manager) pushing to the C-suite (employees). The C-Suite will define goals for themselves that support those of the CEO. Each level will then push to the next level until all employees have goals
  • PULL: You could have the c-suite have goals pushed and then each manager could work with employees to pull goals to their plan that support the higher level goal.

We can have a separate post on just goal management, but for the purposes of this discussion, let's keep it pretty basic and agree that everyone has goals at the end of the goal cycle.

Continuous Performance Management (CPM)

This is a feature that gives a mobile enabled collaborative place for an employee and manager to add items to the agenda in their regularly scheduled meeting (this is a setting, but usually it is weekly or biweekly). It has always been a need to make it easier to have open communication. Many strategies that are supposed to make it easier end up feeling like a full time job. This feature is not like the rest.

This simple feature will give employees the ability to note the tasks they are doing to align with their goals. They can use it as a place to track their activity. As they meet with their managers and activities are completed, they get logged as accomplishments.

The ability to have a mobile-enabled to do list tied to the goals of the company that drives regular and open communication between a manager and employee would be exciting enough, but there is more.

The Annual Review Process Needs a Remodel

A traditional review process starts with a form being sent to the employee and they have to remember anything they may have done over the last year that might help a manager know what level of annual increase in pay they should get. Looking a the blank box of things to enter is daunting and the process is like a checkbox. Employees end up feeling like they are pitching and Managers have to wade thru pitches and try to decide who did what.

Review with CPM

The employee and manager have had regular meetings all year. Activities aligned to goals and all the accomplishments of the employee have been tracked in the course of these conversations.

When the employee gets the review form, all of those activities/accomplishments come pre-populated. They only need to rate themselves and add any comments before they send it to their manager.

When the manager gets the completed self-evaluation form, they can just add ratings and any comments before their 1 on 1 Annual Review Meeting.

Annual Review Meeting

Before the PM remodel, annual review meetings are strained. Because managers and employees don't have regular well-structured check in meetings, this meeting feels like a major interview. Stressful.

In the new world, they meet once a week. The meetings have structure and are brief and informal. This conversational tone in their meetings they have had all year will change the dynamic. They will both feel the intent of the meeting: they can review and hopefully celebrate all of the achievements of the year. Have a conversation about any development opportunities and help with a plan to get from where they are now to where they want to go.

There are additional features that will enable career paths and learning plans, but we can cover that in a separate post.

Remote worker enabled - a bonus

We have proven the model in the last couple of years that in many roles, where someone works really doesn't matter. It is worth nothing though that the structure and features are cloud based and even mobile-enabled, this will help in the efforts of managing remote teams.

About The Author

Tracy Webster is the President and Principal Consultant at Simply Staffed LLC. When she’s not serving her clients, she is momming two nearly grown sons, trying to remember what her hobbies are and at night, can often be found curled up on the couch wither her dog binge-watching whatever her latest obsession is on tv. She calls Cincinnati, Ohio home.