Photo by Christina Morillo from PexelsBy Cliff Stevenson, Principal Analyst, Talent Management and Workforce Management, Brandon Hall Group

The 2018 Brandon Hall Group Performance Management study had a few data points that stood out, but one of the major ones is that more than half of all organizations, 54% to be exact, plan to have a continuous-conversation/frequent performance-conversation model by next year.

Only two years ago, when a large conversation scrapped their PM rating systems, it was breaking news and we are already at a point where the old method of annual reviews and ratings is becoming a rarity.

I, for one, could not be happier about it.

The knee-jerk explanation for this is that employees and employers were fed up with the unfairness of PM on the employee’s side and the uselessness of PM on the employer’s side, so we are finally moving toward a better model.

I don’t buy it.

Performance management is broken and has been known to be broken for a long time. Nearly a decade ago, people were writing books with unambiguous titles such as Get Rid of the Performance Review! and Abolishing Performance Appraisals, which isn’t exactly the language you see when discussing succession management, for example.

So, everyone hated performance management — at least how it was practiced — but no one did anything about it. I believe it had more to do with technological limitations than desire. Adobe was one of the first major organizations to move to ratings, frequent check-in model, and had to develop software from scratch to do so. There are now numerous PM-specific programs offered as either a module of a traditional HCM platform or as standalone products, and all have options for daily check-ins.

The same survey that revealed all the organizations moving to a continuous conversation model also found that 64% of all organizations use some form of dedicated technology to support their PM efforts. That means they have the capability of gathering and analyzing data from these weekly or daily check-ins, something that isn’t logistically feasible with manual data entry (even at a ten-person company; imagine having to enter and compile all of that data in a useful, timely manner!).

So when you hear that organizations are moving to a more personal, adaptive and meaningful version of performance management, including maybe your own, they should be commended but do not forget that technology is what made this possible – although, at the end of the day, human intelligence and effort is required to make it work.

Click here to download a free copy of the DataNow® Snapshot: 2018 Performance Management Study.

Cliff Stevenson, (Twitter: @CliffordDarrell) Principal Analyst, Talent Management and Workforce Management, Brandon Hall Group

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