Modernizing Performance Management

By: Kim Theobald, Director of Human Resources

Kim Theobald

Director of HR Consulting

Modernizing Performance Management

The “old” ways of managing performance have proven much less effective in a work force increasingly made up of millennials. Tactics that may (or may not) have been effective years ago, like annual reviews, are disappearing before our eyes. In those days, a “typical” corporate structure consisted of a less cross-functional environment. The hierarchy was much clearer, and most employees reported to only one manager, which meant there was typically only one reviewer of an employee’s performance. Most individuals were only formally recognized annually, around bonus or review time. Managers often considered themselves too busy to recognize and evaluate performance on a more frequent basis. Reviews were often seen by managers as a dreaded and annoying chore.

There are many clear problems with this “old” methodology including a slow feedback loop, oversight, bias, inaccuracy, and so on. The large gap in time between performance challenges, and the evaluation of those challenges, caused a loss of opportunity. It also left a lot of room for bias on the part of management, and many believed only the “favorites” were recognized favorably and rewarded. The overall impact of the feedback was very minimal when it only came once a year. The results of these types of annual reviews were also used to make many determinations. Companies relied on this information for salary adjustments, promotions, evaluations, and planning.

Today’s employees require more transparency and, frankly, dislike the idea of performance management overall. Managers now must engage with employees, align efforts, and look for feedback from their peers. Millennials especially are looking for feedback and recognition from all their colleagues and, in essence, will “performance manage” themselves as they receive that information. Increasingly, the “traditional” manager/employee relationship is evaporating. Most employees now report to multiple managers, rendering the old ways of performance management virtually useless. We get our information in real time, and it has become expected in every aspect of our lives. To give real time information requires us to address performance flaws and achievements in a timely manner. By doing so, managers can recognize and utilize the skills and abilities of their employees in ways we never thought possible. Alternately, they can quickly recognize and address performance flaws.

For help with performance management and other HR-related issues, contact Clearview’s HR Consulting group at or call (410) 415-9700.



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