Agile Goal-Setting and the Performance Management Process - HighGround

Agile Goal-Setting and the Performance Management Process

Annual goal-setting is out. Today’s managers and employees want a performance management process that involves more frequent goal-setting – an approach that begins with a company culture committed to regular performance conversations.

We Need a Better Performance Management Process

Organizations typically go through several stages on the road to improved performance management. But it starts with the realization that the current approach to performance management isn’t working.

Too many organizations rely on the same performance management process they used 20 years ago. Although methodologies vary by organization, annual performance reviews and manager-driven goal-setting rarely benefit either the business or the employee.

The push for improvement begins when employees and managers recognize the need for a better approach to performance management. Rather than looking backward at what was accomplished during the previous 12-month period, employees and managers start to focus on a forward-looking process.

Rethinking the Performance Management Process

Once the organization acknowledges the need for better performance management, the conversation shifts to what an improved performance management process might look like. For employees, this often involves a more agile goal-setting cadence.

But employees aren’t the only ones pushing for an agile performance management process. Eight-two percent of Millennial managers and 51 percent of Baby Boomer managers set goals with employees at least quarterly, according to a recent HighGround performance management study, “Beyond the Annual Review: The Transformative State of Performance Conversations.”

Our study uncovered important generational differences about expectations in the workplace. However, there is multi-generational support for more agile goal-setting. Why? Because agile goal-setting contributes to a culture of growth and challenges employees to constantly step outside their comfort zones. By creating an ongoing dialogue with employees, managers avoid rigid, pre-defined expectations with the kind of collaborative and flexible goals that employees need and desire.

Better performance management is closer than you think. There are several things organizations can do to transition to agile goal-setting and improve the performance management process:

  • Start with more frequent check-ins. The first step toward improving performance management is to establish a routine of frequent check-ins for employees and managers. The frequency of these meetings is different in every organization, but annual check-ins aren’t enough to provide the agile goal-setting opportunities that employees and managers desire.
  • Use technology to your advantage. Digital tools support efforts to make performance management a more integral and consistent part of the employee experience. With the right platform, you can equip employees with the ability to align and re-align their goals with overall company objectives, while ensuring that managers have complete visibility to employee progress.
  • Encourage two-way conversations, not performance updates. The tone of frequent check-ins should be conversational rather than a report on the employees’ activities over the past week or month. By encouraging honest communication between employees and managers, you can set the stage for a more natural and organic approach to performance management and goal-setting.

It’s Time to Upgrade Your Performance Management Process

At HighGround, we empower forward-thinking HR teams with an employee-focused cloud platform designed to improve performance and goal-setting through continuous feedback, employee development and real-time recognition.

For more information, download “Beyond the Annual Review” to the right and learn how to improve the performance management process in your organization.