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Manage performance in hybrid workplaces with continuous performance management

Annual performance reviews suck. The once- or twice-yearly meeting to set objectives and discuss progression is no longer fit for purpose. And that's especially true when we're talking about performance reviews in hybrid workplaces. Yet setting clear expectations is essential to employee engagement and productivity. But Gallup identifies nearly half of all employees are unclear on their daily expectations. So businesses are adopting a new continuous performance management (CPM) approach. Employees and managers meet regularly for check-ins to build relationships and review progress. But that's a big change for many managers. So the challenge for HR is to make sure they're managing performance reviews effectively with their hybrid teams.

Businesses are moving away from old-fashioned annual review meetings. Instead performance reviews must reflect the current pace of change for business. Opportunities occur overnight and organisations must adapt. As must performance reviews. So, as HR business partner, your role is to:

  1. Educate managers on the benefits of CPM
  2. Provide appropriate frameworks and tools to facilitate those discussions
  3. Train managers on managing performance reviews effectively regardless of location

Benefits of using continuous performance management

Let's be honest. Most people think annual performance reviews are a waste of time. And they certainly aren't suitable for the hybrid world. Businesses move too quickly. And goals are out of date before they’re approved. So many businesses are now using continuous performance conversations for managing reviews instead.

  1. Relevant goal setting and future focus: CPM uses objectives and key results (OKRs) or SMART goals to set clear expectations. So employees understand how they contribute to the business vision. Regular check-ins allow flexibility to address changes in priorities. And solutions are found to real-time challenges.
  2. Clear expectations and actionable feedback: Reports on progress are more accurate with CPM. You're looking back a week, not a year. So employees get timely feedback they can action. And performance is easier to track. So motivation stays high as employees see progress towards their goals.
  3. Better relationships: Regular feedback builds trust. Weekly conversations allow balance. So it isn't just about business goals. Personal development gets discussed too. Possible promotion is no longer a quick add-on. Instead, employees feel heard as growth opportunities are found throughout the year.
  4. Better time management: Annual review processes have timeframes. CPM is more flexible. Managers don't have to fit meetings inside fixed deadlines. Rather, they can manage their time in a way that works for them. And CPM meetings are quicker. Adopting an agile approach means focusing on shorter-term goals, not year-long wish lists. So discussions are kept relevant to both the business and the employee.

So the benefits of moving to CPM for performance reviews in hybrid workplaces is clear. But it won’t just happen. You need appropriate tools to assist managers as they change their approach.

Tools and frameworks for continuous performance management

Lengthy forms. Hours of prep. And weeks of delays waiting for corporate goals just won’t cut it any more. Instead, CPM means systems that are flexible, quick, and collaborative.

Many businesses are already familiar with video conferencing and direct messaging channels. But CPM requires people coming together. Everyone needs access to the same tools so they can share ideas. And connect with each other.

Systems like Weekly10 give a framework to manage continuous performance reviews. Employees and managers get access to the same information. They add real-time comments and discuss them in the weekly check-in. Managers can track trends. But it isn’t just about performance. Downward trends in sentiment analysis might point to early signs of burnout, for example. So that week’s check-in can flex and centre on wellbeing, more than goals.

So, you’ve got the tools, and the benefits are clear. The final step is getting managers to manage performance reviews effectively, regardless of physical location.

Managing performance reviews in hybrid workplaces for everyone

For some, moving to managing in the hybrid world has been easy. For others, it requires new skills. And managing performance reviews is no different. The old style hands-off approach doesn't work now. So managers need to learn how to approach continuous performance conversations:

  • Give clear direction: This is essential in hybrid workplaces. Managers must ensure employees are clear on their goals. And how they link with the company vision. It isn't about micro-managing time logged in. Instead review outcomes and outputs. And adjust goals as priorities change and business needs move on.
  • Provide regular feedback: Continuous feedback improves performance and engagement. Regular check-ins provide a simple structure to guide performance conversations. Managers must recognise great performance as it happens. And also raise any concerns there and then. Employees feel valued. And also get the opportunity to change course, if anything’s starting to slip.
  • Offer support: Not everyone needs the same support. But CPM is flexible. So it doesn't matter if one person needs more than another. Tracking performance weekly highlights when someone’s struggling, even when you can’t see them. So you can focus your efforts where they’re really needed. And provide assistance in the right place at the right time.
  • Be transparent: Managers must build trust with their teams. It isn’t a one-way street. Both employees and managers must be open about successes and failures. CPM recognises that sometimes things change and mistakes are made. So managers must be honest. And talk about when things go wrong so employees can do the same.

Traditional annual reviews don't work, especially now that hybrid work is here to stay. Learn how a weekly employee check-in is the foundation of moving to more transparent feedback practices. Download our latest guide: Embracing continuous performance management