Why a Continuous Performance Management Process is Critical to Today’s Modern Workforce

Posted by David Lee on February 24, 2020

Continuous Performance Management Feb 2020

By Dave Lee, Senior Product Manager, Deltek

Expectations of the modern project-based workforce are high, especially in a candidate-driven market with low unemployment. Employees crave variety, autonomy, and constant development and are looking for opportunities to showcase their skills, be competitive, and advance.

With competitors keenly aware of these concerns, and organizations suffering from stagnancy, engagement and retention issues, there is no time like the present to transition to a Continuous Performance Management process to help address these challenges and position your workforce for success.

According to the 2019 Deltek Clarity Government Contracting Survey, Continuous Performance Management is considered to be the most important Human Capital Management trend to focus on. Additionally, the  2019 Deltek Clarity Architecture & Engineering Industry Survey, states the top 3 challenges participants are facing managing talent are career development planning, employee engagement and performance management. That said, career development and employee engagement really are subsets of performance management. So without development and growth, and without employees feeling aligned with and energized by their role/organization, most if not all performance management efforts could become stagnant or fail. 

Research Findings

The beginning of a new year to many organizations means tying a bow on the prior year, setting new goals, and starting all over again towards financial and employee performance objectives. Unfortunately for many project-based organizations who are understaffed in HR and lack performance management expertise, it means continuing with antiquated performance management methods that provide very little positive organizational momentum or impact.

According to this CoreAxis article, 45% of HR Leaders do not think annual performance reviews are an accurate appraisal for an employee’s work. Additionally, according to a SHRM/Globoforce Survey, 89% of HR leaders surveyed agree ongoing feedback and check-ins have a positive impact on their organizations, yet according to Gallup, only 19% of millennials say they receive routine feedback, and only 17% say the feedback they receive is meaningful.

These statistics not only support the need for a Continuous Performance Management process they underscore the importance of doing the process correctly for it to be mutually beneficial for both employees and organizations.

Program Considerations

Any time an organization reviews their performance management processes and considers change, it is imperative to build off of these two key principles:

  • Performance management should fuel an employee’s development and growth. It must be objective, impactful, authentic, and intentional. Employees must have the opportunity to drive and steer their careers while engaged in continuous development that allows them to grow and provide for themselves, their families, etc.
  • Performance management must also have an obvious alignment to the organization, and a substantial mutual benefit that increases profitability and organizational success. Employees drive their development, and managers facilitate it.

Continuous Performance Management Elements

As you look to build a program that meets the key points of consideration, there are three elements at the core of the Continuous Performance Management process that should be incorporated:

Continuous Feedback

There is a common misconception Continuous Feedback is just a “check-in.” This sells the process way short. Continuous Feedback, while it can be used to fuel the check-in process, goes substantially further. It can be used to pull in third parties such as project leads and owners, matrix managers, HR, and peers. It should be used to keep project leads/owners or managers in lock-step with team members and employees, but should also be used to discuss Learning outcomes and practical application, project milestone progress, and goals/development progress. It can even be used to have real-time discussions on items the employee will be rated on for their appraisal. Note that according to the same SHRM/Globoforce survey, semiannual appraisals accompanied by continuous feedback are twice as likely to be accepted and viewed as accurate than annual appraisals without ongoing feedback.

Continuous Goal Management

This process is exactly as it sounds, allowing for managing goals continuously, outside of a traditional appraisal workflow. It provides the opportunity for a fluid view of the employee and is not time-bound looking at employees in six-month or one-year increments.

Development Plans

Development plans are used to identify and help develop the skills needed for employees to advance their careers. Not only are they gaining a lot of steam, they are also something that has been central to the Deltek Talent Management system for a long time. These plans should be used for three key benefits:

  • Onboarding: Not the on-boarding of new hire form completion, but the on-boarding that quickly engages a new hire and focuses on the most effective and efficient way to on-board them to the point where they become a billable or productive resource.
  • Role Proficiency/Mastery: Once billable or productive, this new plan now focuses on becoming a high performer in the role.
  • Upskill/Reskill: This final plan is implemented to prepare the employee for promotion into management or technical lead positions, or to reskill them for a transition to a different area of the organization.

Learn More

Each year, Deltek publishes the #DeltekClarity Architecture & Engineering and Government Contracting Industry Studies – two comprehensive industry reports that identify the key issues impacting the market, highlight bright spots and forecast future trends. Be a part of this year's report & take the surveys today!

To learn more about how to modernize and transform your organization’s performance management program and help you realize your project team success, subscribe to Deltek’s Talent Management blog to gather industry best practices and insights on how to effectively manage the entire employee lifecycle. 


About Dave Lee

Dave Lee is a Senior Product Manager for the post-hire modules within the Deltek Talent Management suite, and has oversight of Performance, Learning and Development/Succession. As a former Vice President of Human Resources, Dave possesses nearly twenty years of Human Resources expertise with significant focus in talent/employee development and employee relations. He is a DDI certified leadership trainer and possesses an MBA from Walden University. Connect with Dave on LinkedIn.