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Performance Management

Performance Management Trends: Why the Agile Approach is Emerging Victorious

July 9, 2018
4 min read
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Performance Management, Supercharged


The landscape of performance management is changing. Over the past few years, more and more reputable organizations are bidding adieu to traditional performance management in favor of a more agile process. This is because agile methodology allows for faster response to the needs of a business and can be applied to all areas of performance management, from goal setting to feedback to rewards.

Over the past few years, more and more reputable organizations have bid adieu to traditional #PerformanceManagement in favor of a more agile process. Learn why:

So how does agile performance management work, and how can it be implemented?

What makes performance management agile?

The term “agile” refers to flexibility, adaptability and ease of change. Workplaces are starting to focus more on collaboration to meet desired business outcomes rather than hierarchy. Agile performance management (APM) supports the modern work environment and the people in it.

APM relies on regular performance conversations 

The agile approach practices continuous improvement. Rather than providing feedback on an annual or semi-annual basis, APM checks in with employees on a weekly or monthly basis. This is often done through one-on-one meetings or retrospectives after a project. Because of the frequency, this allows the manager and employee to focus more on near-term work including upcoming priorities and recent roadblocks or learnings. It also allows employees to give feedback to their managers, not only receive it.

APM offers actionable, peer-based feedback

Because agile performance management is based on a more collaborative work environment, employees work together to establish department and organizational goals. This also allows for improved peer-based feedback. Shared knowledge coupled with regular interaction on projects means that peer feedback is extremely valuable and can lead to immediate changes to improve efficiency of work.

APM values coaching

Collaboration and aligned interests ensure that managers are genuinely interested in helping their employees improve their work or developing and reinforcing a newly acquired skill. The focus turns to what managers can do to help the team achieve their performance goals.  

APM boosts recognition

Regular feedback allows for more opportunities to give credit where credit is due, and employees relish recognition. A recent survey asked workers if they agreed with the following statement: “The work we do at my organization has meaning and purpose for me.” 93% of workers that received recognition in the last six months agreed, compared to only 72% of workers who had never been recognized at work. A collaborative environment supported by APM makes it easy for employees and management alike to give kudos on a regular basis.

If you feel like your performance #management process is failing and could benefit from a switch to agile methodology, here are a few steps to ensure a smooth transition:

How do you implement agile performance management?

If you feel like your performance management process is failing and could benefit from a switch to agile methodology, follow these steps to ensure a smooth transition:

Get your people on board

Before you make the switch, you will need buy-in from leadership and management teams. This is best done by focusing on the business value. Calculate potential savings in time and cost so there is hard data and not just your opinion.  

Once you have leadership buy-in, your employees should be briefed on the reasoning for the transition, what the benefits are to them and how it will impact them. A smooth transition requires transparency and good dialogue. If this step is not taken, the switch may be met with resistance, confusion and frustration.

Provide the right training

The move from traditional to agile performance management requires a shift in thinking and behavior. Your management team will need to be trained on how to properly conduct regular performance management discussions. Proper training gives managers the confidence needed to guide these talks in a way that your employees will feel supported.

Establish a dynamic goal setting process

Agility is required in the goal setting process as well. Executives should encourage employees to work with their managers to define personal goals that are near-term and well-aligned with the goals of the organization. Alignment is key to ensure that the performance of the employees help drive the company forward. Frequently review these goals, evaluate success and make changes when necessary.

Evaluate the process regularly

Continuous improvement in performance isn’t limited to the employee and should extend to the process itself. Ensure that the benefits explained during the transition phase have come to fruition. If you are using software to aid the process, evaluate its effectiveness. It is essential to regularly monitor the adoption levels of the new system so you can identify and address concerns quickly and effectively.


The need to revamp performance management and realign it with the modern workforce is apparent. Adoption of agile performance management is a step toward increasing engagement and increased organizational productivity at both the team and individual level.

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