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Making the transition to agile performance management

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​Over the last 10 years, there has been a shift away from the outdated, annual performance review model, towards a new, flexible alternative – continuous, or agile performance management.  

​This new approach seeks to replace the formality and rigidity of annual reviews, with a regular cadence of quarterly, or even monthly check-ins that are less formal, offer faster feedback loops and collate feedback from multiple sources to provide a more holistic, accurate review of an individual’s performance.  

​And there are multiple studies that have proven the success of agile performance management, from both the employee and employer side, with one study finding that 74% of employees believe that receiving feedback more frequently would make them perform better.  

Four key pillars  

At Quant, we operate by following the four core principles of continuous performance management, these being: agile objectives, real-time feedback, meaningful coaching conversations and data driven decisions.  

Agile objectives are a more flexible, results-oriented way of goal setting. Rather than purely an output-focused goal, they ensure alignment with organisational goals and the wider company vision. Through collaborative check-in meetings, objectives are set and regularly reviewed.  

Feedback is an integral part of performance management. Shifting from annual feedback to a more regular cadence of feedback, helps employees understand their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement in real-time. In turn, this allows them to respond to these changes more efficiently and helps to build a developmental feedback culture.  

Meaningful coaching conversations focus on giving actionable insight into an employee's progress, productivity and goals.    

Data-driven decisions bring several benefits to organisations as it allows them to collate data in real-time, which helps with tracking employee performance and informing decision-making, feedback and team goal alignment.   

A new way of thinking  

There are a number of significant benefits to agile performance management. Firstly, it offers higher ROI. In fact, research has found that over 50% of companies using agile methods are in the top quartile in terms of financial performance, compared with 24% of companies using traditional methods.   

Similarly, it also helps to improve performance and engagement. Frequent feedback has been shown to boost performance by up to 39%.  

It also supports profitability by cultivating a collaborative working environment. The approach has also been popular with employees, who are in favour of moving away from the annual performance review.   

​Agile performance management provides benefits on both a one-on-one and team level. For individuals, it helps to improve daily performance by developing frequent check ins that can empower employees to bring forward any concerns or roadblocks. Team members can also take direction from their managers to help constantly improve performance.  

For teams, it gives leaders a clear picture of their teams’ capabilities, supporting its ability to pivot as business priorities evolve. It helps to foster a more collaborative workplace and supports team members in becoming more reliable performers, which in turn, benefits the wider team.   

Our approach 

At Quant, we understand the many benefits of agile working, and have actively implemented the philosophy since the company’s inception. We follow these key principles:  

  • ​The approach has been developed based on our core values – ensuring holistic integration and support to our organisational culture  
  • ​Feedback is given in the moment, rather than waiting for the next one-to-one  
  • ​Action points from check-ins are captured and followed up  
  • ​Objectives are set collaboratively, and align with project goals and evolving business requirements  
  • ​Progress and challenges are captured in real-time   
  • ​Reminders are sent out automatically to those who have not had a check-in or given feedback regularly   
  • ​Formal performance appraisals, with ‘forced’ ratings are not used, adoption levels of the system are regularly reviewed   
  • ​The e-system itself, is primarily used as a tool to support the primary goal of leaders and team members having more focused time to discuss individual goals, performance and personal development  

What’s next for performance management?  

Making the transition to an agile performance management model can have a huge impact on your overall talent strategy, but it requires the support of the entire organisation.  

Fostering a culture that promotes transparency and accountability is a crucial step in ensuring agile performance management works for your business. When performance is prioritised, organisations can empower their people to truly meet their full potential.   

 

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