The Benefits of Agile Performance Management - EmployeeConnect HRIS
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performance management

The Benefits of Agile Performance Management

Today’s business climate is all about change. As a modern organisation, that means you need to embrace the mindset to quickly shift, pivot and, change your strategic goals as business needs change. Technology plays a key factor in this, and that means your technology solution should reflect the experience your team has in their day to day lives…Flexible, Relevant, In Context and Intuitive.  When it comes to performance management, you need to have that framework for real time regular feedback.

The Changing Face of Performance Management

Performance management as a practice has been improving by leaps and bounds ever since the concept evolved way back in the late 1950s as a management method. Although, the practice continued to evolve, yet it sucked largely till the 1980s. But the 1990s saw a paradigm shift. Organisations underwent a radical shift with technology finding its way into the corporate sector. There was a major shift in the way work was being done. For instance, previously typists were supposed to type letters dictated by the managers. But with the technological advancement, managers started to type their own letters, spreadsheets came around which were able to automate a lot of stuff, and computers were connected across the office networks.

With technology tiptoeing its way into organisations, the concept of performance management was also developing simultaneously. Organisations adopted tools such as competency-based assessments for performance management. However, despite these improvements, performance management was still not done effectively especially in the feedback and appraisal zones.

What is Agile Performance Management?

Agile Performance Management is the progressive successor to the age old concept of performance management. It is designed to suit the new fast-paced, social, and more collaborative style of working in today’s organisational scenario. With the speed with which technology is surging ahead, communication has become on the go and instant. Hence the concept of appraisal on a yearly basis just does not fit the bill. In this fast and ever evolving fast-paced era, the concept of not providing regular and timely feedback has become a lot more significant. Agile Performance Management has come in as a rescue mechanism to fill in these gaps of performance management.

Key Features of Agile Performance Management


1. Set Goals

Setting frequent SMART goals is a key feature of Agile Performance Management. Get into regularly habit of identifying the top priorities of your team Set 5 goals for the quarter 4 goals for the week. Create a the list in priority order and identify the single most important objective in that time period to ensure laser focus. Ag great for formula is as follows:

  • Goal 1:  The single  important thing chief in that week
  • Goal 2, 3:  next most important goals to focus on that week
  • Goal 4:  A stretch goal
  • Goal 5:  A personal goal focused on personal or career development

Always ensure that there is a follow-up and accountability for completing the top goal and formally recognise and reward any additional wins.

2. Continuous feedback

Agile Performance Management significantly reduces the feedback gap. If the feedback is shared on an immediate basis, the enthusiasm and energy reaches an all time high amongst the employees as well. Feedback at frequent intervals allows the employees to adjust and imbibe to any kind of negative feedback if it is delivered on time and in private. The absence of timely feedback leads to work-related stress amongst the employees.

3. Regular check-ins 

In large organisations, the trend was to conduct either half yearly or annual appraisals which was not at all a great way of performance management. Take for example the case of an elite sports team where the coach sets goals for the players just once and does not check in with the progress of these goals for the entire season! Would that be practical? Of course, it wouldn’t be! Similarly for leaders of large organisations, setting goals for the team is very important as they give the team members a sense of being autonomous along with responsibilities. They provide the team member with a clear direction that he or she needs to follow while aligning them to the bigger picture from an organisational perspective. However, the important thing here for the leader is once the goals have been set for the team members, they need to check in at regular intervals the progress of the set goals and make any kind of adjustments along the way as required.

4. Peer based feedback from the team members as well as others

One of the great tools for gathering collective experience and intelligence from the team is via their peers. It is the means of asking a group of people a set of questions to elicit feedback either for yourself or for others in the organisation. It is a very handy tool especially for leaders who do not work closely with all the members of the team on a day to day basis. For instance, if you have a team member who works remotely or from a client location and you have no direct idea as to what’s going well and what are the possible areas of improvement for such members. In such a situation, peer based feedback proves to be of great help.

5. Social recognition

In today’s collaborative work environment, social recognition encourages employees to give their best. Social recognition indicates the visibility amongst the group of peers and the fact of getting recognition not only from managers but even clients and colleagues. It helps in increasing the motivational level and inspires them to perform even better.

6. Capability frameworks and skill development

In the present work scenario, the importance of skills is paramount. It is much more important that hierarchical power. If you have a team with talented individuals and niche skills, it can be a bonus for your business. Hence, Agile Performance Management stresses on the importance of skills and development of new skills. Agile Performance Management is an advanced approach which is focused on building the capability and skills of its work force. Hence, it stresses a lot in developing goals as they play an important role as part of the planning strategy.

7. Agile, just-in-time learning

Agile Performance Management promotes putting learning into action as soon as a team member learns and completes a skill development activity. With new approaches to learning such as self-paced e-learning, mentoring and coaching has become a less expensive and more effective method. Coaching, in fact, has become nowadays a highly valued skill that all leaders need to possess.

What is the Difference between Performance Management and Agile Performance Management?

Listed below are the key differences between the two approaches:

  • Performance Management is designed for the hierarchical environment while Agile Performance Management is designed for a collaborative environment.
  • Performance Management stresses on appraisal, while Agile Performance Management stresses on skills development and focuses on a forward-looking performance.
  • Performance Management followed twice a year appraisal cycle, while Agile Performance Management conducts regular checks.
  • Performance Management sets goals once at the start of the year, while Agile Performance Management changes goals based on priorities.
  • Performance Management relied on training courses for development, while Agile Performance Management adopts coaching and just in time learning methods.
  • Performance Management provides limited scope while Agile Performance Management adopts crowdsourcing to elicit feedback.

Why is Agile Performance Management important?

One of the key reasons why Agile Performance Management has gained popularity is that the numbers behind it are pretty impressive. For instance, according to the latest research conducted, it has been observed that companies which have a quarterly goal management system are seen to generate 30% higher returns as compared to companies who have an annual goal management system. The research also found that organisations which prioritise collaboration are likely to grow twice as much when compared to their competitors.

Getting Started with Agile Performance Management?

In order to implement Agile Performance Management effectively across organisations, you need to focus on the following key tasks: goal setting, planning, identify the key stakeholders at various levels of the organisation, promote open communication explaining why the process is being implemented, and finally conduct training for the leaders on how to provide feedback, frame quality goals, and conduct regular check-ins with the employees.


Byron Conway

Content Coordinator at EmployeeConnect