Reinventing the Performance Management Process

Magnus Stawicki Blak

Pssst, if you would like to have a copy of some constructive agendas for your one-on-one meetings, download our free handbook How To Become a Better Leader with 1-on-1s.

1 onboarding question deck

4 biweekly question decks

4 monthly question decks


You can also check out some examples of agendas at the end of this post.

Most companies spend hundreds of hours on their performance management process but do they really get the outcome that can justify the hours put in?

In a public survey Deloitte conducted recently, 58% of the executives questioned believe that their current performance management process drives neither employee engagement nor high performance. Like many other companies, Deloitte relies on once-a-year reviews, 360-degrees-feedback tools, employee climate surveys, etc. All are processes that point back in time although work is very much happening real-time.

Looking over the performance management process

The typical life-cycle of a traditional performance management process reaches back 3-9 months. From the time it takes to go from the initial planning phase to collecting and processing data, to reviewing results and finally taking action things have most likely changed a lot. So why do most companies still spend hundreds of hours and extensive resources on a performance management process that is obviously outdated and doesn't result in the desired outcome?

The reason is probably to be found in the historic urge to measure everything and in the blind belief in numbers. This logic of numbers has its strings back to the 20th-century field of natural science and industrialism. But does this approach still apply in 2016 in the global age of new media? Are people and performance reviews based on nine months old data valid and appropriate when we know that, on average, Generation X and Z only work 19 months in the same company?

New situation - new strategy

Let's agree that every new situation requires a new approach so let's then make a small mind experiment. Think of an ideal way to obtain relevant knowledge about each of your team members and then on how to act and change things accordingly - everything carried out in real-time?

The answer may be quite straightforward - let the direct leaders lead! Give the leaders back the ability to change, manage and influence their direct reports. You already have excellent leaders with leadership skills and positions that allow them to affect and influence performance on a daily basis by managing their direct reports in the best possible way. Leaders and their direct reports solve tasks each day and rely on mutual success, but for some reason, the current performance management process is detached from the daily life of the leaders and their reports.

1-on-1s are the backbone of your employee engagement and performance management process.

When used systematically, intelligently and insightfully, 1-on-1s are a very effective managerial tool that enables you to act responsively and proactively in real-time and global reality. Most organizations can entirely replace their existing reactive once-a-year performance management process with an effective and systemized 1-on-1s process.

With this new type of effective and structured high-frequency 1-on-1s performance management process, performance is assessed instantly;

  • ‍Data is collected instantly => the leader conducts 1-on-1s with direct reports
  • ‍Data is analyzed instantly => the leader analyzes input instantly
  • ‍Actions is executed instantly => the leader coaches, guides and manages
‍Instant 1-on-1 employee engagement & performance management process

The benefits of spending time on 1-on-1s with your people are vast. Investing time in your people is the very essence of being a leader. And don't only take our word for it. Global world leaders and scholars agree:

Three global statements that support 1-on-1s

Julie Zhuo, Product design VP @ Facebook, October 25, 2016:

28% of my time is on 1:1s given that I am a manager, 1:1s are a critical time for me to help provide support for the people on my team as well as get context on what's happening and how they're feeling.
1-on-1s as the new performance management process

In a new book from November 2016, Gitte Meyer, associate professor at Copenhagen Business School, CBS calls upon us to:

Stop measuring - start talking!

Ashley Goodall, the director of leader development at Deloitte Services, concludes after revisiting their Performance Management program

Research into the practices of the best team leaders reveals that they conduct regular check-ins with each team member about near-term work. These brief conversations allow leaders to set expectations for the upcoming week, review priorities, comment on recent work, and provide course correction, coaching, or important new information. The conversations provide clarity regarding what is expected of each team member and why, what great work looks like, and how each can do his or her best work in the upcoming days—in other words, exactly the trinity of purpose, expectations, and strengths that characterize our best teams.

At Duuoo we have created a 1-on-1 conversation system that enables managers and team members to conduct highly effective and structured 1-on-1s that actually drive employee engagement and performance. Choose between a monthly or biweekly 1-on-1 cadence according to the team and organization's character and workflow. Want to give it a try? Sign up for a free trial.

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