Gallup Said It Right: “Performance Management Must Evolve to Survive COVID-19”

In their most recent article in Gallup, Ben Wigert and Heather Barrett really hit the nail on the head; “It’s time to burn the boats, leave old performance practices behind, and create a performance management strategy that is adaptive, responsive and calibrated to the new workplace.” They hit on three key characteristics of what they consider “modernized performance management,” agile goals that can pivot as conditions change, ongoing conversations that include timely recognition with weekly informal dialog, and quarterly progress reviews that focus on accountability with adjustments to incentives. Performance Scoring was designed and built from the ground up to incorporate each of these pieces to empower managers to measure, analyze, and engage employees and their performance in real-time.

Performance Management Must Evolve to Survive Covid-19

Every employee, team and organization have realized the challenges that the new work dynamics have placed on their traditional performance management approaches. As Wigert and Barret note, many organizations are recognizing “that their performance management systems are ineffective, frustrating and too rigid for a dynamic, high-risk marketplace.” This has given every executive and leader pause, and a realization that performance management requires a collaborative and adaptive approach to individuals and teams based on the ever changing conditions on the ground.

Agility is now required in the approach to organizational performance management. With goals “immediately adjusted to focus on aligned effort on business needs and how employees can best deliver value to the organization.” A key point that the authors make, which is central to the Performance Scoring Application, is that “managers should be given the expectation, authority and flexibility to tailor goal setting to the team and the individual as their work changes.” Employees will not and shouldn’t be surprised by their performance reviews, which is even more the case in Performance Scoring as each employee has real-time access to their performance scores by the day, week, month, quarter and more.

Ongoing Conversations are critically important, and with Performance Scoring high-frequency low-stakes engagement supports the moments in between those conversations. According to Gallup and the authors, almost “half of employees say they receive feedback from their manager a few times a year or less.” Employees require these conversations on many levels, it helps them feel engaged and apart of the team, as well as helps them develop strong relationships with their superiors and peers. The key to these ongoing conversations is that they are a two-way street, information flowing back and forth, helping both the manager and the employee.

To drive home their point, based on the data, Wigert and Barret state; “The only viable management style going forward will be ongoing coaching conversations that establish a rhythm of collaboration and create shared accountability for performance and development.”

Meaningful conversations and collaboration build trust, allowing both employee and manager to earn that trust by performing action and building strong working relationships. These conversations are only gaining in importance and are critical as the widespread shift to remote workforces and education continues.

In their third point about ensuring that there is space for dynamic adjustments to accountability and incentives, Wigert and Barret acknowledge; “When a metric is no longer fair, employees should not be punished. Don’t hold employees to a metric or incentive that doesn’t make sense in the current business environment.” With Performance Scoring, every level of leadership has the tools to review and analyze goals and measurables to adjust them when needed. Managers have real-time ability to modify the measurables (called factors in Performance Scoring), they can add factors, subtract factors, or change their priority or values. Recognition is critical to employee engagement, and even more so in a remote work environment. Rewarding your employees that are outperforming their goals or situation goes a long way towards retaining and promoting those individuals while driving their peers to perform at higher levels.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, organizations need to honor each individual and their contributions and short comings, discuss how to move forward united together, all for the betterment of the individual, team, and the organization as a whole. As the authors stated, “employee needs can’t be adequately met in today’s business environment using traditional performance management systems.” But with the adoption of Performance Scoring, employees and company leaders will supercharge their performance management leading to a more agile, engaging, accountable, and higher performing organization that empowers employees with the actionable data they need to increase their performance and managers to impact their people in the moment building mutual trust and empowerment.

Works Cited

Wigert, B., & Barrett, H. (2020, August 31). Performance Management Must Evolve to Survive COVID-19. Retrieved from Gallup:

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