Real-time Performance Management: Return of the Big Brother

So, you have a job opening, and you’re looking for the right professional to fill in that spot? Most companies believe that the hiring process is a capsule by itself. But the truth, it turns out, is a tad bit larger. Hiring the right employees for your organization is only the first step of a larger process. So, what comes after that then?

The answer is employee engagement and management. In other words - appraisals and promotions. At least, that’s how it has been conventionally. But is performance management just an annual, one-time thing?

Well, as it turns out, there is more to it. The next step is ‘real-time’ performance management. And it can benefit employees and the company.

What is real-time performance management?

What we need right now are agile business processes. Many companies are changing how they go about performance management. Earlier, it was done periodically. But now, performance management has become a more continuous process.

It involves constant and continuous use of all the details related to employee performance. This information can help employers get a better idea of what is working for their employees and what isn’t.

Why do we need continuous performance management?

Pioneers in the field of human resource management, like CEB, have always encouraged the idea that performance management needs to be more agile. But more recently, managers and employees are embracing the practice of continuous performance assessment. Studies have found that around 95% of managers are dissatisfied with the existing performance management processes in their organizations, and around 75% of employees find annual reviews unfair.[1]

That’s not all. Only around 8% of companies were of the opinion that traditional performance assessment procedures add value to the business. With managers, employees, and companies all leaning further away from conventional techniques, it’s no wonder that agile management is fast becoming the need of the hour.

How can real-time performance management benefit the employer and the employee?

Industry leaders like IBM, Deloitte, and Adobe have all broken free of annual performance reviews. For companies that are still on the wall about making the transition, it could help to know how real-time performance management can benefit the employee and the employer.

1. Agile performance management improves employee engagement

Employee engagement has always been a valuable metric for top organizations. The global pandemic has further fueled the importance of keeping employees motivated. Now, with many people working from home, employee engagement has become more essential because it’s easy to disengage in an isolated working environment.

Real-time performance management keeps people in the team motivated and connected. It also improves engagement and productivity. As a study by Gallup found, employees with managers who hold regular one-to-ones with them are nearly three times more like­ly to be engaged.

2. It is best suited for fast-paced business environments

Business environments are growing increasingly more dynamic. Companies need to adopt a system of performance management that helps employees meet and overcome unexpected pressures at work. Agile performance management makes this possible since it empowers and connects employees more efficiently.

With real-time communication, transparent feedback, and a certain degree of independence, this strategy allows today’s workforce to function better in fast-paced business setups.

3. Continuous reviews boost business performance and promote employee loyalty

Managing performance in real-time also greatly benefits the company itself. In over 50% of the companies where the goals were reviewed every month, financial performance was found to be in the top quartile. By contrast, only 24% of companies with annual evaluations found their way into this space.[3]

Also, employees generally do not prefer the annual performance review system that either rewards or punishes them based on past data. Agile performance management, which encourages employees to get better consistently, improves employee retention. In fact, Adobe recorded a 30% drop in voluntary employee turnover.


Promoting this new culture may initially take a bit of work, but it pays off in big ways. Companies keen on making this transition can get started by preparing managers for a more agile performance management system and build a wider HR strategy that includes elements of real-time performance assessment. It’s these small but steady steps that make huge changes in processes possible.