5 Steps to Develop a Continuous Performance Management Process

by Alexandrea Davis on December 09, 2022

Public sector organizations that practice continuous performance management can increase employee engagement and improve overall productivity.

Article Highlights: 

Performance management helps managers oversee their employees' work and create an environment where everyone can efficiently produce high-quality work.

Rather than only evaluating a person's performance once a year, a continuous performance management process happens year-round. Implementing an ongoing evaluation system allows your agency to evaluate employee progress regularly through measurement and monitoring. This enables managers to make data-driven decisions and provide frequent feedback to support employee development and organizational success.

Continuous performance management offers several additional benefits that annual performance appraisals do not:

  • Increases employee engagement and satisfaction.
  • Ensures employees are aligned with the organization's goals.
  • Creates better opportunities for growth and advancement.
  • Identifies areas of improvement immediately, allowing you to quickly fill skills gaps.

This article will examine how a lack of continuous performance management can hurt your agency, the five steps you can take to develop a continuous process of your own, and how government performance management software makes it easier.

How a Lack of Continuous Performance Management Impacts Your Agency

Without a continuous performance management process, organizations can inadvertently diminish employee motivation and hamper progress to agency goals. 

In the public sector, annual performance appraisals often only take place in the last few weeks of the year – meaning most of their employees’ performance throughout the year is ignored. This can result in missed opportunities to celebrate individual accomplishments and create gaps in skills assessments, leaving employees feeling underappreciated and inhibiting their professional development.

As a result, it's hard to keep employees engaged with the organization’s mission or motivated to contribute to success. If your staff can't see how their efforts progress the agency’s strategic goals, they won’t recognize the value of their work and won't work to their best efforts.

Lack of clarity and regular communication from supervisors can also cause confusion and diminish productivity if employees don't understand what’s expected of them. They may lose focus on their top priorities or even work counter to the organization's mission. This hinders organizational success if staff aren’t working in alignment with the agency's goals.

But by establishing ongoing processes for performance management, your organization can ensure staff are working efficiently and strategically towards your central purpose.

5 Steps to Develop a Continuous Performance Management Process

If you’re ready to develop a continuous performance management process at your agency, here are five steps you should follow.

1. Set employee goals that align with agency goals 

It’s important that you work with each employee to build individual goals for success. But in order to progress the agency’s mission, these goals should function in strategic alignment with your organizational goals. 

Doing so not only clarifies employee performance expectations, but also keeps staff engaged in your mission and demonstrates the value of their work. This ensures employees are working purposefully to contribute to the agency’s success – and stay motivated to better their impact.

2. Determine the needs of managers and employees 

Before creating and implementing any new process, you need to understand what areas of your current processes work well and what needs improvement. This can vary across departments, job duties, and seniority, and your findings should inform the development of your new process

Once your continuous performance management process is in place, you should regularly improve it based on the changing needs of employees over time. Holding performance reviews and soliciting 360-degree feedback provides essential input into these necessities. And don’t forget to look for training and skill development opportunities; this promotes employee advancement and can potentially fill gaps in your employees’ needs.

3. Establish consistent employee evaluation processes

Consistency is essential to developing a continuous performance management process. This means your agency needs to build – and follow – a schedule to hold frequent performance reviews, such as weekly one-on-ones between supervisors and their staff. By holding them more frequently, they enable managers and employees to build stronger relationships, acknowledge timely accomplishments, and quickly identify areas for improvement. 

To guarantee consistent evaluations between employees and managers, you should develop guidelines and templates for evaluations. As part of this, be sure to document your employees' struggles and successes. The employee performance evaluation process should help employees feel motivated to improve, not just call attention to their mistakes.

4. Identify and track key performance analytics and reports 

To understand how your employees – and the agency as a whole – are performing, you need to set and track key performance indicators (KPIs) that demonstrate progress toward your objectives

Create measurable KPIs based on strategic goals for the organization, department, and individual and make sure they’re clearly communicated amongst staff. Supervisors should also leverage analytics and reporting to regularly track these KPIs and stay apprised of progress and areas that need improvement. This provides a clear picture of performance success as an entity and at the individual level.

5. Hold your staff accountable 

An effective continuous performance management process requires commitment across your entire organization, not just from the rank and file. Buy-in has to start at the top, but it’s not always easy to change internal systems. 

Take active steps to keep staff at all levels accountable for consistently upholding your performance management process. Set calendar reminders and send email notifications about upcoming review periods so everyone is aware of the continuous nature of the employee review process.

How Government Performance Management Software Can Help

The manual, paper-based systems often used in the public sector require printing, distributing, and storing paper forms – not to mention collated and analyzed by hand – all of which is time-consuming and costly. But by investing in government performance management software, agencies can streamline the entire employee performance management process, making it easier to manage and more effective for success.

Improve evaluation management

Employee performance review software improves your organization's efficiency and alignment by centralizing performance management and documentation in a single platform. You don't have to track down past evaluations or pay to store them in filing cabinets or offsite document storage. This software also accommodates for different types of evaluations, such as annual reviews, probationary reviews, performance improvement plan (PIP) reviews. You're not limited to a single type of review, and you can update and customize review forms as your organization's needs change.

Keep reviews on schedule

With performance management software, your agency can avoid delays and frustration caused by late appraisals. Automated performance evaluations and notifications save time and ensure performance reviews are kept on schedule. Plus, you can send out reminder notifications to staff who haven’t completed their evaluations.

Ensure fair evaluations

Standardized performance reviews, templates, and rating scales drive performance management consistency for all employees. A software solution lets you set standards for employee performance and track the results so individuals can see if they're on target with their KPIs. This eliminates subjective evaluations and avoids unconscious bias, ensuring everyone is evaluated fairly.

Enhance goal alignment and tracking

Goal-setting and tracking support strategic alignment of individuals and teams with agency goals. Performance management software has built-in data analytics and reports that make it easy to monitor employee performance and stay informed of progress to objectives. This shows  whether employees are on track to meet their goals and allows managers to quickly address any problems. It also supports your strategic planning efforts for organizational growth in the future by identifying performance trends that can help you create a more productive workplace.

A public sector performance solution

NEOGOV’s HR performance management software, Perform, was designed to simplify and automate public sector performance management in one easy-to use, accessible system. 

Along with all of the functionalities described above, Perform lets you continually provide feedback via email notifications, mobile or desktop journals, and scheduled check-ins. Employees can even monitor their progress towards personal and organizational goals using the system’s reporting dashboards. Plus, supervisors can complete journal entries to document employee performance and reference during performance reviews. 

As a result, Perform’s solutions allow your employees to stay engaged in your mission while working more productively, strategically, and uniformly to achieve goals.

Final Thoughts

By developing a continuous performance management process, you’ll benefit from improved workforce efficiency, simplified performance management, and greater employee motivation that takes your agency’s success to new heights

This improved approach helps you support skill development and advancement opportunities for staff to ensure your expectations and overall mission remain clear. Plus, with analytical tools from performance evaluation software, your organization can make more strategic, data-driven decisions that grow your business impact and drive continued success in the future.

To learn more about how Perform can help your government agency implement a successful employee performance management framework, visit NEOGOV’s Performance Learning Center.

Alexandrea Davis

Alexandrea Davis is a Content Marketing Specialist at NEOGOV, supporting content strategy and development. With a love for storytelling and commitment to making an impact, she aims to create meaningful content that builds trust and erodes challenges for public service professionals.

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