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Annual performance reviews have long been a headache for employees and managers. Managers often fall victim to the Recency Effect or Bias, in which they tend to look at employees’ most recent work rather than what they have accomplished over the past year. This skews their perceptions of employee evaluations.

Employees want more frequent, if not immediate, feedback and annual performance reviews have lost their luster over time. It is hard to manage and remember everything that has occurred over 12 months for one direct report, let alone many. Hence, roughly 55 percent of workers don't believe annual performance reviews improve performance.

We think we’ve found a better way to manage performance reviews at Maximus. Recently, we implemented Continuous Performance Management (CPM) in many parts of our business to better meet our employees' expectations and needs. Instead of checking in yearly, we contact employees quarterly with CPM with self-reflection questionnaires. Managers review and ask follow-up questions regarding employees' goals and priorities.

CPM helps ensure employees have what they need to complete their objectives, boosts morale, and provides them with a sense of value and recognition. CPM also involves managers to help ensure employees have what they need to make them successful in the next quarter and throughout the year.

The quarterly questionnaire will:

  • Serve as a review of performance (formal and informal)
  • Gather ongoing feedback/feedforward, or future planning
  • Provide agile goal-setting and alignment
  • Support talent management and talent development

Annual performance reviews have been the standard since the Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers entered the workplace. They went to work, completed their jobs, and looked forward to their annual reviews, where they could expect a potential pay raise.

As Generation X and Millennials have entered the workforce, managers realize they want more frequent feedback. The same goes for Generation Z, but they also want more future planning. CPM is less time-consuming and allows managers to check in more frequently.

As a part of the questionnaire, employees and managers will also have an opportunity to look at long-term and short-term goals, how employees can reach them, and what support they need from managers. Goals remain an essential part of the overall process as this is a key indicator of organizational health.

Solid talent management allows employees to look at their career goals from the perspective of where they are and where they see themselves in the future. Managers can assist by supporting an individualized development plan for each employee that includes additional training opportunities, special projects and assignments, and informal and formal learning opportunities in and out of the work environment.

We look forward to implementing CPM at Maximus and hope to see an increase in employee engagement and, subsequently, in loyalty, growth, and development. With real-time insights, employees and managers can build stronger relationships and provide more timely communication and feedback. CPM is a step in the right direction to motivate and encourage employees and strengthen the organization.