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Real Time Performance Reviews – The Future of Work

November 27, 2015

A few days ago I was the keynote speaker on the 2nd day of a large project manager conference – when my keynote on evolutionary leadership was over the MC asked me, “what is a dinosaur of a leadership process that has to be changed for the future of work?” My answer? Performance reviews – my answer got an unanimous cheer from the audience.

Things move so quickly in the workplace that to have to rely on an annual review in the traditional sense to know if an employee is on track is archaic.

Welcome to the need and the desire for real time performance reviews. What does this mean?

Companies are beginning to leverage technology to input real time performance indicators and input includes peers, customers and more.

Tools such as those provided by is an example of the fantastic possibilities available to reorganize the way performance reviews are used, completed and leveraged for increased customer engagement and performance. On their website they explain it well by saying:

“As skills become more and more scarce, aligning, motivating and retaining people within the walls of an enterprise is something all business professionals need to focus on—not just HR,” said noted HCM analyst Jason Averbook, CEO of Knowledge Infusion. “ is designed to enable that process as we continue to define and understand the future of work.”

Companies that are leveraging real time performance include GE and their story was shared in Harvard Business Review this past August.

Gamification is another way that organizations are gathering real time performance data with companies such as Capterra and their article on leveraging gamification to improve the performance review process and data gathering.

Let’s compare the components of the traditional performance review process and the future of work real time performance review process:

Traditional Performance Reviews :

An annual date where a leader must gather data and remember a whole year of performance for each of his or her employees

The leader must remember pertinent data and often only remembers what has happened most recently

The employee is asked to input his or her personal views on their own performance and this is provided to the leader writing the review

The leader sees the annual performance review process as onerous and typically just wants to get through it because it takes so long

The employee rarely leaves the performance review meeting feeling fantastic, rather they feel things were overlooked, factors were not considered and that the leader didn’t really ‘get them’

Real Time Future of Work Performance Reviews:

Ongoing and constant data is gathered via gamification, instant messaging, texting, email and intranet data as well as data captured on peer input, customer input and leader input

Recognition is ongoing and not delayed until a performance discussion, real time performance means that performance is talked about frequently and opportunities for growth and development are made available as skills development are needed – not a year later at performance review time

The leader enjoys the performance review process because it is integrated into daily work and he or she can instantly recognize and reward real time behaviors by his or her employees

The data on performance is gathered continuously so that when a performance discussion occurs it has ALL of the data over a 30 or 60 day period and the opportunity to coach and develop is available as an ongoing part of leading the team

Let’s face it every employee wants to have the opportunity to learn and grow and to be recognized for performance – this appeals particularly to Gen Y’s and the soon to be entering the workforce Gen Z’s. Many Zoomers and Gen X have told me anecdotally that they too have hated the traditional performance process as it really has just become a process where everyone goes through the motions but it does not generally create increased engagement, motivation or skill development overall.

The time is now for organizations to look at ways to build real time reviews into their leadership practices.

Let’s replace the dinosaurs with futuristic solutions that create results for people and companies to work better, to grow faster and to be engaged at work.


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