We have been reading about Continuous Performance Management for years. Initially, the concept seemed like a great direction, but for many it just “wasn’t time yet” to transition.

Even though we understand that engaged employees fuel business and project success, transformation is difficult. We may be constrained by understaffed Human Resources teams and lack of organizational buy-in. Certain members of leadership feel lost without attaching employee performance to a number for various purposes.

According to this CoreAxis article, 45% of HR Leaders do not think annual performance reviews are an accurate appraisal for an employee’s work. Additionally, according to the 2019 Deltek Clarity Architecture & Engineering Industry Survey, the top 3 challenges participants are facing managing talent are: career development planning, employee engagement, and performance management.

With this information, why are we allowing this organizational resistance to deter us from impacting lives, transforming and modernizing our organizations’ processes, and solving tomorrow’s staffing challenges today? This resistance is holding us back from taking care of our most precious resource, the people we need and value. It is way past the right time to make a shift, and start changing and modernizing for all the right reasons.


Expectations of the modern project-based workforce are high, especially in a candidate-driven market with low unemployment. The modern project-based workforce craves variety, autonomy, and constant development. They are looking for opportunities to showcase their skills, be competitive, and advance.


We know the expectations and needs of the workforce are shifting and still we are not acting. The companies that do act now will have a significant advantage. As an example, consider the following:

  • According to a SHRM/Globoforce Survey, 89% of HR leaders surveyed agree ongoing feedback and check-ins have a positive impact on their organizations, yet according to Gallup, only 19% of millennials say they receive routine feedback, and only 17% say the feedback they receive is meaningful.
  • Consider that if you had to engage a 3rd party recruiting firm to replace just one disengaged employee (let’s use an Engineer for example), you are most likely paying a 25% fee of $21,000-$31,000 to replace a key performer. How much revenue must your organization generate to cover that expense? What else could you do from an employee development perspective for your entire organization with $21,000-$31,000?


Annual appraisals are often viewed as inaccurate and unhelpful, so why wouldn’t we be willing to spend 10-12 hours per year on something highly impactful rather than wasting 6-8 hours on something that is not? In addition, organizations can rely on technology to alleviate training and consistency issues when it comes to supporting conversations, those between Manager and Employee.


Any time an organization attempts to rebuild performance management processes, it is imperative to build off of these two key principles:

  1. Performance management should fuel the employee’s development and growth. It must be objective, impactful, authentic, and intentional. Employees must have the opportunity to drive and steer their careers while engaged in continuous development that allows them to grow and provide for themselves, their families, etc.
  2. Performance management must also have an obvious alignment to the organization, and a substantial mutual benefit that increases profitability and organizational success. Employees drive their development, and managers facilitate it.


Three are three ingredients at the core of the Continuous Performance Management recipe:

#1 Continuous Feedback

There is a common misconception Continuous Feedback is just a “check-in.” This sells the process way short. Continuous Feedback, while it can be used to fuel the check-in process, goes substantially further. It can be used to pull in third parties such as project leads and owners, matrix managers, HR, and peers. It should be used to keep project leads/owners or managers in lock-step with team members and employees, but should also be used to discuss Learning outcomes and practical application, project milestone progress, and goals/development progress. It can even be used to have real-time discussions on items the employee will be rated on for their appraisal. Note that according to the same SHRM/Globoforce survey, semiannual appraisals accompanied by continuous feedback are twice as likely to be accepted and viewed as accurate than annual appraisals without ongoing feedback.

#2 Continuous Goal Management

This process is exactly as it sounds, allowing for managing goals continuously, outside of a traditional appraisal workflow. It provides the opportunity for a fluid view of the employee and is not time-boxed looking at human beings in six-month or one-year increments. Our lives are those of a continuous progression, as should our performance and growth be managed.

#3 Development Plans

These are starting to gain a lot of steam, but something that has been central to the Deltek Talent Management system for a long time. Development plans should be used for three key benefits:

  1. Onboarding- not the onboarding of new hire form completion, but the onboarding that quickly engages a new hire and focuses on the most effective and efficient way to onboard them to the point where they become a billable or productive resource.
  2. Role Proficiency/Mastery- once billable or productive, this new plan now focuses on becoming a high performer in the role.
  3. Upskill/Reskill- this final plan is implemented to prepare the employee for promotion into management or technical lead positions, or to reskill them for a transition to a different area of your organization.


It is a simple and highly compelling concept to realize that revolutionizing your performance management process to meet the needs of the modern workforce is quite simple. The 2019 Deltek Clarity Government Contracting Survey shows that Continuous Performance Management is considered to be the most important Human Capital Management trend to focus on. With your competitors keenly aware of this issue, and your organization suffering from stagnancy and engagement/retention issues, are you ready to make the transition? Deltek’s expertise in performance management and project-based business support is the key missing component to your organization’s success.

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