Managing People Event Recaps

Innovation in Performance Management: Webinar Recap

By Advanced Resources on August 14, 2019

Employees don’t stay at the top of their game by standing still. A company’s best insurance policy against today’s skills shortage is to create a culture of development - an environment where employees are continuously setting goals, getting feedback and acquiring new skills. That requires a modern approach to performance management. 

Advanced Resources recently held a webinar on the topic. The session was facilitated by Michael Kern, an Advanced Resources consultant with over 25 years of experience designing HR programs and leading HR teams.

Here were some of the key themes from the webinar.

From Static to Continuous Performance Management

There have been a lot of changes to performance management in the last few years, to the point where Kern called it, “a revolution in performance management.” One of the major ways it has evolved is in the move away from performance reviews and forced rankings. In fact, a McKinsey study found that 54% of respondents agreed a performance management program centered on these initiatives does not have a positive impact on their performance.

A survey of our webinar participants confirmed these statistics, with the majority implementing various changes to their performance management systems. These included adopting quarterly reviews or ongoing performance management processes, removing formal performance reviews in favor of monthly check-ins, as well as instituting 90-day outreach meetings to stay connected. 

The common theme - all the changes made by their organizations resulted in more frequent interactions. Using these strategies, companies are able to make performance management a part of the ongoing employee experience vs. a one-time, backward-looking view of individual performance.

Innovation in Performance Management

The Role of Goals in Effective Performance Management

Goals need to be aligned and connected across an organization, whether it’s across or within departments. This ensures employees are working together towards common business objectives and is the key to achieving the organization’s overall goals.

According to Kern, annual goal reviews are no longer adequate. Entire industries are changing in a matter of years – or even months. More frequent performance conversations centered on goal achievement are crucial to staying ahead.

When it comes to managing goals, two of the common systems are Management by Objectives (MBOs) and Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). Here’s the difference:



What we’re going to achieve

What we’re going to achieve – and how


Quarterly or monthly

Private and siloed

Public and transparent


Bottom-up or sideways, not just driven by managers/executives

Tied to compensation

Mostly divorced from compensation

Risk averse

Aggressive and aspirational

While MBOs have been around longer, OKRs are gaining traction for their emphasis on more frequent performance conversations. To better understand OKRs, Kern broke it down:

Objectives, or “what I want accomplished” should be both personally significant and aspirational, as well as significant for the company.

Key Results, or “how I will accomplish it” should clearly make the objective possible, as well as be measurable, limited in number and time-related.

When grading OKRs, some organizations use a percentage scale while others use a 0.0-1.0 scale, like Google. Either way, the expectation is to receive an average of 60-70% across all OKRs. OKRs can be used as a guide for what an individual has worked on and demonstrate their contributions and impact to larger organizational OKRs. When wrapping up the session Kern again reiterated to check in regularly. Regular check-ins throughout the quarter gives both individuals and teams a sense of where they are.

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