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Performance Management Trends of 2020

What’s new since my last trend report in 2019? Well, what’s not (!?) you might wonder and yes we are going through some turbulent times this spring of 2020 but have the key strategies for effective performance management changed?

According to me, not at all. On the contrary, the situation calls for even more focus on what really matters in steering thorough the corona times in order to come out with a healthy business when it is all over.
The keyword is socialization, not physical but technological. Make sure to use it in your favor.


Quite a few companies still work with traditional annual appraisals. They do so in order to keep abreast and:

  • Make decisions regarding pay and promotions
  • Identify poor performers, help them or hold them accountable

Are you one of them? I stated in 2019 that it is time for a modern approach. This is of course even more true 2020 and if you did not reconsider your business process then you need to change quickly. Things will move fast now and you need to be in the most advantageous lane.


The major corporations like Adobe, GE, Deloitte, and Microsoft discarded their annual performance reviews because of universal agreement that these practices don’t work, and they don`t really drive better performance and engagement. Since they left most of the modern successful companies have bagged the yearly reviews for a more effective approach. Google is another good example.


So why do the yearly assessments don’t’ work you might ask? The true reasons are the following:


1. Managers have too tight agenda for another tedious long meeting (reviewing, goal setting, feedback for employee). So most of the managers avoid appraisals, or they do it just to set for the show.

2. Employees don`t like appraisals. Some may think they are unfair because discussing performance once or twice a year is not enough. And this is of course true.

3. Appraisals are past-focused rather than future-focused. Despite the importance of staying on track, being able to course correct when needed, and being able to give and get continuous feedback is a necessity to perform at our best.


So, in order to build a new culture of Performance Management what might be the key principles for effectiveness? Good answers are usually available if one searches in the vicinity of other successful companies. A look at John Doerr, (an early backer of Google and Amazon, among many others) the winning formula can be found in his book Measure What Matters. His formula for Continuous Performance Management is that there exist 3 key elements Talks, Feedback, and Recognition (CFRs). Below I highlighted 5 of the most important steps based on these elements:

  1. Set aligned, short-term objectives.

Long-term objectives often become irrelevant as the business grows and the world changes around us at a formidable pace. This was true then and even more so now. Do you know how your market will look this autumn? I sure don’t. Short objectives in an agile approach work now and will work fine later as well. So be flexible, and at the same time aligned, with your company vision and global business strategies.

  1. Have 1:1 and Team Talks as regular support from managers and frequent feedback

Prepared Talks with frequent feedback allow us to keep teams on track and be on the same page. There is a great benefit for your colleagues and you, when they know about scheduled talks and can collect not urgent but important questions before this. Everyone is sure that their manager will have time for them and you will not be distracted by minor issues. Combine your 1:1 talks with Team Talks and always make the participants come prepared. The major reason people don’t like meetings is that they are ill performed. Change that and you make talk great again!

  1. Plan Scheduled 360 Evaluation like a multi-source feedback

For personal and career development, management should help subordinates understand their strengths and see where there is room for improvement. Here 360 Evaluations and performance talks can help individuals to find how to best use their abilities in a team situation. Base the evaluation on objective and measurable results and you have a great tool at hand.

  1. Use Surveys 

Anonymous and open surveys that help to learn the thoughts and decisions of teams and departments. Find out problems, discontent, or just understand how your team feels. Measure engagement continuously and use eNPS for quick assessment. A piece of advice. When using surveys it is of utmost importance that you follow up on results. Asking questions without actions will cause disengagement amongst your employees. 


  1. Measure for continuous improvements and connect to benefits


Make sure to follow up with scheduled pulse measurements during the year. Most organizations discuss reimbursements on a yearly basis and you need performance data in order to make Salary Review relevant and as objective as possible. Use our general Salary Analysis and Job Evaluation for conducting unbiased and data-based salary negotiations.


This flexible and continuous approach to performance management builds better relationships and improves overall team success. If you are looking for a management philosophy that carries all of the above then look for OKR’s, Objective, and Key Results. It is a management approach that works very well for small and large companies alike.


Moving forward, we can expect that top management will have to invest in modern HR technology and learn to communicate effectively. BUT be careful, and I write that with emphasis. The technology shift will take organizations too far away from what is at a human core,  socialization. During the corona time, the motto “implement social distancing” has been flooding all media channels. This is wrong, using technology in order to keep the physical distance is one thing and social distancing a completely different story. My advice is to use tech to increase social activity but make sure it does not replace it fully when isolation is over. Without it, no organization will be competitive.


I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. And if you want to come along with us on this journey, then please contact us at

Henrik Dannert


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