As indicated by a Wakefield Research study of HR leaders, continuous performance management is primed for a revolution. In fact 99% — or 498 of the 500 HR executives surveyed–are overhauling their performance management processes.

In November of 2017, Dr. Anna Tavis visited our New York City office to share her recent revelations about performance management, published in the Harvard Business Review. Dr. Tavis is as impressive in person as she is on paper. She is an Associate Professor of Human Capital Management at NYU and lecturer of Latin American Business School. She’s also the Senior Editor of People+Strategy Journal, a public of HRPS, the Society of Human Resources Management Executive network. She is an author and keynote speaker, a former board member of HRPS and an advisor to mature and start up organizations.

So what does Dr. Tavis have to say about performance management?

She argues that the biggest limitation of the old way of doing performance reviews (e.g. solely relying on an annual review) is this: With their heavy emphasis on financial rewards and punishments and their end-of-year structure, they hold people accountable for past behavior at the expense of improving current performance and grooming talent for the future, both of which are critical for organizations’ long-term survival.

What should replace outdated HR performance management practices?

Dr. Tavis says: regular conversations about performance and development change the focus” to building the workforce your organization needs to be competitive both today and years from now.

What are 5 key takeaways for HR practitioners?

Moment of truth. Right now organizations are facing their moment of truth. Software is giving us data and insights about the work we’re getting done and who is doing it well (and who could use extra support). Data is surfacing areas for improvement. We can’t ignore this reality. The sooner we accept it, the better we can be.

Mindset shift. Getting continuous performance management to stick isn’t just about selecting the right software. In fact, the companies that succeed with CPM are the ones fully embracing the mindset change toward regular, continuous feedback between managers and employees. Millennials entered into the world surrounded by technology. You can’t always say the same about seasoned employees. It’s not about the software, it’s about the brain. As managers, we have to learn how to reengineer the human mind to accept and embrace change at a much quicker pace.

We need courageous HR leaders. Implementing continuous performance management process requires embracing a new mindset wholeheartedly.” Who is going to step up? It takes leaders and champions who aren’t afraid of embracing change.

Reality check. We need to move beyond best practices and look inside our own organization before we jumpstart change. What are you ready for as a company, in this moment? Measure your learning agility and recognize your organization’s strengths and blind spots. Anticipate and plan for reality.

Manager empathy. At the end of the day, “HR leaders need to equip managers and allow the manager-employee relationship to flourish.”  How do we create a series of choices that managers can own and be guided by as they fine tune their skills as supervisors?  Organizations are looking for technology that’s not just usable, but also allows managers to be empathic toward employees.

Thank you Dr. Tavis for helping our team navigate the people analytics and human resources waters.