Better Performance Management for the 21st century

By Rebecca Pyatkevich on

The world has changed. Think back to how different your life was 10 years ago — you may have just gotten your (first) iPhone, but your watch didn’t send you reminders to move, and you couldn’t adjust your thermostat from your work office. These days, our lives are full of constant, immediate feedback; data that we can use to make ourselves better, healthier, more efficient. Yet, what is true of the personal level is not widely true of the corporate structure. Too many of our companies are stuck in the last century, structured along hierarchies that stifle exchange and creativity. Outdated performance management systems  are a key symptom of this backwardness.

According to  “Ahead of the Curve: The Future of Performance Management” published in McKinsey Quarterly, no one finds the once-a-year review process effective:

Managers and staff alike too often view performance management as time-consuming, excessively subjective, demotivating, and ultimately unhelpful. In these cases, it does little to improve the performance of employees. It may even undermine their performance as they struggle with ratings, worry about compensation, and try to make sense of performance feedback.

Moreover, as the authors note, it is a ritual that has less and less meaning in the modern workforce. Because jobs now are as individual as each employee, utilizing each person’s unique skills and talents, the cookie-cutter annual evaluations that don’t take into account the specific tasks and successes of each employee simply do not work. No wonder both managers and employees often go through the ritual but largely ignore whatever results it does give.

Companies, including GE, Microsoft, and Netflix are experimenting with other models for providing employees and employers with actionable, effective feedback.  According to Ahead of the Curve, they include:

  • Automating performance data and supplying real-time analyses of it
  • Disconnecting compensation from ineffective annual performance management that doesn’t meaningfully differentiate between most employees.
  • Rewarding the most successful employees and providing intensive coaching to the weakest based on the specifics of feedback.

What do these measures have in common? They are part of a system where individual interactions, meetings, or sets of meetings, become opportunities to measure the effectiveness of a company’s message, methods, and individual personnel. A feedback-rich workplace creates healthy exchange and improves productivity. Instead of the outdated yearly performance management review ritual, the result is a new, responsive and effective system. Your company, too, can collect frequent, actionable data to create a performance management system fitting for the 21st century.


Online tools can help companies move on from ineffective, time-consuming, and costly annual performance rituals. Instead,  you can use them to create a more responsive and modern performance management system. At MeetingPulse, we believe in creating an open workplace, and collecting actionable, frequent feedback that can help evaluate performance after specific tasks, meetings, and events. Our system works from any browser via a short link, so you don’t ever have to download an app. MeetingPulse technology is easily customizable to fit your needs, and it’s simple and intuitive to use. Please contact us for more information or click on “Keep Me Posted” on our blog page to receive blog updates and our free e-book.

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