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Author's profile photo Kim Lessley

Do your performance discussions need to go on a performance improvement plan?

When most people hear “performance review,” chances are their immediate reaction is one of anxiety. This is true on both sides of the proverbial table: receiving feedback isn’t always easy, but giving it as a manager can be uncomfortable in its own way.

Despite the stress, leaning into difficult conversations around performance conversations is crucial. Using coaching proactively before a performance review is highly-correlated to a more positive outlook on one’s future at their company. In other words, employees who are prepared to discuss their performance productively are also more engaged at work. Performance reviews tend to loom large in employees’ minds, so feeling supported and confident about them would be a weight off anyone’s shoulders.

So why all the stress? Much of it has to do with the approach many companies still take: one annual review, closely tied to advancement and compensation. With stakes that high, it’s no wonder employees are feeling the pressure. Perhaps it’s time to put your performance management processes on a performance improvement plan.

That’s where continuous performance management, or CPM, can make a big difference.

A CPM approach focuses performance management on ongoing guidance and development, rather than a static, unilateral assessment of an employee’s contributions that happens once—or maybe twice—a year. Continuous dialogue creates a shared understanding of performance, allowing people to grow and thrive in their roles in real-time.

Continuous performance management in SAP SuccessFactors Performance & Goals enables you to keep managers up to date on work priorities and progress for more effective one-on-one conversations, provide ongoing guidance to help employees stay focused on the right things, track how often managers meet with employees, and offer coaching guidance for more productive employee check-ins.

With CPM, employees can track and update managers on their Activities and Topics for more meaningful one-on-ones

The human factor

While it’s great to have such robust tools, we can’t underestimate the human factor, and the fact that sometimes employees would like confidential coaching from a neutral third-party to help prepare for difficult conversations like performance reviews. For this, organizations can lean on one of our newest SAP App Center partners, Bravely. Bravely connects employees to on-demand professional coaching in the key moments that define the employee experience to provide confidential just-in-time guidance.

Data from Bravely coaching sessions bears out the idea of performance management as an ongoing process: performance is the most-frequent topic for repeat engagement with a coach, and the average employee will complete 3.29 coaching sessions related to performance.

Because Bravely’s coaching is designed for just-in-time support on a continuous basis, it’s a perfect complement to SAP SuccessFactors CPM.

Bravely connects employees to just-in-time coaching for a variety of workplace topics, including performance and growth.

Tips for better performance conversations

If your people aren’t getting value from performance management, neither are you. Here are some of the key ways coaches can support employees in a company using CPM:

  • Coming prepared A little bit of preparation makes any conversation more productive. Coaches can help employees identify and track the key talking points they want to bring to their 1-1s with their managers. 
  • Growing from feedback: It’s one thing to be able to graciously accept feedback—it’s another to turn that feedback into positive change and truly learn from it. With coaching, employees can practice healthy reactions to feedback and build an action plan to move forward.
  • Showing value: Explaining one’s accomplishments compellingly and convincingly is a skill in and of itself. Coaches can guide employees in taking stock of their ongoing contributions and how they connect to organizational goals.
  • Asking hard questions: Employees and managers should share an understanding of their futures at the company. Coaches can guide them in role playing these conversations to prepare.
  • Shifting perspective: Coaching sessions are opportunities to reframe performance management for employees, helping them see it not as a source of stress but as a meaningful resource for personal and professional growth.

To learn more about SAP SuccessFactors Human Experience Management Suite (HXM) tap in the HXM Digital Summit for on-demand webcasts, research, articles, and more. Learn more about Bravely on SAP App Center or watch the on-demand webinar Preparing for the Best Performance Review Ever.

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