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Is performance management performing?

Revitalize performance management to better support business objectives and the workforce of the future.


Organizations are spending millions of dollars and thousands of hours on performance management. Yet too few leaders are confident that their approaches are supporting the workforce of the future or improving the performance of the business itself.

It is time to revitalize performance management: To become more aware of the diversity of different segments of the workforce, to become open and more transparent, to foster real-time conversations and coaching, and to move people decisions closer to the people.

Most important, it is time to make sure that performance management supports high performance for the business, its leaders and the workforce of the future.


Key Findings

Business is digital but performance management is still analog
Digital technologies are changing the nature of both work and the workforce, and that’s changing what performance management needs to do. Ninety-two percent of respondents to a recent Accenture Strategy survey report that work is changing: It’s faster, more networked and collaborative, and demands ever-evolving skills. To keep pace, innovation in performance management is needed.

Your customers are unique—so are your employees
In business, personalized service is fast becoming the standard, with companies improving the customer experience to drive sales and retention. That same orientation toward uniqueness needs to be a part of performance management to improve attraction, development, engagement and retention of top talent.

You say “performance management,” your employees say “professional development”
Employees have new expectations for their work, framed around opportunity and active participation, and they expect employers to provide development opportunities, as well as ongoing conversations and coaching.




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Performance management improves business performance

Changed performance management in past 5 years

Performance management needs to change further

Top Focus Areas


Our research suggests that employees and leaders believe that five major changes will result in improved performance for employees as well as the business.

  1. Develop people through constructive conversations and coaching
    Organizations need to provide frequent coaching—as well as ongoing, informal, real-time conversations—if they wish to move beyond “managing” performance to “improving” performance.

  2. Create a culture of openness and transparency
    In an era of open information sharing, making performance management transparent to employees is expected and even required.

  3. Personalize performance management across the workforce
    Organizations are increasingly personalizing coaching and feedback, the goal-setting process, types of rewards and compensation.

  4. Move people decisions closer to the people
    Many leading organizations are moving away from HR-led decisions to business-led decisions, placing more decision-making power in the hands of leaders—or, sometimes, in the hands of people themselves.

  5. Clearly define high performance and then track toward that vision
    Organizations are redefining high performance to the new workforce and work environment, to take into account collaborative work, effort or the ability to quickly learn new skills, as well as cultural criteria they want to encourage.