Workforce Technology

The Performance Management Model: What Would Actually Work for Your Company?

Explore effective performance management models tailored to your company's needs. Discover strategies that drive employee growth and organizational success, ensuring a dynamic and productive work environment.
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A relevant review of an employee’s work is essential for the organization’s overall development. Continuous feedback from the supervisor can boost the employee’s performance and benefit the whole business.

Thus, an effective performance management model, which typically includes performance appraisal and employee development, is one of the strongest assets of the human resources department.

Still, many managers struggle with the effectiveness of a good performance management model.

A Gartner Performance Management Benchmarking Survey showed that 81% of HR leaders are making changes to performance management systems within the companies.

Furthermore, according to Gallup, only two in ten employees say their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work. The research also states that 74% of the employees receive a performance review once a year or less often.

According to the latest performance management statistics, the traditional annual appraisal model doesn’t bring tangible results or strengthen the hierarchy in the company. Also, it can directly affect the worker’s physical and mental health.

22% of employees have called in sick rather than face a performance review, 35% have complained to their peers, and a shocking 15% have even cried.

Therefore, companies need a more effective performance management model to bring ongoing dialogue between the supervisor and the worker by setting individualized goals, reviewing progress, and providing learning opportunities.

Hence, this article will outline the performance management models that will work best for your company.

What is a Performance Management Model?

The contemporary performance management process is built on a chain of continuous feedback.

It requires the cooperation of the HR team, executive leadership, middle management, and the employees. Thus, even though the HR department is responsible for the execution, the leadership team’s business goals and the individual employee goals drive the process.

However, that’s not always the case, which causes issues with the model, but before we cover that topic more extensively, let’s focus on what is a performance management model.

A performance management model is a structured framework or a process that organizations use to monitor, assess, and enhance the performance of their employees and teams.

There are different performance management models to consider when designing performance management assessments or a performance plan. By implementing the right model and performance management software, managers set annual objectives for their team members and identify high-performing individuals and employees that require improvement.

Furthermore, a proper performance management guide significantly impacts the staff’s motivation to do better in their assignments.

Key Components & Elements of a Performance Management Model

The key components & elements of a performance management model include:

  • Performance Planning – Defining and translating the organization’s goals into individual goals and performance indicators for employees is of great value. Also, performance planning usually includes a clear description of the knowledge, skills, and behaviors required for the various positions within the organization.
  • Performance Appraisal and Reviewing – Appraisals are typically performed twice a year in a company as mid-reviews and annual reviews, held at the end of the financial year. While the performance review is more about understanding strengths and weaknesses and setting goals for the next term, the performance appraisals focus more on employee performance.
  • Regular Feedback – Establishing a feedback process where employees receive regular feedback on their performance and development from their manager is quite an essential component of a performance management model.

Continuous feedback is all about the 5 Cs,’ and it must always be: 


Employees must clearly understand what is expected of them and what improvements need to be brought in. Clear feedback is helpful feedback. 


Feedback needs to be candid on both ends. The manager and the employee must be honest to ensure effective feedback. 



Feedback works best when it is provided regularly. This way, the employer can ensure employees can course-correct if they go off track and show consistent growth.  



Constructive feedback enables people to reflect on their performance positively and not lose motivation or doubt their abilities.  



A collaborative process between both parties works towards encouraging and helping the employees grow. 


  • Rewarding Good Performance –This is a vital component as it will determine the work motivation of an employee. During this stage, an employee is publicly recognized and rewarded for good performance. Rewards and recognition do not only mean rewarding outstanding performance or exceptional efforts; they could also be an acknowledgment of the investment that employees make to the company by putting in their best efforts every day.
  • Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) – A performance improvement plan is a written document that identifies areas where an employee’s performance is lacking, sets a timeline, and lays out a goal-driven strategy to assist them in getting better. The plan might outline the skills or training the employee needs, or it could address necessary changes in their behavior. Regardless of the specific focus, the PIP will clearly describe employees’ steps to enhance their performance.
  • Training and Education Opportunities to Promote Employee Development – Learning and development (L&D) and mentorship programs enable individual knowledge sharing, collaboration, and performance assessment. Mentorship will help employees learn from the experience of others, gain exposure to new ideas and different ways of working, and develop soft skills.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – KPIs help managers decide on what metrics to judge an employee on, the baseline for these metrics, and how managers and stakeholders can measure and analyze progress. KPIs work when the company sets tangible and achievable goals for the employee.
  • Performance Dashboards – Overviews of performance indicators and progress on individual and organizational goals allow employees to track and respond to their performance.
  • Exit Interviews – Interviews with employees leaving the organization to gather feedback on their experiences and any areas of improvement for the performance management system.

Factors to Consider for Your Company's Performance Management Model

Selecting an appropriate performance management model can be challenging as every business has different requirements. However, considering the following factors when choosing a performance management system can make your job easier.

Philosophy, Purpose, & Culture

Identify your company’s philosophy and purpose and build them into your corporate culture.

Business Goals

Ensure that objectives are aligned clearly and have a specific purpose that employees can understand. Have managers collaborate with their peers to help them set goals that support company objectives at the individual level.

User-Friendliness of the Software

The performance management software should be easy to use for the employees. User-friendly design and features promote flexibility of use. They wouldn’t require much training time, and the employees can start using the software as soon as it is available to the organization.


When you select a new performance management system, ensure that it doesn’t interfere with the working of any other system. Also, make sure that the chosen model is integrated seamlessly into the existing system so that there is no loss of useful employee data, and the existing modules are compatible with the new ones.

Learning & Development

Fostering a continuous learning and growth culture drives employee commitment to the organization. The performance management model should identify the employee’s unique training and development requirements by assessing the competencies so that they can be provided with the relevant training.

Real-Time Reports

Real-time reports from the performance management system help gauge employee performance effectively and timely. It also aids in instant gratification for the employee contribution towards the organization.

Best Practices in Performance Management

Below are some of the best practices many companies adopt with highly effective performance management models.


  • Defining clear roles and responsibilities
  • Setting measurable goals together with the employees
  • Giving the employees a helping hand
  • Aligning employee, team, and organizational goals
  • Being realistic about past accomplishments and future goals
  • Avoiding references to age, race, ethnicity, gender, or disability
  • Avoiding implied promises
  • Making sure that employees understand the criteria on which they are being evaluated
  • Giving constructive and actionable feedback in real-time through weekly check-ins instead is a better option
  • Addressing poor employee performance promptly
  • Providing frequent and meaningful recognition
  • Building trusted relationships with the employees
  • Acting like a coach, not a boss
  • Coaching, training, and evaluating managers as much as employees
  • Maintaining a professional approach when completing the evaluation documentation. This document can be used as evidence in grievance hearings and other legal proceedings. Managers should not include humorous anecdotes, personal information, judgmental statements, or offensive or discriminatory language
  • Providing each employee a copy of the evaluation before the meeting, allowing the employee time to review the ratings/comments
  • Encouraging employees to share their thoughts and suggestions.
  • Being open-minded and looking for opportunities for improvement
  • Implementing a fair performance review process

Types of Performance Management Models

Choosing the best performance management model to comply with your company’s requirements can be vital for growth and development. Every business is different, so there’s no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ performance management model that will deliver results for every employer.

Here are a few performance management models that offer a range of approaches to suit different organizational needs and goals. Select the one that aligns best with your company’s culture and objectives.

1. The Self-Renewing Cycle

According to this model, performance management is a continuous cycle that aligns the organization’s strategic aims with the team’s and individual employee’s goals.

Key steps in the process include:

  • Planning performance to reach defined goals
  • Reviewing and assessing progress
  • Supporting employees in the development of skills, abilities, and knowledge.

For the model to work, everyone in the company must commit to their role.

2. Traditional Annual Performance Management Model

Some companies still use the traditional assessment approach, which mainly focuses on reviewing things that have already happened.

  • The supervisors would write detailed analyses and discuss them with their employees during annual performance evaluations.
  • The primary purpose is to justify salary and motivate the workforce.

According to Gartner, 95% of managers are unsatisfied with traditional performance reviews. A survey by Globoforce finds that 45 percent of HR leaders do not think annual performance reviews accurately appraise employees’ work. Additionally, 42 percent believe that employees are not adequately rewarded based on their job performance.

3. Management by Objectives

Management by objectives (MBO) is an approach managers adopt to control their employees by implementing concrete goals that both the employee and the organization aim to accomplish in the immediate future.

  • Involves monitoring and evaluation of the performance and progress of each employee against the established objectives.
  • Employees’ involvement in goal-setting increases commitment.

It’s important to note that the objectives don’t need to be related. Moreover, they can be decided upon by both managers or human resources leaders and their employees.

4. Project-Based

The project-based model evaluates employee performance based on individual projects. For this model to be successful:

  • It’s necessary to establish clear project outcomes and evaluation.
  • It requires thoroughly analyzing every phase, setback, and accomplishment after each project, setback, and accomplishment, after each project.

5. High-Growth

The high-growth performance management model is based on four elements:

  • Planning
  • Monitoring
  • Reviewing
  • Rewarding

It’s a new approach that suits agile teams in various industries and involves:

  • Frequent evaluations and periodic check-ins
  • SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound)
  • A performance plan, coaching for the successful completion of the plan, a complete annual performance evaluation, and reward at year-end and during the year

6. Software-based

Having the right performance management tools results in the company’s overall success.

The software-based model:

  • Utilizes software applications for effective performance management.
  • Offers numerous benefits to positively impact the organization.
  • Managers become skilled career coaches who help the employees give their best and feel confident in their job skills.

7. Bi-Annual

A manager evaluates the employee twice over a year. Usually, these appraisals take place in the middle and at the end of the calendar year.

The model:

  • Suits teams with long-term goals but is still flexible throughout the working process.
  • Allows teams to bring all operations back on track in case of deviations and calibrate the processes that are in motion.

8. Agile

A more flexible approach that implements regular conversation. It means:

  • Shifting away from traditional methods – such as formal staff appraisals or annual or bi-annual reviews.
  • Regular engagement with the staff and allowing employees to express their opinions and feedback.

9. Employee-Driven

A sense of involvement by the employees in the company’s decisions is one of the benefits of the employee-driven model.

  • Encourages employee involvement in the performance management process.
  • Solicits team members’ opinions on how performance management should be conducted.

Simply asking team members for their opinions can significantly impact staff engagement and awareness of company processes.

10. Peer-Reviewed

Peer-reviewed performance management gives you an understanding of how your workforce functions based on employee feedback with a few main points.

  • Gathering employee feedback on colleagues’ performance.
  • Giving employees the chance to share their thoughts about individual and teamwork.
  • Promoting collaboration and a sense of involvement in business development and improvement

Implementing an Effective Performance Management Model

Successful implementation is the most challenging and the most important part of developing an effective performance management model.

We selected eight cornerstones to help your company implement the performance management model best.

1. Ensure alignment with other HR systems

In developing a performance management system, it is crucial to ensure that it is aligned with other human resources systems in the organization. For example, competencies used as the basis for performance management should be the same as those used for recruitment, staffing, and training.

10. Peer-Reviewed


The prominent online marketplace for artisanal products, Etsy, has taken significant steps to offset 100% of carbon emissions from shipping. 

Recognizing the environmental impact of the vast number of packages they ship daily, Etsy partnered with 3Degrees, a renewable energy company, to fund verified carbon emission reduction projects. These projects involve activities like protecting forests, supporting wind and solar farms, and developing eco-friendly methods for auto part production. 

Etsy’s commitment ensures that the carbon emissions generated by their shipping activities are effectively neutralized. 

2. Get Organizational Members on the Board

An organization is more likely to succeed when its leaders:

  • Show dedication
  • Set а good example in managing performance
  • Make clear performance expectations for all staff

 This is compared to an organization without strong support from top-level management.

3. Pilot test

Another critical factor in ensuring successful implementation is to pilot test the new process in a couple of units before large-scale implementation. Pilot testing will show if the system functions smoothly and efficiently.

4. Train Employees and Managers

Employees and managers need to be motivated and able to use the performance management system effectively. Appropriate training helps accomplish both of these objectives.

5. Automate

Automation makes managing performance easier by reducing paperwork. Both managers and employees like automated systems. Automation reduces work, makes performance tools accessible to many, and organizes performance data.

Moreover, HR leaders have begun to use generative AI to:

  • Save managers time
  • Make the administrative parts of the process less tedious
  • Seek to improve the outcomes of performance reviews

6. Build a Culture of Open Communication

Embrace low authority and promote high accountability. The mindset shift from boss to coach creates room for more questions, richer conversation, and greater development.

7. Map Out Succession Plans to Help Employees Upskill

Succession plans are valuable in developing employees and keeping talent in the company. It is a way of investing in employees and retaining them in different roles within the company.

Provide opportunities for career planning conversations that will help employees think about their future in the organization.

8. Learn About Legal Guidelines

Before implementing a performance management model, getting familiar with any country’s professional and legal guidelines is essential. Following these guidelines will enhance the defensibility of a system in the face of a legal challenge.

Top Performance Management Software

PerformYard's performance management software prioritizes flexibility for HR and a seamless employee experience, offering customizable features tailored to organizational goals and individual needs.
ClearCompany's end-to-end platform empowers HR to maximize talent through accurate planning, flawless execution of people initiatives, and deliberate culture-building.
Leapsome's Performance Management platform empowers employees through integrated tools for goal management, performance reviews, feedback, and engagement surveys.
Peoplebox provides HR leaders with a comprehensive platform for aligning business and people strategies through OKRs, performance management, and employee engagement.


A successful performance management model creates a cultural shift in how people work. A well-structured performance plan with transparent and clear goals that align with the employees’ individual goals benefits the company’s development and growth.

Furthermore, companies adopting continuous performance feedback outperformed competition at a 24% higher rate. Also, organizations with continuous performance processes are 39% better at attracting top talent and 44% better at retaining talent.

After all, employees’ satisfaction and well-being are essential for their performance. It keeps them longer in the company and boosts their engagement and productivity. Thus, a good performance management model is vital to a successful business.

Disclosure: Some of the products featured in this blog post may come from our partners who compensate us. This might influence the selection of products we feature and their placement and presentation on the page. However, it does not impact our evaluations; our opinions are our own. The information provided in this post is for general informational purposes only. 

Written by Ivana Radevska

Senior Content Writer at Shortlister

Performance Management Software

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