6 Practical Performance Management Models to Choose From


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Monday, October 14, 2019

By finding a performance management model that works for you and your employees, you can get the best out of your workforce and gain valuable results for the business.

Article 4 Minutes
6 Practical Performance Management Models to Choose From

One of the key responsibilities of the HR department is managing employee performance, which can make a vital contribution to how the organization as a whole is functioning.

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.

Considering the unique traits, needs and goals of the company will help you find an approach to performance management that really works for you. Here are some specific models that could help you get the best out of your people:

The self-renewing cycle

According to Michael Armstrong, author of Armstrong’s Handbook of Performance Management, employee performance management should be a continuous, self-renewing cycle that sets individual and team goals in line with the strategic aims of the organization.

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

The model can be visualized like this:

Employee performance management self-renewing cycle diagram
Source: Kogan Page


This is a fairly logical and straightforward system, which theoretically leads to the end result of stronger performance. However, Armstrong himself points out that the model only works if everyone involved - most notably managers and their team members - commits fully to their role in the process.

“There is nothing wrong with the logic. But the success of the process depends on each stage being conducted properly.” - Michael Armstrong



One of the biggest potential benefits to be gained from encouraging employees to play an active role in performance management is the increased sense of ownership and involvement people have in the entire process.

Trends in recent years have indicated that many employers are becoming increasingly employee-focused and less driven by rigid structure and procedures.

Simply asking team members for their opinions on how performance management should be conducted can have a big impact on staff engagement and awareness of company processes. This can have positive knock-on effects on individual performance and team productivity.

The responses you receive from the workforce can provide the foundations for customized training and development programs that yield the best results for individuals.


Dedicated software is nothing new in the performance management space, but it’s important to feel confident you’re using the right tools for the business and your employees.

If you aren’t getting the results you expected from your performance management programs, or employees regularly complain about flaws or inefficiencies in the system, it might be time to consider updating your software.

The pace of change and innovation in the HR software market means there’s an increasingly broad range of solutions to choose from.

According to Deloitte, recent and anticipated developments in this space in 2019 include focused performance management and analytics tools to give managers real-time insights into employee development, sentiment and goal attainment.


Peer-reviewed performance management can give you a frontline view of how your workforce is functioning, based on employee feedback on where their colleagues are performing well, and where there might be room for improvement.

Asking individual team members to offer their insights into how their fellow workers and the organization as a whole is functioning can support positive collaboration, as well as helping people feel more involved in the development and improvement of the business.

Furthermore, employees can raise their own standards and learn new skills by paying closer attention to what their colleagues are doing.


Introducing agility into your performance management system effectively means moving away from traditional methods - such as formal staff appraisals or twice-yearly reviews - in favor of a more flexible, ‘light-touch’ approach that emphasizes regular, supportive conversations.

This can have a number of advantages, including maintaining regular engagement with staff and giving people plenty of opportunities to offer their thoughts and feedback in an informal setting.

Taking an agile, flexible approach can also prove beneficial for the business during times of change, or when specific projects are dictating your performance goals and expectations.


Redesigning performance management methods around team-based goals can reward and recognize effective teamwork and underline the importance of collaboration to deliver results for the business.

More than a quarter (28%) of firms surveyed for Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends report said they gave performance rewards based on achievement of measurable team metrics.

“Recent Bersin performance management research has found that high-performing organizations are more than twice as likely as their low-performing counterparts to include overall team performance in their evaluations.” - Deloitte


Finding the most appropriate and effective performance management model could be key to your efforts to support staff development and maximize the productivity of your workforce.

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