Top 5 Learnings From the 2019-2020 Betterworks Continuous Performance Management Survey

For the past three years, Betterworks has conducted an annual State of Continuous Performance Management Survey. This year we surveyed 500 professionals, divided evenly between Human Resources and people managers in the US working for enterprises of 500+ employees across multiple industries. The past few years we’ve seen how more and more companies are moving from legacy annual performance reviews to a more continuous process that better meets the needs of today’s enterprises and their modern workforces. 

Top 5 Learnings From the 2019-2020 Betterworks Continuous Performance Management Survey

A company’s performance management process is there to address business priorities including: nurturing an aligned workforce, attracting and retaining top talent, and helping managers become better managers. In this year’s survey we learned that companies with continuous processes were significantly more effective at many important measures including: 

– Increasing productivity throughout the company

– Motivating the entire workforce

– Identifying and retaining high performing talent 


Overall, the research found that HR teams that implemented a continuous performance process reported being nearly 50% more satisfied with their performance management program, and are 24% more likely to recommend this methodology compared to companies that still rely on annual processes. 

Here are the top five ways enterprises with Continuous Performance Management processes are outperforming those with annual reviews: :

1- Outperform Their Competition

Overwhelmingly, respondents who worked for organizations that have adopted continuous performance practices saw significantly better results for their businesses. In fact, they reported outperforming or significantly outperforming their competition at a 24% higher rate.

This finding is supported by independent research from Deloitte, which found that organizations with effective performance management systems perform 92x better financially than those with ineffective, often annual, reviews.

2- Achieve The Goals and Priorities Of The Organization

Executives want to feel confident their workforce is focused on “the right things” — those activities and objectives that matter most to the organization’s sustained success.  Our research found that companies with continuous performance programs in place outperformed or significantly outperformed their established goals at a 50% higher rate than those companies without a continuous program. 

In a rapidly changing business environment, a continuous performance process ensures that the entire workforce stays aligned with changing priorities, and maintains needed transparency to goal progress to ensure the company actually achieves their goals. 

The research also found that companies who adopt a continuous performance process are 42% more effective at holding employees accountable, and 34% more effective at holding teams accountable

3 – Create A More Aligned Workforce 

Employees today want to know their work contributes to something larger than themselves. This purpose comes from effectively communicating the company’s mission and aligning everyone’s work to top company goals

Companies with continuous processes are 26% more effective at communicating company goals overall and 23% more effective at aligning their workforce to top priorities

Employees want frequent feedback to ensure that they’re headed in the right direction, and more frequent and ongoing check-ins between employees and managers facilitate this approach to alignment. Companies with a continuous process in place are 71% more likely than those without to require their managers to check in with their reports on goal achievement at least three times or more throughout the year. 

This pays huge dividends in terms of organizational transparency and improved communication throughout the organization, with companies with a continuous process reporting a 32% increase in their ability to communicate progress toward top objectives across the organization.

 4 – Attract and Retain Top Talent 

Today’s job market is highly competitive. Unemployment is at its lowest rate in 50 years, and new hires are demanding the highest average salaries in a decade. This situation creates very real costs that can account for as much as 70% of a company’s total expenses. This tough hiring environment makes retaining, developing, and motivating your entire team mission-critical.

When companies have a continuous performance program in place, they are 39% better at attracting top talent, and 44% better at retaining that talent. Job candidates and existing employees recognize that the company actively supports each employee’s growth and development.

And you cannot ignore the rest of your workforce. It’s equally important to provide employees the training and development they need to achieve their current goals and to be ready to address tomorrow’s business needs. Organizations with a continuous process in place are 40% more effective at developing the workforce at every level in the organization and are also nearly 25% more likely to rank themselves as “effective or very effective at communicating with employees that they are valued. 

 5 – Help Managers Become Better Managers

Your people managers play a very important role in improving employee performance, 

“People managers don’t always feel fully supported and often the performance and talent management practices get in the way rather than help them,” said Josh Bersin, Global Industry Analyst, Dean of the Josh Bersin Academy and member of the Betterworks Board of Directors. “The way a company sets up performance reviews, succession planning, and practices for promotion and career development can either be a great help or a big burden.”

Managers who are supported with the training and technology they need to improve their skills as managers are more effective. The managers in organizations that have adopted a continuous performance process report significantly higher satisfaction in several key areas, including: 

– Feeling supported to become a better manager (+44%)

– Being supported to develop their team’s skills (+48%)

– Feeling supported by HR in managing the performance of their team (+50%)

– Being supported to develop their own individual skills (+45%)

– Being equipped with HR tech that is easy to use correctly (+35%)


Today’s business challenges demand a new approach to aligning, managing and developing every organization’s greatest asset: its people. Adopting Continuous Performance Management process addresses these survival-critical challenges, with McKinsey reporting that organizations are three times more likely to outperform the competition when they have an effective performance management system in place. Importantly, it’s not enough that the performance management technology solely benefits HR; it has to be valuable to managers and employees in your workforce. The best way to do this seamlessly and without disruption is to build the elements of a continuous performance process into the natural flow of your company’s work.

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Diane Strohfus

In her role as CHRO of Betterworks, Diane Strohfus sits at the intersection of HR strategy and technology. Leveraging her unique experience, Diane is responsible for scaling the company through innovative people practices while simultaneously working closely with the product team to influence and evolve the companies product offerings.


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