While most recognise that the annual performance review model is broken, we also understand that performance management is an important part of running a high performance organisation. In many schools and businesses, improvements are focused on formal processes, when daily interactions, regular and frequent feedback, and leaders who help employees use and develop their natural strengths.


The question then, isn’t just how do we innovate our performance management processes, but how do we use those processes to facilitate improvement and growth, both for the organisation a for the individual as well?


With this question in mind, it becomes obvious why yearly reviews with cascading organisational goals are irrelevant. When Deloitte decided to revamp its entire perspective on performance management, it found the process was a backward-looking time suck wherein leaders spent entirely too many hours on discussing the outcomes of the performance management process. None of which was conducive to improving performance.


“We wondered if we could somehow shift our investment of time from talking to ourselves about ratings to talking to our people about their performance and careers—from a focus on the past to a focus on the future.”


Since Deloitte creates performance management systems, it make sense that as an organisation it would develop and formalise its new process before offering it to the greater public. However, the tenets of the new system — recognizing, seeing and fueling performance — can be implemented in any high-performance organisation ready to try something new. It need not be complex or formal, nor does it require expensive performance management software.


Here are some suggestions for how to bring a simplified version of the Deloitte performance management concept in your organisation.


  • Recognise and reward excellent performance. In a high-performance culture, the likelihood is that everyone is working hard to create the best possible outcomes for students or customers. One way to reinforce high-performance is to create an environment in which both leaders and peers recognise other within the organisation for top notch performance. Recognition can be in the form of public acknowledgement in front of the entire organisation, a quiet lunch with the team, a simple “thank you,” or a monetary bonus.


  • See the potential for improvement. Feedback is especially crucial where see you an employee doing well, and know they have the potential to do even better. It works best as spontaneous feedback at the close of a small project or following a big presentation. Invite the employee to reflect on what they did well and where there was an opportunity to do even better. Then offer them your perspective on the same things. These interactions create a culture of feedback and continuous improvement.


  • Fuel their strengths. Everyone has natural talents and skills they’ve honed over time, and it’s no fun trying to be good at things that don’t come naturally. As a leader, it’s important to know the strengths of each member of your team and the strengths of the team as a whole. This clarity helps to ensure everyone plays their role and that all of the roles complement each other. Building a team this way sets everyone up for success, which fuels performance, trust and great collaboration.