Top 7 Innovative Strategies to Manage Employee Performance  

According to a Gartner HR survey, only 41% employees are achieving optimal performance. 

Looking at the above stats, it seems that the traditional, standardised approach to performance reviews is on its last legs. Companies are increasingly customising hiring and retention processes to fit individual needs.

Add to that the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in performance management, and it’s clear you need an upgrade.

In this post, we will look at the top 7 innovative strategies that ditch the outdated approach and embrace a more dynamic and personalised approach to managing employee performance and the benefits of employee performance management that help build high-performing teams.  

7 innovative strategies to manage employee performance  

Modern employee performance management focuses on ensuring that employees understand their roles, receive continuous feedback on their performance, and get support to achieve their goals and business objectives.

Have a look at 7 innovative strategies to manage employee performance. 

Personalised goal setting 

The entire performance management system will fail if you do not take this first step right. Clearly define the role and responsibilities of an employee. 

Stop setting generic goals.  Instead, collaborate with employees to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) that align with their individual aspirations and career paths.

When you set measurable goals it increases the likelihood of achieving them. That’s why you see there is a huge emphasis on writing SMART goals. 

80% of people do NOT set goals for themselves.

SMART is a framework for goal setting that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

There is also another goal-setting framework called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). Many organisations are adopting this goal-setting framework used by companies like Google and Netflix, to align individual goals with team and company objectives. It helps foster transparency and collaboration around collective goals.

Strengths-based approach with gamification

Only 14% of employees believe performance reviews inspire them to improve.”

The strengths-based approach with gamification flips the script on traditional performance management.  Instead of focusing solely on weaknesses, it emphasises what employees do well, building confidence and motivation.  

Gamification techniques then add a layer of a fun and engaging element, encouraging continuous learning and friendly competition.  This method is particularly effective for younger generations who crave recognition and instant feedback.

Gallup’s StrengthsFinder study found that employees who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged at work.”

Real-life example: Adobe’s “Leaderboards & Learning” Programme

Adobe implemented a programme called “Leaderboards & Learning” that combined a strengths-based approach with gamification.  Employees identified their strengths and received personalised learning recommendations.  Points were awarded for completing training modules, and leaderboards displayed team progress.  The results?  Employee engagement soared by 40% and time spent on learning increased by 37%.

Provide continuous feedback 

As per Gallup research, 80% of employees who received meaningful feedback are fully engaged and it helps fuel performance. 

The eventual purpose of performance management is that employees can work at their best potential. If you leave the employee performance management only to annual reviews where a manager tracks the spreadsheet for the entire year to create a performance review, it will not do much good. 

Telling an employee that they are not working well for the whole year during the annual review is not going to help them perform better or improve in any way. 

Continuously share feedback to ensure that it assists in improvement. This also helps build trust with employees as they know the organisation supports them in making improvements.

Real-life example: Accenture, Dublin, Ireland, was among the first few large multinational corporations that abandoned annual performance reviews. 

The company CEO, Pierre Nanterme told The Washington Post, “Imagine, for a company of 330,000 people, changing the performance management process—it’s huge. We’re going to get rid of probably 90 percent of what we did in the past.”  

Accenture’s new performance management model is based on the ongoing performance discussions between employees and managers. 

Provide support and training 

Managing employee performance is not about telling employees what they have not done well. It is about making improvements. Identify the training requirements for an employee. 

According to 666 people surveyed by SurveyMonkey, over half (51%) of them believe training gives them self-confidence. While 59% cited improved job performance.

Understanding the significance, Amazon in September 2021 committed to investing $1.2 billion into supporting employees with skills-enhancing programmes under its Upskilling 2025 pledge. 

So, allow your employees to speak about what they need assistance with. If they think a certain skill can help them perform better, provide them with training. 

Real-world example:

In September 2021, as part of Amazon’s Upskilling 2025 pledge, Amazon, Washington, United States, committed $1.2 billion to provide 300,000 employees with access to education and skills training programmes—including college tuition for front-line employees—through 2025. 

Under this Upskilling programme, Amazon employees will learn critical skills to move into in-demand, higher-paying technical or non-technical roles within Amazon and beyond.   

Use a performance management system 

A manager spends an average of 210 hours preparing annual performance reviews for their respective teams. 

You can manage your entire performance management system on the spreadsheet. But the only question is would that be effective and efficient?

Use performance management software that helps you create, track, and record performance reviews in an organised manner. The software helps make the entire process more efficient, less time-consuming, and effortless and makes sure performance management activities take place.   

Real-world example: Deloitte, London, United Kingdom, uses performance management software to implement a fairly simple performance management process. It includes answering four questions: 

1. Given what I know of this person’s performance, and if it were my money, I would award this person the highest possible compensation increase and bonus [measures overall performance and unique value to the organisation on a five-point scale from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”].

2. Given what I know of this person’s performance, I would always want him or her on my team [measures ability to work well with others on the same five-point scale].

3. This person is at risk for low performance [identifies problems that might harm the customer or the team on a yes-or-no basis].

4. This person is ready for promotion today [measures potential on a yes-or-no basis].

Make people happy at work 

It is no secret that companies with happy employees perform better and outperform their competition by 20%

Appreciate your employees from time to time. Celebrate their little wins. This will send them a message that their efforts are recognised and they are valued and respected. 

To do so, focus on building a culture of employee well-being: offer competitive salaries, invest in employee training and development, and provide comprehensive benefits packages, workplace perks, and a healthy work environment to work in. 

Real-world example: The California-based HR tech company, Workday, which secured the top position in the latest rankings in an employee reviews site, sets a shining example of fostering employee happiness with a remarkable score of 91 on a 100-point scale. 

According to employee reviews, it boils down to a culture of genuine support, encouragement, and celebrating each other’s successes. This focus on collective well-being, where colleagues take an active interest in one another’s growth and achievements, fosters a positive and motivating work environment.

Follow up on action items 

The last thing you would want for your employee performance management programme is not to follow up on the action items. If a manager simply tells an employee to improve but never follows up or does not make sure that the employee takes accountability for action items, the performance management will lose its purpose. 

So, monitoring the performance is a must. While the strategies shared above are powerful they might not always lead to desired results. 

In such situations, rather than jumping to conclusions, try to find out the cause. A lack of improvement could stem from a variety of reasons: unclear goals, inadequate support, or even demotivation. 

Try to communicate openly but if it doesn’t work, then consider a well-crafted actionable written warning.  Focus on specific examples and the path forward, outlining consequences and a clear action plan.

Remember, it’s not about blame, but a chance for the employee to get back on track with clear guidance and support. 

Benefits of an effective employee performance management system    

Effective performance management reaps various fruitful benefits for an organisation. And with 98% of organisations agreeing to the fact, its significance becomes even more evident. 

Have a look at the key benefits of employee performance management.  

Clarity of thought and the right direction  

Employee performance management includes clearly defining roles, setting goals, and sharing continuous feedback. With clarity of the role, expectations, and goals, employees have a clear direction of where they need to make efforts. This results in reduced wasted efforts.    

Achieve business objectives 

Effective performance management helps you achieve business objectives by aligning employees’ efforts to the organisation’s goals. With a clear understanding of business goals and how their work contributes to the organisation’s success, employees’ efforts produce results and achieve business objectives.         

Improve employee engagement   

Lack of engagement is one of the biggest reasons employees leave their jobs. Effective performance management ensures your employees are engaged from time to time with continuous feedback. This sends a message to employees that their work has contributed to the company’s success.      


Managing employee performance effectively is crucial for business success. It provides clarity of what people at the organisation need to do, shares feedback from time to time, and helps people achieve their goals with consistent support. 

By implementing the above-mentioned innovative strategies, CEOs, managers, and HR leaders can effectively manage employee performance and create a high-performing workforce that drives organisational success.

Author: Olivia Poarch – Self Employed/Freelancer

Photo credit: StockCake

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