From Forced Ranking to Continuous Feedback: Performance Reviews for the Human Age

Goodbye forced ranking. Hello – what? Career conversations can help employees nurture skill sets that align with their personal goals and those of the business, so everyone wins.

Male and female professional discussing talent assessment for their business

On a beautiful fall evening by the Hudson River, we are reminiscing with a colleague about the hours, days and weeks we used to spend on performance calibration, glad that the universally-loathed forced-ranking approach is finally seeing the sunset. 
What do Dell, Accenture, GE, New York Life and Adobe have in common, we ask? They’ve all moved away from performance reviews using forced ranking and replaced them with approaches that include frequent check-ins, touchpoints, and coaching for employees.
With this comes the sunrise as more and more leaders begin having positive, meaningful conversations with employees to create an engaged workforce that commits to continual improvement, personal and organizational growth. 
Talent Assessment In The Human Age
How and why did organizations decide to make this switch? The answer lies in the interplay among several dynamic forces: millennials, globalization, the age of technology, and ever-changing business needs. 
ManpowerGroup research shows the dramatic effect these workforce trends are having in our ‘Human Age’ in which talent is the key economic differentiator. The shift from forced ranking towards a more inclusive approach fits well with the requirements of our talent-driven, technology-enabled, globalized world of business. Employees who are most in demand have more choice than ever, so treating them as valued team members is critical.
Managing performance in the Human Age is complex. How do you connect the model of ongoing “employee conversations” with new business realities, while maintaining a culture of meritocracy?  Past business models assumed loyal employees and customers, mastery of a business category, and predictable company capabilities.  Today’s chaotic environment demands innovative thinking, agility and adaptability, and the potential to learn.  Organizations are trying hard to create a contemporary structure for performance management discussions that will develop high-performing employees.
Using The P3 Model To Drive Career Conversations 
Right Management's report– Most Likely to Lead—provides organizations with a practical, relevant method to identify, develop, and scorecard the leaders of tomorrow.  The P3 Leader Model (People: Purpose: Performance) has been specifically designed to respond to today's uncertain and dynamic world of work. Organizations can use it to identify coachable capabilities within employees of all ages and tenures; nurturing these capabilities within the workforce will accelerate the organization’s ability to reach desired business outcomes. 
Performance management questions based on the P3 model go beyond the usual, “So how are you doing?” check-ins to create more meaningful, impactful conversations that stimulate thought and action.  Examples based on the model include:
In the Human Age, performance conversations have to be smart, meaningful and impactful.  The P3 model, based on extensive research on the biggest challenges facing global business leaders today, can be a guide to retaining and engaging top talent.   


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