Modernize the Performance Appraisal

Bring performance management out of the dark ages to improve employee performance and engagement, and reduce costs for the business.


This content requires an active subscription.

Access this content by logging in with your McLean & Company membership or contacting one of our representatives for assistance.

Speak With A Representative Sign In
or Call: 1-877-281-0480 (US) or 1-877-281-0480 (CAN)

Your Challenge

  • Designing a new performance appraisal (PA) can be a difficult and lengthy process.
  • Most HR departments are too busy to develop the process, tools, and training that are needed for a new performance appraisal process.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Employees crave real-time feedback and coaching, which isn’t happening with the traditional performance appraisal. A modern performance appraisal system is the natural progression before moving to an Agile system.
  • HR should set core competencies that apply to every role in the organization and are recognizable to employees as critical to the achievement of business strategy and values. Define proficiency levels for each core competency and ensure each level is cumulative.
  • Ensure managers set employee expectations using your organization’s core competencies and arm them with the necessary training to provide feedback and coaching.

Impact and Result

A modern performance appraisal will:

  • Incorporate clearly defined expectation setting between managers and employees with the use of competencies.
  • Require employees to set goals with their managers to cover work-related targets, as well as development objectives.
  • Use feedback and coaching at every touchpoint to support employee performance and productivity.
  • Support more frequent manager assessments, as well as employee self-assessments, to level set performance.
  • Reduce administrative burden on the managers and place it in the hands of employees to empower themselves.


  • Susan Minaya, COO at Minaya Learning Global Solutions, LLC
  • Cindy Dopson, Director of HR, BC Cancer Foundation
  • Paul Boston, Performance Management Consultant, Actus Performance
  • Pat Reed, Agile Consultant
  • Sandra Reder, President, Vertical Bridge Corporate Consulting
  • Ellie Gates, Head of Global Management Excellence and Learning Strategy, Adobe Systems, Inc.
  • Lori Powles, Human Resources Manager, Laser Technology, Inc.
  • Karen Greaves, Agile Coach and Trainer, Growing Agile
  • Teresa Steward, Director of HR, A Fort Worth food distribution company
  • Jeffrey Russel, Co-director, Russell Consulting, Inc.
  • Tracy Webster, HR and Talent Management Professional

Get the Complete Storyboard

See how all the steps you need to take come together, with tools and advice to help with each task on your list.

Download Now

Get to Action

  1. Set project objectives and understand the modern PA framework

    Learn the components of the updated performance appraisal process and set metrics.

  2. Design your modern PA framework

    Customize key requirements that will make performance appraisal a success in the organization.

  3. Put the framework in action

    Understand how the framework should be operationalized.

  4. Communicate and train to manage change

    Ensure a smooth transition to the new performance appraisal process across all groups in the organization.

  5. Follow up and measure success

    Track updated results and the impact on the organization from modernizing the performance appraisal.

Guided Implementation icon Guided Implementation

This guided implementation is a five call advisory process.

    Guided Implementation #1 - Set project objectives and understand the modern PA framework

  • Call #1: Discuss current pain points related to your PA process and relevant metrics. Strategize how to gain buy-in from key stakeholders.

  • Guided Implementation #2 - Design your modern PA framework

  • Call #1: Validate your core competencies, performance rating, and goal modeling decisions. Discuss approach to soliciting feedback on the process from employees.

  • Guided Implementation #3 - Put the framework in action

  • Call #1: Review your manager training initiatives and plan for calibration meetings.

  • Guided Implementation #4 - Communicate and train to manage change

  • Call #1: Discuss delivery, timing, and audience of the change communication, as well as the content to be delivered. Review training options to equip employees to handle the new process.

  • Guided Implementation #5 - Follow up and measure success

  • Call #1: Evaluate impact of the updated PA by discussing results from employees, managers, the business, and HR.

Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Set PM Objectives and Define Modern PA Process

The Purpose

  • Understand the modern approach to performance appraisals.
  • Assess your current state in terms of performance appraisal and metrics.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Use McLean & Company’s modern performance appraisal framework to develop employees through meaningful and timely feedback and coaching.
  • Set modern performance appraisal metrics.

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Assess your performance appraisal process.
  • Modern Performance Appraisal Effectiveness Scorecard
1.2 Define your organization’s performance management project objectives.
  • Modern PA Check-In Meeting Guide
1.3 Determine accountabilities.
1.4 Tailor the modern PA framework to your organization.
1.5 Set benchmark metrics.

Module 2: Design the Framework and Customize Tools

The Purpose

  • Define core competencies.
  • Design the modern performance appraisal process.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Organizational competencies and competency proficiency levels are determined.
  • Modern performance appraisal process is outlined.

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Define core competencies to best suit your organization.
2.2 Determine proficiency levels for core competencies.
2.3 Develop a performance rating scale.
2.4 Determine your organization’s rating scale.
  • Modern Performance Appraisal Template
2.5 Clarify the approach to goal management.

Module 3: Put the Framework in Action

The Purpose

  • Adjust feedback and coaching meetings.
  • Format the communication and training strategy.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Calibration meetings are prepared to run.

Activities: Outputs:
3.1 Assess current feedback and coaching activities in your organization.
3.2 Develop performance rating calibration meetings.
  • Manager’s Guide for Performance Appraisals
3.3 Develop your communication strategy.
3.4 Modify the employee and manager training decks.
  • Manager Training Deck
  • Employee Training Deck
3.5 Establish manager strategies to integrate the PA process.
  • Modern Performance Appraisal Effectiveness Scorecard

Workshop Icon Book Your Workshop

Onsite Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn’t enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our Project Workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a road map in place to complete your project successfully.

Book Now


  • Dd82b096f59492fe0da89497c688c485 comment
    Kerry Pletch | 03-28-2017

    New to McLeans and loving it!

    • 432c05244a845caaca3b276adb15a11e comment
      McLean & Company | 03-29-2017

      Thank you, Kerry! That's wonderful to hear.

GET HELP Contact Us
VL Methodology