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Abolish the Annual Performance Appraisal and Move to an Agile System

Continuous coaching and feedback are more effective than traditional, static performance appraisals.


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  • 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 Fortworth food distribution company

Your Challenge

  • Traditional performance appraisals are not meeting the needs of today’s ever-changing world of work.
  • Annual measurement of employee performance is static and demotivating to employees as feedback is not timely and relevant.
  • One in four employees does not clearly understand what is expected of them on the job.
  • An ineffective and static performance management system has staggering effects on employees within the organization, and can lead to unnecessary costs for the business.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Agile performance management (APM) enhances the performance and development of employees on a constant and consistent basis. Ongoing, continuous feedback and goal setting is more effective than traditional backward-looking performance appraisals.
  • Short-term goal setting drives the culture of Agile. Goal setting with your employees is the single most important thing you can do to drive productivity.
  • A total overhaul of your performance management system is not always necessary. Tailor the level of agility of the APM system to suit the needs of your organization by using a full system or a hybrid system.

Impact and Result

  • Use McLean & Company’s Agile performance management system to cut costs of traditional performance appraisals; save managers an average of two hours of time per employee, per year.
  • Decide on the right Agile performance management system for your organization.
  • Understand the Agile performance management framework and how to adapt it to your organization.
  • Prepare for change by communicating at key touch points.
  • Check up on employees and managers to make changes to your system as needed, and update your stakeholders with results.

Research & Tools

2. Prepare to launch the APM system

Customize the selected APM system for your organization.

3. Ready the organization for change

Create a communication plan and prepare for resistance to change.

4. Plan for follow-up

Evaluate program success and address roadblocks.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a thirteen call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Decide on the right APM system

Call #1 - Interpret the results of the scorecard and assessment tool.
Call #2 - Get ready for your stakeholder presentation.

Guided Implementation #2 - Prepare to launch the APM system

Call #1 - Customize the APM framework for your organization.
Call #2 - Use McLean & Company’s Agile Goal Template and Manager Feedback and Coaching Guide.
Call #3 - Adjust compensation decisions to reflect the new Agile process.

Guided Implementation #3 - Ready the organization for change

Call #1 - Position the change as a business initiative supported by HR.
Call #2 - Customize the three-step communication process to your organization.
Call #3 - Review how executives can effectively spearhead the communication.
Call #4 - Determine methods to get managers on board with driving the change.

Guided Implementation #4 - Plan follow-up

Call #1 - Conduct follow-up that will have an impact on your organization.
Call #2 - Determine how the APM system is currently operating in your organization.
Call #3 - Overcome pushback that you are receiving from managers on the process.
Call #4 - Review changes in the results for the updated tool input.

Onsite Workshop

Discuss This Workshop

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 roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Determine Effectiveness and Assess Readiness

The Purpose

  • Decide what level of Agile is right for your organization by understanding the need for, and readiness for, Agile performance management (APM).
  • Prepare to launch your system by developing the skills required for Agile, and making compensation decisions that align with your system.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Clarity on your organizational readiness for APM.
  • Prepared to meet with stakeholders to gain project buy-in.




Determine the effectiveness of your current performance appraisal system.

  • Performance Appraisal Effectiveness Scorecard

Assess your organizational readiness level.

  • Organizational APM Readiness Assessment Tool

Prepare for stakeholder buy-in.

  • APM Stakeholder Slides

Module 2: Understand What the APM Will Look Like; Plan Feedback and Communication

The Purpose

  • Ready your organization for the change towards APM through effective communication strategies.
  • Plan how and when to follow up with your employees and managers, and review updated scorecard results to measure effectiveness.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A tailored APM model for your organization.
  • Plans to launch and sustain APM effectively in your organization.




Use the 3Cs model to role play giving and receiving feedback.

  • The 3Cs model and its use with performance appraisal feedback is understood

Plan out what the APM will look like in the organization.

  • Outlined APM plan

Plan the communication strategies from the business and from HR.

  • Determined communication strategies

Brainstorm potential pushback from managers and solutions to their issues.

  • HR is prepared for potential pushback from managers

Search Code: 74051
Published: January 28, 2014
Last Revised: October 26, 2016