15 December 2021

Modern Performance Management Trends

Priyanka Mehrotra
Research Lead
Stacia Garr
Co-Founder & Principal Analyst


  • Several orgs redesigned their performance management (PM) processes during the pandemic and focused on engaging employees and increasing productivity
  • While managers increased the frequency of check-ins with employees, they reverted back to old habits and behaviors in other areas
  • Orgs provided employees with greater transparency around compensation and feedback and offered greater clarity around their performance and goals in 2021 compared to 2019
  • Orgs greatly invested in developing their managers and employees in 2021 than they did in 2019

The past few years have been a difficult journey for most organizations. To manage, orgs have had to dramatically change their practices, especially when it comes to performance management. While we heard from leaders and read articles about how different companies are approaching performance management in 2021, we wanted to understand in-depth how performance management is evolving in current times, and specifically how is it different from 2019 in terms of philosophies, practices, and approaches.

Our latest study compares our fall 2019, fall 2020, and new fall 2021 data on performance management practices. We also conducted a literature review of more than 60 articles, a roundtable discussion with over 25 leaders, and a quantitative survey of 621 HR leaders and employees and conducted over the summer and fall of 2021.

As you will read in the report, there are some very exciting changes happening in orgs, such as:

  • Employees having a much clearer understanding of their goals and expectations
  • More frequent conversations between employees and managers
  • Increased transparency in terms of compensation and feedback

Yet, there are some real concerns, too. For example, managers’ openness to new information and providing employees with autonomy have both declined since the fall of 2020. Further, less than half of employees indicated that the performance assessment process is consistent and fair.

Clearly, there’s still a lot of work to be done on improving performance management and we hope this report will help you more quickly identify areas of needed focus.


Priyanka Mehrotra
Research Lead at RedThread Research

Priyanka Mehrotra is a Research Lead at RedThread Research. Before joining the company in 2018, she was part of the research team at Bersin by Deloitte where she worked on talent management, D&I, and people analytics as well as conducted research and contributed content for Bersin’s Mid-market study. Prior to Bersin by Deloitte, Priyanka worked at several non-profits, think-tanks, and international organizations where she published and co-authored several articles.

Stacia Garr
Co-Founder & Principal Analyst

Stacia is a Co-founder and Principal Analyst for RedThread Research and focuses on employee engagement/experience, leadership, DE&I, people analytics, and HR technology. A frequent speaker and writer, her work has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal as well as in numerous HR trade publications. She has been listed as a Top 100 influencer in HR Technology and in D&I. Stacia has an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics.


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