An approach to mass personalization of performance management using review workflows

Tailoring performance management to the individual employee is the key to maximizing their potential

The more personalized a performance review the more effective it is. However, traditional HRIS, performance management and 360 review platforms can be extremely limiting in the options they provide for personalization, and can often require a lot of administration to achieve a result that still falls short of individual reviews tailored specifically to individual people at a given point in time.

This is where the concept of a review workflow comes in.

A review workflow anticipates that several stakeholders may have a different role in relation to an individual review, each with a unique type of contribution to make.

There is

a) the person being reviewed,

b) the reviewers, and

c) the manager of the person being reviewed.

For example if the review is based upon goals, someone needs to capture the goals that the review is based upon and these may be different for every individual in the company.  A flow allows goals to be entered by the employee, or their manager, before the review is distributed to reviewers for assessment against them. The same concept might apply to competencies, or values, or strengths.

This approach to personalize in real-time ensures the context of the review is directly relevant by not relying on an out-of-date set of goals, or a generic set of competencies for a job role where some competencies apply and others don't. 

When might the individual, reviewers and manager each have a different role?

This scenario illustrates how a review flow might be structured.

1. The individual declares their goals, their strengths, their purpose or so on (and may make a self-assessment of performance)

2. The reviewers then assess the individual against the criteria they declared.

3. The manager provides a performance summary

4. A final step might be for the person being reviewed to commit to an action plan.

What about different review processes?

Of course, the scenario above is just one example. The Pay Compliment platform makes a limitless set of options available for review processes. We do this by providing a template builder that lets you design whatever range of performance management review formats you need. 

Build any sequence of performance review events that you need

If the library of pre-configured templates doesn't contain what you're looking for, it's a very simple option to create custom process flows that suit your needs.

There are no limits to the number or range of performance review processes you can enable.

You can restrict certain review processes to certain business areas if you want to have a different approach to performance management in Sales compared with Operations for example. 


By adding different sections to the review process for the person being reviewed, the reviewer and the manager you can create the exact sequence of events to fit your needs.

You decide on the visibility that's appropriate

Permission settings for every section mean that you can show or hide that section from other types of stakeholder so that confidentiality is maintained.  For example you may not want reviewers to see the manager summary, or you may not want the individual being reviewed to see the reviewers observations.


Build each section to suit the specific stakeholder

With a wide range of data types to choose from, you can build each section to ask for the specific stakeholder input that you need.


Reference fields allow information supplied in one part of the review process to be used in a later part of the review without needing to share whole sections and this is critical for personalization.

The review is data. Reports provide insight.

The great news is that the template builder is fully integrated with reports and dashboards so that any performance review process that you build will have corresponding HR Analytics produced from it.


The kinds of analysis provided by default include trends, key word and phrase summaries, ratings if you are using them, and business area summaries.

These can be extended to include sentiment analysis and organisational network (relationship and influencer) analytics if required.

All review data is exportable so that you can run your own analytics as required.

5 ways that individualized performance reviews maximize potential?

You have much to gain when you individualize performance management, and mix periodic formal reviews with real-time performance observations.

1. Relevance

65% of employees thought their performance review was not relevant when CEB surveyed 13,000 employees worldwide. 

When the review is 100% relevant to the individual it commands 100% of their attention.

The more generic and therefore the less relevant the review, the more sections marked Not Applicable, or with no meaningful narrative, the less notice it will receive and the less development it will enable.

2. Timing

66% of employees say the performance review process interferes with their productivity.

Being able to time the individual review to coincide with a lull in workload (like at the end of a project or in a seasonal low) improves the headspace that the employee has to attend to the observations that are shared.

The review receives the priority of the reviewers improving the quality of input beyond what can often be a ticking the box excercise.

3. Psychological Safety

Individualization removes the need for the rubric or normalisation that underlies comparison to others. Specifically it takes away relative ranking against peers when the variation in roles and circumstances in most jobs today already makes comparison to others academic.

Comparison to others, or evaluation against a 'perfect world' standard is the main reason that more than 30% of traditional performance reviews actually decrease motivation and performance and that 1 in 4 employees have cried following a performance review.

By basing the review on individual criteria with comparison of the individuals current and prior performance against criteria specific to them, enables the review to create a sense of personal improvement and progress. This is inherently motivational; like working on your personal best, instead of being asked to attempt the world record.

The privacy surrounding an individual review adds an extra layer of psychological safety for the reviewers and those being reviewed who can be confident their honest observations can be shared without fear of consequences.

4. Job molding

The growing need to mold jobs so that companies capitalize on employee strengths versus the approach of fitting people into rigid job descriptions needs individualized reviews. You cannot job mold and use traditional performance management successfully.

When jobs are molded the competencies, goals, and measures of effectiveness for that job will differ from person to person.

5. Inclusion

In many organisations, the cost of running a 360 review process has constrained those employees that it is offered to. It's been a leadership development tool not a general review tool. This is unnecessary bias. 

All employees can gain from the broadest possible perspective of their strengths and contributions and this is made possible at no additional cost to the real-time performance management subscriptions to the Pay Compliment platform.

Summing up

The flexibility of your performance management platform is becoming more important as workplace trends reshape the employer employee contract and require greater levels of tailoring, faster reactions and local empowerment.

Gone are the days of the annual review cycle, centrally managed by HR and their outsourced consultancy using their proprietary platform and charging for every template change, every review cycle and every report.

Self-service, self-paced, self-managing systems have taken their place, and these are generally not only a better fit to needs, but can also be significantly more cost effective for the whole organisation, not just a lucky few within it.

Find out more about turning everyday observations into better performance by talking to us about your needs.


What do you think about periodic reviews? Do they have a place, or do they have a place in history? We'd love your thoughts in the comments below.

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