Continuous Progression: What It Is and Why It’s Important
October 26, 2023
With the rest of the world of work making major shifts (remote work, anyone?), now is the right time to start moving away from traditional annual reviews and start moving toward continuous progression.
Continuous progression is not only beneficial for employee performance management (it’s more equitable and accessible), but it also positively impacts the bottom line by improving recruiting, retention, and productivity. It’s about giving formalized feedback on an ongoing basis rather than just during an annual review.
So, what is continuous progression, and how can it be used to maximize employee performance? Read on to learn more.
Learn how Plural, a content production agency, used continuous progression and Pando to increase business success, improve hiring, and engage employees. Read the case study.
What is continuous progression?
Continuous progress is a philosophy and set of processes that create a transparent, actionable performance structure that enables iterative, ongoing, and measurable career growth.
Historically, employee feedback is not usually given on a regular, ongoing basis. Some managers don’t do it, or they’re not particularly great at it. Typically, when feedback is given, it’s not anchored in anything that helps employees understand how the feedback relates to what they’re working on or how it will help them move up to the next level.
Continuous progression is designed to incorporate continuous feedback while also connecting the dots so employees can contextualize the feedback in terms of their career progression.
Here are the key characteristics of continuous progression:
1. Employee-driven, bottom-up
While the traditional annual review feedback structure is typically top-down, continuous progression is more employee-driven and bottom-up. Continuous progression allows employees more control over when and how they receive feedback from their managers and peers. Employees can initiate assessments and feedback, making it more accessible, transparent, and ongoing.
2. Contextualized by level
In a continuous progression model, feedback is contextualized by an employee’s job level and role in the organization. This new model keeps feedback from being unhelpfully general and gives employees the details they need to apply the feedback and use it to move up to the next level.
3. Short, ongoing assessments
One foundation of continuous progression is to conduct short, ongoing assessments rather than waiting for one long annual review session. Ongoing assessments reduce the chance of recency bias and give employees more opportunities to gather feedback and apply it to their work. Plus, managers can more easily and efficiently offer valuable feedback when assessments are shorter and more integrated into their day-to-day work.
4. Regular, structured, competency-based feedback
In a continuous progression model, employee feedback is more consistent and structured around specific job levels, competencies, and more. This creates a more equitable feedback environment and allows managers to personalize feedback to each individual employee.
5. Focus on level progression
Performance assessments, when using the continuous progression model, are always focused on helping employees move up to the next job level. That way, career growth and progression stay top-of-mind for both employees and managers, which helps improve retention and productivity.
6. Always-on vs cyclical
One major difference between continuous progression and traditional annual reviews is timing. With continuous progression, employees get ongoing assessments—for individual competencies or all competencies—all year round versus one annual review.
If you’re looking to build a productive, equitable, and transparent work environment, consider making the move toward a continuous progression model. Not only does this provide employees with more consistent feedback, but it’s also far more structured than the traditional annual review model—especially when tied closely to competencies, standardized job levels, and skills.
Interested in moving toward a continuous progression model? Schedule a demo to learn how Pando can help.