The Future of Employee Performance Management: 5 Ways to Modernize Career Progression

October 9, 2023

As we prepare for the final quarter of 2023 (annual review season!) and strategize for 2024, it’s time to once again look at how we’re managing employee performance. 

After all, the “old way” of employee performance management is not working, e.g., traditional annual reviews, lack of transparency into job levels or salary bands, inconsistent feedback from peers and/or managers, etc. Not only does the old way lead to more bias in the review process and increased pay disparity, but it also leads to frustration, lack of career growth, and, ultimately, increased turnover. 

And as we know, turnover costs US businesses over 1 trillion dollars every year. Meanwhile, remote work has surfaced questions around the role of managers and the approach to employee growth and progression.

So, how can we fix all of this? How can we modernize the whole process? Here are five ways:

5 ways to modernize career progression

Now more than ever, employee performance is critical to company success. Old paradigms for employee development, performance management, and measuring impact are holding companies back from realizing the full value and impact of employees.

Here are five ways we can modernize career progression, better serve employees, and improve the bottom line for companies:

1. Maximize employee impact through continuous progression

Continuous employee progression is a philosophy and a set of processes that create a transparent, actionable performance structure to enable iterative, ongoing, and measurable growth.

Employees want to be fairly compensated, to know that the entire system is fair (not just for them, but for everyone), and to be given ongoing, clearly defined opportunities to grow in their careers. Continuous, “just-in-time” progression is a way to do exactly that. 

Whereas the traditional annual review process is a once-a-year, manager-led process in which the employee has little say, continuous progression is more self-serve and employee-led. When a continuous progression system is set up (here’s how Oyster does it, for example), employees can initiate a review process at any time to gather personalized feedback from peers and managers on their performance, skills, competencies, and more. 

This gives employees more frequent opportunities to gather and respond to feedback, make adjustments, and make their cases for a promotion and/or pay raise. When employees feel more invested and engaged in the review/feedback process, they’ll be more productive and more likely to stick around. 

Annual reviews simply don’t cut it anymore. They’re inefficient, fraught with bias, and rarely accurately capture the work and progress an employee has made in the last year. It’s time to start moving toward a more continuous, ongoing model of employee performance feedback. 

Pando is the first all-in-one continuous progression platform. To learn how Pando can help your team move toward a more modern employee feedback model, schedule a demo.

2.  Standardize job leveling

Job leveling is really about growth and mobility within the organization. When you have standardized job leaving, you could have six levels or ten or whatever works best for you. 

However, your number of levels lays the foundation for how people move through your organization and how many opportunities they have to level up and feel like they are progressing through your organization. So you’ll want to think through that part carefully. 

Job leveling also creates a more equitable structure when the core foundation of levels is consistent across every team. For example, engineering often has more levels than marketing, and so engineering teams often get more opportunities for pay raises and advancement. And because engineering teams are often made up of more men, while marketing teams are often made up of more women, this only widens the gender pay gap.

It’s critical to make job levels consistent across all departments so everyone can be evaluated fairly. 

Here are a few more reasons job leveling is so important:

  1. Better hiring. There’s automatically more alignment on skills and level during the hiring process, which leads to fewer mis-hires. 
  2. Mitigates pay equity risk. When everyone knows what pay bands are associated with which levels, it reduces the risk of pay disparity and major issues later.
  3. Keeps you competitive. When you have demonstrable paths for growth, you can improve recruitment and retention.

Pando has helped hundreds of leaders create standardized job levels for their teams. Schedule a demo to learn how Pando can help you.

3. Align your compensation philosophy

Whatever compensation philosophy you use needs to align with the employee performance management path you’ve chosen to take.

For example, if you use a continuous progression model as we talked about earlier, that might mean that you’re doing a compensation evaluation once a year to make sure every employee is earning a competitive market rate. If, according to your market data, they’re not in the proper range, you make adjustments to fix that. 

It might also mean that whenever employees move to the next job level, their compensation is automatically increased at that time. So, it’s not tied to an annual performance review.

4. Establish clear career tracks

It’s also important to have clear career tracks for both individual contributors and people managers within your organization. And those career tracks must be transparently shared with employees so everyone knows where they currently stand and what their career progression could look like. 

Not only is this beneficial for current employees, but it could also be helpful for recruiting new top talent. Everyone wants to know they can advance their career in a company (and how they can advance it), but very few companies take the time to create and share those pathways. If you do, you’ll always be one step ahead of the competition. 

5. Create competency-based career frameworks

Within each job level (which, again, should be standardized across the entire company), there are competency-based career frameworks. Each level within each department should clearly define which soft skills, hard skills, values, and more should be associated with each level.

Domain-specific competencies will vary between engineering roles, marketing roles, etc. but they should all contain the same number of competencies (e.g., 6-12) so advancement is standard across the organization, regardless of what team an employee is on. 

When executed correctly, competency-based career frameworks create more equity and help managers and employees reduce bias and subjectivity in how they’re assessed and how they give feedback. 

Did you know Pando can help you create competency-based frameworks? Schedule a demo to get started.


Traditional annual reviews are outdated, inefficient, and fail to equitably help managers evaluate employees and help employees advance their careers. Companies that wish to increase employee performance, build cultures of transparency and candor, beat their competition to top talent, and retain employees in a competitive jobseeker’s market should start moving to a more modern approach. 

To learn how Pando can help your company modernize employee performance management, schedule a demo here.