Performance Management Processes in Most Organizations Were Shaped by the Covid-19 Pandemic – New Study by the HR Research Institute

The fourth annual study, The State of Performance Management 2021, was conducted to examine the state of organizations’ performance management processes, performance evaluations, and related data applications,  especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The majority of human resources (HR) professionals (84%) indicate that the Covid-19 pandemic changed performance management (PM) in their organizations. Almost half of the respondents indicate that performance management processes became more digital and technology-driven and that PM discussions often occurred through virtual communication rather than in-person.

The free research report, The State of Performance Management 2021, is now available for download.’s Research Institute conducted the study of HR professionals to examine current performance management insights to help HR adapt to the fast-changing world,  especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Technology was not the only factor to change. In a third of organizations, manager discussions became more likely to touch on issues such as well-being, rather than just performance. Also, over a third of organizations (37%) say managers need new PM skill sets to adjust to remote work realities. Today, the most common performance management objective is to help employees learn and grow (69%), with establishing pay levels and having legal records of employee interactions being less common. 

Organizations that excel at performance management processes are:

  • three times more likely to have important manager-employee conversations four or more times a year
  • three times as likely to address employee performance shortcomings 
  • two times as likely to use technology rather than manual processes to a high degree for PM
  • more than twice as likely to have a PM process that is easy to use
  • more than twice as likely to have managers that are good at recognition
  • about two times as likely to have sufficient PM training for managers
  • about two times more likely to hold managers accountable for PM activities

“HR departments will have to be agile with their performance management methods going forward considering all of the challenges of our new normal,” stated Debbie McGrath, Chief Instigator and CEO of “It will be critical to prepare managers with the right training and to apply the best technology to their HR processes.”

Download the full report which includes details on ten key takeaways to help HR departments gain insights into how to improve their performance management processes to overcome today’s challenges and prepare workforces for the future.


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Jenna Watson Gudgel

PR Manager, News