The Employee Performance Continuum® Visually Maps the Performance Levels of Employees

Measure and Track Employee Performance Without Ratings and Annual Reviews


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The Employee Performance Continuum™ (EPC) Origin and Background

Jamie Resker, Founder and Practice Leader of Employee Performance Solutions created the Employee Performance Continuum™ as an alternative to traditional performance review ratings.  The model is the starting point that helps inform the right conversations between managers and employees and track ongoing performance progress.  Keep reading for a description of the Five Performance Types.


Intended Use 
The primary use of the Employee Performance Continuum
™ is to help manager's describe their rationale for how they assess the employee's Work Results and Observed Behavior.  This is the starting point in helping managers engage in tailored conversations designed to bring out the best in each employee.  


Continue Tasking Managers With Assessing Performance:  When people refer to, rating-less performance management it means dropping the traditional single category ratings of Meets Expectations, Exceeds, etc.  It should not mean dropping metrics altogether. 

  • Use a system that allow managers to more accurately evaluate and track the performance of their  The number one use for assessing performance effectiveness should be to inform targeted conversations that drive and align performance. 
  • HR should work with each manager to understand the overall performance effectiveness levels of each employee to identify the  Five-Performance Types (more on this below), identify people at risk, coach managers to have the right conversations, escalate issues as needed, and inform employment decisions. 
  • This information can help with talent development planning, succession management, and can be used as one factor to inform compensation decisions. 
  • Ensure that whatever performance management interventions you are using are actually improving and driving performance in your organization.  To do that you need to measure and keep measuring employee performance effectiveness.      


Beware of equating rating-less performance management with dropping metrics altogether. We advise clients to use a proven process to certify the consistent and unbiased application of the model, check data quality, and build the confidence with managers and employees that the tool represents a fair and valid way to measure performance  Read more about using 
Continuum as a calibration tool in the Team Plotting Discovery process. 


On-Line Employee Performance Continuum Plotting and Reporting Tool
Inquire about our tool to track and report on employee performance.  

Download the Employee Performance Continuum Tool See the Performance Continuum Explained
Try the Employee Performance Continuum Plotting Tool


Five Performance Types

The method visually maps the spectrum of employee performance levels.  The five main categories capture the variance of On and Off-Target Work Results and Observed Behaviors :



1.  "Upper Right" On-Target Work Results and Behaviors, mid to high Work Results and expected value-adding Observable Behaviors (ideal state!)

2.  New and Developing, new to the role and making steady progress (great; the person is on track and right where they should be given the time in the role!)




3.  On-target Behavior With Less Than Expected Work Output; despite making an earnest effort the Work Results are continually below expectations (nice to work with, but work is reassigned to more competent staff or the job is scaled back so much that it's no longer the job the person was hired for)

4.  On-Target Mid to High Work Output, But a Pattern of Off-Target Value-Detracting Behavior results in identifiable negative impacts such as depleting the time and energy of others, impairing cooperation and workflow, creating extra work for the manager, and slowing progress, and more (while the individual's Results are valued, the behavior likely goes against and erodes organizational values, sets a poor example for and lowers the bar for others, makes people avoid and work-around the individual, is a poor reflection on the employee and the manager who seemingly allows the behavior to continue).

5.  Low Work Output with Value-Detracting Behavior  Self-explanatory!  


Branding People as Low and Problem Performers

The last three performance-type descriptions of Off-Target Performance are problematic, but we encourage a change in thinking:

Move away from the terminology of "low or problem performer" to 
a "person-at-risk" and in need of support.   


  • The point isn't to find problem performers and drive people out.  The purpose of identifying people-at-risk is to follow through on targeted course-correcting feedback and coaching that inspires and motivates improved performance.   

  • Will this work for everyone?  No. However how often does a manager want to terminate an employee or put them on a performance improvement plan only for you to learn that the manager has neglected to provide course-correcting feedback and coaching?    

 How many employees in your organization have more potential if they received the right feedback and direction?  Do your managers have the tools and training to drive employees to the upper right?   

On-Target Work Results 
and Observable Behaviors

Our tools and training help re-shape communications between managers and employees based on two-way, frequent, informal conversations designed to exchange meaningful information. When managers and employees are comfortable speaking frequently and candidly, strengths and accomplishments are acknowledged, and performance expectations are easily discussed, so everyone can focus on exceptional results.  Our approach is particularly effective when addressing Off-Target Behavior so it helps the manager coach the employee forward.


Contact us for more information