Gallup Research in Performance Development

Jim Harter, Ph.D., is Chief Scientist, Workplace Management and Well-Being for Gallup’s workplace management practice. His article on 2017 is based on Gallup's research which yielded the following key findings and insights into critical components of performance development.

Employees whose manager involves them in goal setting are four times more likely to be engaged than other employees. Yet this basic expectation only occurs for 30% of employees.

Frequency of feedback alone can boost engagement three fold. But the feedback needs to be meaningful, that is to say, it has to be based on an understanding of the individual’s strengths. As a general rule, managers should coach their employees by providing meaningful feedback at least once per week. These coaching conversations can vary from daily “quick connects” to recurring “check-ins” to “developmental coaching.”

While many organizations are moving away from their annual review systems, accountability is still important. Progress reviews should occur at least twice per year, focusing on purpose, goals, metrics, development, strategy, team and personal life. As such, these reviews should be achievement oriented, fair and accurate, and centered on development.

Performance measurement needs to be blended with individualized development. Without the two in harmony, performance measurement can be perceived as a threat and development as disconnected from the business.

Three Key Dimensions

Through a review of 559 roles and 360 behavioural job demands, Gallup found performance review measurement can be collapsed into three key dimensions that describe and predict overall success in a role:

  • individual achievement = My Work
  • team collaboration = My Team
  • customer value = My Customer

To blend performance measurement and accountability with individual development — and to turn activities perceived as threatening into something more positive and constructive — organizations need to consider multiple sources of information:

  • quantitative metrics that are within employees' control and reflect key outcomes, such as productivity, profitability, accuracy or efficiency
  • subjective observations that qualitatively reflect performance in terms of role expectations and allow a manager to provide feedback that helps put performance in context
  • individualized goals that take into account each team member's expertise, experience and unique job responsibilities, alongside the general responsibilities of the job

When managers take multiple sources of information into consideration, measurement becomes more reliable and accurate. And it also leads to rich discussions that are developmentally meaningful.


For organisations and managers, the need to shift from performance management to performance development couldn’t be more urgent.

More than 90% of employees who change jobs leave their company. What employees — and particularly those in the up-and- coming millennial generation — want in a new organization is overwhelmingly "career progress."

Employees today demand more from their companies. They are asking for meaningful work and managers who care about them as people and provide ongoing communication, clear work expectations, and opportunities to learn and grow. This requires extreme alignment and harmony in how organizations develop people and hold them accountable.

Source: Gallup website.