As a business coach listening to my clients’ stories, I frequently listen for themes. What’s showing up in several areas? As a provider of leadership training and a manager of corporate mentor programs, it’s my role to listen for trending topics among my clients. Here are three concepts that I have been hearing a lot about this past year:

1) Death of the annual performance review

Managers around our region are rejoicing at the demise of the annual performance review. Employees are pretty happy about it, too. Gone are the days of trying to remember what you accomplished last January (for both employee and manager). Now, performance reviews occur much more frequently in the form of check-ins – biweekly, monthly or quarterly. This allows for a quicker course correction if needed and also for real-time celebrating of wins. The once-a-year report has evolved into more of a “living document” with goals and activities being recorded and tracked in real time. This change is termed continuous performance management. It helps an organization become more agile and able to respond more quickly to changes in the business environment.
2) A stampede of millennials

It’s official – millennials are now the largest generational cohort in the workplace, coming in at 37 percent. Gen Xers are next at 35 percent, followed by baby boomers at 27 percent. (The newest generation, Generation Z, is starting to enter the workplace now and tally one percent thus far.) With so many millennials in the workplace, they are driving the need for career paths. They want to know how to grow in an organization, what skill sets are needed to move up the corporate ladder and where the opportunities lie for them to make their mark.

3) Workday: A shiny new tool

Although this cloud-based tool has been around for a decade, I am hearing of more local companies using it to get better analytics and drive better performance. Workday combines finance and HR into one seamless system. As the competition for talent continues to heat up, a system like Workday will help businesses track retention rates for the different areas of an organization. And it gives fast-growing companies a way to get a handle on their people data, which may have previously been kept on different systems, making it hard to analyze and decipher.


Susan Combs

Susan Combs, MBA and Professional Certified Coach, works with coaching clients to create fresh starts, enhance their leadership skills and increase their confidence. She is an authorized licensee of the Fit Leader's Program. Susan provides one-on-one coaching, DiSC team-building training and manages corporate mentor programs. She lives in Lansing with her son, Max, and their golden retriever puppy. Visit or for more information.

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