Performance Management Systems Buyer's Guide
By Mariah Hansen, Market Research Associate
Let’s be honest: traditional performance management — the process of rating employees’ performance and ranking them against their colleagues — is, at best, necessary. At worst, it’s a highly flawed process in need of updating and realigning to the work values of the 21st century. This perspective is not new or surprising to the many managers navigating the performance review process — it’s also the reason many HR managers are implementing any of the top performance management software.
- Introducing performance management software will help you to automate and streamline a variety of tedious tasks, saving you time and boosting your overall productivity.
- Successful implementation of new software requires that you have a thorough understanding of your needs and what your overall goals are.
- Developing a list of requirements will help you to determine which software has the features you need most for your business.
- Asking vendors key questions will help you to ensure you select the best software for your business needs.
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The principal function of HR is to align its strategic goals with those of the corporation in order to facilitate and provide employees the maximum opportunities for their personal and business success. Performance management importantly provides the means to measure and improve employee talents, and the technology that supports this vital function must encourage a transparent and agile process. Ideally, it should encourage an ongoing routine structured towards developing and supporting an employee’s career goals, as well as fulfilling the organization’s business and talent needs.
The critique of the traditional process — specifically the annual review process — has had some researchers in the field advocating for its complete dissolution. While it is clear that the process is in need of reform, wiping it out completely may create more harm than good. This is the reason so many businesses are shifting their process to include software that can streamline and automate many tedious tasks.
While benefits, generally speaking, are subjective and tied to a specific set of circumstances, we can settle on a set of benefits that would largely fit the majority of organizations. For starters, it’s difficult to argue against increased productivity as a primary benefit — but that’s not the only benefit you’re likely to see.
There are plenty of tedious tasks involved in the review process, and a good platform can help you to automate some of those tasks. For example, it can help you track and manage goals and objectives — either at an individual or at a team level. This will help you to ensure that your employee’s performance is in alignment with your overall business strategy.
Setting clear goals and milestones for your employees that directly correlate with the company’s overall objectives. This will benefit the organization overall, as everyone will be working towards the same goals at a higher level. When goals are aligned, each employee’s output supports reaching a company’s goals. It will also help your employees to feel engaged with the business when they can see a direct connection between their work and your organization’s success — and when they see that success they’ll also feel more empowered by their work.
The introduction of HR performance management software is more than just a good way to automate some of these small tasks. It’s also has long term benefits. Possessing knowledge about your workforce’s skills and abilities allows you to confidently plan for both present and future contingencies. The identification of employee goals, performance level, and development activities are the keys to unlocking a competitive advantage for your company. This knowledge can be in the form of data that you measure and assess in order to arrive at the best possible insights.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top performance management solutions
As with any step in a new direction, it’s important to have a roadmap of where you want to go when introducing new software. You’ll want to sit down with your team and discuss what your objectives are for implementing a new tool. Everyone should be on the same page so they can all contribute in their own capacity to reaching your end goals. Consider the reasons behind your decision to implement a new product, and be sure that those concerns will be directly addressed when looking for performance management software.
Boost Efficiency & Productivity
Software allows you to automate many of the tedious tasks involved in ensuring your employees are meeting their goals.
Things like scheduling and documenting reviews can be automated, leaving you more time to focus on tasks that software can’t do for you.
While they can be tedious, performance reviews help guide your employees and ensure that they’re taking advantage of growth opportunities. Spending less time on the little tasks involved in the review process means that you’ll be able to focus your efforts where they’re truly needed and get more work done.
Align Employee Goals & Business Objectives
No matter what type of business you have, it will be most successful when everyone is working towards accomplishing the same goals.
Alignment of employee goals and business objectives ensures that an organization’s strategic objectives are understood by their workforce and that a course correction, if required, can simply and efficiently be achieved. This ability is critical to a company’s success. A powerful tool that provides employees with meaningful feedback while also linking this information to business objectives is very important.
There are many moving parts and tracking individual employee progress, accomplishments and goals is a lot of work — especially if you have more than a handful of employees. You’ll want to ensure that whichever software you choose is able to automate at least the most basic tasks so that you can streamline your review process.
Integrate Continuous Performance Evaluation
Continuous performance evaluation is not envisioned as an event or conversation that takes place around the formal annual review. It is recognized, more appropriately, as an integral part of an ongoing relationship between manager and employee. And it has been expanded to cover all the development, coaching and reward activities that occur throughout the year, both formally and informally.
This enables quick and frequent feedback on work between employee and manager, or more lengthy, formal coaching advice or development planning. Whichever software you ultimately select should provide you with the ability to integrate this continuous processes into your business.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top software
Clearly envisioning how you and your workforce will benefit from the introduction of performance management tools moves the process of implementing software much further along. Rather than selecting from a lengthy list of features and functions, you can evaluate software based on your top priorities.
Performance management software offers a range of functional options and features; some of these functions form part of a requisite group of features that are present in all performance management systems, while some features are more specialized and fulfill very specific requirements. When you begin your product search you’ll want to be aware of what those features are and which ones will be most valuable to you.
Goal setting is an important part of the process. Each year you sit down with your employees and discuss what specific goals they can work towards over the next year. You want to make sure your employees are meeting their goals, and discover what you can do to assist them if they don’t.
This feature assists in setting and tracking those goals. Some software can even help you ensure those goals are measurable. Some of the more specific functions of this feature include customizable goals, goal tracking and even sending you alerts to remind you to check on whether or not employees have met their goals.
|Performance Evaluation System||
This feature houses a variety of tools that can all be utilized during employee evaluation. Some of those specific tools include self-assessments, appraisal forms and performance tracking. This is likely the primary function you’ll utilize when evaluating employees, so it will be important that this feature is capable of tracking and measuring performance in a way that will be valuable to your organization.
When the time comes for one of your hardworking employees to move on from their position — whether they’ve received a promotion or are retiring — you’ll want to be sure that there is a seamless transition when their replacement steps into the role. Succession management can help with this exact scenario.
This feature includes succession planning tools, talent pool management and career development planning among other tools. These tools will help you to plan ahead for when one of your employees steps out of their role, ensuring that you have a qualified replacement ready to step in.
If you have great employees, you don’t want compensation to be the reason they leave. That’s why it’s important to pay your employees fairly for the work that they do. The compensation management function will help with this in a variety of ways.
One specific tool within this function that can help reward employees who do great work is incentive management. When you see that your employees are performing exceptionally well, this tool will help you with budgeting and calculating monetary incentives.
|Employee Lifecycle Management||
From onboarding to exit counseling, an employee lifecycle management feature can help you every step of the way. This function can help you with the recruiting and hiring process, ensuring you find and hire the best talent. It can also help when it’s time for your employees to move on with off-boarding tools.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top software
Additional Features & Functionality
The vast majority of software will have additional features that, while not specific to evaluating your employees performance, will provide additional benefits. Being aware of what additional features vendors offer with their software can help the buying process, particularly if you’re torn between two software options. If you find your top vendors tied when it comes to the basic requirements then you can start to assess these additional features and see which one pulls into the lead.
|Reporting & Analytics||
In any business, there is a lot of valuable data that can provide insights. A reporting and analytics feature can provide you with reports and talent analytics. This type of data analysis can help you gauge which employees are doing well and which ones need help. It can also help you to develop standards so that your employees are able to gauge whether or not their performance is where it should be, as well as recognizing when they’re performing exceptionally well.
|Learning & Development||
This feature will be useful after evaluations have ended. This functionality can help with providing feedback, coaching and learning. These tools can help ensure that your employees have everything they need available to them so that they can meet the goals defined by their review.
This feature may have a variety of functionalities within it. Often it will allow you to grant role-based permissions to each user, enabling lower level employees basic permissions, while managerial staff will have additional permissions. It can also help administrators to define rules, assist in payroll and facilitate leave plans.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top software
When comparing the best performance management systems you’ll need to have a thorough list of your must have requirements — we’re happy to help with our requirements template. Knowing what your top requirements are will help you by giving you a clear picture of which vendors can meet your needs. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of vendors, you’ll want to be sure to conduct a thorough comparison to ensure that whichever tools you select will have all of the features that you’re looking for.
Questions to Ask Yourself
How big is my business?
You’ll want to determine the size of your business. Business size divides companies into two categories: enterprise sized and small-to-medium (SMB) sized businesses. Most enterprise sized organizations consider integrating a performance management system with their existing HR or enterprise resource planning software (ERP). This eliminates the concern regarding the integration of new software with existing tools.
SMBs also benefit from a robust performance management system. This brings focus on an important factor: scalability. In other words, you want your software to grow at a similar pace as your business. But at some point, you may not have enough functionality in the existing software, and it may be more prudent to invest in another product.
How much does the platform need to be capable of doing?
If the HR software you have in place is still working well and efficiently, a standalone software with good functionality may be appropriate, as long as it integrates with the existing platform. On the other hand, talent management software that incorporates performance management would provide maximum efficiency and perfect integration.
What is my implementation timeline?
You’ll want to have a good idea of when you’ll need your new software to be fully up and running. Develop a timeline and give yourself deadlines for things like selecting software. You’ll also need to account for the time it takes to train employees on the new product, as well as the time it takes to fully integrate your new software with any existing products you already use. Selecting and implementing your new software will take time away from other daily tasks, so you’ll want to plan accordingly.
Questions to Ask Vendors
Does the vendor offer a demo?
Many performance management software vendors offer a demo or walkthrough of their product, wile others offer a free trial. These offerings act as a movie trailer — helping you decide whether or not you’re interested in shelling out money for the ticket and the popcorn, which we all know can be pricey. Seeing the movie trailer highlights of the software before you make your final selection will help you have a better understanding of all that the software has to offer.
What integration options does the vendor offer?
If you already use another HR software, then you’ll want to be sure that new tools are compatible with your existing platform. This will help you to streamline tasks across platforms and boosting productivity. For example, if you implement performance-based incentives, then you’ll want to be sure that your performance management software can communicate with your payroll software so that there’s no extra work involved in rewarding your employees for their good work.
What deployment options does the vendor support?
Your deployment preference will depend on your specific business needs. On premise software can provide peace of mind, knowing that all of your data is stored in house. However, if you’re planning on expanding your business you might choose a cloud-based software that will allow you to easily connect with employees and consumers in any location.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top software
UltiPro, cloud-based HRIS software from Ultimate Software, brings together core HR, talent management and payroll into a unified HCM suite. Allows users different levels of access that can be customized based on business needs.In addition to these capabilities, the software is equipped with a robust set of business intelligence and predictive analytics tools. Powered by AI and machine learning, they provide data insights to drive intelligent decisions.
BambooHR is an HRMS designed for small and medium-sized businesses, and provides solutions for organizations in all industries. Based in the cloud, it streamlines data collection throughout the employee lifecycle, warehousing relevant information in a centralized database to make it easily accessible for managers and individual employees. It facilitates hiring, onboarding, compensation administration, performance management, provides employee self-service capabilities and everything in-between. It allows organizations to make customizations, set multiple administrators and maintain inactive employees.
Namely is a cloud-based platform for mid-sized businesses. A suite of connected modules allows organizations to manage payroll, time and attendance, benefits, and talent. It comes equipped with additional features for general HR activities, such as document storage and management, customizable dashboards, and audit trails that help save time, configure employee profiles, track events and activities, and control access.
Constraints on talent are undoubtedly hurting enterprise growth and profitability. If organizations can’t fill their ranks with the right people, they can’t move the business forward. More than ever before, organizations are looking to HR to attract, develop, and retain employees who can help them achieve their business goals.
After more than 15 years of development, Deputy was founded in 2008. Offers a variety of tools to assist with core HR tasks, including managing your employees. Able to assist with creating schedules, managing performance, time tracking and payroll.The cloud-based platform is designed to meet HR management needs for businesses of any size in all industries. By focusing on a variety of metrics, Deputy can help businesses to expand operations, increase efficiency and save both time and money.
Reflektive is an end-to-end employee management suite focused on achieving measurable performance results. It’s designed to help managers and employees work better together. It facilitates a culture of ongoing feedback, manages goal setting, automates performance reviews and more.
SuccessFactors combines a set of integrated products to form a complete suite for HCM. The HRIS system enables companies to execute basic human resource functions as well as expand to strategic initiatives and planning to remain competitive. Based in the cloud, uses technology such as AI and machine learning to solve pressing human resources demands. In addition, SAP offers consulting and professional services to help companies implement integrations, deploy HRMS software and more.
Oracle HCM Cloud provides a suite of applications that enable organizations to build and execute modern human resources and talent management strategies. Its set of modules includes human resources, talent management, workforce management and AI capabilities. These modules help align human resources processes that are supported by local compliance and provide managers with access to a workforce directory, employee profiles and skills information, time monitoring, policy implementation, and employee experience and skill alignment. It also enables talent managers to create a talent-rich applicant pool, recruit and retain quality hires, and execute employee engagement practices.
NEOGOV delivers comprehensive human resource capabilities for the public sector and education organizations. The SaaS-based suite includes core HR, applicant tracking, onboarding, performance management, learning management, payroll, time and attendance, and e-forms. It’s suitable for small, medium and large businesses.
Talentreef provides SaaS-based social recruiting and talent management solutions, catering to the specific needs of the hourly workforce in the service industry. It helps organizations streamline their employee hiring, training and talent management operations. Its mobile-first focus helps streamline recruitment processes. It covers numerous processes, including recruitment marketing, ATS and assessments, onboarding and compliance, performance and engagement, training and development, employee self-service, reports and analytics and integrations. Its adoption can result in improved applicant flow, simplified employee onboarding, compliance and better employee performance.
Engagedly is a holistic, people-focused and flexible performance management and engagement software best for companies with 50 to 5,000 employees. Based on best practices, our platform goes beyond performance reviews to Identify and harness everyone’s capabilities, aspirations, and potential to bring it all to the forefront and align with an organization’s strategic goals.
Cornerstone Recruiting is a cloud-based suite that provides recruiting, learning management, performance management and HR administration. Founded with the purpose of improving access to education through online learning, it now helps organizations of all sizes to recruit, train and manage their employees. It has mobile capability that allows productivity and connectivity in real time, from any location.
Founded in 2004 as HRM Direct, ClearCompany offers solutions for hiring, retaining and engaging employees. This product supplies features to assist with managing employees throughout every stage of their lifecycle. It combines a variety of core HR functions within one platform, providing users with a full HR suite. Provides users with branded career sites, hiring, onboarding and many more functionalities. Suitable for businesses of all sizes in all industries.
HRWeb is a web-based HRIS platform for tracking and evaluating employee activity, behavior and data. It offers a range of capabilities for time and attendance, performance management, applicant tracking, onboarding and employee behavior tracking. It can help manage several HR tasks, from hiring new employees to conducting employee reviews.
Engage your workforce, align and assess talent, pay for performance, and plan your leadership succession. Workday TM works seamlessly with Workday HRM to let you do all of this from a single, unified application.
PeopleFluent Performance Management enables organizations to align the workforce with corporate objectives, evaluate employees and measure results. Modules include recruitment, performance, compensation, succession, learning and org charting. It provides an easy-to-use interface to manage goals, appraisals, talent profiles and competency. Users can also conduct skill assessments and leverage 360-degree review functionality.
Culture Amp, which acquired performance management company Zugata in early 2019, is a cloud-based solution that utilizes a holistic and progressive approach to managing employee performance. It is for companies looking to streamline continuous feedback and employee development. It facilitates open communication across organizations to improve productivity at an individual and team level. Users can automate ongoing feedback, performance reviews, goal management and more.
Arcoro, formerly known as BirdDogHR, is a cloud-based HRIS solution that helps companies of all sizes manage employees throughout every stage of their employment. Users can leverage it to attract and hire top talent, align employee goals with company goals, create succession plans and ensure compliance with government regulations.Capabilities include core HR, payroll, benefits administration, recruiting, onboarding, learning management, performance management and compliance. Availability on mobile devices grants users 24/7 access from anywhere.
Founded in 2001, Trakstar launched an enhanced version of their platform in 2012 with a focus on customer experience. Assists HR managers with all steps of the performance review process, including goal setting and conducting evaluations. Offers a variety of tools to users including self-appraisal functionality, goal tracking, note taking, reporting and more. In addition to evaluating performance, Trakstar also assists with boosting employee engagement.
Zoho People is a cloud-based platform that facilitates labor management activities such as performance evaluation, time and attendance tracking, and expense reporting. As part of a larger product suite, it can seamlessly integrate with the rest of this vendor's recruiting and expense solutions. It also connects with the provider's payroll product, but payroll is only available internationally in India and in the U.S. for California and Texas. Includes support for 12 languages, allowing organizations to manage a global workforce.
Synergita is a performance management solution to all employee-related difficulties! HR and managers. Will help employers modernize and help them manage their goals, periodic check ins, and employee development.
People HR offers a scalable and customizable solution to perform essential HR functions, including personnel monitoring, applicant tracking, performance review and more. Its employee-tracking database lets HR managers create employment records for new hires, fill in crucial employee information and provide unlimited storage for documents. It is suitable for both small and mid-sized businesses.It includes an applicant tracking module that helps users create and customize the company’s career page and create new job offerings. Users can view all applicant information in one location. Its performance review module helps employees receive feedback from their peers.
BerniePortal is a cloud-based solution for all talent acquisition, onboarding and management related needs. It helps with applicant tracking, employee onboarding, benefits administration, PTO tracking, time and attendance, compliance, performance management, COBRA administration and 1095-C reporting. Small and mid-sized enterprises can use it to optimize human resources, enhance employee experience and productivity, and spend time on essential tasks. It also provides payroll integration that enables employers to integrate with several payroll offerings and employee benefits data in payroll. A network of healthcare advisors and brokers nationwide are available for integration.
Performance Pro industry-leading performance management and salary administration applications. Our employee software is time-tested, content rich and are used by over 100,000 professionals. Designed by human resource professionals with decades of experience to be secure, effective, flexible and easy to use.
PeopleGoal is a modular, customizable platform that allows companies to tailor their current performance management process, rather than be dictated by a strict formula. intuitively links all areas of the cycle online, in one place. The robust reporting suite allows senior team to instantly see as broad or as detailed a picture of the company's performance as they need it
By implementing Infor Talent Management, you’ll be able to keep your critical talent engaged and motivated while helping to support your company’s strategic goals. Infor Talent Management helps you link your people with your business strategy, empowering you to make an immediate and lasting impact on your organization’s success. Plus, it helps you arrange key HR functions so your organization can find and keep the right people.
Performance Culture is a web-based performance management tool that helps managers and employees improve performance through continuous coaching, timely feedback and meaningful recognition. The platform is designed to align company goals with employee expectations, coach employees on key behaviors, and manage team members using the values matrix. This process is a crucial component in developing a culture that fosters team chemistry and keeps employees engaged and inspired.
BalancedComp creates a precise salary and budgeting framework that not only provides employees with appropriate compensation, but also plays a key role in accomplishing the financial objectives of the executive staff and board of directors.
Easy-to-use, affordable, and effective employee performance management for small and medium sized businesses looking to streamline appraisals and engage talent in ongoing feedback development. Award-winning features and guided set-up and training ensures success now and in the future: online appraisals self-assessments, real-time goal tracking, 360° reviews, ongoing feedback journaling, talent identification succession planning, compensation, status tracking dashboards, guided setup and training for HR and end-users, hosted or on-premise deployment.
All-in-one Human Capital Management Solution for mid-sized and large businesses. Lanteria HR creates a collaborative environment where employees line managers can cooperate. Lanteria HR manages all HR tasks in a company with 6 basic modules: Core HR, Time Attendance, Recruiting, Performance, Learning management and Self Service Portals. You can use any of those modules separately or get the entire Lanteria HR system to cover all of your company's needs.Available on-premises and in the cloud, easy to use on any device. Integrates with Office 365 and SharePoint.
Cezanne Performance Management transforms employee appraisals and reviews into a centralised, streamlined activity that’s simpler and more satisfying for everyone. Pputs employer in control to set up as many forms and decide what to ask (and how to ask it), the rating or scoring approach you want to use and who to involve at each step of the process.
Performly is a cloud-based human resources software used for employee performance management. It is suitable for businesses of any size across all industries. Performly allows users to list employee objectives, along with job descriptions, core competencies and plans for development and growth.
IMC Process Guide is an electronic performance support system (EPSS), or in other words GPS for software. The system assists users while they are using a software or carrying out a process by providing context-sensitive information up-to-date. This on-the-job training approach enables informal learning, reduces errors and boosts productivity.
The PeopleStrategy suite enables small and medium-sized businesses to manage all aspects of human resources from one cloud-based platform. Its modules cover core requirements (performance, comp planning, onboarding), workforce management, payroll, benefits administration and talent acquisition. Capabilities include applicant tracking, self-service, analytics and reporting. It automates many parts of the administration process and stores information in a single database to eliminate double data entry.
Pricing & Cost Guide
See the Price/User for the top performance management systems… plus the most important considerations and questions to ask when shopping.
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