Buying Performance Management is not the most simple or straightforward procedure; but here at Impraise, we’ve come up with a checklist of sorts to help simplify the process. Performance Management software is not something you can bring home ‘try it on for size’ then return it if you aren’t completely satisfied. The on-boarding process for performance management software usually takes a number of weeks. Not only does it take time; but it also takes commitment. The main reason why performance management software tools fail is because they are not implemented properly, they were chosen haphazardly and they don’t have the in-company support and drive that they need to get a firm footing and succeed.
When beginning to look at the process of purchasing PM software you must ask yourself the following questions:
Have you formed a project team for the implementation of the performance management software and assigned a project manager? Your team should include managers and employees as well as HR. Have you created a project plan covering the whole project from software selection through to launch and ongoing success measurement? This is of vital importance, if there is no plan in place it can be difficult to keep the implementation and operation on track. In light with that thought; have you thought about risks; what could prevent the project from succeeding and how could that be mitigated? Equally important is the division of labour within your team. The largest reason for the failures of pm software implementation is a failure of the team to advocate for; and coach others in its use therefore, it is important to everyone in the project team to know the latest plan and know their responsibilities?
Requirements of the Business
Before you select the software solution for your company, it is important to first assess your business needs. You need to decide what it is that you are hoping to achieve by utilising the software. Additionally, you set goals for you and your team that can help to measure the effect of a new performance management software tool. If you are already using some kind of software tool you need to assess what it is about your current solution that is not working for you and what are you hoping to get out of a new tool. You should have an idea about the functionalities that you are looking to gain my introducing a new tool.
This phase of the planning is certainly linked to the previous ‘business needs’ section. Here it is important to view a demo of the software solution. As you will be rolling out the new software for the rest of your team; simplicity and ease of use should be at the core of any software solution. Perhaps it would be useful at this point to ask the company for testimonials from other customers, or at the very least to reach out to other companies yourself to gain a better understanding of the software solution you are thinking about implementing. A programme that interrupts your workflow is not an asset, therefore it is useful to know if the software is compatible with all of the main browsers. As you and your team adopt the software, you will undoubtedly have questions, as issues arise for you, therefore it is important to know if the customer support is from your country; or at the very least, speaks your language, or is from the same time zone. If you fail to uncover this first it might prove incredibly frustrating afterwards when you are waiting to hear back from a feedback centre on the other side of the world.
In order to get approval for a performance management software solution, it might be necessary to schedule a demo for management and key influencers in your company. Buying performance management software is a commitment, and most likely not necessarily a cheap one, therefore it is important to do the ground work in order to achieve financial approval. If possible do some calculations with relation to savings that could be made with adoption of the new software. Details on the return of investment are always clinchers when it comes to making buy-in decisions such as this. While increased employee engagement and a more open and transparent culture should be enough motivation to introduce a 360 degree software solution, very often they are not. For example, In the first year, of Adobe’s new ‘check-in’ performance management process, the company estimated it saved “80,000 manager hours, the equivalent of 40 full-time employees, required by the previous process”. A saving like this could go a long way towards convincing ‘the powers that be’ that investment in a performance management software system, is the best decision for all involved.
System testing and configuration
Of course it is necessary to give the software some sort of a basic run through, however, most performance management companies do not provide trials to prospective clients. This is mostly down to the investment of both time and money required in the implementation and onboarding. All you can hope to do is complete as much research as possible into possible solutions, view demo, and then make an informed decision based on this information. It is a good idea to complete an end-to-end test of your annual performance review cycle using the software. Do not be impatient or get frustrated. It is important to remember that every tool has a learning curve, and most likely teething problems, but once you give the onboarding process due diligence; you can reap the rewards.
Internal Support driving adoption
One main problems businesses encounter when looking to adopt new systems of performance management, is that the results are not instantaneous. One of the main reasons for the adoption of a new system of performance management is companies wish to increase communication and promote the giving and receiving of feedback between co-workers. While this may ultimately be achieved, it will take time, particularly if your company has never used performance management software in the past. You must be patient, and not expect instant results, after all, ‘patience is a virtue’. Employees will not be told about a new tool, be shown how to use it, and then immediately have 100% engagement with it. When a performance management software is selected, employees need to be allowed the time the adjust to it, but also, must be reminded, and encouraged to use it.
Photo by Aaron Burden