Human Resources

7 Steps for Selecting the Best Performance Management System

When selecting a performance management system, the difficult part is choosing one which is right for your organization’s size, culture and needs. Creating a project brief allows you to define your objectives, scope, requirements, budget, key stakeholders and a well-thought out timeline. This enables you to have more effective and targeted conversations about what your expectations are and the solutions vendors can provide.


1. Build a project overview


Begin with a high level overview of the project. Why are you searching for a performance management tool? What challenge(s) would you like to solve? What is the current business impact of this challenge?


  • Are people receiving the coaching and opportunities they need to develop?

  • Do you have a large number of inexperienced managers who need leadership training?

  • How is this challenge impacting company or individual performance?


Basically, which questions do you need to answer for yourself first in order to have more meaningful conversations? Providing this information is important because it also gives vendors a chance to provide expertise on processes or features which could help you solve that specific problem.  


Skip here to learn ways of identifying your company’s underlying challenges.


2. Provide background to your organization


Your performance management process should reflect your unique work environment. In this section, you should provide some background about your company culture and current performance management process. This should include the characteristics of your current process and why it’s not working for your organization.


3. Set goals you aim to achieve


This is where you go into more detail about what you want to achieve and how you foresee a performance management tool helping you achieve these goals. Include both short and long term goals for this project.


  • How many people would you like to roll out your new process to initially?

  • How would you like to expand going forward?

  • What would success look like for you?

  • Which metrics will you be basing this on?

  • Which milestones will you need to achieve to reach this ideal state?


Check out our guides on setting long and short term performance management goals to get some ideas


4. Consider possible challenges


Are there any parts of this change that you’re particularly concerned about or would like to keep an eye on? For example:


  • Do you have a large generational split which could cause some to take longer to adopt the new tool than others?

  • Do you have a short deadline for the initial roll out?

  • Will you be experiencing a merger or acquisition and need to acclimatize new people to the process mid way?  


5. List system requirements


Rather than trying to compile an extensive list of features, at this stage it’s important to describe only the key capabilities you'll need. The vendors that you evaluate should be able to show you which of their features will deliver the required capabilities.


The benefit of using a performance management tool is, not only the technology, but also the expertise providers have in creating performance management processes that work for different use cases. One of the best ways to decide which tool is right for you, is to set up a consultation with their experts  enabling you to choose a provider which can support you in your creation and implementation phases.


At this point, simply start off by listing the security, legal, and technical requirements your future system must have…


  • Web & mobile capability?

  • Integration with your current HRIS?

  • Privacy & security requirements?


6. Consider costs/budget


If you have a specific HR budget it’s good to already have a rough estimate of how much you’re willing to spend on this new software. If your budget needs to be negotiated with the executive level first, it’s important to identify who will be the final decision maker ahead of time so you can include them in the selection process. You may want to consider expectations for the measurable impact on your company's performance before asking for budget.


7. Identify key stakeholders who need to be involved


This is one of the most important things to consider during the initial phases. No HR team is an island. In order to successfully manage change you’ll need key players onboard to support this initiative. Though this usually includes members of your executive team, don’t forget that team leads will have the biggest impact on whether or not employees will ultimately adopt a new process or tool. Here are 4 types of change ambassadors we suggest our clients to recruit:


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Of course, convincing different stakeholders at each level of your organization of the need for a new performance management process will require different methods of persuasion. Skip to our guides on how to gain executive buy-in and how to gain manager buy-in (upcoming).


Once you’ve prepared your project brief, create a timeline for your selection process with our: Ultimate checklist for selecting a performance management tool