Performance Reviews

Five things to look for when searching for a performance management system

So you’ve decided to change the way you run performance reviews, or switch from your existing system to a new one. That’s the first step towards making your performance management process effective and meaningful!

Nowadays with so many solutions in the market, it can be difficult to know what to look for. When evaluating vendors, it’s helpful to keep at least two things in mind: a picture of what your ideal performance management solution will do for your business, and building a relationship with your vendor, as you will need their support throughout the entire process.

Below we’ve outlined 5 key points you should look for.

  1. More than a vendor: find a partner

It’s not everyday you have an opportunity to change your performance management system. No matter which one you choose, it’s important to build a strong partnership with your vendor, knowing they will be with you as your organisation develops and your needs change. You will be requiring ample support for change management, onboarding, and adoption.

While many performance management vendors have a “one-size-fits-all” solution, look for vendors that are able to tailor their solution to fit your needs. A team that works with you beyond the purchase of the software and the initial roll-out will be critical to the project’s success. Your implementation and onboarding process will be much smoother with a team that can answer questions as you go along, help you with technical requirements, and roll-out new users when you’re ready for them.

This willingness to work with your team to come up with solutions will have a lasting effect.

2. Compatible technology

Software doesn’t live on its own! With an increasing number of tools to increase productivity in the workplace, not to mention other HR systems, it’s likely you already have an array of technology in use.

While you’re focused on your performance management process, the system you’re about to purchase should be compatible with other platforms you use. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • Does it offer integrations with your existing systems and HRIS?

  • Does it integrate with office productivity tools, for example Slack?

  • Does it offer single sign-on authentication?

  • Is it in the cloud?

  • Does it fit your company’s privacy and legal requirements?

These are all important considerations, which you can also include in your RFP during your outreach.

3. People focused functionality

Adoption will be the number one driver of success of your new performance management system. After all, if no one wants to use it or understands why they should, completion rates during the first review process are likely to be low. And in turn, you won’t be able to gather meaningful insights into your people.

As Mark Van Assema of HR Tech Review says: "Using HR technology is becoming as simple as using consumer apps on your smartphone. Focus on the employee himself, not HR or the company, an experience that doesn't require manuals, with a look and feel that makes you feel appreciated."

To support adoption, look for a platform designed with the end-user in mind. It should be intuitive and easy for people to get used to when you start rolling it out. Coupled with a good communications plan, this should help people understand why the new performance management system is beneficial for them.

Once people are accustomed to using it and your culture of feedback develops, having a solution that is accessible anywhere at any time is a big advantage. People will be able to share feedback on-the-go, during their commute or in between meetings - whenever they have time.

4. A proven formula for success

As you enter conversations, ask vendors for previous examples of successful implementation. For example if you’re looking to create a process that scales as you have a fast-growing company, ask to see a customer story showing that specific case in action.

As you walk through the case study, here are some questions you can ask:

  • How did you identify this was the key pain point they were facing?

  • How did you determine this was the best approach for their needs?

  • What do you recommend we should start with?

  • What time frame did they take to roll-out the platform?

As you learn from another customer’s experience, you may find some points can be reapplied to you. However, a good vendor will be able to tailor an approach and make a recommendation specifically based on your needs and your company’s background.

5. Best practices to support successful implementation

In addition to a strong partnership and a proven formula for success, ensure the vendor you partner with is up to date with HR best practices and has their own tried and tested approaches to performance management.

This will be particularly important for successful implementation across teams and with individuals. Below are some questions for consideration:

  • What is the best way to drive results for your company?

  • How can the performance management system help drive better clarity & alignment within your company?

  • How you can best accelerate professional growth whilst also gathering meaningful insights you, as HR, can act upon?

  • What are the best practices in providing recognition and how can those be applied to your company?

  • How can you use the performance management system to enable people to do their best work, without feeling overwhelmed by a ton of features?

  • Will users get meaningful insights for themselves that they can use to take charge of their career?

  • What common challenges have they seen elsewhere, from which learnings can be reapplied to your case?

These are all questions which when answered, will support you successfully drive change within your organisation.


With the above in mind, we hope you’re feeling prepared for your calls with vendors and have a clear image of what you’re looking for.

Lastly, remember that in addition to tech, functionality and experience, you want to ensure the vendor you partner with shares your value of designing processes that put people first. When talking to vendors, pay attention to how they present their solution. What’s the focus of their offering: providing technology, or empowering people to take charge of their careers?

Want to find out more about Impraise’s approach? Download our Guide to People Enablement Programs, covering three typical processes we see customers use.

Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash