There are an almost overwhelming number of performance management tools out there all of whom aim to make performance management as seamless and easy as possible. But how do you sort the “men from the boys”? Easy, you don’t have to. Here at Impraise; we’ve done the work for you. We’ll go through the various tools that companies use to carry out their performance management, as well as the techniques they employ, and we’ll tell you what they’re all about, and highlight the merits and pitfalls of each. The article will be in two parts; first the tool, then the techniques.
Tools of the Trade
There are many kinds of tools that a company might use to complete performance management; from good old fashioned pen and paper, to a Word document, Survey Monkey, no tool at all, Impraise to HRIS and more. We will assess the ease of use and efficiency of each and make recommendations accordingly. Let’s get started!
Pen and Paper
In the modern workplace, very few people write on a daily basis (if at all). Everything is done on laptops and computers. To a certain extent, the pen and paper has become defunct. Nevertheless, some companies still complete their performance appraisals manually. It has been said that the annual appraisal is dead, and this is certainly part of the reason why. Appraisals take a lot of time to complete, and if done with pen and paper; even more. In a study by the advisory service CEB, the average manager reported spending about 210 hours—close to five weeks—doing appraisals each year. Yet despite this, 90% of Human Resource managers believe that annual reviews do not yield accurate information. Aside from the obviously labour intensive nature of annual reviews, they also don’t do the environment any favours as they generate large amounts of tedious paperwork. There are few positives to completing reviews with pen and paper; it is unnecessarily time consuming and inefficient; and there exist many more efficient ways of carrying out the whole reviews process.
As a follow up from pen and paper, the logical next tool is a Word document. A surprising number of companies still use basic Word documents in order to carry out their performance management. In reality this has largely the same results as simple pen and paper, minus the environmental impact of the aforementioned paper. The main advantage to using a word document is simply that you have a digital record of your performance reviews, and that these can be filed accordingly. However they are still a rather laborious way to perform employee reviews. Sure you can work from a template, but put simply, it is not a user friendly or convenient way to measure performance; nor conducive to rechecking or taking a quick overview prior to a meeting.
Despite it’s whimsical name, SurveyMonkey is a serious tool. It is simplistic with ease of use at its very core. SurveyMonkey provides free, customizable surveys, to clients in addition to a whole range paid back-end programs including data analysis, sample selection, bias elimination, and data representation tools.
Aside from the paid and free plan for individual users, SurveyMonkey also offers a myriad of functions for commercial operators including data analysis, brand management, and consumer-focused marketing. Many companies use SurveyMonkey as part of their performance management process to carry out employee engagement surveys to record their employee’s level of engagement with the company, but also their overall happiness as the member of a team.
No Tool, No Problem?
One of the first, and largest companies to introduce wide-scale performance management was General Electric in the United States. GE became somewhat of an authority on all things performance management. After a couple of years they moved away from the rigid annual appraisal, which they had once advocated for, in favour of a more continuous type of performance management. Some companies such as Adobe took this one step further and abandoned performance management entirely. This idea was forged with the belief that employees would take their own initiative; requesting feedback when they needed it and giving feedback to others when it was asked of them. Aside from the tedious and time consuming ways of the traditional performance review process, proponents for the abolition of performance reviews also flouted the negative psychological and neuropsychological effects of performance review as validation for their decision. However, this decision to abandon performance management proved to have been formed under flawed logic, as according to CEB research employees became disengaged, the quality of conversations decreased by 14% and managers spent even less time on informal review conversations. After these failed experiments of abandoning performance management most realised the need to reinstate a new breed of performance management, one that provided continuous constructive feedback to members of team. They implemented a system of agile performance management similar to our next tool ‘Impraise’.
Impraise is a performance management software tool. Impraise stimulates a social working culture of continuous learning where everybody is highly engaged with their individual, and each other's personal and professional development. The web and mobile app enables easy and continuous real-time feedback, social recognition and peer coaching. As an Impraise user, you can request feedback from your peers, at a time that’s convenient to you, when it’s most beneficial to you. By getting feedback when you need it, and not just at the end of the performance management you ensure that you are staying on top of your personal, and skills development. Praise & Tip, the recently launched feature from Impraise, allows users to praise their colleagues in real-time, or to anonymously give constructive tips, to uncover development opportunities and to better their performance.
HRIS, also known as a human resource information system or human resource management system (HRMS), is essentially an intersection between human resources and information technology through HR software. This enables HR activities and processes, as well as payroll, management and accounting to be carried out electronically. A HRIS tends to be flexible, with integrated databases to make payroll and other HR activities less labour intensive for small to medium sized companies. HRIS offers a range of options to help companies understand and fully utilize their collective talents, skills and experiences. As the name suggests however, HRIS’s are human resource focused; meaning that they are aimed at HR personnel rather than a standard employee. Therefore they work as an overarching tool, but not effectively as a tool for encouraging continuous and real-time feedback. Therefore, a HRIS system can be used to supplement a continuous feedback tool such as Impraise, but alone it is insufficient to encourage the ongoing conversations and feedback that really enrich and encourage a feedback culture within your company.
Now you’ve learned all about performance management tools, click here to move on to learn all about techniques for performance management.
Photo by: Todd Quakenbush