Posted by Bryan Robb - October 01, 2019


So, you’re the one that got stuck looking for a Performance Management System? Lucky you! I’ll just go ahead and say it. Reviews don’t have the best rep. Therefore, Performance Management Systems kinda get a bad rap. And looking for the right Performance Management System? Well…I’ll let you fill in the blanks here.

It shouldn’t be that complicated, right? It needs to be easy, have a great user interface, and walk you through the process in a way that doesn’t feel like you need a PhD in “How to Use a PM System”.

The upside? If you can find that perfect system, you'll be a hero in your organization. So, let’s get into it.

What are the things you should be asking yourself, as you check out your options?

Outside of fulfilling the obvious business and technical checklist that you’ve collected from HR and IT, step back and answer the following questions.

Does the System Reflect Your Brand?

Whoa! Hold up! Is this a blog about marketing, or performance management?? The answer is YES. Everything you send out to your employees is a message about your vision, mission and operating procedures.

Most systems let you style them with your logos and colors. That’s not really what I mean by branding, but if it doesn’t, that’s certainly hard stop number one.

Ask yourself:

Does it reflect your language, culture, and service and management models that you’ve adopted? One of the most important things you can control, on a daily basis, is a unified vision. It starts with internal communications, gets in the bloodstream of the company and ultimately, becomes the heart of your entire organization. That all starts at the top and trickles down. Your review process has to support your management message. Will it do that?

Yes? Great! Next Question…

Does it Support Real-Time Progress?

In a perfect world, you hope the year runs smoothly and every little detail of each employee’s particular journey is captured. But that is rarely the case. Oftentimes, it’s more like, “Wait, who were all the members of the team who worked on that cool project, that did, uh, the thing, for those guys?”

We have to talk about actually capturing data. Recording information manually is a buuummmmmmer. It impedes process. It starts to feel like a burden. It interrupts the organic flow of thoughts.

Here are some things to think about:

Is it accessible? How long does it take to get into the darn thing? Is it cumbersome to log in and find data? Take it for a test drive; is it something you’d enjoy using? Do you get it right away or did it take you a while to figure it out?

All of these things contribute to the success of the system. The facts are, users will put off setting and reporting on their goals, it’s part of human nature; don’t have the system be an additional barrier.

Are there notifications? Ok, they will probably all have some kind of notifications. However, I’m not talking about nagging, obnoxious notifications. Are the notifications smart and contextual, rewarding and challenging those who are on top of things and inspiring and motivating those who are behind?

Think of the possibility of engaging, social media style notifications and user interfaces. Here’s the key: Notifications should support participation and collaboration. Give them a system that want to check more than their Facebook feed.

Will it capture data in real-time, in a way that makes it super easy for managers to take a quick, concise look at each individual’s process, progress and areas for growth opportunities? Pave the way for speedy reviews, where all your users need to do is look at the results and reflect.

Still good? Then, dig a little deeper…

Does it Challenge Users to Go Above and Beyond?

Personally, I think the very best Performance Management Systems do more than track. They have the ability to teach and to inspire. How do you separate the good from the great?

Here are some points to ponder:

Does it teach your associates how to set SMART goals? Facilitate the breaking up of larger goals into concrete, fast-paced action steps. It shouldn’t feel overwhelming and the system should guide your users towards attainable goals.

Can it train your managers how to coach and cultivate goals, and your HR folks how to mentor the managers, who also need to mentor their teams? A lot to unpack right there. Spoiler alert, keep an eye out for a whole blog on this complex issue.

Is it flexible enough to allow managers to assign goals AND users to set goals? And does it make goals clear and concise? And after it does THAT? It needs to drive toward setting goals for the following review period.

Is there a Cascading Goal dynamic? Can corporate associates set their goals from business objectives that come from the directors in the hierarchy? How intuitive is the process for direct reports to adopt goals? And if your field associates get assigned goals, does it have the ability to communicate goals and metrics that are set by the organization in clear way so that all they have to do is hit the ground running?

The Perfect Match is Worth It

To wrap this up in a bit of a philosophical way, I’ll just say that we believe that when people grow together, collaboration grows. Collaboration leads to a feeling of unity and loyalty. (Those are secret code words for JOB SATISFACTION). And who says goal setting can’t make life easier, instead of harder? Or that it can’t be fun, inspiring, challenging and collaborative?

I’d go so far as to say choosing a Performance Review Management system is like…choosing a life partner. Find one that’s easy on the eyes, thinks like you do, challenges you in all the right ways and at the end of the year, looks at you and says, “Happy Anniversary! Let’s talk about all of the amazing things that happened this year…and let’s dream about where we can go from here.

Have more questions? Leave a comment below! Want to see if we're a match?

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Topics: employee development, human resources, performance management

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