by Karen McCandless
Published on 7 December 2016
Millennials want constant performance feedback instead of a yearly review, we're told by one report. No they don't, they still prefer annual reviews, along with Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers, says another report. Millennials find performance reviews stressful, but Baby Boomers are comfortable with them. The performance review is broken; oh no, it's fine just as it is. And on and on it goes.
While nobody seems to know quite how to approach appraisals - the slew of companies ditching the traditional review format continues - performance management tools can help ensure that you have a suitable process in place to get the best out of your employees. To help you choose the right performance management software, we've put together a list of ten of the best solutions for small businesses.
In this list we'll include both standalone performance management tools, as well as HR suites that include performance management functionality.
Our methodology for choosing these tools was based on each app's average review score from site users. The minimum entry for apps was set at 10 reviews.
Average review score: 4.88 (out of 16 reviews and ratings)
Performance Culture provides a two-by-two matrix that allows you to place your employees on a grid according to their performance that year. You can choose what the x and y axis corresponds to. This allows you to see your team members' performance in relation to each other, as well as identify strong performers for promotion and employees that may need coaching.
Anneliese Dauerer, operations finance manager at PPD, says: "This was the perfect way for our company to incorporate a culture of performance reviews and ongoing feedback. Most of our employees work remotely so it can be difficult to coach and keep them engaged. The Performance Culture system was our answer as its cloud based platform and ease of use allowed our employees to access their account at any time. The vendor is always very responsive and receptive of enhancements. I would recommend it to any small to medium sized business who is looking to incorporate a better HR and coaching culture in their workplace."
Average review score: 4.69 (out of 33 reviews and ratings)
Engagedly puts the power in the hands of the employee by providing a self rating and reviews feature. It also features a gamified approach, not only to performance management but also for learning, feedback, and collaboration.
One reviewer says: "We have 1100 members with teams distributed between India and US. We started using Engagedly to improve on Employee Engagement, and used the Social, Learning & Survey features frequently. However, the big pro was the Performance Mgmt module which let us automate our bi-yearly goal setting and review cycle management seamlessly, and integrated with other apps."
Average review score: 4.63 (out of 86 reviews and ratings)
Halogen is a performance management tool that allows continuous, anonymous, 360 degree feedback. There is also a coaching tool called Halogen 1:1 Exchange, which enables discussions of goals and progress between managers and employees throughout the year.
Sandra Neal, learning and innovation specialist at EMJ Corporation, says: "We use the eAppraisal and 360 modules of TalentSpace to execute our annual reviews. We can roll out events in phases with separate due dates, including profile updates, self-appraisals, peer appraisals (called multi-raters), manager reviews, manager-employee meetings, and final reviews of appraisal meeting notes. When tasks are overdue, daily email notifications - to employees and their managers - go out to stress the urgency of the process. The Halogen appraisal process offers us as close to anonymous feedback as you can get. When managers compile reviews for their direct reports, we import all multi-rater feedback (manager, direct report, etc.) as "Peer" feedback. If a phrase/word choice indicates that a comment comes from a specific employee, we ask managers to alter the wording to maintain anonymity."
Average review score: 4.59 (out of 33 reviews and ratings)
Primalogik 360 offers customizable review periods, useful if your company completes appraisals more often. There is also the option to provide anonymous and confidential feedback, as well as compare and benchmark the performance of different employees.
One reviewer says: "While employee feedback is an important part of employee performance management, it can easily be skipped by managers due to the difficult nature of compiling results and ensuring anonymity and confidentiality of results. Primalogik 360 seeks to make this process easier by creating forms pre-populated with the criteria many businesses use to evaluate employees."
Average review score: 4.56 (out of 87 reviews and ratings)
Employee performance appraisal app Performance Pro lets you create your own review forms and includes ad hoc review functionality - great for millennials who require more regular feedback. It also comes with compensation management features, allowing you to link performance with pay.
Jennifer Dickey , chief culture officer, says: "Using Performance Pro truly promotes what every HR head would be looking for in streamlining the Performance Management and Performance Review process. Getting your organization to understand the importance of effective Performance Management is difficult enough, being able to offer and utilize a solution that gives everyone a web based tools to guide the process rather than restrict and dictate the process has been a nothing but a win-win for the employees and in meeting business results."
Average review score: 4.49 (out of 84 reviews and ratings)
Another app that caters to millennials' need for more regular feedback sessions, the Reviewsnap performance management tool includes a journal entries feature that allows managers to enter notes into an employee profile throughout the year when something pertinent happens.
Nathalie Weister, Jr. director of Human Resources at Fox International Channels, says: "I have worked with ReviewSnap for 4 years and managed the implementation in two companies (both large and small), and it has proved to be the simplest solution to performance management on the market. While it may not have the various modules and complexity of other tools, it is perfect for a company seeking to formalize its goal setting and evaluation process on a budget."
Average review score: 4.48 (out of 89 reviews and ratings)
Namely is an all-in-one HR solution that offers performance management functionality as part of the suite. This includes employee feedback surveys, employee profiles, and real-time report generation.
Brittney Braganza, senior HR assistant at MIND Research Institute, says: "Not only has their benefit wizard been a great tool for us, their performance management tool has been very beneficial with their annual, 360 and peer review functions."
Mike Cilla, human resources generalist at Victory Marketing Agency, says: "They have a solid payroll bureau, benefits admin, and a performance management tool that allows features and benefits which are typically only found in stand-alone solutions."
Average review score: 4.45 (out of 22 reviews and ratings)
Cezanne HR is a human resources suite that comes with performance management functionality built in. As it's for both small and midsize businesses, you won't have to change your HR software as your business grows.
Michelle Morley , human resources officer at Volt (Europe), says: "We've also streamlined our performance management function to a completely paperless process. It has allowed us to hand over much of the day to day running of employee matters, to the Line Managers. It has negated the need populate multiple reports each month for our directors and senior management, as the data is available to them at the push of a button. We were able to tailor reports to individual managers and assign it to them personally. A very big help in itself as it has freed up a great deal of time for the HR department, allowing us to concentrate on other projects that there simply wasn't time to address before.
Average review score: 4.45 (out of 22 reviews and ratings)
Performance management software CRG emPerform comes in the form of a nine-box matrix that allows you to place your employees in a grid according to performance, with information drawn from past performance reviews, employee surveys, and 360-degree feedback. It also links in compensation management to reward your top performers.
Janell Mitchell, human resources professional, says: "This was my first experience using a performance management system, and first impression is that I was very impressed. The fact that this system will help initiate the open communication between Manager and employee and to hold all parties involved engaged and accountable for their part in the process. I also love the fact that you will have access to past evaluations to reflect on what you have done in the past and that all the information will be available and accessible at your leisure. I cannot say enough about the level of customer service that was offered from emPerform's staff and level of professionalism. I would highly recommend this product to any corporation looking to effectively promote their performance management process."
Let us know your choice of performance management software in the comments below or by writing a review. If you'd like any more advice on choosing a performance management tool, email firstname.lastname@example.org.