Let's face it: despite their importance, annual performance reviews are often not a priority and as a consequence can be left to the last minute, meaning they don't give a fair representation of an employee's progress over 12 months.
By tracking goals, assessing whether targets have been achieved throughout the year, and asking for colleagues' feedback you can create much more detailed reports that are fairer representations of performance, and more efficient to boot.
If your organisation is struggling to keep on top of performance reviews for your staff, it's worth considering adding a performance management tool to your HCM platform, either as part of an entire HCM suite or as standalone software.
We round up the best performance management tools here, both standalone and as extensions of some of the best HCM tools around, to help you decide which might be right for your business.
Performance management is one of the optional extras you can add to your Bamboo HR platform, making it much easier to carry out meaningful, more effective employee reviews. It's also available as a standalone tool if you're not already running Bamboo HR.
It aims to make it simple to track employee goals, carry out self-assessments and manager assessments to get a great overview of how individuals and departments are performing.
Feedback is collected from managers, colleagues and others in the organisation on an ongoing basis, so there shouldn't be the usual end of year rush associated with performance reviews.
Alongside the generation of reports to share among relevant parties, Bamboo HR performance management software aims to be a doddle to use.
Pricing: From $7/user/month (5/usr/month)
Performance management is one of the most important features of the SAP SuccessFactors HCM platform.
It's split into two parts: goals, to help employees and their managers highlight what their targets are working towards; and performance, where managers and colleagues can rate the employee on how well they're doing based on their goals.
To make things easier, managers or employees themselves can choose from the pre-determined goals library, whether those goals are financially-based, identified as training targets, or anything else they may want to achieve.
When reviewing an employee's performance, managers can choose from a number of pre-written responses if they're unsure what to write for any of the sections.
Pricing: From $8.00/user/month (6/user/month)
Deputy's mission is to put an end to structured performance reviews and embrace ongoing feedback, helping employees understand the impact of their actions in real time and giving managers the opportunity to feed back whenever they have something to say.
As well as adding comments, managers can also include their sentiment - i.e. whether that particular employee should receive positive, neutral or negative feedback - making it a much more proactive way of carrying out performance reviews.
It's also easy to see who are the best performing employees with in-depth reporting presented in a simple to understand way. Employees and their managers can access the information at any time, motivating employees to stay on track and helping managers identify what support may be needed.
Pricing: From 1/user/month
Namely's performance management features are part of the company's overall HCM offering, which is a good thing if you're looking for a new tool to manage the entire employee lifecycle.
Employees self-enroll on the system on their first day, which means their performance can be monitored as soon as they join. Both company and employee-level goals can be set straight away, with managers and peers able to feedback on an ongoing basis.
An employee's progress can be tracked against their competencies, giving a fair overview of their skills and exposing areas where they need to improve. If they're excelling, they can be instantly recognised for their achievements.
When it comes to submitting performance reviews, everything is documented, meaning reports are quickly accessible to show an employee's progress, achievements and required improvements in one place.
Pricing: From $12/user/month (9/user/month)
Although best known for its accounting software, Sage also offers an HR management platform, with built-in onboarding and performance management features to help businesses retain the best talent.
Rather than just concentrating on an employee's individual performance, Sage People takes into account their contributions to teams and what they've learnt over the course of the time spent at their company.
Feedback can be provided at any time by everyone the employee works with, including their manager and colleagues. These people can help set goals, rate how they've met objectives and list their competencies.
There's also room for HR teams to add their own measures of performance, such as alternative ratings systems, questions and peer reviews to fit into their existing performance management ecosystem.
Pricing: From $10/user/month (7.60/user/month)
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Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.
Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.
As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.