The evolution of Performance Management Systems

The origins of performance management can be traced back to the early 1900s. Sources suggest that the performance appraisal was first introduced by WD Scott during World War 1. However, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that a more formal appraisal system was being conducted that focused on self-appraisal.

Modern-day performance management has evolved drastically since its first introduction. However, many organisations still consider the topic to be about a once-a-year, annual appraisal. Furthermore, those that have adopted a system for performance management activities may not be utilising them effectively.

Definition of Performance Management

The CIPD provides a useful definition: ‘Performance management is the activity and set of processes that aim to maintain and improve employee performance in line with an organisation’s objectives. It’s strategic as well as operational, as its aim is to ensure that employees contribute positively to business objectives.’. This definition clearly outlines the complexity of performance management and its importance within an organisations processes.

Adopting a Performance Management System

Choosing the right performance management system in itself can seem an impossible task (and one that we have covered in this blog series). With so many providers offering different features and benefits it can be overwhelming. Even convincing those that hold the purse strings that a system for Performance Management is highly beneficial can be a challenge. We offer guidance on this topic via a downable white paper which can be accessed here: building the business case for performance management software.

Recognising the benefits

Acas identify the following reasons/benefits for performance management:

  • To motivate staff and help with attrition rates, thereby reducing recruitment and training costs.
  • Aligning individual actions with organisational goals
  • Develop employees to help retain talent.
  • Provide recognition
  • Help deliver tasks and projects quickly and efficiently
  • Spot and improve poor performance

Moving to an online system for managing performance

One of the most noticeable shifts in performance management in recent years has been from paper-based processes to online systems. These online platforms encompass a whole host of features including one-to-ones, feedback, recognition, objective setting, and career development.

As a provider of performance management software, we at Actus are very familiar with customers approaching us either because their existing online system is clunky and outdated or because they are yet to make the jump from paper-based processes to online systems for performance management.

For example, when Leeds Federated Housing Association approached us six years ago now, their motivations for moving away from a paper-based system to a simple online system were based on a desire to embed a culture of regular one-to-ones.

70% of change initiatives fail

Of course, there is more to embedding a culture of regular one-to-ones than simply adopting a performance management system. The system alone will not transform your performance management processes. Adopting a new system can require significant organisational change. This can be a real challenge as 70% of change initiatives fail due to people issues (McKinsey). You can find out more about delivering successful organisational change in one of our white papers: How to deliver organisational change.

System Support

It is important to consider the support your organisation requires from your software provider. Over the six years’ since Leeds Federated adopted the Actus Performance Management System, they have expressed the importance of the Actus Support Team and organisational development consultancy provided. Learn more about the relationship via the case study.

Head of HR at Actus client Newcastle United Football Club further emphasises the support Actus offers:

‘The Customer Service is excellent, working with our company to develop our bespoke online appraisal system. Actus provide training, support, and guidance with the assurance of an ongoing relationship to further develop the system in the future…’ Emma Charlton, Head of HR, Newcastle United Football Club.

Why go online with Performance Management?

In this blog, we have touched on some of the reasons why it is wise to choose an online system for performance management. We have also provided a link to a useful resource on building the business case which outlines the tangible return on investment (ROI) and financial impact of using Actus performance management software. It does this by drawing on a correlation between Actus system usage and attrition rates.

Hear from our CEO at Actus in this short video clip about using an online system for Performance Management:

For more information about choosing a performance management system, why not read our blog series starting with: Which is the best Performance Management Software for your business. You can also book a live demo of the Actus system by clicking on the button below.

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