Perhaps you are currently labouring with a paper based-performance appraisal process and have been tasked with looking for an online performance appraisal software. When looking at what the options are available to you it can at first be quite overwhelming. How can you ask the right questions when comparing systems to ensure that you make the right choice for your company?
You may have heard various gurus sprouting their wisdom, declaring that ‘performance appraisals don’t work’ or that ‘the performance appraisal is dead’. You may find it surprising that we as providers of a performance management system would agree with such a radical statement!
Performance management systems are designed to encourage year round performance management, whereas performance appraisal software as a standalone tool does not cover everything required for an effective process.
A performance appraisal, and by definition, a Performance Appraisal System, is a once (or possibly twice) a year discussion between managers and their employees. Research from the CIPD demonstrated that about 65% of staff surveyed had received annual appraisals in the past 3 years and only 33% of them had found it motivational. Complaints included ‘it felt like a tick box exercise’ and ‘my manager was clearly going through the motions.’.
This is the crux of the issue – anything that is a once a year task and completed because of a HR driven deadline rather than part of ongoing and engaging performance discussion, is going to miss the mark.
A performance appraisal system is usually an appraisal form and a repository for it. Essentially this is a slightly different way of storing your paper based appraisal form and is not going to encourage year-round performance management. The management information that you can get out of these systems is also limited as you can only really measure whether the meeting has happened and it is hard to evaluate the quality without a purpose-built system.
Performance management systems on the other hand offer a year-round process. They will usually include objective setting, regular 121’s and feedback, and discussions about development and future aspirations. Then integrated within this will be a twice a year conversation about appraising performance. It has been shown that organisations who use performance management systems and have a culture of year-round performance management have higher engagement figures, better alignment as well as increased productivity and profitability.