If you have ever tried to conduct an employee performance management process using a paper-based system, you will know how much time and effort it takes! Often it is a ‘one-size-fits-all’ form that gets passed around from HR to manager to employee to other employees and/or managers for input, back to line manager, potentially to a senior manager for comment, back to employee, over to the manager for final review and possibly (if you can find it by then) back to HR. During that exhausting workflow HR will be continually chasing to a) find out where it is in the process and b) ensure it will be completed by the designated timescale (that’s if anyone actually knows when the deadline is). Finally, (if it ever gets back to them), HR need to manually record any performance ratings and file the piece of paper never to be seen again. Phew! Oh, and by the way there is a tangible cost to all that time and ask your procurement department paper isn’t free! So just that lengthy paragraph alone should demonstrate why you should spend money on an online appraisal system. Not convinced, read on…

A paper appraisal system costs you much more than you think!

There are many other elements to factor in when thinking about the transition from paper to an online appraisal system. Your CFO may see it as an unnecessary cost to their bottom line and you may need to present a business case to secure budget, but what else does it deliver:

At Actus we view people performance as we do projects. You don’t start a new project and then review right at the end, you keep monitoring progress, the budget, record achievements, resolve any issues and ensure it is completed on time – exactly what you should be doing with your people and exactly what you can configure your online appraisal system to do!
The traditional once-a-year sit down has been replaced with year-round performance and regular check-ins. An online appraisal system enables that year-round approach making it a live-time tool enabling both manager and employee to keep a continual dialogue going thus ensuring no nasty surprises come the end-of-year review.

Employees are more engaged with their performance if;

a) the process is meaningful to them as individuals, i.e. you can flex the templates to suit their role
b) they can access the information for clarity of role
c) they have the ability to input in live time

Better still, as a manager you can ‘catch them in the act’ of doing something great and recognise that achievement in real-time, but still have an audit trail for your final end-of-year discussion.

If you’re not wasting so much time chasing up the paperwork (and this where it can become a tick-box exercise just to meet a deadline), then you can dedicate more time to value-add work or strategic thinking, something we struggle to find time for but is so important for the evolution of our organisations.

We also talk a lot about the right culture, attracting talent and employee engagement and if we look at one segment of the workforce, Generation ‘Y’ (or Millennials as they are more commonly known), this group simply expect everything to be readily accessible and that means it needs to be online, it’s what they have grown up with, it’s what they know!

Don’t fear change!

So, in summary, it is completely understandable to question the perceived upfront costs of implementing an online appraisal system and it’s also very natural to be nervous about introducing new technology, but the benefits really do far outweigh the cost and if you keep it simple and communicate the benefits to all the results will speak for themselves and you’ll never look back!

 

Check out our whitepaper on Making the Business Case for Performance Management in the Cloud