July 1, 2021
We unpack 10 performance management software problems HR professionals face, and give our solutions, from customization to leadership buy-in.
1. Unhelpful design
2. Ineffective goal setting
3. Absence of leadership buy-in
4. Replaces one on one conversations
5. HR ignores change management in the implementation process
6. A lack of employee recognition
7. A lack of integrations
8. Software is not user-friendly
9. Performance management software isn’t adding value
10. The process is unstructured
Performance management software is now widely used by HR teams to boost their people processes. For many, gone are the days when HR would trawl through piles of paperwork. A digital world saves us time, and allows space for more strategic thinking when it comes to performance.
The path to better engaged employees seems smoother than ever before. However, performance management software is not without its challenges. Many organizations revert back to paper-based methods because of software problems – and lose the opportunity to free up time to support their people.
Instead of abandoning software altogether, it’s important to find the performance management tools that work best for your organization. While there is an array of options on the HR technology market, not every brand will match your organization’s requirements.
As you encounter difficulties with performance management, consider whether your strategy is true to how the people in your organization work together. Do you communicate remotely, and so require seamless integration with apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams? Does your team prefer ongoing feedback to the annual reviews offered by your current provider? Find out what is relevant to your company, and only seek out software that matches your unique culture.
Below, we’ll explore 10 common problems HR professionals encounter with performance management software. We’ll provide our solutions for these issues.
Performance management tools are about promoting a high performance culture. As HR professionals know, this requires a holistic approach, which takes into account employee engagement, career and employee development, reviews, culture and so much more.
Software can bring these priorities together:
Performance management is not a one-size-fits-all. And yet, performance management software can be all too generic, without the chance to customize to match your company’s culture.
HR systems will fail to have an impact if they are designed with another organization in mind. This is a time-saver, but ultimately will not add value to your company. Software might be designed for an organization with a hierarchal, fixed culture. If your organization involves cross-departmental collaboration, this will be too rigid to reflect what your employees do each day.
Solution 💡: HR teams need to consult in-depth with leaders and employees about what tools would benefit them.
Use software that is fully customizable. Ideally, you should be able to edit survey or form templates to your heart’s content. Give templates your brand’s imagery, use the messaging that will most connect with your people.
Picture this: your HR team has invested in new software for goal management. You’ve followed the steps, but employees are failing to meet their goals. Soon, targets are abandoned and employees are left feeling demotivated.
This is a common scenario for those who invest in technology without mapping out how it will be used. Goal setting templates can be helpful, but not if you do not align individual and company targets.
Solution 💡: Choose a performance management software that enables you to try out different forms of goal setting. For instance, OKRs support you as you work towards team and company goals. They break ambitious goals down into smaller Key Results so your team have a clear line of sight on what action needs to be taken.
Perhaps your team are setting goals that are not actionable. Consider using SMART targets to create goals that are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time Bound. This will improve engagement and completion, as employees feel that goals are within their reach.
Goal setting is never the end. Follow up regularly with teams on their progress. Even if your teams are highly self-motivated, they’ll see that managers and HR recognize their efforts.
Find out about PeopleGoal’s Performance solutions here ⬅️
Even with the best performance management software in the world, without buy-in from leaders and managers, your new strategy will not get off the ground. Remember, it is managers who will be on the front-line of implementation. They are responsible for checking in on employee performance and providing feedback.
Solution 💡: Consult managers and leadership during your search for performance management software. Are there any features they would find helpful? What are their priorities for the coming year? What challenges have they faced in reviewing performance within the current system?
Gathering their ideas will help them take ownership over the project. Ensure that your implementation phase includes thorough training for managers, and follow up to see how they are finding their new software.
Some managers think filling in an online appraisal is enough. But in reality, one on one conversations are crucial to employee development. HR and managers fall back on software to save time, but sometimes this prevents meaningful feedback on performance.
Solution 💡 : Performance management software can actually facilitate ongoing feedback. Use software to schedule regular conversations, and set reminders to follow up on goals.
This helps clarify points of confusion on performance reviews, especially for those often misleading performance review ratings.
Technology can’t surpass human communication and the value of building strong working relationships. Career development depends upon these informal, open conversations. Yes, performance management software saves you time. But it can also help you develop supportive managers.
Technology can't surpass human communication and the value of building strong working relationships
Every change in an organization requires change management in some form. When you introduce a software that shifts working practices and the way employees communicate, you need to ensure everyone is aware of the changes.
Managers and employees may express doubts about the value of the new HR software. They may resist the need for additional training. Some HR professionals ignore these red flags and carry on with the process. This leads your teams to think Human Resources is out-of-touch with the day to day needs of the company.
Solution 💡: Prepare to meet resistance and the need to adjust your plans. Be transparent about the benefits of the new software, as well as the potential challenges of implementation. Address concerns with a clear timescale for the training required.
Prepare to meet resistance and the need to adjust your plans
When we are recognized for our achievements, we feel motivated to do more positive things. Performance management software often neglects the benefits of employee recognition.
For example, performance review ratings can be arbitrary. If your whole team gets a ‘Satisfactory’ rating for their work, you’ll feel unable to benchmark your progress. In addition, annual reviews blindside employees with feedback on work they completed months ago. Your more recent and relevant work might go unacknowledged.
Solution 💡: Many organizations are eschewing annual reviews in favour of real-time feedback. Software can facilitate this. Leaving a positive comment on your colleague’s dashboard is an easy way to immediately recognize excellent work. Instead of less regular and less informative reviews, use software to manage goals regularly and track progress.
Performance management software works best when it fits in smoothly with your other processes. During remote work, your teams are communicating online. You’ll likely have a communication channel through Slack or Microsoft Teams, and if it’s difficult to share information from one software to another, it will eat up HR’s precious time.
If the software doesn’t fit in seamlessly with your people processes, employees are unlikely to engage with it. Sharing is caring: HR must be able to share insights from reporting easily, or set reminders for one-on-ones and surveys on easy-to-locate communication channels. If you can’t share the information you collect, it loses relevance.
Solution 💡: Choose a performance management software with the integrations you need. In today’s human resources space, communication is everything. Remote work only exacerbates the need to share information and guidance effectively.
PeopleGoal integrates with Slack and Microsoft Teams so you can make sure people processes are at the top of the agenda every day.
Find out about PeopleGoal’s integrations here ⬅️
We aren’t all tech whizzes. Some performance management software assumes advanced technical skills. Even if you are confident in your digital abilities, software can be designed in a way that is overly complicated.
Solution 💡: Think about what you really need from your software. Are you hoping to run performance reviews, provide 360 feedback or just facilitate one-on-ones and check-ins? Be open with the provider about what your priorities are, and ask them to focus on just this area in the implementation stage. This will keep training grounded in your key requirements.
Ask providers about their implementation process. What training will you receive on the platform. After this, do they have support articles available, or customer support? Some HR tech companies go the extra mile, so it’s worth asking.
Most companies invest plentifully in performance management. They understand that people are the drivers of business outcomes. In service companies, employees interactions with clients define your brand. In manufacturing, they determine the quality of your product. If you do not support employees to perform at their best, your company will see the consequences.
Performance management software should add value by promoting better performance and improving employee engagement. However, this is never guaranteed. If you’re not seeing returns on your investment, it might be time for a rethink.
Solution 💡: Consider why this software is not adding value. Check the temperature among employees with a survey, and see how much the platform is used. What features do they wish the platform could give them?
This is an opportunity to check in with how your performance management process matches your company’s culture. Do you use rigid performance reviews, when ongoing feedback would better match how your people communicate? Take the chance to make some changes.
Performance management is a long term game. One-off reviews or employee-manager check-ins that happen once in a blue moon just won’t cut it.
Some performance management systems do not accommodate detailed planning. They provide handy templates but may not enable you to follow up with employees, or schedule real time feedback.
Solution 💡: It’s time to create a plan. HR teams need to think about how performance management will happen throughout each quarter. Set clear deadlines for managers to submit feedback. Support employees with goal setting by scheduling regular one-on-one meetings to keep them accountable.
Performance management is a long term game
When you invest in performance management software, think carefully about the priorities of your organization. There are various approaches to goal setting and performance reviews. What best motivates your employees towards high performance?
To find out more about HR software, read our blog post Performance Management Software: Is it Worth an Investment? 📚
PeopleGoal offers fully-customizable solutions for performance management, so that you can tailor your approach to your company’s unique processes.
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PeopleGoal Content Team