Performance Management software is not something you can ‘try on for size’ then return it if you aren’t completely satisfied. The on-boarding process for performance management software usually takes a number of weeks. Not only does it take time, but it also takes commitment. The main reason why performance management software tools fail is because they are not implemented properly; they were chosen haphazardly and they don’t have the in-company support and drive that they need to get a firm footing and succeed.
Here are six things to consider when selecting and implementing Performance Management software:
1. Project planning
When beginning to look at the process of purchasing PM software you must ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you formed a project team for the implementation of the performance management software and assigned a project manager? Your team should include managers and employees as well as HR.
- Have you created a project plan covering the whole project from software selection through to launch and ongoing success measurement? This is of vital importance; if there is no plan in place, it can be difficult to keep the implementation and operation on track.
- Have you thought about risks; what could prevent the project from succeeding and how could that be mitigated? Equally important is the division of labour within your team.
The largest reason for the failures of PM software implementation is a failure of the team to advocate for, and coach others in its use. Therefore, it is important to everyone in the project team to know the latest plan and know their responsibilities.
2. Requirements of the business
Before you select the software solution for your company, it is important to first assess your business needs. You need to decide what it is that you are hoping to achieve by implementing the software. Additionally, you set goals for you and your team that can help to measure the effect of a new performance management software tool.
If you are already using some kind of software tool, you need to assess what it is about your current solution that is not working for you and what are you hoping to get out of a new tool. You should have an idea about the functionalities that you are looking to gain by introducing a new tool.
3. Software selection
This phase of the planning is certainly linked to the previous ‘business needs’ section. Here, it is important to view a demo of the software solution. As you will be rolling out the new software for the rest of your team, simplicity and ease of use should be a key consideration of any software solution. It is useful to review customer testimonials and learn from other users experiences.
A program that interrupts your existing workflows is not an asset. Therefore, it is useful to know if the software is compatible with your current tech stack and is able to integrate easily.
As you and your team adopt the software, you will undoubtedly have questions as issues arise for you. It is important to know if the customer support is from your country or at the very least, speaks your language, or is from the same time zone. Discovering this after purchase can be frustrating especially when problems arise and you are unable to progress without huge delays.
4. Internal buy-in
In order to get approval for a performance management software solution, it might be necessary to schedule a demo for management and key influencers in your company. Buying performance management software is a commitment, and most likely not necessarily a cheap one; therefore, it is essential to do the ground work in order to obtain approval both process change wise and also financial.
If possible, do some calculations with relation to savings that could be made with adoption of the new software. Details on the return of investment are always clinchers when it comes to making buy-in decisions such as this. While increased employee engagement and a more open and transparent culture should be enough motivation to introduce a 360-degree software solution, very often they are not. For example, in the first year of Adobe's new 'check-in' performance management process, the company estimated it saved “80,000 manager hours, the equivalent of 40 full-time employees, required by the previous process”. A saving like this could go a long way towards convincing ‘the powers that be’ that investment in a performance management software system is the best decision for all involved.
5. System testing and configuration
Of course it is necessary to give the software some sort of a basic run through; if possible play around in a trial environment to get a feel for the tool. However this can be difficult as most performance management companies do not provide trials to prospective clients. This is mostly down to the investment of both time and money required in the implementation and on-boarding.
While a trial might not be possible, you can still view demos or product tutorials, and then make an informed decision based on this information.
Do not be impatient or get frustrated; it is important to remember that every tool has a learning curve, and most likely teething problems. Once you give the on-boarding process due diligence, you can reap the rewards.
6. Internal support driving adoption
A significant problem businesses encounter when looking to adopt new systems of performance management is that the results are not instantaneous. Change normally requires a lot of effort and time for things to become habit and second nature. This also goes for implementing performance management software and seeing adoption.
Ensuring you have a roll out plan whether it be starting with a pilot team and then gradually increasing across other teams, or having workshops run by internal champions, it is important to continuously communicate and support employees. You can not expect to see 100% adoption and results straight away.
There are multiple things to consider when selecting a new tool, make sure you do the research and spend the time identifying what is best for your company. Good luck!
Download our 2019 Guide to Modern Performance Management to aid in the development of the right organizational process for your company.