Five things to look for when searching for a performance management system

Nowadays with so many solutions in the market, it can be difficult to know what to look for. When evaluating vendors, it’s helpful to keep at least two things in mind: a picture of what your ideal performance management solution will do for your business, and building a relationship with your vendor, as you will need their support throughout the entire process.

So you’ve decided to change the way you run performance reviews, or switch from your existing system to a new one. That’s the first step towards making your performance management process effective and meaningful!

Below we’ve outlined five key points while on this search.

1. More than a vendor: find a partner

It’s not every day you have an opportunity to change your performance management system. No matter which one you choose, it’s important to build a strong partnership with your vendor, knowing they will be with you as your organization develops and your needs change. You will be requiring ample support for change management, onboarding, and adoption.

While many performance management vendors have a “one-size-fits-all” solution, look for vendors that are able to tailor their solution to fit your needs. A team that works with you beyond the purchase of the software and the initial roll-out will be critical to the project’s success. Your implementation and onboarding process will be much smoother with a team that can answer questions as you go along, help you with technical requirements, and roll-out new users when you’re ready for them.

This willingness to work with your team to come up with solutions will have a lasting effect.

2. Compatible technology

The software doesn’t live on its own. With an large number of tools available it’s likely you already have an array of technology in use.

While you’re focused on your performance management process, the system you’re about to purchase should be compatible with other platforms you use. Here are some questions you can ask:

These are all important considerations, which you can also include in your RFP during your outreach.

3. People-focused functionality

Adoption will be the number one driver of the success of your new performance management system. After all, if no one wants to use it or understands why they should, completion rates during the first review process are likely to be low. In turn, you won’t be able to gather meaningful insights into your people.

As Mark Van Assema of HR Tech Review says: "Using HR technology is becoming as simple as using consumer apps on your smartphone. Focus on the employee himself, not HR or the company, an experience that doesn't require manuals, with a look and feel that makes you feel appreciated."

To support adoption, look for a platform designed with the end-user in mind. It should be intuitive and easy for people to get used to when you start rolling it out. Coupled with a good communications plan, this should help people understand why the new performance management system is beneficial for them.

Once people are accustomed to using it and your culture of feedback develops, having a solution that is accessible anywhere at any time is a big advantage. People will be able to share feedback on-the-go, during their commute or in between meetings - whenever they have time.

4. A proven formula for success

As you enter conversations, ask vendors for previous examples of successful implementation. For example, if you’re looking to create a process that scales as you have a fast-growing company, ask to see a customer story showing that specific case in action.

As you walk through the case study, here are some questions you can ask:

As you learn from another customer’s experience, you may find some points can be reapplied to you. However, a good vendor will be able to tailor an approach and make a recommendation specifically based on your needs and your company’s background.

5. Best practices to support successful implementation

In addition to a strong partnership and a proven formula for success, ensure the vendor you partner with is up to date with HR best practices and has their own tried and tested approaches to performance management.

This will be particularly important for successful implementation across teams and with individuals. Below are some questions for consideration:

These are all questions which when answered, will support you successfully drive change within your organization.


With the above in mind, we hope you’re feeling prepared for your calls with vendors and have a clear image of what you’re looking for.

Lastly, remember that in addition to tech, functionality, and experience, you want to ensure the vendor you partner with shares your value of designing processes that put people first.

For further insights, download our 2019 Guide to Modern Performance Management.

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