Looking for performance management software? Read our top 4 points to watch out for

Stefan Op de Woerd
Stefan Op de Woerd

Many organisations are actively seeking software to support their performance management In an effort to reduce their administrative burden. Or, they want to change their approach and, as a result, their current software no longer meets their requirements.

Most organisations are already fairly clear about what they want and need their new tool to do, as well as their requirements in terms of security and data protection, and how much they are willing to invest. But, they often seem to sidestep a number of key points. In this blog, you will discover 4 critical points to watch out for that should feature highly on your checklist.

It’s important to say here that we ourselves are suppliers of innovative HR software. So, you may want to take what we say with a pinch of salt ;-). All the same, or precisely for that reason, we hope we can help you move forwards in this process.

#1. “It’s not about features, it’s about usability”

You may already have noticed that there are a lot of tools out there to support your performance management cycle. So many, in fact, it’s a challenge to see the wood for the trees. The various providers are all keen to show you what their software can do, but ultimately they all do more or less the same thing. So, how do you choose?

By looking beyond what the software can do, first and foremost to how it works. How does it support HR, but most importantly employees and managers, in their day-to-day work so that they can learn and perform better? This is where the software can really bring added value.

For this to happen, the tool must be:

  1. Simple: It must be easy to use and reduce red tape
  2. Engaging: It must be inviting so that it really helps employees to learn and perform better
  3. Intelligent: Provide helpful insights and the right support at the right time

When you look at the different tools from this angle, the choice suddenly becomes much simpler.

#2. Choose software for your needs now and in the future

Most tools fall into one of two categories: (1) tools that fit your current performance management cycle and (2) tools that fit how you see your performance management cycle in the future.

This throws up a dilemma… Do you go for a tool that suits your current needs, but falls down when it comes to your future plans? Or, do you choose a tool based on your growth prospects, and accept that it is less suitable for your needs at present?

The answer has got to be neither, clearly! You want a solution that is flexible enough to meet the needs of your current performance management cycle, but that can be adapted to support changes you introduce over time. Indeed, it may be that one department in your company is moving faster than another and you want to be able to support different performance management cycles running alongside one another.

So, when choosing new software, consider your performance management cycle as it currently stands, but also how your needs will change as you grow.

Are you choosing the best solution for your situation?

Find out and download “The complete requirements checklist” for free

#3. User experience is more important than actual use

It goes without saying that when you procure new software, you want your employees to use it. Otherwise, it will be a wasted investment, right?

To make this happen, many organisations will work with the software provider to increase acceptance and adoption of the tool, their intention being to encourage employees to use the tool as much as possible.

But, let’s just take a step back a moment – is use of the software now the goal all of a sudden? Wasn’t the aim for the software to support your employees?

What really matters is not use of the software in and of itself, but users’ experience when they interact with the software. There are often a number of critical moments when the experience really has to deliver. For example, setting goals and progress towards them, asking for and giving feedback, or conducting an evaluation (e.g. performance review). These are the moments of truth where the tool absolutely needs to live up to expectations.

#4. All-in-one or best-of-breed?

Suppliers of all-in-one HR software are of course happy to point out the advantages of having a comprehensive package that covers all your personnel administration needs. What they forget to tell you, however, are the disadvantages of going down this route. So, let’s take a moment to look at the bigger picture…

The core competence of such providers is personnel administration. They are experts at it and, by far and away, it is where they focus most of their resources and attention as an organisation. Understandably, there is much less focus on supporting the performance management cycle.

It is clear, by extension, that providers who focus entirely on the performance management cycle, devoting all their time and energies to it, will excel in this area. Not just now, but also in terms of ongoing development to meet future needs.

A common objection is that you end up duplicating administration, clearly something you want to avoid. So, you should always check whether the tool can be linked to your existing systems. In most cases, this will not be a problem as is evidenced by the number of specialist add-on tools springing up all over the place.

That’s why organisations are increasingly rejecting all-in-one solutions in favour of best-of-breed.

Are you choosing the best solution for your situation?

Find out and download “The complete requirements checklist” for free

4 critical points to consider when choosing software

If there is one thing you want to avoid, it is introducing a new tool that your employees do not want. To avoid this situation, you should carefully consider these 4 points during the selection process:

  1. Is the software easy to use, engaging and intelligent? (It’s not about features, it’s about usability)
  2. Is the software completely flexible? (Choose software for your needs now and in the future)
  3. Does the software really deliver in terms of user experience at the moments of truth? (User experience is more important than actual use)
  4. Can the software be linked to other systems you use? (Best-of-breed rather than all-in-one)

Thinking through these points will soon tell you whether the software you are looking at really will support your performance management cycle. And, if it doesn’t, just keep on looking…

Are you looking to digitise or introduce change to the performance management cycle in your organisation? Our free e-book ‘7 steps to an effective performance management cycle’ will help you get started. We wish you every success!

Jochem Aubel and Stefan Op de Woerd are the founders of Dialog, surprisingly simple software for an effective performance management cycle. Want to know more about how Dialog supports employees and managers to achieve this? Take the product tour.

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