Does Your HCMS Support Your Performance Management Process?

Performance Management ProcessAnnual review or monthly check-in? Journal entries, mobile alerts, or employee portals? Online chat or face-to-face meetings? Everybody has an opinion about the best way to structure the performance management process. As best practices evolve, HR software companies have responded with customizable review functions and expanded capabilities.

When you’re shopping for new HR tech, here are a few of the possibilities you’ll want to consider:

Who is Conducting the Review?

Old-style review processes placed all the cards in the manager’s hands, leaving the employee at the mercy of the supervisor’s opinion. These days, however, companies recognize the value of soliciting information from others on the team as well. Keep these options in mind as you consider your review process and the tech you’ll need to support it: 


Use the self-assessment to give employees an opportunity to talk about their accomplishments, goals, and strengths. Rating scales can be helpful, but employees should also have a chance to write out their thoughts about successes, career development opportunities, and areas of growth

Peer Assessment

Many HR software platforms now include peer assessments in their performance management offering. Peer reviews may be incorporated into:

  • Team Assessments
  • Informal Evaluations
  • 360° Reviews
  • Formal Performance Assessments

BambooHR, for example, allows managers to assign peer review requests and collect feedback so they can give helpful suggestions to each employee. It’s also a great way to keep tabs on engagement:

Bamboo Peer Assessment


Manager Assessment 

Of course, the meat of the assessment will come from the employee’s direct supervisor. Managers can rate employees based on performance, goals, and the feedback they have received from others on the team. Here are a few tools that help managers create the best possible assessment:

  • Journal Entries
  • Competency Lists
  • Goal Setting
  • Mobile alerts
  • Feedback tracking

What Does the Review Process Look Like?

The annual review is falling out of favor in many circles, and with good reason. Reviews are more effective when they happen more frequently and ask fewer questions. That’s why some software companies have created flexible review periods, giving users the option to choose when and how often they want the review to take place.

Performance Review Comic


When Do You Conduct the Review?

Quarterly reviews, mid-year reviews, and monthly check-ins can all help managers get a better big-picture view of performance and engagement than annual reviews can. More frequent reviews also help employees make adjustments in their habits or goals before they veer too far off track.

Are There Other Times A Review Can Be Helpful?

The goal of a review is both to assess an employee’s performance and to find out how engaged that employee is at work. In addition to regularly scheduled performance evaluations, there are a few other times that a formal review might be called for:

  • Onboarding—During the onboarding process, companies may conduct external psychological evaluations to learn more about an employee’s personality or strengths/weaknesses. This is also a great time to discuss goals and career aspirations.
  • Change in Employment Status—When an employee receives a promotion or transfer, managers will want to take a look at past achievements and discuss new expectations. Journal entries or achievement logs are very helpful here in giving a birds-eye view of the employee’s past behavior and successes.
  • Critical Events—Significant successes or failures may warrant an additional review to assess contributing circumstances and the employee's response.
  • Termination—Both voluntary and involuntary terminations may benefit from an exit interview. Managers can sometimes learn more from an employee as he or she leaves the company than they could while that person was still employed. Either way, it’s worth discussing culture, engagement, reasons for leaving, and suggestions for improvement as the employee prepares to move on.

How Is the Review Structured?

Different assessment goals will require different tools. Here are a few that your software may offer:

  • Checklist—Effective for assessing skills, knowledge, training needs, or performance benchmarks. Checklists can also be weighted to create an overall score.
  • Rating Scale—Uses four or five categories to rate an employee’s performance, engagement, or other characteristics. Scales may move from poor to excellent or use a numeric rating system. Either way, rating scales often rely on subjective opinion and should be worded carefully to be most effective.
  • Essays—Some evaluations can’t be made using checklists or scales. In these cases, essays allow managers and employees to write their thoughts out and use them to support an evaluation or opinion.
  • Journal Entries—Employees and managers can use journal entries to make quick notes at any time throughout the year, detailing successes and failures. They can use these notes to provide support for formal assessments or compensation discussions.

The more flexible the software’s performance review platform is, the easier it is for companies to design a process that works within their culture. Criterion, for example, has created a performance review interface that allows companies to customize almost every aspect of the review process. Managers can set up custom review periods, review types, rating scales, goals, and competencies. 

They also offer journal entries so that employees can make notes about accomplishments or observations throughout the year, which comes in handy when review time rolls around:

Criterion Journal Entries

As you evaluate your current HR software platform, consider how you want your performance management process to look moving forward. Today’s employees want more feedback, and intentional reviews can help them feel more engaged and valued in your company. And to accurately measure employee performance, make sure your managers understand how to write a performance review.

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