Performance Management Software – Best Friend or Worst Enemy?

Admin HR Technology, Performance Management

With Tyler Vincent (Sprigg Software) and Dan McNair (Energage)

Software designed to make life easier can be our best friend or worst enemy depending on the day and it’s no different for Human Resources professionals looking to technology for the latest advantage in performance management. Knowing exactly what you want the tool to accomplish and keeping it simple are vital for maximizing the chances for long-term success. Here are the top three “DOs and DONTs” to ensure you and your HR software stay on friendly terms, and that you gain the efficiency you desire without losing the human component of Human Resources.

DO – Use Technology for the Following Benefits

Dashboards – Performance management software can be a great way for an administrator to keep a big picture view on the status of team members at various stages in the process. Working in the cloud means information is always accessible from any device with a web browser. This can yield huge time savings for the person previously charged with chasing down managers to complete and submit physical paper forms.

Consistency – Unlike in paper format or in static electronic forms, cloud-based coaching helps to ensure managers follow the same process of form completion and conversation delivery because the software provides a guide from which it is difficult to stray. Those who are new catch on more quickly, and those are not natural communicators have support to deliver more effective coaching.

Document Management – Gone are the days endless filing cabinets lining the walls containing sensitive documents locked away for safe keeping and accessible only by those entrusted with the key. Storing performance management data online allows for seamless controls so that confidentiality has never been tighter, even while accessibility of documents is even easier for administrators regardless of location. Not to mention, you reduce office clutter and save a bundle on the costs to print and store hard copies.

DON’T – Fall Into These Technology Traps

Multi-purpose Tools – Sometimes it is tempting to be drawn in by software that does “everything” (akin to a Swiss Army Knife). While on the surface it sounds great to have endless features at your fingertips, it is often the simpler software that gets used. If the tool tries to do too many things, is difficult to learn or too complex to execute on an ongoing basis, people will simply discard it. Instead, keep it simple and try to find tools that are excellent at completing one or two specific functions, and that are easy to use.

Replacing Human Contact – Software should enhance, not replace personal contact in performance management.  The access to data in the form of charts, graphs and tables can be intoxicating with the promise of all the things that can be “automated”. Remember that performance management is about a relationship and series of conversations between boss and employee. Technology should make that interaction easier, faster and more effective, but not replace it with virtual “high fives” and “atta-girls”.

Technology Without Training – When selecting software, consider how much training and support is offered by the vendor. Even the simplest process will require some training when introduced for the first time.  It’s important to have a great relationship with your software provider before you buy to make sure you feel comfortable about the product, and after the fact so that you are better equipped to bring your team up to speed with the changes.

Leave us a comment and let us know, what other DOs and DONTs have you picked up in the past about introducing technology into your performance management (and other HR) processes?

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