Performance management, but not as you know it (p2)

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Software that’s changing the space

Unsurprisingly, we talk a lot about the influence and the power of the cloud at Ento HQ. The availability of cloud-based solutions means that businesses of all sizes and scopes have access to powerful, sophisticated, user-friendly systems that make business processes easier and more streamlined than ever.

Performance management is no exception to this.

In fact, a search on Capterra for web-based performance management software yields over 70 results – and, let’s be honest, even the most dedicated manager isn’t going to trial 70 pieces of software. You can further filter these 70+ options down by a number of criteria to find something that fits your specific business needs, but if you’re pressed for time, here are five of the biggest players in the game at the moment:

Culture Amp
Australian-based Culture Amp is being heralded as the very first platform made specifically for ‘People Ops’. Culture Amp is effectively a survey platform, which enables employers to conduct culture, lifecycle, performance, pulse and specialised employee surveys, and gain powerful analytics and insights from the data collected. It’s a great way to monitor and improve company culture and attitudes, and is trusted by a swathe of innovative companies, from Etsy to 99Designs.

Culture Amp offers three levels of subscription, depending on the size of your business. Their ‘Essentials’ package, ideal for businesses with 50 – 200 employees, starts at $3000 a year.

Halogen is one of the highest-ranked performance management solutions currently available. With offices in the UK and Australia, Halogen offers a range of performance management tools to a wide array of industries – from healthcare, to professional services, to hospitality.

Consistently ranked number 1 in customer satisfaction by major business analysts covering the talent management market, Halogen boasts high profile clients like Bank of Queensland, World Vision and Carhartt.

Pricing varies depending on specific requirements – you’ll need to contact Halogen directly.

Trakstar is part of the new breed of performance appraisal software – cloud-based, user-friendly and incredibly flexible. Like the best cloud software providers, Trakstar offers a free trial period, enabling you to see if the software fits your needs.

Based in Seattle, Trakstar has some 800 clients globally, in both government and private sector.

Unlike others in the space, Trakstar has transparent pricing available on their website. Subscriptions are sold on an annual basis, and start at $3040 per year for up to 25 employees.

PeopleGoal is what cloud-based business software should be – customisable, easy to deploy and cost-effective. Like Trakstar, PeopleGoal offer prospective users a free trial period – letting you test the software for 14 days.

Priced at a flat $7 per month, per user, PeopleGoal is a great option for smaller organisations, who have been priced out of some of the other solutions available on the market.

Founded in 1999 (when the cloud, as we currently know it, was little more than a gleam in the tech community’s eye), Cornerstone is something of a pioneer in the SaaS space.

Working with government agencies, hospitals, NFPs and schools, Cornerstone is used by millions of people globally.

Pricing for Cornerstone is not available on their website, though they do offer a free 7-day trial.

What changes should you expect in 2016?

With high-profile organisations – Microsoft, Deloitte, GE, Accenture, to name a few – choosing to overhaul their performance management and review processes in 2015, there’s an expectation that others will follow in their wake this year. 6% of Fortune 500 organisations have already eliminated rankings, and Kris Duggan at Fast Company estimates that number will be at 50% by 2017.

There will be, according to Paul Hamerman at Forrester Research, a rather seismic shift to cloud-based software solutions to manage performance. This may involve existing, customisable SaaS solutions, like those we mentioned earlier, or custom-built solutions like GE’s PD@GE app.

Ultimately, a modern approach to performance management will focus on continuous communication, development and improving employee engagement. The Human Capital Institute has developed an Agile Performance Management Approach, which is considered to be better approach in the modern workplace. The HCI model focuses on:

  • Recognition
  • Rewards
  • Coaching for performance
  • Effective continuous feedback
  • Agile goal setting
  • Strength-based development

While the HCI model is not the only one of its type that’s been developed recently, it’s a good example of where priorities lie in performance management in 2016.

At the end of the day, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to performance management. What works for GE may not work for Adobe; what works for Adobe may not work for you. However, by assessing your current performance management system, and seeing how relevant your current methods are in 2016, you can begin to make changes that will yield positive, tangible results.

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