Organisations are increasingly replacing their paper-based appraisal processes with web-based performance management systems. This article looks at the benefits of managing performance online, how to avoid the common pitfalls and the steps to ensure success.

Why use an online performance management system?

Transactional, ‘core’ HR processes such as maintaining employees’ personal details and leave and absence have been managed online for a number of years now. Organisations are increasingly looking at how they can streamline other HR processes. Performance management is no exception to this and there are a number of good reasons why you should consider an online performance review process, including:

Better quality data. Getting meaningful performance data from paper-based appraisal forms is both difficult and time consuming. For example, compiling training needs across a company typically involves reading through every employee’s personal development plan and identifying common needs, which can take days to complete. A good online system will produce data like this at the touch of a button.

Streamlining the process. A paper-based process requires physical forms to be passed around the organisation between employees, managers and HR for completion and signature. Not only is this laborious for staff, trying to keep track of who is at what stage of the process is nigh-on impossible. An online system will offer automated workflows and approvals, making the process simpler and quicker for employees and managers to complete. As an example, book publisher HarperCollins halved the time taken to complete their annual appraisal process by using plusHR’s online performance system, and achieved a 98% completion rate in their first year of going online.

Encouraging year-round performance management. Paper-based appraisal processes are often a once or twice-a-year affair, with objectives locked in a draw and never looked at or updated between reviews! An online performance management system, if set up well, can encourage employees and managers to review performance progress regularly and ensure that objectives are updated to stay relevant throughout the year.

‘Generation Y’ expect everything to be online. The ‘internet generation’, now making up an increasing percentage of the workforce, typically manage their lives online. Organisations wishing to present themselves as an employer of choice to these individuals will struggle if they are still using paper-based forms, or even Word documents, to manage their processes.

You may also be interested in our ‘Do’s and don’ts of implementing an online performance management system’ blog.

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