Performance Management Resources

A practical look at building and implementing your perfect performance management process.

Filter Articles By Topic
The Modern Employee One-on-One Template for 2023

Download this employee one on one template and find out how to structure your one on ones for employee success.

Decades ago, employees put their heads down and got the work done. Many positions featured repetitive tasks and employees remained in their roles for many years. Annual reviews were the norm, but that doesn’t mean they were very useful. Most employees would rather skip the meeting and get back to work.

And so the myth of employees not wanting feedback was born, and it persists to this day, even though it is no longer true.

A whopping 65% of those asked in one survey reported wanting more feedback at work. An even more eye-watering statistic shows that 98% of employees disengage from their work if they receive very little or no feedback at all.

That’s at least partly because the nature of work has changed. Not only are positions more involved, but many employees work from home, at least some of the time. Feedback is essential for those employees to feel like they’re on the right track.

It’s clear that employees want to know how they’re doing, but what does that look like?

With employees that are three times more likely to be engaged, one-on-ones are the solution.

Don’t worry! Crafting one-on-one meetings from scratch isn’t necessary. We can help you optimize the time you spend together with an employee one-on-one template along with tips on how to make it work for you.

PerformYard helps you track 1:1s and keep employees informed.Learn More

Structuring an Employee One-on-One

Getting the structure of a one-on-one right is important because it isn’t meant to take a lot of time. Instead, they should happen often, but without causing a huge disruption to your day or your employees’ day.

As the name implies, one-on-ones are between a manager and an employee. With just two people in attendance, it’s easier to build trust, which is important when it comes to supporting an engaged workforce.

Other aspects of the meetings are more flexible. You can take a casual approach by meeting up every once in a while for a coffee in the break room. Alternatively, you can have a more formal schedule where you get together in your office. You might use the same weekly employee one-on-one meeting template doc each time. You could also skip the form and brainstorm a list of topics to talk about ahead of your meeting instead.

Want to know more? Keep reading for a:

  • 1:1 Template
  • 1:1 Scheduling guide
  • 1:1 Follow-up guide

1:1 Template

If you're searching for a one-on-one template for managers, look no further.

Our template includes a list of questions you can ask during both formal and informal meetings. It also includes a guide to follow-up notes so you can start preparing for the next one-on-one meeting.

This template is customized to meet your needs. Use the questions that work and scrap the questions that don’t. Allow the information in the template to inspire you to add details to your meetings that you and your employees find useful.

Download your 2023 Employee One-on-One Template for 2023

Find out how PerformYard can streamline your entire performance management process.Learn More

1:1 Scheduling guide

Wrapping your head around one-on-ones can be difficult. How often are you supposed to have one-on-one meetings? And how long are they supposed to last?

The quick answer is that it’s up to you! Meetings should occur as often as needed, and for as long as needed. As long as they provide value to your employees, there is no one right answer.

If you have a remote team, it’s even more important to schedule one-on-one meetings, as Groove found out.

This company offers help desk software with a robust blog and catalog of resources. With a remote team, it wasn’t easy to notice that some employees were unhappy with their job. To combat this, Groove scheduled bi-monthly one-on-one meetings that have boosted company culture, built trust, and increased employee happiness. Groove has increased employee retention in the process.

The question is no longer about whether you should have one-on-one meetings, but how you should schedule them.

Weekly one-on-ones are among the most popular choice for most teams. Some have bi-weekly meetings, which would be the most helpful for teams that work on short-term projects. Those working on long-term projects may want to consider a monthly meeting. Additional, but less popular, options include bi-monthly, quarterly, and yearly meetings.

Getting together in person is ideal, but don’t let it dictate how often you can have meetings. Weekly meetings are doable with remote workforces and those with a hybrid schedule when you check in on Zoom, or even over the phone.

Meetings that are 30 minutes long are the most popular. Some meetings extend to 45 minutes or even an hour. For the most part, 15-minute meetings are too short, while meetings over an hour are too long.

Keep in mind that the whole point of one-on-one meetings is to build trust and provide value to employees—so ask them what they think! How often would they like to meet, and for how long? Then, be willing to make adjustments that provide them with the schedule that they find valuable.

1:1 Follow-up guide

Check-ins aren't supposed to be cumbersome or stressful. They aren't supposed to require a lot of preparation from employees either. That’s important to remember when it comes to following up.

Avoid making meetings all about status updates. It's the easiest way to disengage employees and erode trust, which makes one-on-ones useless.

That doesn’t mean you can’t take notes or come up with a list of objectives ahead of the next meeting. They just can’t be the entire purpose of the meeting, and they shouldn’t take a lot of time.

For example, an employee might have an idea that they research and bring their findings to the next meeting. A manager might look into professional development options that are available to the employee.

One-on-ones should to be just as much about professional growth and development as they are about performance. If you don’t have any notes to upload or a list of objectives for employees to obtain, that’s okay! They may not be necessary.

If you do want to upload notes and create objectives, consider a more formal process that includes a one-to-one meeting template pdf. If you use a template, you might upload that information to a platform like PerformYard so your employee can see how they are doing over time.

Whether you upload notes or not, make sure you have extra time during your meeting to talk about topics that don’t relate to what’s been planned. A good rule of thumb is to talk about performance-related topics 25% of the time. That way you still have plenty of time to discuss follow-up questions from the last meetings. You can also hit on topics like growth, development and motivation.

Do’s and Don’ts for 1:1 Meetings

These do’s and don’ts will help you make the most of the time you spend with your employee.

Do come up with a schedule that works for you

You don’t have to do one-on-one meetings the same way everyone else does. They can be as long or as short as you need, and you can meet as often or as infrequently as you want. Work together with your employees to come up with a schedule that works for everyone.

Don’t schedule 1:1 meetings only when you have something to talk about

One-on-one meetings should build trust—not necessarily solve problems. You can talk about productivity, professional development, or a recent vacation. The point is that one-on-one meetings should happen consistently, even if you don’t have something important to discuss.

Do make meetings as effortless as possible for employees

One-on-one meetings aren’t supposed to be another thing employees have to add to their to-do lists. As you build a relationship with your employees, they should look forward to getting together. The meetings will give them a chance to talk to you about their experiences and their concerns.

If employees have to prepare ahead of the meeting, make sure it only takes them a few minutes. They should be able to just show up to the meeting and have a successful experience without too much forethought.

Don’t leave planning the meeting until the last minute

Employees shouldn’t be required to do too much planning, but that doesn’t mean managers shouldn’t! Plan meetings and give employees enough time to give you their input. When you decide what to talk about together, meetings will go more smoothly.

Do use collaboration tools to make meetings easier

Not only do employees appreciate being part of the planning process, but they also appreciate being in the loop. Collaboration tools help you plan meetings and review notes quickly. You won’t need to send multiple emails or hunt an employee down in the breakroom.

Learn how PerformYard can help you build 1:1s into your performance management process.Learn More

Don’t make meetings all about performance

Employees will shut down and begin to dread one-on-one meetings if they are all about performance. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about performance at all! It just means that you need to make sure there’s the time during your meeting to talk about things besides performance too.

Do use an employee one-on-one template

A 1:1 template can make planning meetings easier. The template can make it fast and easy for employees to prepare for the meeting, and it ensures everyone knows what to expect.

Don’t be afraid to modify a template to meet your needs

Don’t feel like you have to use the template as-is. Your team has unique needs, which means taking the time to customize the template. Ask your team for input on what to include and what not to include so everyone finds it useful.

1:1 Meeting Agenda Outline

Tips, do’s, and don’ts can help you get started, but what does it look like to plan and conduct a one-on-one meeting?

Here are a few outlines you can use to help you plan your meeting agenda:

  • 1:1 Meeting agenda for a new employee
  • 1:1 Meeting agenda outline for weekly meetings
  • 1:1 Meeting agenda outline for monthly meetings

1:1 Meeting agenda for a new employee

Your very first one-on-one meeting should be relatively informal. There’s no need to overwhelm your new employee with a template or talk about topics that are a little too heavy.

Instead, ask questions like:

  • What has challenged you since you started working here?
  • What skills would you like to develop as you work here?
  • How can I best support you at work?
  • What are you working on this week?
  • Is there anything you would like to talk about the next time we meet?

Leave time during the meeting so the two of you can ask questions that come up spontaneously. Having a little extra time also gives you and your employee time to think about your responses before you share them.

1:1 Meeting agenda outline for weekly meetings

When scheduling weekly one-on-one meetings, it’s important to set up the meeting document or template first. It forces you to think through the date, time, and location of the meeting, as well as its theme or objective. Then, ensure each employee has access to this document before the meeting.

The agenda during the meeting can be broken down into steps that include:

  1. The check-in: These relatively informal questions help employees settle in. Questions might include the food at a recent lunch or what they did over the weekend.
  2. The follow-up: If there was anything from the last meeting that needs to be touched on, do it immediately after checking in. Otherwise, this step can be skipped.
  3. The main agenda: Each meeting should have a goal that is determined ahead of time. The agenda could be related to goal setting, professional growth, performance, or anything else. Only one or two questions on this theme are needed.
  4. Achievements: Take time to talk about employee wins! Do a little research ahead of time and mention each employee's strengths. They'll be glad you noticed!
  5. Goals and expectations: End the meeting with any goals or expectations you have ahead of the next meeting.

When the meeting is over, make notes available to the employee, if necessary. With another meeting only a week away, the sooner you set up the next template and give employees access, the better.

1:1 Meeting agenda outline for monthly meetings

The meeting agenda for monthly meetings should follow the same cadence as weekly meetings:

  1. The check-in
  2. The follow-up
  3. The main agenda
  4. Achievements
  5. Goals and expectations

The difference will be in how much time you spend on some topics.

Weekly meetings allow you to cover topics that you may have missed or dig more deeply into a topic just days later. With monthly meetings, you have to wait weeks to talk about it.

Because of this, monthly meetings require more planning. You also have to think more carefully about the topics you cover. For example, you might forgo discussing achievements so that you have more time to talk about the main agenda.

In general, monthly meetings should be longer than weekly meetings. Planning an hour-long meeting gives you and your employees a chance to talk about everything on the agenda so nothing has to wait until next time.


How do you structure an employee one-on-one?

How you structure an employee one-on-one is up to you! There’s no one way to do it, but a rule of thumb is to start with ice-breaker check-in questions. Then, discuss any topics that require a follow-up before diving into the main agenda for the current meeting. The remaining time can be used to celebrate wins and create goals before the next meeting.

Use a form that the employee has access to before, during, and after the meeting. This helps both parties organize their thoughts and ensure the meeting stays on topic.

What should you say in an employee one-on-one meeting?

One-on-one meetings can be informal and comfortable, giving employees and managers a chance to connect on a more personal level. You can provide feedback, but managers should also strive to create a dialog where they can receive feedback as well. One-on-one meetings should feel like a conversation—not a formal meeting.

What should you discuss in a 1:1 with a new employee?

The first check-in meeting with a new employee should be informal. Ask them questions about how they’re settling in and how management can better support them as they get used to their new role. Leave plenty of time for the new employee to ask questions. The extra time also enables you to ask spontaneous questions too.

What is a 1:1 meeting format?

The format of a 1:1 meeting is usually made up of a list of topics with corresponding questions. You determine which topics are most important to address ahead of the meeting, then create questions that best address those topics. The format can include the use of a form or template, but it doesn’t have to.

Continue Reading
Does the Jack Welch Management Style Work in 2023?

Some aspects of Jack Welch’s management style are relevant in the 21st century, but some of his strategies are best left in the past.

In the 1980s, ’90s, and into the new millennium, Jack Welch was the CEO.

Often referred to as the original celebrity CEO, he headed the General Electric Company for 20 years. Welch impressed investors and hung out with celebrities. This set the precedent for the likes of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk to do the same. At the peak of his influence, Fortune magazine named Welch the "Manager of the Century."

But today, his name isn’t mentioned with the same gusto. Many young workers and everyday people don’t even know who he is. That’s because time tarnished his legacy. In the years since he retired in 2001, the world has seen his policies and practices have a negative effect on GE and the wider world of business. 

So what was Jack Welch’s management style? Why are his methods looked down upon today? Is there anything positive managers and HR can learn from his legacy?

Here's everything you need to know about the Jack Welch management style when running your own business.

Improve your company's communication, goal-setting and culture with PerformYard.Learn More

What is the Jack Welch's Management Style?

You can’t distill Jack Welch’s management style down to a single strategy. That said, he’s best known for his method of rank and yank. More on that in a minute.

Jack Welch’s 4 E’s of Leadership is one of the books he has published on his management style. It explains how managers can bring positive energy to their teams and how to energize employees in a way that makes them want to work for you. He was equal parts cut-throat and supportive. Welch always sought higher revenues and more influence while supporting top talent along the way.

Known for his temper and his all-or-nothing approach to management, Welch helped GE experience great gains during his years as CEO. These gains disappeared after his departure. Some say GE struggled later on as a direct result of Welch’s management practices.

Some aspects of Jack Welch’s management style are relevant in the 21st century. First, we’re going to tackle strategies best left in the past.

Jack Welch Management Styles to Leave in the Past

The 1980s was a time of excess. It was all about padded business suits, brick cell phones, and profit at all costs. It was the perfect time for a celebrity CEO to be born.

Jack Welch’s no-nonsense approach to business and his unrelenting pursuit to be the best allowed him to boost increase profits and help GE grow. He built the most valuable company on the stock market in 1993.

But, it was at the expense of workers. Prioritizing short-term gains led to GE's demise, as it fell off the Dow and announced it would be splitting into three separate companies in 2022.

GE’s fall was in part due to management techniques best left in the past:

  • Forced ranking of managers
  • Prioritizing growth over sustainability
  • Losing sight of the importance of loyalty

Forced ranking of managers

Jack Welch's leadership quotes highlight his approach to leadership the best.

“What could be more important than who gets hired, developed, promoted, or moved out the door? Business is a game, and as with all games, the team that puts the best people on the field and gets them playing together wins," said Welch.

That sounds good on the surface, but executing this belief involved stack rankings.

More commonly known as rank and yank, his method included ranking managers and employees against each other on a bell curve. Welch called this the "vitality curve." Those at the bottom — and for Welch, the bottom was a whopping 10% — got fired.

But, what if those employees are doing their job just fine? Someone has to land at the bottom of a bell curve, even if there are only a few points between them and the top. 

It also assumes those employees are to blame for their lackluster performance, when in fact, it could be a lack of training or support.

Replacing an individual employee can cost as much as two times their annual salary. Companies are better off supporting all employees—not just the ones at the top.

Prioritizing growth over sustainability

Jack Welch said, "Any jerk can have short-term earnings. You squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, and the company sinks five years later," which is ironic when you consider the fact that that’s exactly what he did to GE.

GE took more than five years to “sink”, but it did lose its standing as America’s most influential company. Welch prioritized short-term share price spikes over building a sustainable business. GE suffered as a result.

He reduced the cost of labor through his firings, which in turn increased earnings per share on Wall Street. That made the company look healthy and profitable, and it made shareholders happy. Jobs were sent overseas or outsourced, and departments shrank.

You can only do that for so long before your business is no longer sustainable and something has to give. In 2022, GE split into GE HealthCare, GE Aerospace, and GE Vernova, three independent companies. This reorganization is a far cry from the influential behemoth the company was at the turn of the century.

Sustainability should always come first. This holds true even if it means forgoing profits and making shareholders unhappy in the short term.

Losing sight of the importance of loyalty

If you weren’t useful in Jack Welch’s eyes, you were expendable. It makes a kind of dark sense in business, where employees are hired to do a job. If they can’t do the job, they shouldn’t be in that role.

However, today’s tight labor market complicates matters. Companies no longer employ workers who are happy to have a job and will do whatever they can to keep it. Employees have their choice of which company to work for. Great talent may simply decide to pack up and leave for a better job.

Jack Welch didn’t feel loyalty toward his workforce because he didn’t have to. Today, managers do.

It’s important to show a sense of loyalty to your employees and they will show you loyalty in return. Not to mention, having a workforce that is loyal to each other makes it more appealing for recruits to join the team.

Jack Welch Management Styles That Work in 2023

Jack Welch has indeed provided managers with plenty of examples of what not to do. That said, some aspects of Welch’s management style can serve as inspiration.

After all, GE was wildly successful for 20 years under his reign, and he continues to be talked about over 20 years after that reign ended.

Here are a few Jack Welch management styles to take inspiration from in 2023:

  • Boundaryless behavior
  • Focusing on organizational values
  • Celebrating wins

Boundaryless behavior

One concept Jack Welch pioneered is the boundaryless company. He wrote the following in the GE annual report in 1990.

"Our dream for the 1990s is a boundaryless company… where we knock down the walls that separate us from each other on the inside and from our key constituencies on the outside."

Welch’s vision eliminated barriers and distinctions between domestic and foreign operations. He did away with group labels that support a hierarchy. These labels included terms like "management," "salaried," and "hourly." Welch wanted everyone to work together as equals.

This approach is even more relevant today in an economy that is hyper-focused on innovation and change. Let’s say your organizational design supports horizontal networks of equal individuals instead of a vertical hierarchy of individuals with different statuses within the organization. If that’s the case, you can build teams that aren’t separated by hierarchical structures. 

Encouraging boundaryless behavior among your workforce means more than changing your company handbook. You might have to redefine your company's mission. It might require hosting town hall meetings that welcome feedback. You can lead by example by building teams and seeking advice from people who have all types of roles in the organization.

Focusing on organizational values

Jack Welch was a ruthless firer. He got rid of 112,000 employees between 1980 and 1985 alone. Welch didn’t just get rid of people who weren’t hitting their numbers. He got rid of those who weren’t living up to company values either.

Welch said, “No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”

He believed in putting values first without focusing too much on the numbers. Welch may have gone about it the wrong way by firing those who didn’t comply, but he was onto something.

Employees who are aligned with company values are more likely to recommend their employer as a great place to work. They are more likely to report that their work makes them feel a sense of personal accomplishment. These employees are less likely to leave the company they work for.

Plus, company values support a more comfortable, happier workplace. Aligning employees with the company’s mission is well worth your time.

Celebrating wins

Welch had a reputation for ruthlessness, but he spent plenty of time celebrating wins.

He believed that leaders should make a big deal out of small wins. He said, "Celebrating makes people feel like winners and creates an atmosphere of recognition and positive energy."

Celebrate wins of all sizes in your organization. Whether it’s landing a big-name client or making it through a hectic week, you can boost morale and make employees feel appreciated when you celebrate their wins with them.

PerformYard's public feedback feature can help your company celebrate wins.Learn More

Jack Welch’s 8 Rules of Leadership

Welch was a complicated figure. It can be difficult to parse through his legacy and figure out what will work in modern workplaces and what won’t. 

Although many of his theories wreaked havoc on GE, and big business in general, many of them can still be useful today when they are implemented sustainably.

Jack Welch’s 8 rules of leadership represent a sustainable management method.

  1. Every encounter is an opportunity to evaluate, coach, and build self-confidence for your team

Leaders engage in meaningful conversations with their team members. They help employees reach their potential.

  1. Employees should be guided to live and breathe the company's vision—not just see it

Leaders share their vision, and they share it often. Incentives like a salary increase, bonus, or recognition can motivate team members to accomplish difficult goals in the name of upholding that vision.

  1. Positivity and optimism are encouraged by leaders who show positive energy and optimism themselves

Leaders regularly fight against negativity and instead infuse interactions with positive energy. Leaders must act as cheerleaders by boosting morale and keeping every team member engaged.

  1. Trust is established between leaders and employees because leaders embody candor and transparency

Leaders should never hoard information. Instead, they should offer it freely in the spirit of transparency. They also give credit where credit is due instead of taking credit themselves.

  1. Gut decisions and hard calls are made, even if the decision is unpopular

Leaders must listen to their gut and make hard calls. When you lead with transparency and trust, others will stand behind the decision, no matter what the decision is.

  1. Healthy debates are encouraged by curious leaders who ask questions that probe deep

Leaders aren't afraid to challenge their employees by asking deep questions or playing devil's advocate. They also know how to use different techniques, depending on the disposition of each worker.

  1. Others feel safe taking risks because leaders set the example and inspire them to do so

Leaders aren't afraid to take risks. When leaders take risks, other team members feel emboldened. This creates an atmosphere of experimentation and growth.

  1. All wins—even small ones—deserve to be celebrated

Leaders celebrate wins that are meaningful to the company, the team, and each individual.

So, What Can HR Pros Learn From Jack Welch?

With Jack Welch and his management style, you have to take the good with the bad. 

That means dumping his infamous rank and yank strategy but taking his leadership tips to heart. It means prioritizing sustainability over short-term growth and focusing on your most important values.


How did Jack Welch motivate his employees?

Jack Welch motivated his employees by focusing on building confidence, leading by example, and celebrating wins. However, his rank and yank system also encouraged employees to work hard, lest they be fired.

Was Jack Welch a transformational leader?

Jack Welch was a transformational leader, but not necessarily in a good way. David Gelles, the author of The Man Who Broke Capitalism, makes the case that Welch’s ruthless cost-cutting and focus on quarterly earnings hurt GE and American capitalism as a whole.

Although Welch was often cited as one of the top CEOs during and shortly after his reign, the current consensus is that his style of transformational leadership did more harm than good.

What are the three major focus areas of Jack Welch’s leadership?

When boiled down to its simplest parts, Jack Welch’s leadership style focuses on speed, simplicity, and self-confidence. These three concepts drove his laser focus on turning quick profits and streamlining operations by cutting employees even though the approaches were unpopular with workers.

Continue Reading
The 5 Best Books on Performance Management in 2023

Work isn’t what it once was a few decades ago. Modern employees want a strong workplace culture that prioritizes their well-being. They want an employer that supports diversity and inclusion.

Work isn’t what it once was a few decades ago.

Modern employees want a strong workplace culture that prioritizes their well-being. They want an employer that supports diversity and inclusion. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees expect hybrid and remote working options.

In a tight labor market, employees have more power to choose the right workplace. They can demand fair compensation. This environment makes puts pressure on managers and HR to bring their A-game to performance management.

That doesn't mean trying new things at random and seeing what sticks. It means knowing what works by digging into performance management reference books that are written by experts.

Here are the top books on performance management in 2023:

  • Irresistible: The Seven Secrets of the World's Most Enduring, Employee-Focused Organizations
  • DEI Deconstructed: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Doing the Work and Doing It Right
  • Winning the Talent Shift: Three Steps to Unleashing the New High-Performance Workplace
  • HR for Hybrid Working: How to Adapt People Practices to Support Employees and the Organization
  • HBR Guide to Performance Management

Looking for a quick way to improve your performance management process?Learn More

Irresistible: The Seven Secrets of the World's Most Enduring, Employee-Focused Organizations

Released on October 25, 2022, Irresistible is a Josh Bersin novel. Bersin is one of the world’s leading HR and workplace industry analysts. 

He has spent the last 25 years studying hundreds of management practices and found that many aren't getting the job done. They are reminiscent of the industrial revolution where labor did the work and management told labor what to do.

Things like stack rankings, and even cascading goals, are based on this kind of outdated distribution of work. Bersin argues that managers have less control today. The labor market now has many in the service sector. Plus, organizations are hyper-focused on innovation. As a result, organizations must inspire and empower employees with a management system that focuses on trust.

books on performance at work

Providing a platform for continuous feedback can drastically improve your performance management.Learn More

This book summarizes Josh's findings after identifying and researching the companies at the top of the bell curve. He mentions seven management principles designed to help you create an "irresistible" business.

Irresistible has an impressive 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon. The Chief People Officer at Microsoft says, "If you want the secrets of maintaining a workforce of fulfilled, engaged, and loyal teams, read this book—now."

Learn more about Irresistible: The Seven Secrets of the World's Most Enduring, Employee-Focused Organizations here.

DEI Deconstructed: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Doing the Work and Doing It Right

DEI Deconstructed is a book by Lily Zheng. Zheng was named a Forbes D&I Trailblazer and 2021 DEI Influencer.

Lily Zheng is a Stanford University graduate. On campus, Zheng was the Design and Evaluation Associate in the Diversity and First-Generation Office. Zheng has experience as a diversity and inclusion writer, professional speaker, and strategist.

DEI Deconstructed was published on November 8, 2022. The book analyzes how current performance management techniques leave marginalized people feeling frustrated and disconnected. These feelings can arise even when companies have diversity, equity, and inclusion policies in place. The book uses dives into research on organizational change, using evidence-based methods to bridge the gap between theory and practic. It reveals how stakeholders at every level of the organization can affect positive change.

It has a 4.53 rating on Goodreads. Readers say things like, "Read it as soon as you can get your hands on a copy," and "A fantastic breakdown of what common problems organizations face and how to overcome them and move toward a more equitable future."

Learn more about DEI Deconstructed: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Doing the Work and Doing It Right and follow the link to purchase the book here.

Winning the Talent Shift: Three Steps to Unleashing the New High-Performance Workplace

Winning the Talent Shift by Berta Aldrich tells readers how to obtain a high-performance workplace. It focuses on how to hire and retain the right talent in modern workplaces. Aldrich says organizations must redesign talent strategies to achieve future success. She goes on to offer three steps proven to increase revenue, engage employees at every level, and foster a culture of leadership.

The book outlines how to retain high performers. High performers are likely to leave organizations that don't properly identify, support, and reward them. It also shows you how to select and retain new, high-performing leaders.

best books on management

Help your high performers track their professional goals.Learn More

The book even tells you how to help marginalized groups develop leadership skills so they can occupy C-suite roles in your organization.

The book is rated the number one book to buy on Company Culture. It’s also listed as one of the best human resources books of all time by BookAuthority. The book is a must-read for HR folks looking for actionable solutions to the problem of low performance.

Dawn Zier is the former CEO of Nutrisystem. She says the book, "tackles head-on the workplace barriers to success and unveils the new playbook for hiring and retaining a competitive and diverse workforce to unlock superior corporate performance." 

A managing Director and co-founder at Private Advisor Group says, "If your company wants to continue to grow or have a strong presence in your industry, this is a must-read."

Published on October 8, 2020, Winning the Talent Shift: Three Steps to Unleashing the New High-Performance Workplace has a 4.6 rating on Amazon. You can learn more about Berta Aldrich, her book, and where to buy it here.

HR for Hybrid Working: How to Adapt People Practices to Support Employees and the Organization

HR for Hybrid Working is the go-to book for HR professionals who want to do hybrid working right. The book came out in June of 2022 and received acclaim from i directors and CEOs. The leaders say, "This book should be at the top of your list," and "It's a handbook for the future."

This book strives to provide a comprehensive guide for HR to manage the transition to this new way of working. It mentions the need for change in contractual documents and policies. The book reveals how to manage employee expectations and the impact it has on company culture. It even details every possible hybrid working framework.

The author tackles performance appraisal and management from a conceptual point of view. They also mention examples and case studies that illuminate each concept. The book does a great job of clarifying the concepts it mentions. It also contains a dedicated section on new HR skills that help organizations meet the challenges of a hybrid working model.

Click here to learn more about HR for Hybrid Working: How to Adapt People Practices to Support Employees and the Organization.

HBR Guide to Performance Management

The experts at Harvard Business Review outline processes HR departments can use to track employees and their work. The book teaches readers how to set clear goals and track progress. In turn, readers can close performance gaps, create growth opportunities, and avoid burnout.

This book has a 4.6 rating on Amazon. One reviewer says the book, "is a brilliant introduction to the essential elements of performance management."

It is important to be aware that this book is a volume of separate articles that the HBR team wrote. It is not a cohesive work written by a single author.

The book’s publish date was July 2017. Much of the advice in the book still holds up today. That said, it’s a good idea to combine the advice in this book with other materials.

For example, you might want to reference HR for Hybrid Working if you have a hybrid workforce, or DEI Deconstructed if you have a diverse workforce.

Check out this book, as well as other publications, at the HBR store here.

Digging into the top books on performance management can provide you with invaluable information. That said, it doesn’t matter how valuable that information is if you don’t put it into action.

PerformYard can help you take what you’ve learned and turn it into an actual, impactful process for your organization. Learn more about PerformYard and how it can help you take the next step in your performance management journey.

Continue Reading
No items found.
Does Rank and Yank Work? 8 Pros and Cons

Who are your top performers? With the top 5% of your workers producing an estimated 26% of your output, it is important to know exactly who those people are.

Who are your top performers?

With the top 5% of your workers producing an estimated 26% of your output, it is important to know exactly who those people are.

Once identified, you can recognize their hard work, provide them with perks, and increase their pay. Recognizing top performers makes it less likely that they leave your company. You’ll reduce turnover and the associated costs. Plus, recognition encourages employees to perform at their peak. It supports a culture of achievement.

So which employee performance system is best to identify your top performers?

For some companies, the answer is a form of a rank-and-yank employee performance system.

But what is a rank and yank system, which companies use it, and is it something you should adopt in your business?

Here is everything you need to know about a rank-and-yank employee performance framework.

PerformYard can help you develop a performance management process that aligns to your unique needs.Learn More

What is a Rank and Yank System?

The traditional yank and rank system goes back to the 1980s when Jack Welch, General Electric’s CEO developed it. 

It ranks employees against each other, with the highest performers at the top and the lowest performers at the bottom. The company fires the employees who fall to the bottom.

The presumption is that your most dedicated, highest-performing team members continue to rise to the top. In turn, you continue to cut the dead weight from your team. The intention is to create a competitive atmosphere in which teams have the motivation to perform at the highest level. Rank and yank also requires that you reward those who rank at the top.

The Pros and Cons of Rank and Yank

No employee performance management system is perfect. That’s the case when it comes to the rank and yank approach.

It’s important to consider the rank and yank pros and cons before when designing a performance management framework.

Pros of Rank and Yank

One of the most appealing aspects of the rank and yank system is that it allows employers to create a standard by which to measure all employees. It streamlines the process for HR and management, but it can also clarify expectations for employees. Everyone knows how they are going to be ranked against everyone else, and everyone else is getting ranked according to the same standards.

Ranking your employees makes it easier to create incentives. You can give a raise or a bonus to a certain number or a percentage of your highest performers. Team members find the motivation to perform at the highest level when there’s a great incentive for doing so.

Reporting is easier with rank and yank, as everyone is measured by the same standard. It makes analyzing data easier too. You can compare employees quickly, and employees can see how they compare to their coworkers.

PerformYard's robust reporting can help you identify top performers.Learn More

Cons of Rank and Yank

There are plenty of disadvantages to a rank-and-yank system.

The whole premise of the practice of ranking employees and firing the lowest performers is flawed. It assumes that a certain number of employees aren't making the cut, but that may not be the case.

With a rank-and-yank system, you may be firing perfectly good workers because someone has to end up at the bottom. Their work may be completely acceptable, and even above average, but they are fired because others rank above them. It tells workers that no matter how hard they work, they could still be let go because everyone else did better than them.

This system can be demoralizing to employees. Anyone worried about the possibility of underperforming is always concerned they might lose their job.

Rank and yank promotes a system of me instead of a system of we. Everyone is too busy looking out for themselves to embody a team-oriented atmosphere. Employees keep important information close to the chest. They may also celebrate other employee losses. Coworker failures can provide employees with a feeling of job security.

Rank and yank also assumes an employee’s underperformance is their fault. In reality, it could be a lack of training that’s causing poor performance. Their performance could be blamed on a bad manager who struggles to outline expectations with their team. A lack of resources can cause underperformance. It’s unfair to let an employee go when it’s the company and its operations that need to make adjustments.

Speaking of poor management, some managers may use this system to their advantage. Managers are in charge of rankings and can use them to punish insubordination. They can keep a star performer on their team by giving a lower ranking than they deserve. Some managers can even try to make themselves look good by inflating their team's ratings.

It can also kill innovation. Employees avoid challenging projects that could potentially fail because they don’t want to get a low rank for taking a risk that didn’t pay out.

Is Rank and Yank an Ethical Employee Management Practice?

Rank and yank may be a simple way to do reviews, but should you fire someone because they landed at the bottom of the list?

Firing an employee is something no company should take lightly. There are plenty of laws that prohibit firings in certain cases. These laws even exist in states with at-will employment.

If you’re considering a rank and yank system, or it’s already in place, you have an obligation to your team. Employees must understand the situation, especially during the hiring process.

Candidates for open positions should know about the system before they are offered the job. Existing workers should know the system too. Everyone should be aware of how they are going to be ranked. They should know when they are going to be ranked. They should know what to expect from the termination process so they are prepared, should it ever come to that.

It’s also a good idea to have a system to resolve disputes. Employees should be able to appeal their rank if they think it was given to them unfairly.

Are There Any Companies That Use a Rank and Yank System?

The system of rank and yank is falling out of favor with 21st Century companies. Businesses want to foster collaboration and build teams with high morale. So who has used a rank and yank system in the past? Are there any rank and yank companies that still use it today?

Spokespeople deny the use of rank and yank at Amazon. Still, the company uses manager ratings and tiers based on performance to terminate 6% of its workforce each year.

That may not be the case for long. A new bill would impose penalties on companies that fail to disclose employee files. The hope is that more transparency will positively impact the process.

As of a few years ago, Yahoo was still using a system of rank and yank, ultimately to their detriment, as they faced a lawsuit in 2016 over their system.

It isn’t just Amazon and Yahoo that have found themselves in hot water over a rank-and-yank performance management system. Rank and yank at Enron is perhaps the most famous example of the negative influence of this practice. They went from a model organization in 2000 to bankruptcy in 2001. This was due to unethical practices that were a direct result of ranking and subsequently firing employees. People are willing to do unethical things when the number one goal is to make as much money as possible.

Today, you won’t find any company that admits to ranking and yanking employees. The term has become synonymous with poor management practices.

Take the Good and Leave the Bad

It seems pretty clear that rank and yank is a management strategy that should be left in the past, but no performance management approach is all bad. It’s much better to take the good and leave the rest.

Rank and yank isn’t a term that’s used today, but this style of review goes by many other names that companies are using.

For example, Jack Welch himself never liked the term "rank and yank". He preferred the term "differentiation" and eventually created what he called the “vitality curve”.

He said, "Differentiation isn’t about corporate plots, secrecy, or purges. It’s about building great teams and great companies through consistency, transparency, and candor. Differentiation is nuanced, humane, and occasionally complex. It has been used successfully by companies for decades."

Many of the companies that are still using it use a system of stack ranking appraisals. It’s the rank and yank system under another name, but because of its title, firing a certain number of employees does not have to be part of the process.

Most modern systems address poor performance by giving employees objectives to hit on before the next review. Employee development and training may also be viable options. Smart companies consider these approaches before anyone thinks about letting someone go. That means you can still rank employees against each other if it supports your company’s objectives. You just don’t have the potentially unethical practice of firing those that fall at the bottom of the bell curve.

Alternatives to Rank and Yank

A full understanding of the meaning of rank and yank may have you scrambling for other options. After all, even dumping the “yank” aspect of rank and yank can still pit employees against each other and kill innovation.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other performance appraisals you can consider. Just a few include:

  • 360 Feedback
  • Competency assessment
  • Project-based reviews
  • Rating appraisals
  • Checklist appraisals

360 Feedback

Relying on managers to do all of the reviewing can result in inaccurate and unfair ranks. You can solve that problem with 360 feedback.

This type of review involves collecting professional feedback from coworkers. It provides a wide-view look at how an employee operates within the total organization—not just how they are seen by their manager.

rank and yank review

PerformYard makes it easy to automate 360 reviews.Learn More

Competency assessment

If you want a high-performing team, having employees who are competent in their roles is important. Instead of ranking them against each other, consider ranking them against critical job skills.

Competency assessments highlight proficiency. They can also uncover gaps in knowledge and skills that can be addressed. It feels a lot less like a competition when employee skills are measured against skills than when they are measured against others.

Project-based reviews

If teams in your organization work on projects, you can measure their performance based on the outcome of the latest project.

Project-based reviews promote a more team-oriented atmosphere. Everyone on the team is measured together according to what they have accomplished, or how the team fell short. You can create goals ahead of the next project. This encourages improvement without pitting anyone against each other.

Rating appraisals

Rating appraisals are a lot like stacked rankings, but with ratings for each job responsibility. They use a numerical or descriptive scale to determine an employee's performance in certain areas of their job.

This type of review allows for more balanced ratings. Employees can see where they’re doing great and where they could use improvement. Rating appraisals help companies avoid putting employees in boxes labeled “good” or “bad.” In reality, employees do some things well and have areas that could use improvement.

Build easy-to-read reports with the performance data you store in PerformYard.Learn More

Checklist appraisals

Checklist appraisals also inform employees of their performance across different areas. With simple "yes" or "no" answers to statements about employees, it's easy for management to complete reviews.

Because they are so easy, employees can review managers using this approach as well. Employees can also answer "yes" or "no" questions in a few minutes so managers also know where they stand. That way managers aren’t completely responsible for ratings. It also opens up the possibility for managers to build better teams by working on their management skills.

Continue Reading
7 Companies With The Best Practices for Performance Management

Not that long ago, performance management was all about scheduling, planning, and conducting reviews once a year.Today, that’s changing.More than a third of U.S. companies are ditching the annual revi

Not that long ago, performance management was all about scheduling, planning, and conducting reviews once a year.

Today, that’s changing.

More than a third of U.S. companies are ditching the annual review, with companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and Deloitte leading the way.

As a result of the changes they have made to their process, these are the companies with the best performance management practices.

You can bet that companies aren’t ditching the annual review for no reason. Each one realized that something wasn’t working, they made a plan to fix it, and they have seen positive impacts on their business after the change.

Listed below are seven companies with the best performance management practices. Each section includes a link to learn more about each company’s performance management system.

Companies with recently improved performance management systems that have recently include:

  • Deloitte
  • Adobe
  • Accenture
  • Microsoft
  • Netflix
  • Google
  • Uber

Design a performance management process that aligns to your unique needs.Learn More

1. Deloitte

Deloitte is an audit, consulting, tax, and advisory service that works with some of the world's most well-known brands. They made the change to a new performance management system back in 2015.

The original process

The original Deloitte performance management process included annual objectives. Managers used evaluations to give employees one rating for the whole year. 

Deloitte conducted a survey to see how managers felt about the process. 58 percent of executives said they didn’t think the performance management approach worked. Managers said it didn’t drive employee engagement or high performance. That’s when Deloitte decided to make some changes.

The change

Deloitte's performance management is one of the simplest out there. The form has only prompts. It takes a lot less time, and managers can conduct performance reviews a lot more often. Managers fill out answers to these four questions after every project or every quarter, depending on which one is more frequent.

The outcome

With this new system, leaders are better able to recognize, see, and fuel performance. The system allows team members to understand and explore their strengths with a self-assessment tool. Not to mention, they save a lot of time. Their previous rating system consumed more than two million hours a year. Their new system without ratings takes a lot less time, but it still enables workers to get feedback more often.

PerformYard allows you to build continuous feedback into your performance management system.Learn More

To learn more about Deloitte performance management, click here.

2. Adobe

Adobe is a software company that creates multimedia and creative products, like Photoshop. The company faced an increased pace of updates and innovations in 2012. They soon realized their time-consuming annual review process needed an update.

The original process

The original Adobe performance management process was labor-intensive and time-consuming. Each employee had to provide feedback to several people. Managers wrote a performance summary as well. In all, employees spent 80,000 working hours a year on reviews. Plus, some employees received critical feedback that they weren't expecting.

The change

Adobe switched to a Check-in system where managers meet with employees every quarter, or more often. Managers outline expectations with each employee, but no formal or specific format is needed.

The outcome

Donna Morris was the Senior Vice President for Customer and Employee Experience at the time. She said, "70% to 80% of employees are aligned on expectations, receive regular feedback regarding their development, and feel that their managers are open to feedback as well."

Adobe has continued to climb the ranks of Interbrand Top Global Brands. Now, eight out of ten new hires discuss the Check-In process as a key tenet of Adobe culture.

To learn more about Adobe performance management, click here.

3. Accenture

Accenture is a professional services company that helps organizations optimize operations. They felt that their original performance management process was slowing everybody down. It was not helping employees perform their best. Accenture began the process of changing how they do performance management in 2015.

The original process

The old approach ranked employee performance on a bell curve, with only so many "top performers". They attempted to adjust the process by identifying objectives and goals for each employee. As the list expanded to 20, they realized the process was more of a hindrance than a help.

The change

Adobe scrapped the annual review. Now, they conduct more frequent reviews that focus on providing real-time feedback. As then-CEO Pierre Nanterme explained, "People want to know on an ongoing basis, am I doing right? Am I moving in the right direction? Do you think I’m progressing? Nobody’s going to wait for an annual cycle to get that feedback. It’s all about instant performance management.”

They scrapped the bell curve and cumbersome objectives to measure employees on a more accurate, individual basis.

The outcome

With the help of technology, feedback can be shared on a continuous basis. This makes their new system much more agile and immediate than the old one. The system focuses on the individual instead of the group. Now, employees receive specific feedback they can use to improve. They no longer feel demoralized by being ranked against other employees.

To learn more about Accenture performance management, click here.

4. Microsoft

As one of the biggest companies in the world, Microsoft is expected to dominate performance management. Unfortunately, it became clear in the early 2010s that Microsoft’s system of annual reviews wasn't working. They set out to create a more effective, less time-consuming review process.

The original process

Annual reviews were becoming another thing management had to check off their to-do list. Employees were doing whatever they could to get through the meeting. They were then returned to their roles without internalizing any of the information given during the review.

Feedback was too general, one-sided, and too formal. Microsoft realized its performance management process should focus on the employee's future.

The change

Microsoft's new process includes setting goals and conducting flexible performance reviews.

It also includes the use of performance journals that employees use to send and collect feedback on the performance of others, as well as their own. It is a tool to support employee performance, with no expectation for it to be shared during performance reviews.

A nimble platform is used by employees that enables everyone to manage and track goals. However, goals are not required ahead of a performance review. That way reviews can be conducted frequently and at a time that's convenient for management and employees.

Use PerformYard to track goals alongside reviews.Learn More

The outcome

Microsoft uses a stacked system of reviews with check-ins, semi-annual, and annual reviews. As a result, employees are better able to understand and exhibit the values of the company. Employees also gain clarity on their performance and how they can improve.

In addition, the stress of being rated is gone, so employees are more focused on genuine growth rather than hitting an arbitrary number on a scale.

To learn more about Microsoft performance management, click here.

5. Netflix

At one time, Netflix struggled to build its dream team of employees. Patty McCord and Reed Hasting made a PowerPoint deck about how to motivate performance at Netflix moving forward. It would end up influencing many other businesses to do the same.

The original process

Netflix was facing a few challenges, one of which was the delayed feedback that is associated with annual reviews. They also had a vision of creating a "dream team" of employees. These employees would demonstrate company values. They would think independently and make decisions on their own. The annual performance review just wasn’t cutting it.

The change

Netflix started by scrapping the annual review. Instead, they used a 360-degree review process. Employees learned from colleagues what they do well and what needs improvement. Netflix conducts these reviews frequently and informally. Employees can receive timely feedback that they can act on quickly.

Other changes were made too. Reviews evolved from being anonymous to face-to-face with the belief that employees deserve to be told the truth.

They also support the autonomy of employees. Patty McCord said, “The best managers figure out how to get great outcomes by setting the appropriate context, rather than by trying to control their people."

The outcome

Due to these changes, Netflix has been able to retain prime talent and achieve a high-performance culture. That said, Netflix’s approach of talking simply and honestly about performance does have some drawbacks.

Managers are encouraged to build their perfect team, and many employees admit that being fired is always a thought in the back of their minds. The competitive environment can also make it difficult to achieve a work-life balance.

To learn more about Netflix performance management, click here.

6. Google

Google regularly ranks highly as one of the world’s best places to work. That’s in part thanks to their ever-evolving performance management process. 

The original process

As many traditional performance review processes do, they put the power in the hands of management. Google’s previous review format focused on the feedback itself and not the person receiving the feedback. Google wanted to be a leader in company culture and performance management, so it needed a change.

The change

Google has been progressive in putting workers first with its "People Operations Practice." Laszlo Bock, Google's former Senior Vice President of People Operations, said, "All it takes is a belief that people are fundamentally good—and enough courage to treat your people like owners instead of machines."

The new process is ever-evolving and includes different aspects from different types of review styles. For example, they were using a two-part performance review, but they have recently dropped the mid-year review. Now they only conduct an end-of-the-year review. Their review process also includes self-assessment, 360-degree feedback, and monthly check-ins. Timely feedback is still prioritized.

Automate and streamline your own custom performance management process.Learn More

The outcome

The outcome is that employees have more control over the process and their role in the company. In a survey, nearly half of Google employees reported that twice-annual reviews were not time well-spent. That’s why they were scrapped recently. Google can retain top talent because employees are put first. The company has a strong merit-based incentive program. It encourages everyone to reach their fullest potential.

To learn more about Google performance management, click here.

7. Uber

Uber is a unique example because they have two groups of employees to manage. They have to maintain a review process for drivers, as well as their full-time employees. They have managed to do both well with immediate feedback for drivers and a new process that focuses on employees.

The original process

The previous system for internal employees included the use of standard ranks and ratings. This process was top-heavy, with managers wielding all the power, while employees were left feeling powerless.

The system forced employees and their managers to spend more time focusing on past behavior than future possibilities. Also, managers were leaning into their biases. The subjective process and minimal feedback resulted in a simple score. This score provided no value to employees.

The change

Instead, Uber created a new strategy that they call the "T3 B3 process." It asks employees to list their top three strengths and three areas where they can improve. Goals are created based on this information, which comes directly from the employee and not managers.

Managers are still allowed to share positive reinforcement and constructive advice, but they check their feedback ratios to make sure each type of feedback is balanced.

The outcome

The changes have had a positive impact on the company. Employees say things like "the culture at Uber is excellent." They say it has a "fast-paced environment and very low-stress levels." Celebrating people has allowed Uber to foster a collaborative atmosphere with constructive feedback.

To learn more about Uber performance management, including how their system impacts drivers, click here.

What Do These Companies Have in Common?

Let’s step back from focusing on how a single company does performance management. It can be helpful to take a big-picture look at all the companies with the best performance management practices. By uncovering what they all have in common, you can craft a performance management system that’s right for your company.

All the companies listed above have fairly flexible performance management systems . They  expand and contract with the needs of the business. Google's recent drop in their mid-year performance review and Adobe's system of Check-ins illustrate this point well.

These flexible systems also enable each of the companies on this list to tailor their process to their unique needs. These companies don't have to conforming to a straight-out-of-the-box approach.

Whether the company does annual reviews or not, they all feature a system of check-ins that enable employers to receive feedback on time. Employees don't have to wait until a formal annual review to get feedback. The ultimate goal is that employees, managers, and the company highlight future possibilities instead of dwelling on past performance.

Continue Reading
Rating Scales for Employee Performance Reviews

Rating scales are everywhere: After you visit the doctor, watch a show on Netflix, or order food on DoorDash.

They’re also a useful tool for performance reviews. Rating scales help to quantitatively measure employee performance and speed up the appraisal process, allowing organizations to solicit feedback from more people in one review cycle.

In this article, we’re providing examples and ideas to help you create rating scales for your performance management process.

What is a Performance Rating Scale?

A rating scale is one of the most common measures of employee performance or achievement. These scales are simple to roll out, provide a thorough assessment and paint a clear picture of which employees are thriving and which ones need help.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer when picking the “best”  rating scale for your business. It all boils down to team buy-in. You’ll want employees to trust the process and it’s a fair and honest performance review. 

Effectiveness will also hinge on how HR  and managers use performance data to make improvements on both an individual and department level. Is it actionable?

That said, there are nuances to be aware of. Some scales may introduce inherent biases. Throughout this piece we'll share insights about how rating scales can impact your company not only in the moment, but also in the long run.

Choosing the Right Rating Scales

There is literally a science to rating scales.

Social scientists have been using questionnaires to collect real scientific data for many decades, so we don't need to reinvent the wheel. We should learn from our scientific colleagues.

Want to visualize your employee ratings with reports? PerformYard makes it easy. Learn More.

Nominal vs. Binary vs. Ordinal Data

Before diving deeper into rating scales, we're going to quickly review the three types of data that are most often collected on employee appraisal forms: nominal, binary, and ordinal.

Nominal = Categories

Nominal Data

When the answer options have no relationship to each other (aren’t ordered or don't have any numeric relationship), you are asking a question that will generate nominal data.

These are not technically rating scale questions, but are commonly found on review forms.

Binary = Yes or No (either or)

Binary Data

Binary data is always an either or answer, with the most common example being yes or no.

Other examples include:

  • Exists or doesn’t exist
  • Is or is not
  • Complete or incomplete

Deloitte collects binary data in 2 of the 4 questions on their review form. Google collects binary data on their upward reviews of managers.

Want to visualize your employee ratings with reports? PerformYard makes it easy. Learn More.

Ordinal = Ordered List

ordinal data

Ordinal data is collected when we ask rating scale questions. The answers to a question will be a list of possibilities that have a clear order or ranking.

As you move up the scale, options should clearly be better/more and as you move down the scale, the options should be worse/less.

Numeric vs. Descriptive Answers

There are two common ways to present rating scale answers: numeric and descriptive.

Numeric: Just Numbers

Example: “Score the employee’s leadership ability between 1 and 5.” 

Numeric scales only include numbers and rightfully get a lot of pushback.

It can be really hard for managers to understand what constitutes a 4 vs. a 5 when it comes to subjective competencies like “assertiveness.” 

Descriptive: Ordered Descriptions

Example: Everything from Agree to Disagree, all the way to Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales.

Descriptive rating scales include descriptions of what each step up on the scale looks like.

This could be as simple as different levels of agreement or complex as a set of specific actions an employee should have taken to achieve each level.

Most Common Rating Scales: Likert vs. Semantic vs. Custom

Likert Scales

Likert Scale

Likert scales measure our response to a statement, with the most common example being: Strongly Disagree - Disagree - Neither Agree nor Disagree - Agree - Strongly Agree.

Well designed likert scales will be symmetrical, with an equal number of positive and negative responses. They will also be balanced with what feels like the same distance between each choice. 

Five choices is the most common number on a likert scale, but any number can be used.

One of the most important decisions to make is whether to give an odd or even number.

An odd number of choices will mean the central option is neutral, neither positive or negative.

An even number of options is sometimes called a “forced choice” and does not give a neutral option, so the respondent has to pick a side.

Semantic Scales

semantic scale

Semantic scales are similar to likert scales but present two extremes with unnamed options in between.

For example, you might ask an employee to rate a recent project between success and failure with 7 options in between.

Custom Scales

Custom scales are common because they allow HR teams to create their own scales to fit their needs.

A risk of custom scales is that they can lead to unexpected distortions in data. Below are several real-life examples of custom rating scales to help you see how they can be used effectively.

No matter which rating scale you choose, PerformYard makes it easy to automate and track objectives, goals, and employee progress. Learn More.

Examples of Rating Scales in Action

UC Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley Human Resources Department currently conducts performance appraisals with a 5-level rating scale, ranging from Exceptional to Unsatisfactory.

Supervisors that assign a Level 2 (Improvement Needed) or Level 1 (Unsatisfactory) rating to an employee must complete a performance improvement plan for that employee.

This plan is developed to improve or correct poor performance, containing timelines that are outlined and monitored to measure the employee’s progress.

A Level 5 (Exceptional) rating is said to be achievable, but given fairly infrequently. High-performing employees often receive a Level 4 (Exceeds Expectations) or Level 3 (Meets Expectations) rating.

Huntington Ingalls

This company uses a rating system that is both numerical and alphabetical, focused on whether or not employees meet company goals.

Their 5-point scale assigns abbreviations that coincide with each numerical ranking:

  • 5 = FE (Far Exceeds)
  • 4 = EX (Exceeds Expectations)
  • 3 = ME (Meets Expectations)
  • 2 = DR (Development Required)
  • 1 = IR (Improvement Required)


Harvard makes use of multiple rating scales within their organization, including overall performance ratings of employees, goals, competencies, and direct report ratings.

Overall performance ratings are given on a 5-point scale, observing employees with performances that are:

  • 5 = Leading
  • 4 = Strong
  • 3 = Solid
  • 2 = Building
  • 1 = Not Meeting Expectations

Goals are also tracked using a 3-point rating scale that measures whether a goal or project was on time, on budget, and accomplished.

  • 3 = Goal Was Met
  • 2 = Goal Was Partially Met
  • 1 = Goal Was Unfinished (Most or All Dimensions Were Not Achieved)

Competencies ratings are given to employees who demonstrate thorough to lacking knowledge of the organization’s core competencies. This 4-point scale includes the following:

  • 4 = Advanced
  • 3 = Proficient
  • 2 = Developing
  • 1 = Does Not Demonstrate

Direct report ratings are reserved for managers only and determine whether the ratee’s capabilities are:

  • 3 = Highly Effective
  • 2 = Effective
  • 1 = Needs Improvement

Emory University

Emory University’s HR team operates an in-depth rating system that is similar to BARS.

Each employee is rated against a long list of unique core competencies that the organization abides by:

  • Building Trust
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Delivering Results
  • Problem Solving
  • Taking Initiative
  • Functional Knowledge and Skills
  • Service to Others/Customer Focus

Each of these categories deals with how well an employee displays honesty, respect, listening and sharing, productivity, decision making, and reasoning.

The competencies are rated with a 3-point system:

  • 3 = Exceeds Expectations
  • 2 = Meets Expectations
  • 1 = Unacceptable

All ratings apply to supervisors and managers, as well as non-managers.

More Examples

Binary Rating Scale Examples

  • Needs Improvement | Meets Expectations
  • Needs Attention | Satisfactory

1-3 Rating Scale Examples

  • Does Not Meet | Meets | Exceeds
  • Below Level | At Level | Above Level
  • Not Often Enough | From Time to Time | Most of the Time
  • Minor Contribution | Important Contribution | Critical Contribution

1-4 Rating Scale Examples

  • Never | Sometimes | Often | Always
  • Low Performer | Developing Performer | Highly Valued Performer | Top Performer

1-5 Rating Scale Examples

  • Unsatisfactory | Needs Improvement | Meets Expectations | Exceeds Expectations | Distinguished
  • Unacceptable | Needs Improvement | Acceptable | Good | Excellent
  • Did not meet expectations | Met some but not all expectations | Fully met expectations | Exceeded expectations | Significantly exceeded expectations
  • Area of Deficiency | Inconsistently Meets Standards | Meets Standards | Meets High Standards | Regularly Exceeds High Standards
  • Needs Improvement | Consistently Meets Expectations | Exceeds Expectations | Strongly Exceeds Expectations | Superb
  • Unsatisfactory | Meets Most | Fully Meets and Sometimes Exceeds | Consistently Exceeds | Far Exceeds
  • Unacceptable Performance | Partially Successful | Fully Successful | Superior | Distinguished Performance
  • Poor | Below Average | Good | Very Good | Outstanding

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best performance rating scale?

As we said earlier, it comes down to company goals and what works best within the company's culture. Rating scales indicate an employee's level of performance or achievement and provide quantitative assessments. Most performance ratings share common elements, like either being numeric or alphabetic. Others may take on the form of a narrative. A company should weigh its options and consider which method provides the most substantial insight into its worker's performance. What works for one company may not be a fit for another. 

What rating scale is most used?

Many organizations use the standard three or four-point rating scale. Both of these work for measuring specific criteria, but these may need more nuance to make appropriate assessments, which is why other companies rely on the BARS method. (See above for more information on BARS.)

What are Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales?

A behaviorally anchored rating scale (BARS) assesses new employee performance based on established behavioral patterns, which rates individual employees and is a critical component of a structured interview.

What are competency rating scales?

Generally, the same rating scale stretches across content areas suggesting an employee's evaluation from goals to competencies, which typically fall into Core, Functional, and Cross-Functional. These are calculated as a sum of the individual competency percent divided by the number of competencies within a group.

How to give ratings to employees?

After you've executed one of these rating systems, there are best practices to follow when providing the data back to the employees. For example, be mindful of providing a consistent assessment that plainly shows the data. Moreover, managers should be intentional about taking notes and going over the data. If someone is performing well, they should be acknowledged for the work put in, as it sends a consistent signal that you're paying attention.

Continue Reading
What are Cascading Goals & How to Use them in 2023

The idea of using goals as the lifeline between a company's grandest vision and an individual employee's daily actions has been around for decades.

So why do only 14% of employees know their company’s objectives?

It's not like organizations don't bother to set goals — 65% of organizations have an agreed-upon strategy. But, creating a strategy is easy. Executing it is a whole other ball game. Less than 10% of all organizations succeed in executing their strategies.

Delivering solid results over the long-term is what makes a company (and its leaders) great. But the secret to consistent performance, are the people who make the strategy happen at the ground level.

That's where cascading goals can help if you use them right. 

Company goals, team objectives, and employee progress are easy to automate and track in PerformYard. Learn More

What Are Cascading Goals?

Cascading goals are a framework to get everyone in an organization aligned with the big picture organizational goal, and to make sure they know what to do by breaking strategy into clear tasks and deliverables. Goals are seen in a "cascade" with clear objectives. This makes it easier to communicate and document strategy, while eliminating confusion over who owns what, when a goal needs to be accomplished, or even how to achieve a goal.

how to cascade goals

Ditch the spreadsheets and start cascading goals with PerformYard software.Learn More

According to Billy Elliott, Country Manager of the Top Employers Institute in Africa, “Unless organizations take specific steps to cascade goals throughout the organization and align these with employee goals, the best laid plans will come to nothing. To drive true purpose and effectiveness in the everyday lives of employees, the company strategy needs to be filtered down to each level of staff."

Cascading your goals is how you achieve that "filtering down" so that no one in the organization is ever confused about what to do or when to do it.

The Pros and Cons of Cascading Goals

Like all things in life, business and HR, there are two sides of every story. The magic of cascading goals will be quickly lost, if you fail to use them intentionally.

While cascading goals are a great way to break down your company's vision into actionable chunks employees can bite into, they're also inherently hierarchical and can become prone to the kind of bureaucratic workflows and tunnel vision that have upended many an industry dinosaur.


  • Align business objectives with employee goals
  • Increase transparency and accountability when shared publicly
  • Reduces workflow redundancies, conflicting objectives and unclear responsibilities


  • Prone to blanketing diverse departments under one generic goal
  • Can become a time-intensive red tape exercise where the real goal becomes muddled
  • Can become rigid and outdated if not actively tracked and followed up

Stuart Hearn, commercial director at HR software company Vaado Software (previously HR director at Sony Music Publishing) sums it up perfectly in an interview for HR Magazine:

"If performance management is taken seriously within the senior team and they lead by example, then this tends to cascade through the organization. In organizations where the process is HR-driven and senior management is not committed to performance management, it tends to be more of a box-ticking exercise."

With cascading goals, any attempt to "set it and forget it" will backfire. Let's take a closer look at how to use cascading goals for good (rather than superfluous HR "box-ticking").

Alternatives to Cascading Goals

There are other goal setting types out there, it just depends on the level of effectiveness your company is seeking.

Tactical goals - Tactical goals are tied to strategy-mind organizational goals, which outline what must be achieved within the organization via tactical goals and objectives. If there's a tactical goal to reduce total costs, the different company sections will set tactical objectives to offset whatever number they need to meet that goal.

Operational goals - Operational goals focus on employees' responsibilities. If X number of sales need to be hit within a quota for a sales team, the sales manager may have an operational objective of increasing sales by whatever percent is marked. One of the problems with this mindset, though, is observing goals and aiming too high at the risk of losing workers. 

Superordinate goals - Superordinate goals are goals typically used to resolve conflict. This is a method to relieve tension between groups. The point of this practice is to create camaraderie, trust, and friendship, potent motivators for groups to resolve differences and cooperate. Everyone here must champion that this is a mutually beneficial practice to see the company thrive.

3 Must-Know Tips for Effective Cascading Goals

If you're doing it right, your cascading goal process won't stop after the CEO sets those initial goals.

Here are a few ways to break free of the linear approach and make your cascading goal setting process equally as dynamic as your business (and the people in it).

1. Get Real about Your Goals

Don't overload your performance management process with too many organizational goals — but don't force autonomous departments to adopt one blanket goal, either.

Think about the top 3 things you really want to achieve and be SMART (e.g., Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Based) about how you set out to achieve them at every level of your cascading goal process.

cascading goals

Track goals and performance reviews together with PerformYard.Learn More

2. Check Your Alignment

Alignment is key. Rather than investing all your energy at the front-end (setting up a strategic top-level goal and then walking away), give each department and employee some autonomy in setting the goals that make the most sense for them.

Make sure everyone is completely clear on what tasks are assigned to each goal, then set firm deadlines, performance metrics, and dates and reminders for check-ins.

3. Always Follow Up

Creating a strategic goal may feel like a lot of work for your CEO, but it's nothing compared to the burden your employees will feel if they don't have the tools and support they need to achieve those goals.

Always align goal reviews with performance reviews and make it a point to ask your people if they're getting the resources they need (including training, mentorship, and clear and specific feedback) in order to keep moving toward their goals.

Continue Reading
15 Types of Performance Appraisals for 2023

Here's a list of 14 of the most common performance evaluation methods, along with the pros and cons of each method.

There's nothing more fundamental to the success of an organization than employee performance. Maybe that’s why there’s a seemingly endless number of performance appraisal processes for evaluating, measuring, driving, and developing employee performance.

Because there are so many options, choosing the right performance appraisal approach for your organization can be daunting. 

What are the types of performance appraisal?

The PerformYard software platform has helped thousands of organizations run hundreds of performance management processes. In this article, we'll review 14 of the most common performance evaluation methods ranging from traditional methods of appraisals like competency assessments to more extreme appraisal techniques like human resource accounting. We’ll also share when it is most effective and appropriate to use each approach. 

When building out a complete performance management system, organizations will often choose to combine a few of the following appraisals. Be sure to think about what outcomes are most important to your organization when considering the following examples.

PerformYard makes it easy to run any type of performance appraisal process. Learn More

1. Check-Ins

Performance check-ins are often confused with other types of performance reviews, but they’re not exactly the same thing. Performance check-ins happen more often, they are more informal, and they give managers the opportunity to build rapport and find out what employees are working on between cycles.

Check-ins can have set agendas or be completely open-ended. Most often, employees and managers will discuss progress towards company goals, overall performance since the last check-in, and the employee’s aspirations.

The primary role of check-ins is to create a consistent time and space for discussions about long-term performance. Managers should consistently take notes after check-ins throughout the year. Then when employee reviews come around, managers can use notes from check-ins to evaluate the employee’s performance and guide the conversation. 

Documenting the check-in is vital to the success of the performance review. PerformYard's software can remind you about check-ins and store the goal updates and discussion points. The image below shows how check-in data is stored in PerformYard where it can be referenced in quarterly or annual reviews.

performance appraisal

When to Use Check-Ins

Check-ins are less complex than many types of performance appraisals, but more frequent. They usually take place between more intensive appraisal processes to spread out performance discussions throughout the year without overburdening employees and the organization. 

2. 360 Feedback

360 feedback involves getting broad feedback from an employee’s coworkers. This can mean peer reviews, self-reviews, manager-reviews, secondary manager reviews, or upward reviews. PerformYard gathers 360 review responses and stores them in the employee's review dashboard for easy access, as seen in the image below.

360 types of performance appraisal
PerformYard's 360 Review Feature

The idea is to increase the sources of feedback in order to get a more accurate and holistic view of employee performance. 360 feedback will often be open-ended or thematic with the employee’s manager reviewing and aggregating the feedback into a single more cohesive picture of performance.

PerformYard makes it easy to run any type of performance appraisal process. Learn More

When to Use 360 Feedback

360 feedback is a great option for when employees regularly work collaboratively on different teams. 

When an employee’s primary role is working with others outside the view of their manager, 360 reviews can bring up feedback that might not otherwise be raised. Peers are often hesitant to give negative feedback outside of a formal context, but 360 reviews provide that context.

360 reviews can be a great source of feedback, but they also require a lot of coordination. The administration of 360 feedback can be a burden on both managers and employees, so it’s important to have a process in place for every stage of the 360 process.

Another key to successful 360 reviews is to train everybody in the organization to deliver effective feedback. When employees don’t have experience giving feedback, what they share may be more destructive than constructive. Giving effective feedback is a skill that needs to be developed and practiced.

3. Narrative Appraisals or Essay Appraisals

As its name suggests, the narrative performance appraisal (or essay appraisal) is created when a manager writes a freeform essay about an employee’s performance over a specific review period. 

Essay appraisals allow reviewers to discuss anything they feel is pertinent to the employee without being locked into certain questions. 

In a perfect world, this approach would allow managers to focus on exactly what an employee needs to hear and provide the most relevant feedback. But in reality, managers don’t always express themselves clearly. Essay appraisals can leave employees feeling confused on where they stand. 

The narrative appraisal is also customized to each employee, which makes it nearly impossible to make comparisons across employees. Essay appraisals are often paired with another appraisal method, such as graphic scale rating, to draw more accurate conclusions. 

When to Use Narrative or Essay Appraisals

Essay appraisals are best for employees with loosely defined jobs or who do very individualized creative work. If it's hard to quantify the inputs and outputs of employees’ work or you feel like every employee would need their own custom appraisal questions in order to get relevant feedback, the narrative appraisal could be right for you.

But a word of caution: essay appraisals can quickly get off the rails and become unnecessarily complex. Setting a standard for the style and length of essay appraisals can help keep reviewers on track.  

4. Competency Assessment

Competency assessments measure an employee’s capabilities against their critical job skills. These assessments show the gaps between where an employee needs to be and where they are now.

Competency assessments often flow naturally into a concrete learning plan focused on the competencies with gaps. 

This type of appraisal can be conducted in a variety of ways: through observation, interviews, or forms. The key is to choose the right competencies for every role at your organization.

When to Use Competency Assessments

Competency assessments are great for jobs where success is dependent on well-understood skills. It usually helps to have many employees in a similar role so that you can begin to understand the competencies that matter through experience. 

Focusing on a specific set of competencies can lead you down the road of only recognizing employees who succeed in one specific type of way. Employees who drive great outcomes but do so in unexpected ways may find it difficult to progress when they are evaluated on competencies, rather than outcomes.

To combat this issue, Western National Insurance Group paired competency assessments with open-ended questions, such as:

  • What is the employee doing well?
  • What are some of their notable accomplishments?
  • What do they still need to work on?
  • What stretch goals are they working on to improve?

They then track responses to both competency assessments and open-ended questions using performance management software.

5. Project-Based Reviews

Project-based reviews are unique in that they focus on the most recent work an employee has completed. These reviews include questions that are directly related to an employee’s contribution to a project. 

Feedback cycles can be quicker with project-based reviews, as projects often cycle more frequently than traditional review cycles. Because of the frequency, it’s important to have a system that helps project-based reviews run smoothly.  

When project-based reviews are used, employees have the opportunity to receive and internalize feedback before getting into the next project where they can then demonstrate any improvements.

When to Use Project-Based Reviews

Project-based reviews are best for companies that work on distinct projects one at a time (or almost one at a time). These reviews work best when these projects last from a few weeks to a few months. Typical examples are accounting audit teams, consulting teams, and some types of law firms. 

Project-based reviews are especially useful when organizations are bringing together new groups of employees for each project.

6. Stack Ranking Appraisals

Stack rankings and forced distributions are a controversial method of performance appraisals that rely on ranking employees against each other.

Sometimes this is a top to bottom list, and sometimes it’s sorting employees into buckets of high-performing, low-performing, and the middle with quotas for each. 

Rankings force managers to differentiate between employees to find out which ones actually have the highest performance. It also makes it very clear where employees stand in relation to their peers.

When used in combination with continuous feedback and tracked in a system like PerformYard, stack rankings can be a powerful tool to create a more productive workforce overall.

When to Use Ranking Appraisals

Ranking appraisals can work great for competitive environments like up-or-out consulting firms. In these situations, everybody knows they need to be a top performer to stay with the firm, so it’s healthier to make this process transparent and open.

Forced distributions can also be a useful approach in the short-term for organizations that have become stagnant and are being dragged down by low performers. Sometimes letting employees who have checked-out move on to a new job and bringing in fresh talent is the best decision for everybody involved. 

Rankings are not great for companies that are focused on innovation or creativity, as moments of creativity can be uneven and unpredictable. Pushing employees out after one underperforming year probably doesn’t make sense in that context. 

Stack ratings also aren’t great for organizations that need to be extremely collaborative, as they create tension and competitiveness between employees.

7. Grading/Rating Appraisals

In a grading/rating performance appraisal, managers use a numerical (1-5) or descriptive scale to record an employee’s performance in specific areas of their job. 

Because they are easy to fill out and create quantitative data, rating appraisals are very popular.

One of the keys to rating appraisals is making sure managers aren’t just doing the minimum amount of work necessary to get them done without having the difficult and important conversations needed to accompany these types of appraisals. 

Ratings send a very clear message of where an employee stands, but do a very poor job of telling an employee where they need to go. Companies may choose to combine ratings with qualitative comments and feedback to give employees a clear understanding of why they received the ratings they did. Ratings can be useful for seeing how employees stack up against each other. PerformYard's reporting software can show ratings with clear visuals, as in the below example.

When to Use Grading/Rating Appraisals

Rating scales work well at organizations that need to create more accountability because it’s impossible to spin a low rating. 

Ratings feedback is quantitative, but organizations can struggle to stay organized and manage the data. It’s important to have a system to manage all of the feedback received from rating appraisals so you can make full use of this approach.

PerformYard makes it easy to run any type of performance appraisal process. Learn More

If you’re wondering whether or not you should implement rating appraisals, remember that you'll need to do more than just tell employees they’re underperforming if you want them to step up their game. Analyzing performance data and helping employees understand where they can improve is key. 

8. Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales (BARS)

Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales (also known as BARS) uses behavior “statements” as a reference point for rankings. BARS measures employee performance against specific examples of behavior that are given a number ranking. See below for performance appraisal examples from the BARS system.

For example, a pizza place could use a Level 1 ranking to describe an employee who takes more than 10 minutes to make a pizza, while a Level 5 ranking would describe an employee who makes a pizza in under 5 minutes.

BARS is helpful because it combines qualitative and quantitative assessments. The behavioral definitions can also aid in eliminating ranking bias.

When to Use BARS

Because BARS creates the ability to design a unique performance management experience for every position within an organization, it’s typically best for organizations that have groups of positions or departments made up of similar types of jobs. 

BARS is also helpful for companies that struggle with bias challenges in their current performance management process. The emphasis on behavior produces objective ratings that are difficult to distort.

One of the biggest challenges of BARS is being able to articulate exactly what great performance looks like in advance. Using BARS may mean that you have people who live up to your expectations, but not people who surprise you and surpass your expectations in new ways.

9. External/Client Appraisals

External and client appraisals involve bringing in third parties from outside the company to help with performance reviews. 

For employees that primarily engage with customers or clients, this can be the most important source of feedback.

When to Use External/Client Appraisals

Client appraisals are great for service roles where an employee's primary job is to interact with customers. Gig-economy companies like Uber rely exclusively on client appraisals to manage their contract workforce.

External appraisals are also a good option for employees that work as closely with a client as they do with their coworker, like a consultant on site with a client for an extended period.

Keeping track of the process is one of the most challenging aspects of client appraisals. Managers and HR professionals have enough on their plate without emailing questions, sending reminders, and following up with clients to keep the process moving. 

If you’re considering client appraisals, make sure you have a process in place to keep track of all of the moving parts.

10. Management by Objectives (MBO)

Management by objectives (MBO) measure employee performance by how employees achieve specific objectives. These objectives are decided on with equal input from employees and managers. 

Effective objectives should align with organizational goals. Managers and employees should equally participate and communicate to ensure the objectives are met.

When to Use MBO

MBO can be an effective method for many organizations. This method isn’t difficult to implement and can truly suit the needs of most organizations without incurring major costs.

The most difficult part of MBO is the communication required. 

To set and achieve successful goals, a substantial amount of input and feedback is needed from both managers and employees. 

It’s helpful to have all of this feedback stored in one place for both parties to refer back to. This helps managers and employees easily track progress and see what’s needed to meet the objectives.

11. Checklist Appraisals

In checklist appraisals, managers are asked to answer “yes” or “no” to a series of questions or statements about an employee. These appraisals tend to be easy to complete and can help an employee know where they stand across a broad set of domains.

Google famously uses this approach to review their managers. Employees answer yes or no for a long list of actions Google believes good managers should be taking with their reports.

When to Use Checklist Appraisals

Because checklist appraisals are binary, they’re best used for traits where levels of gray are less important. Checklists are also great when you need to provide a lot of feedback in many areas but need to keep the appraisal easy to complete. 

A major con of checklist appraisals is that they don’t allow for explanations or detailed answers. This method is most effective when combined with a more detailed method, such as narrative appraisals. 

12. Critical Incident Appraisals

For critical incident appraisals, managers keep a log of specific examples of both negative and positive behavior exhibited by employees. The standard for behavior can be based on company values or an employee’s job description. 

After a period of time, managers and employees meet to discuss the log and evaluate performance. A continuous log makes sure that performance reviews focus equally on performance across the year and concrete moments, rather than general sentiments.

When to Use Critical Incident Appraisals

Critical incident appraisals are simply descriptions of events and that can make it hard to compare employees or make decisions based on them. 

They can also be overwhelming and hard to interpret. We recommend pairing critical incident appraisals with some sort of quantitative method.

13. Human Resource Accounting / Cost Accounting

Also called cost accounting, human resource accounting analyzes an employee’s performance through the monetary gains they bring to the organization vs. the cost to retain the employee. 

When to Use Human Resource Accounting

Human resource accounting is most useful when employee contributions and costs are measurable. This can happen in situations where executives are judged on their P&L, or for positions like sales where the ultimate measure of success is revenue generated.

Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to perfectly understand all of the costs and benefits an employee has on an organization. Human resource accounting also doesn’t account for technology, which can greatly reduce the overall costs in an organization by automating processes that were previously done by employees. 

14. Psychological Appraisals

Psychological appraisals are unique in that they consider an employee’s future performance, rather than focusing on their past. 

In this appraisal, psychologists look at the employee’s internal traits and qualities that could affect their performance in the future. 

The psychologists can look at specific scenarios when performing their appraisal to discover how an employee is likely to perform in similar scenarios in the future.

When to Use Psychological Appraisals

Psychological appraisals can help organizations see employees’ potential. They can be used in specific scenarios, such as determining which employees should be pushed toward leadership roles or managing reorganizations of the org chart.

While useful, psychological appraisals can be time-consuming and costly, especially for small organizations. They are also difficult for organizations to manually administer. There is also controversy over how well the psychological traits will actually predict future performance as people are not static.

15. OKRs

Objectives and key results (OKRs) are focused on quantifiable measures to evaluate performance, which are designed to assess the company and team's performance. The goals are the “what” of performance; the results are the “hows.” This style is popular with tech companies because it’s an excellent way to manage growth through executing common goals.

When to Use OKRs

OKRs keep planning focused on impact, so this metric is best utilized at the team level. This method works on the inverse of micromanaging because it’s an effective mechanism for aligning top-down strategy with bottom-up, team-level commitments to support the processes involved. OKRs de-emphasize specific tasks and emphasize value. OKRs work best as a team-based goal rather than a particular methodology due to a shared objective and quantifiable metrics, which helps a team coordinate activity, align with stakeholders, and move with more than just immediate goals as a finish line.

Choosing an Approach and Next Steps

Hopefully you’ve been inspired by one or more of the types of appraisals we’ve outlined above. Which ones you choose to implement will all depend on the needs of your own organization. We have a number of other articles that can help you determine which is the best fit and how to implement it: 

No matter what direction you take, it’s vitally important to get your process right. Most appraisals fail because employees resent how cumbersome and irrelevant they are. Choosing the right type of appraisal should make them more relevant, but you still need to make them more streamlined.

Look for ways to automate form assignments and generate real-time alerts for employees when they need to complete self or manager review forms. 

Simplify the sign-off flows so everyone knows when a form is ready for sign-off and can easily send forms back for changes.

Track cycle progress so you can quickly intervene when managers are falling behind; even better, automate reminders.

The more you can rely on a well-designed system to run your review process, the less you’ll force your managers to deal with the administrative minutia they resent.

Once you’ve nailed the approach and the process, you’ll be well on your way to effective performance appraisals.

See how organizations use PerformYard to streamline their processes. Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best form of performance appraisal?

The best performance appraisal is the one that serves your organization’s needs. If you’re just getting started, consider a narrative appraisal with a few simple rating questions that focus on overall performance.

What type of performance review provides the best feedback?

Checklist appraisals can provide a broad array of feedback quickly, however, for the best overall feedback, it’s hard to beat a well-written narrative review. Unfortunately, not all managers will take the time to write comprehensive and thoughtful narrative reviews.

What is the best way to evaluate employee performance?

If you’re looking to generate quantitative data on employee performance, consider using ratings appraisals that ask simple questions managers likely already have conviction around. Good questions include, “Is this employee ready for promotion?” and “How hard would you fight to keep this employee at our organization?”

What should I include in a performance evaluation?

One thing to include in every performance evaluation is space for context and ways for the employee to improve their performance going forward. It’s important that employees have enough information to understand their feedback and know what to do with it.

What is the most common performance appraisal method?

Formal check-ins, narrative appraisals, and competency assessments are the three most common appraisal methods used today.

Continue Reading
How to Design a Performance Management Cycle in 2023

Employees crave feedback about their performance on the job. Still, only 20% of employees say their company’s performance management motivates them to do great work. This highlights how important it

Employees crave feedback about their performance on the job. Still, only 20% of employees say their company’s performance management motivates them to do great work.

This highlights how important it is to be strategic when managing employee performance. You can motivate your employees to give you their best with the right approach. With the wrong approach, you demotivate your employees and waste everyone’s time.

So, what is the right approach? And what is the performance management cycle definition anyway?

A performance management cycle involves planning, checking, and measuring employee performance. The goal is continuous improvement.

The trick to doing a performance management cycle is to dig into each step of the process and tailor it to fit your needs.

Here’s everything you need to know about designing a performance management cycle in 2023:

  • Planning at the beginning of the Performance Management Cycle
  • Monitoring Employee Performance
  • Rating and Reviewing Employee Performance
  • Rewarding Employees for Their Performance
  • Analyze and Renew the Performance Management Cycle

Feeling overwhelmed by it all? Check out our handy performance management cycle pdf! It’s a great way to visualize the performance management cycle at a glance.

Design a performance management cycle in minutes with PerformYard.Learn More

Planning at the Start of the Performance Management Cycle

Many HR professionals believe that the performance review is the star of the performance management cycle.

That isn’t the case.

Instead, it’s the planning you do at the beginning that is the most important part of the cycle. Without a great plan, you’re attempting to reach your destination without a road map. You’ll end up taking a lot of wrong turns, and you may not reach your goal at all. Plus, your employees may give up on their trek and set a new destination in their sights—a new job.

After all, 85% of employees consider quitting if they felt like they received an unfair performance review. If a performance review is unfair, it's almost always because the planning phase didn’t receive the attention it deserves.

The planning phase is also a good time to dig into the performance management cycle according to Michael Armstrong. Armstrong's Handbook of Performance Management can teach you to assess and improve performance.

You can break down the planning phase into a few steps:

  • Goal setting
  • Mapping out how many check-ins you’ll have
  • Setting up review forms

Goal setting

Employees should work towards achieving company goals, but that doesn’t mean you make a list of goals and hand them out to your employees. They have goals of their own they should be working towards, which means it’s important to involve them in the process.

Use SMART goals when working with employees to develop goals of their own. Integrate absolute goals, relative goals, and sustainment goals that relate to company targets. A comprehensive performance management platform can help you create and track goals.

Track and manage goals alongside reviews using PerformYard.Learn More

If how your employees achieve their goals is important, make sure you outline the process during the planning phase. If it’s not outlined, focus on whether the person achieved the goal —not how they achieved it. This prevents micromanagement and feelings of frustration. Those feelings can arise when employees reach a goal but discover after the fact that management doesn’t like the way they went about it.

Mapping out how many check-ins you’ll have

92% of employees want feedback more often than once a year.

That’s where check-ins come in!

Check-ins are like mini-performance reviews without all the fuss. They can be informal, which means you don’t need pre-planning. They allow employees to check in with HR and management about the progress they are making toward their goals.

You can schedule a few check-in times during the performance management cycle. Scheduling frequency depends on your employees, their jobs, and their past performance.

Customize your unique performance management cycle with software.Learn More

A new employee might receive weekly check-ins. Established employees may receive check-ins monthly or quarterly.

Setting up review forms

The planning phase is also when you should iron out the forms you’ll use at the formal review. It can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Check out these handy performance review templates from PerformYard that can work as-is, or tailored to fit your needs.

Provide your employees with access to the form during the planning phase, even though they won’t be filling it out yet. By being transparent about what they can expect, they are less likely to feel ambushed when formal review time rolls around.

You may also want to decide if you want to use forms during your check-ins. A form isn’t necessary, but it can help employees and managers organize their thoughts ahead of an informal meeting.

Monitoring Employee Performance

Once you have a plan in place and employees are in on that plan, it’s time to start the monitoring phase.

Traditional annual performance reviews often overlook this step. That’s how you end up with half of your employees feeling surprised by a rating they receive during a performance review. Employees who receive a surprise negative review show a 23% drop in engagement.

Monitoring employees ahead of a formal review allows you to discuss achievements and shortcomings in the moment. You’re more likely to resolve issues ahead of the formal performance review and avoid surprising employees in the formal review.

The monitoring phase can include:

  • Check-ins
  • Feedback
  • Performance improvement plan and/or professional development


You decided how many check-ins to have during the planning phase. The monitoring phase is when you begin to have those check-ins.

There are a few ways to make sure your check-ins are successful.

First, focus on making the check-in feel like a two-way conversation. That means asking questions and listening to answers.

Then, limit the agenda to one or two items. That way everyone leaves the meeting feeling good that they accomplished what was planned.

There is a big difference between checking in on employees and checking up on them. When you approach each meeting with these tips, you leave room for the employee to act autonomously during the meeting. You instill a sense of trust by allowing them to make any necessary changes ahead of the next meeting.

Provide Feedback

Check-ins are only effective if you can provide meaningful feedback. That means making time for positive feedback, but it also means knowing how to deliver negative feedback.

Bring real-time feedback to your whole workforce with PerformYard.Learn More

Skip the compliment sandwich. Instead, be straightforward about negative feedback. Employees don't want you to sugarcoat it, but they do appreciate action-focused feedback. This kind of feedback makes employees feel empowered to make changes. Backward-facing, character-focused feedback makes employees feel dejected.

Performance improvement plan and/or professional development

There’s no need to jump into a performance improvement plan after a single check-in meeting. It’s important to give employees a chance to get back on track on their own. However, if they are still struggling after a few meetings or after the formal review, it may be time to consider a performance improvement plan

You should also consider whether the employee is struggling because they don’t have the skills or the resources to meet their goals. In this case, professional development opportunities should be considered.

Rating and Reviewing Employee Performance

Think of rating and reviewing employee performance as part of the official review. This component involves monitoring employee performance, but it also requires additional tasks like:

  • Choose the type of review
  • Gathering reviews
  • Analyzing the data

Choose the type of review

An annual review is a natural choice, but it’s also a good idea to look into other types of reviews. You may decide to scrap the annual review altogether. Alternatively, you could add other types of reviews to the performance management cycle.

Not sure what kind of review to go with?

Go back to those review forms you were working on during the planning phase. What kinds of information did you feel was important to include? That can help you choose the right type of review to plan.

For example, if many of the questions have to do with how well employees work on a team, you may want to consider a 360 review. If questions address how well employees do when compared to others, you might want to go with ranking appraisals.

Gather reviews

Gathering reviews can be the most time-consuming part of the performance management cycle. You have to distribute the right forms to the right people. You have to ensure they fill them out thoughtfully and on-time. Running reviews can feel like its own full-time job.

It doesn’t have to be! Dedicated performance management software, like PerformYard, can make it way easier. You can create forms and store them on the platform. You can also automate tasks, like reminders to employees to fill out forms, so that you don’t have to do it manually.

Analyze the data

Organizing data can be a headache too, but it’s vital to the process. Data is factual, clear, and impersonal. Running reviews based on data helps employees feel like they’re tackling a problem with management. They won’t feel like managers are accusing them of underperforming without valid data to back it up. 

Before you can analyze the data, you have to organize the information that you gathered during check-ins.

PerformYard lets you do more with your review data.Learn More

PerformYard’s software makes it so you don’t have to do it all manually. It can track data as you go and create reports automatically. That way you have accurate visuals to illuminate individual, team, and company-wide performance.

Rewarding Employees for Their Performance

Data informs another important task—it tells you who to reward for a job well done. By using data, you ensure rewards are predictable and fair. The data makes it clear who has earned a reward. You have to figure out what kind of reward to choose.

A few options include:

  • Financial rewards
  • Perks and benefits
  • Non-financial rewards

Financial rewards

Financial rewards are a great option, and they are also the most universally appreciated. They can include a pay raise or a bonus, but they can also include discounts and gift cards.

If you decide to go with a discount or a gift card, make sure it’s something your employees will use. Let them choose the gift card or discount they want. That way, they aren’t stuck feeling underappreciated because they got a gift card to a store they never shop at.

Perks and benefits

Perks and benefits are also a great way to reward employees. Workplace flexibility is one very much appreciated perk that you can use as a reward. Allow employees to come in late or leave early, or provide them with extra days off to use as they please.

You could contribute more to a 401k as a perk for a job well done. Alternatively, you could focus on wellness-based rewards like gym memberships.

Non-financial rewards

Non-financial rewards have the potential to be even more meaningful than other types of rewards if they are done the right way.

One out of five employees prefer opportunities for career development to monetary rewards. Consider providing the option to take a class or attend a corporate retreat.

You might also consider a public awards ceremony where employees are recognized in front of their peers.

Platforms like PerformYard let peers and management can leave comments and reviews for employees. Those notes help when reviews roll around. They can also boost morale when employees receive a positive review from others during the work day.

Analyze and Renew the Performance Management Cycle

Getting through a review cycle is a time to celebrate and congratulate everyone for a job well done, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to move on. It’s important to analyze how the performance management cycle went and prepare to renew it for the next cycle.

This process might include:

  • Review cycle timing
  • Consider different types of reviews
  • Other barriers to overcome

Review cycle timing

How did the timing work out? Did you find it difficult to conduct an annual review when an employee completed multiple projects throughout the year? Did employees feel like check-ins were too frequent? Or maybe not frequent enough?

Now is the time to make changes to your review cycle if they are needed. For example, you might decide to renew the cycle after each project instead of at the end of the year. Alternatively, you might conduct some check-ins over Zoom instead of trying to do them all in person.

Get feedback from employees. After all, they are the ones who crave more frequent feedback! Ask them how they felt about the last cycle and make adjustments based on their input.

Consider different types of reviews

How did check-ins go? How about formal reviews? Was it frustrating for employees to wait an entire year for a formal review, even with check-ins in between?

Explore other types of reviews that may serve your needs better. A few you might want to consider using next time include:

  • Client appraisals
  • Bi-annual formal reviews
  • Project-based reviews
  • Rating appraisals

Other barriers to overcome

There are other barriers you may have faced during the performance management cycle. After the cycle is complete, and as you're preparing for the next cycle, is the best time to tackle them.

They might include:

  • Inconsistent processes that make it difficult for employees to anticipate feedback
  • Lack of communication leaves employees guessing whether their work was acceptable or whether they're doing a good job
  • Limited motivation by employees who don't feel challenged to grow, develop, and achieve their goals
Continue Reading
What are Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales (BARS)?

A Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale, also known as BARS, is a performance management scale using behavior “statements” as a reference point instead of generic descriptors found on traditional rating scales.

Even in 2023, the BARS approach to performance appraisals is still widely adopted. The process is designed to add the benefits of both qualitative and quantitative information to the appraisal process; the BARS method measures an employee’s performance against specific behavior examples that are given a rating for data collection.

behaviorally anchored rating scale example

Establishing specific behaviors for grading gives the rating a higher degree of accuracy relative to performance. This is because you’re relying on unique behaviors required for each position within an organization instead of behaviors evaluated across the board.

Ready to make changes to your company's performance review process? Performance management is easier with PerformYard. Learn More

It’s presumed that using a rating scale with specific behaviors for selected jobs minimizes the subjectivity in using basic ratings scales.

For now, let's dive into some examples of what BARS might look like.

Examples of Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales

The job being appraised belongs to a customer service representative:

  • A level four rating might assume the rep answers the phone after 1 to 2 rings with a friendly greeting
  • A level six rating might assume the rep answers phone after 1 ring with the correct company greeting

A traditional rating scale would ask if the employee answers phone promptly/courteously and list the number ratings:

  • 1: Never
  • 2: Not Often
  • 3: Sometimes
  • 4: Usually
  • 5: Always

There will be a difference in the outcome of the appraisal with the more definitive BARS method.

The job being appraised belongs to a nurse:

  • A level four rating might assume the nurse shows sympathy to patients
  • A level six rating might assume the nurse shows higher levels of empathy in all dealings with the patient and their family

The job being appraised belongs to a waiter:

  • A level 2 rating might assume the waiter talks on phone while taking orders
  • A level 4 rating might assume the waiter makes eye contact with customers during every transaction
  • A level 6 rating might assume the waiter greets customers cheerfully and makes suggestions from the menu based on their preferences

What Are the Pros and Cons of the BARS Method?

While these examples are a great insight into the effectiveness of the BARS method, not everything about Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales is perfect. There are several benefits to making the switch, but also downsides too.

Benefits of Using the Bars Approach:

  1. It's easy to use. The standards upon which the employee is being appraised are significantly clear which makes the entire process much less confusing.
  2. It's based on behavior. The goal of employee appraisals is to improve performance. Having a better understanding of the behaviors and what leads to them, allows the company an added perspective to what works and what doesn’t.
  3. It's impartial. BARS is focused on behavior, the evaluation process seemingly has more fairness.
  4. It is completely individualized. BARS designs a unique performance management experience for every position within an organization.

Downsides of Using the Bars Approach:

  1. It’s a time-consuming process. As great as it sounds to design the unique experience for each position, an organization with many different roles would have to invest an enormous amount of time and resources to get it done.
  2. It can be expensive. Time is money. For smaller organizations with multiple roles, this may not be feasible in the short run.
  3. It demands a management team that is highly devoted/motivated. All the statements and anchors used on the appraisal need to be developed. It is demanding and managers would have to be highly involved.
  4. It can be accused of leniency bias. BARS directly removes the opportunity for an evaluation to be biased, however, it doesn’t remove them all. Some believe there is still room for the leniency error.

Alternatives to BARS

Different camps within the social science community are the most effective when looking beyond what BARS can do for performance evaluation. There are alternatives to the BARS method out there, and each has its pros and cons:

Five-level graphic rating scale

This is the most common performance scale. This method uses descriptive labels like 'excellent,' 'good,' or 'average.' This method is simple to understand, but because it's so black and white, it's prone to subjective bias.

The two-point rating scale

A long while back, there was a blip on the radar of businesses when an engineering firm briefly used this method to rank within a two-point decimal rating scale from 0.01 to 10.00.

Stacked ranking

This breaks down employees into three categories- A, B, and C – with the A class viewed as the most profitable, while anyone who ranked in the C class was typically let go. This method took care of top performers but caused destructive competition.

Some of these scales rely on nominal, ordinal, and binary data types. These three data types are the most collected, and here's what they stand for:

  • Nominal = Categories - The answer options have no relationship to each other; you're asking a question that generates nominal data. These are typically found on review forms.  
  • Binary = Yes or No
  • Ordinal = Ordered List - Ordinal data is collected by asking rating scale questions which then feed into a scale, where questions are based on the question's validity and how the person feels about the data collected on the scale.

Likert Scales

Likert scales are symmetrical, with an equal number of positive and negative responses. They're also balanced with the distance between choices. Likert scales measure statement response, with the most common example being: Strongly Disagree - Disagree - Neither Agree nor Disagree - Agree - Strongly Agree.

Likert's typically have five choices but are almost always an odd number, so there can't be a neutral choice. An even number of options is called a "forced choice" and doesn't give a neutral option, so the respondent must pick a side.

Semantic Scales

Semantic scales are like Likert scales but with two extremes.
The averages are more significant because you're asking to rate the success of a project with seven possible options.

Custom Scales

Custom scales allow HR teams to create rankings that fit their specific needs. The risk of custom scales is that they lead to unexpected data distortions in data. If a custom scale is adopted, checks and balances must be implemented so the data is honest.

Who Is the BARS Approach Best For?

After taking a closer look at the pros and cons of using Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales, one can expect that the method is best used by larger companies financially capable of pursuing the project.

Realizing that major manager input is mandatory, the company also needs to have understandable time and commitment expectations.

It would be ideal if the company didn’t have many different positions but rather, groups of positions or departments made up of similar types of jobs. Being that this approach is still a measuring system used for rating employees, another suitable use for BARS is when you encounter bias challenges in the current performance management process. Its emphasis on behavior produces objective ratings difficult to distort.

Looking to implement BARS across your organization? PerformYard makes it easy to roll-out new programs company wide. Learn More.

How to Set Yourself up for Success

If you want to include BARS in your performance management plan, it’s recommended that you start by diligently researching the approach. Be prepared with a full understanding so that you can execute the method properly for your own organization.

We also recommend using performance management software. Performance management software makes it easy for employees to participate and allows you to automate and track objectives, goals, and employee progress - in one place.

Be sure that your team is on board with the BARS approach before implementing. Managers need to be involved. The following steps will assist in developing the final product:

  1. Collect examples of adequate and inadequate behavior related to jobs. Some use the Critical Incident Technique.
  2. Convert data into performance dimensions using examples of behavior.
  3. Ask your team of subject matter experts (SMEs) to translate into their own performance dimensions.
  4. Give the remaining behaviors a scale, usually a 5 to 9 point one.
  5. Discard the higher deviated standards to ensure SME agreement on behavior ratings.
  6. Develop the final scale accordingly.
Continue Reading
No items found.
Top Tips for Running a Project Manager Performance Review

Saying that project management is important is an understatement. Regardless of the industry, every project hinges on the project manager. They have to outline expectations, keep tea

Saying that project management is important is an understatement.

Regardless of the industry, every project hinges on the project manager. They have to outline expectations, keep team members on track, and get everyone to contribute to their highest ability.

When project managers have such a big impact on the projects they manage, it makes sense that competent professionals are in high demand. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that there are over 1.2 million project management specialists in the US.

That’s a lot of positions, making it easy for your project managers to shop around if they don’t feel satisfied with their role.

Don’t lose your project managers to other companies that are willing to compensate them according to their performance. Make sure you provide them with a meaningful project manager performance review process. The process should help you recognize their contributions and make them want to stick around.

PerformYard can help you run streamlined project manager performance reviews.Learn More

Quantitative Measures for a Project Manager Performance Evaluation

Tracking quantitative data will tell you a lot about your project managers. First, you have to know what kind of data to track. Then you need a dedicated performance management platform capable of tracking those goals.

Here are our top quantitative measures to add to each project manager performance review:

  • Percentage of projects delivered on-time
  • Percentage of projects delivered under budget
  • Customer satisfaction rating on projects

Percentage of projects delivered on-time 

Timely project completion impacts your bottom line. It’s also a sign that your project manager is organized and values adhering to expectations. That’s why it's an important point to add to any project manager performance review.

You can measure on-time project completion with a performance management platform. Most project managers run between two and five projects simultaneously. That’s why it’s important to document exactly when each project is complete. That way, you have an exact completion date for each project when review time rolls around.

PerformYard can track goals and show progress for all your project managers.Learn More

Percentage of projects delivered under budget

When figuring out how to evaluate project manager performance, it’s a good idea to look into how much each project ends up costing. That requires you to get clear about the overall cost, but it also requires you to know exactly how much different aspects of the project cost. That way, if the project cost goes over, you know by how much and what portion of the project caused the cost to balloon above budget.

By keeping track of the cost of each aspect of the project, you can also get crystal clear about what areas came in under budget. That way the project manager can receive the accolades they deserve. Plus, you can compensate your project manager for staying under budget.

It’s best to outline the cost of each project before it starts and keep track of costs as the project progresses. Add real-time data to a performance management system instead of scrambling after the project is done.

Customer satisfaction rating on projects

You have a few different options when it comes to measuring customer satisfaction:

  • Customer feedback comes through email surveys, social media, and one-on-one interviews.
  • Review site ratings show up through Google online reviews, Amazon, Yelp, G2, TrustRadius, and more.
  • Satisfaction scores measure customer satisfaction on a scale from unsatisfied to satisfied.
  • NPS scores measure customer satisfaction according to a numerical scale from one to ten

Focus on the scores that make sense for your business. For example, if you serve a small client base, you might want to use satisfaction and NPS scores. Maybe your products or services serve the masses. In that case, check review site ratings or send out a survey to customers.

Qualitative Measures for a Project Manager Performance Review

Qualitative points are more difficult to measure than quantitative ones, but they are no less important. They can provide you with great insights if you get laser-focused on what you’re measuring and how to measure it.

A few ideas include:

  • Did they improve processes?
  • Did they coordinate with team members well?
  • Did they handle roadblocks well?

Did they improve processes?

Measuring process improvement means measuring initiative. Employees who take initiative can lower costs and save time. Plus, project managers want you to measure initiative. 85% of employees say they are encouraged to take more initiative when they receive feedback in the workplace.

Getting continuous feedback from team members is vital to measuring this metric. What does the project manager do to make their job easier? Is there anything they changed or are doing differently that is impacting the current project positively? You could also ask the project manager what they have done to improve processes. Make sure they gather supporting evidence for their claim.

Getting real-time answers to these questions provides you with accurate, meaningful feedback. A performance management system ensures that feedback is available when the next review cycle rolls around.

Did they coordinate with team members well?

Good project managers foster an environment of high achievement. Project manager coordination is the foundation of a high-achieving team. 

The best way to get at this metric is to talk to members of the team directly. Collect continuous feedback throughout each project. Ask employees to comment on the project manager’s communication and ability to iron out expectations.

When you collect this type of feedback continuously, you can use it to create feedback for your project managers too. Sample feedback for a project manager could include what team members had to say and what could be done better.

Use PerformYard's feedback feature to send and store feedback notes.Learn More

For example, team members may appreciate how quickly they receive answers to their questions. They may also feel like they get too many irrelevant emails. During a review, project managers could be complimented on their ability to answer questions promptly. Then, they might be asked to avoid using team-wide emails and instead focus on sending emails to relevant parties only.

Did they handle roadblocks well?

Challenges come up in every project. A good project manager should know how to handle these roadblocks. Measuring this can help you figure out how well a project manager handles stress. It can also tell you how much stress they pass on to their team.

Like many of the other ideas on this list, this one requires continuous feedback so the data is there when you need it at review time. Get feedback from team members on the roadblocks that came up during a project. How were they were handled? The project manager should also do a self-assessment. There are aspects of a project that they may have worked through that management and other team members didn’t pick up. This could show that the PM was proactive about solving the problem.

Creating a Review Cycle for Project Managers

The content in a review is important, but the type of review you conduct is important too. Review cycles should focus on the specific roles your employees have. This will help employees get high-value information out of the process.

When creating a review cycle for project managers:

  • Consider using project-based reviews
  • Don’t forget about the annual review
  • Consider using 360 peer reviews
  • Consider using team-based reviews

Consider using project-based reviews

One of the best choices for project managers is project-based reviews. Every project comes with its own set of challenges and wins that can get lost in the shuffle if you only focus on feedback at an annual review.

Project-based reviews allow PMs, teams, and management to gather information after each project. Project managers don’t have to wait until the end of the year to make important changes or receive recognition for their work.

Reviews should take place after each project using a flexible software system like PerformYard. The software ensures the review process goes smoothly. It stores feedback and goals for analysis come review time. This is a great way to compare projects over the long run.

Don’t forget about the annual review

A comprehensive project manager performance review process should include multiple types of reviews. Each review will help to paint a more complete picture of performance. You might use project-based reviews to dig into the details of each project so you can make adjustments promptly. Then, you might use annual reviews to measure a project manager’s performance across multiple projects.

Some measures, like the percentage of projects delivered on time and under budget, can only be taken with the wide view an annual review allows. That’s why it’s important to customize a review process that works for your team instead of choosing just one type of review and rolling with it.

Make annual reviews a breeze with PerformYard.Learn More

When you combine an annual review with other types of reviews, you'll find that it's more valuable. Annual reviews are more valuable when they’re a culmination of information collected throughout the year. That information can include:

  • Feedback from colleagues
  • Project-based reviews
  • Goal completion
  • 1:1s and check-ins

This information should be part of your performance management process throughout the year. It will give you a wealth of information to pull from ahead of an annual review.

Consider using 360 peer reviews

Another favorite project manager performance review template is the 360 peer review. That’s because it includes input from the team members being managed by the project manager. The 360 review can also include other people the project manager interacts with regularly. Those groups might include people from management and other project managers. You can incorporate information from 360 peer reviews into both project-based and annual reviews.

Project manager performance is dependent on how they work with other people. That makes 360 reviews essential. 

That said, the 360 review does come with its own unique set of challenges. There are a lot of people involved in the process. The sheer number of inputs can make the process time-consuming if you’re using paper or spreadsheets. 

Simply your project manager 360 reviews with PerformYard.Learn More

Everyone can enter their data directly into your dedicated performance management software. From there, the data is aggregated into a single report. You can even set automatic reminders for everyone to contribute.

Consider using team-based reviews

360 peer reviews can give you a good picture of how a project manager works with multiple teams. They also show insights into their interactions with other employees. If you’re looking for a more in-depth look at how a manager works with their team, consider a a team-based review.

Like 360 reviews, team-based reviews require performance management software. You’ll need a system that enables you to collect information from every team member, including the project manager. You can then use that data to measure the performance of the team as a whole. You won’t have to look at any one team member individually.

Continue Reading
No items found.
Exploring the Accenture Performance Management Changes

Professional services giant Accenture had a relatable dilemma in 2014. The Accenture performance management process was broken. Accenture created the process to help employees achieve top performance.

Professional services giant Accenture had a relatable dilemma in 2014. The Accenture performance management process was broken. Accenture created the process to help employees achieve top performance. Instead, the process was slowing everybody down.

Then 2015 rolled around. It was then that Accenture overhauled its old methods for evaluating employee performance.

Here’s the story of how a large global organization transformed how it evaluates employee performance. HR folks can use this Accenture Performance Management case study as a reference for refreshing their own processes.

Need a more customizeable performance management system for your organization?Learn More

Accenture’s Old Performance Management Process

Accenture  has 700,000+ employees, and offices in over 200+ cities and 49 countries. Before 2015, Accenture conducted annual performance reviews. Like many of its competitors, Accenture also determined and ranked employee performance with a bell curve. 

The bell curve approach had flaws. Accenture only recognized a specific percentage as ‘top performers’ with high quantitative scores. The underperformers with low scores appeared at the tail ends of the distribution. The mean of the curve showed the average score of Accenture’s employees.

Accenture wanted to set the right objectives for its people. The company started with five main goals. Then the list grew to 15. It then expanded to 20, as then-CEO Pierre Nanterme told the Washington Post

Measuring performance became complicated. The process created bureaucracy and was more of a hindrance than a help. The performance review process wasn’t motivational or evaluative. It was nothing more than a long list of metrics and objectives. 

Why Accenture Needed a Change

Nanterme saw the consulting industry start to shift from ideas to outcomes. Clients expected more than a roadmap. They wanted a commitment to business results. 

Accenture needed a new approach to be competitive and differentiate itself. Changing performance reviews to focus on outcomes was mission-critical.

There was also the issue of time. The management research firm CEB found that the average manager spends more than 200 hours per year on performance reviews. Managers spend time in training sessions, filling out forms, and delivering employee evaluations.

“Employees that do best in performance management systems tend to be the employees that are the most narcissistic and self-promoting,” said Brian Kropp, CEB’s practice leader. “Those aren’t necessarily the employees you need to be the best organization going forward.”

Streamline performance management and save time with PerformYard.Learn More

Accenture’s New Performance Management Process

In 2015, Nanterme announced plans for a “massive revolution” for about 90% of its internal operations. The focus shifted to evaluating each employee in their specific role. This would be different than using a distribution curve that measured an employee in Washington the same way they’d measure an employee in Asia.

Accenture also wanted to get away from the prior method of gauging employees’ contributions long after they happened. The company would now measure employees more often and provide more real-time feedback.

accenture performance feedback

PerformYard helps organizations build real-time feedback into performance management.Learn More

The company eliminated the bell curve approach and the annual review process. Managers started giving employees timely feedback on an ongoing basis. The company also implemented an internal app to help with relaying continuous feedback. 

Accenture Removes the Annual Review

Accenture’s new way of evaluating employee management is more agile and immediate.

“Performance is an ongoing activity,” says Nanterme. “It’s every day, after any client interaction or business interaction, or corporate interaction. It’s much more fluid,”

Nanterme expands on this, “People want to know on an ongoing basis, am I doing right? Am I moving in the right direction? Do you think I’m progressing? Nobody’s going to wait for an annual cycle to get that feedback. It’s all about instant performance management.”.

What Can HR Pros Learn From Accenture Performance Management

Accenture restructured its performance review process to measure employees on an individual basis. If your organization appraises performance with a distribution curve, it’s time to sunset the process. The distribution curve is generalized and ineffective. It doesn’t give employees the information they need to achieve their potential.  

Consider eliminating annual performance reviews as Accenture did. Immediate, ongoing feedback cycles will arm employees with the knowledge they need to succeed. They can adjust, maintain the status quo, highlight where they need support, or consider new approaches.

Accenture made the mistake of cramming too many metrics and goals into reviews. You should start with a few key objectives. Align with your employee on these goals and establish how you will measure them. Software like PerformYard helps you track goals and show up-to-date data.

Continue Reading
HR Lessons from the Adobe Performance Management Overhaul

Adobe is one of the world's best workplaces, and employees agree, with 89% saying it's a great place to work. Plus, 86% of employees feel that they receive fair pay for the work they do. Employees fee

Adobe is one of the world's best workplaces, and employees agree, with 89% saying it's a great place to work. Plus, 86% of employees feel that they receive fair pay for the work they do.

Employees feel that Adobe is such a great place to work in part because HR understands the organization can always do better. Adobe’s performance management process serves employees, management, and the whole organization.

In 2012 that meant scrapping the annual review cycle that had been a staple in their review process and adopting a system of Check-ins instead.

Here’s how Adobe tackled the mammoth task of adjusting its review process for thousands of employees. We’ll start with why Adobe felt the need to adjust its performance management process in the first place.

Need a more customizeable performance management system for your organization?Learn More

Why Did Adobe Need a New Performance Management System?

Adobe spent many years utilizing an annual review cycle, like most other businesses around 2010. At that time, many of the world’s top businesses realized that annual reviews aren’t effective. Microsoft performance management and Accenture performance management have changed along with Adobe.

In 2012, the company was facing a major change. They were approaching the end of an era. The company was transitioning into a cloud-based software company. They would be focusing on releasing updates and innovations much more often.

Even without the change, it was clear that the current process was not working. The annual review cycle took up a total of 80,000 working hours. That’s equal to 40 full-time employees. Not to mention the time and annoyance employees experienced at having to respond to 10 or more individual requests for feedback. Some left feeling surprised and confused by critical feedback they weren't expecting.

Save your company from wasting hours on a bad performance management process.Learn More

Donna Morris was the Senior Vice President for Customer and Employee Experience at the time. She decided the company needed a more agile review process. Abolishing the annual review would allow teams to make adjustments without waiting for feedback that was still months away. It would also allow Adobe to recognize outstanding employee performance.

When Did Adobe Change Its Performance Management System?

It was obvious to Donna Morris in March of 2012 that the annual review system wasn’t working. Before she could share her thoughts with the CEO and executive team, she attended a press conference in India. There, she shared her opinion that annual performance reviews were outdated and unproductive. That left eight days before the story was published for her to start redefining Adobe's performance management process.

During those short eight days, Donna published a company blog addressing the problems with the annual review and invited feedback from employees. Hundreds shared their thoughts and support for a change to the review process.

Donna Morris was able to create a system of Check-ins that was rolled out to all employees within nine short months.

What Is Adobe’s New Performance Management System?

Adobe's old performance management system was an extremely labor- and resource-intensive process. It forced employees to provide feedback about several people. Managers wrote a performance summary of each employee as well. 

In contrast, the new system is more fluid. It supports two-way dialog between managers and employees. Both parties have a say in the process.

Adobe’s HR team is called the People Resources team. This team has shifted away from conducting the process. Now, the focus on employee and manager enablement. They encourage everyone to learn and practice both giving and receiving feedback instead.

PerformYard allows your employee to give and recieve feedback in real-time.Learn More

A dedicated section of Adobe's intranet serves as a bank of information that contains templates for goal-setting and planning feedback conversations. Both videos and tips can be accessed that help employees and managers make the most of the new process.

An Employee Resources Center (ERC) was also designed to provide employees with a way to ask questions about a specific Check-in or the process in general. That way, employees have a place they can go with their concerns and receive advice instead of bottling it up, which can affect their performance, attitude, and the wider company culture.

A robust training program is also in place to teach managers and non-managers how to provide constructive feedback.

Raises and bonuses are no longer tied to a single annual review. Instead, discussions happen at Rewards Check-ins that are informed by previous Check-ins. This gets rid of surprises and ensures everyone is compensated based on an accurate assessment of their performance. 

What Is Adobe’s Check-in System?

The new Adobe performance management process has been named the "Check-in". All employees worldwide get to enjoy the new process.

It starts with managers outlining expectations at the start of the year. Annual reviews would only revisit those expectations at the end of the review cycle. Check-ins ensure they are revisited regularly. Quarterly meetings are recommended, but employees can schedule more. No specific format needed. Employees and managers can decide if they want to use goal-setting forms. They can also decide and how and when to meet according to what works best for them.

Employees get feedback on an ongoing basis and focuses on performance. The feedback also happens in real-time. Managers can reinforce good behaviors and correct wrong behaviors without having to wait months, which is a common issues with annual review cycles.

There are no ratings, rankings, or prescribed raises or rewards. Salary raises and equity grants still happen each year, but leaders can adjust awards based on their best judgment.

PerformYard lets you build your own simple check-in system.Learn More

Most surprising is the fact that there are no longer any mandates around timing or methods. Written reviews are no longer a requirement either. Employees don’t have to fill out several forms and conduct reviews according to a pre-set process. Now, teams can create a process that works for them.

What Are the Results of Adobe’s New Performance Management System?

Adobe has experienced a lot of success since implementing the Check-in system. As the company has grown, the number of hours everyone spends on performance management has decreased. A 2016 estimate showed that the company saves more than 100,000 manager hours every year.

It has supported Adobe in its quest to increase its employer brand. Three-quarters of employees leaving the company state that they would recommend Adobe as a great place to work. This is an increase over previous years. Its global reputation has increased as well. It has risen 47 spots since 2016 on the Interbrand Top Global Brands ranking.

Adobe has experienced a small increase in turnover, but they see this as a win. Ongoing conversations about performance allow managers to identify and shed underperformers. Some employees even choose to leave on their own after open discussions with their managers. This helps Adobe build a culture of high performance.

How is Adobe updating performance reviews to better match remote teams? Check-ins happen over the phone or via video conference when a face-to-face meeting isn't possible. This ensures the process benefits remote employees. 

Most telling is the fact that Adobe implemented the new performance management system in 2012 and they’re still using it over a decade later.

Key Takeaways for HR Leaders

Use this Adobe performance management case study to build a more effective process.

Adobe’s process is flexible. It enables managers and employees to schedule and meet when it’s convenient for them. There is no set agenda for how the Check-in should go. With no paperwork, the process is also simple and easy.

Check-ins don’t include extensive paperwork and they don’t have to follow a specific format. As a result, employees and managers can engage in more frequent communication about goals and performance.

PerformYard software ensures your team can conduct check-in-style reviews at your pace. The software also allows you to increase your reporting capabilities.

See how PerformYard can help you reimagine performance management.Learn More

You can document meetings with goals and performance data logged in the system. That means HR, management, and employees can make real-time improvements.


Is Adobe a high performance organization? 

Adobe is a high performance organization. It is one of the world's best workplaces. Interbrand lists Adobe as one of the best global brands. Exiting workers rate the company as a workplace they would recommend to others.

Does adobe do performance reviews? 

Adobe does performance reviews, but they conduct a system of Check-ins that take place throughout the year. Managers and employees choose when to talk about whatever they think is important. They don’t have to adhere to a strict process or fill out extensive paperwork.

Why did Adobe abolish the annual performance review?

Adobe got rid of the annual performance review because it was costing managers over 80,000 working hours. They needed a more agile process as they became a cloud-based software company.

Continue Reading
No items found.
The HR Guide to Software Engineer Performance Reviews

Software engineers are the behind-the-scenes rock stars of our technology-driven world. From computer systems to app development, they are essential members of any team in the 21st century. Without th

Software engineers are the behind-the-scenes rock stars of our technology-driven world. From computer systems to app development, they are essential members of any team in the 21st century. Without them, other employees may not be able to do their jobs and essential services can crash, tanking your bottom line right along with them.

But, filling software engineer positions can be hard. In 2020, 69% of U.S. employers had difficulty filling in-demand positions like software engineers. With employment for software engineers expected to grow by 22% from 2020 to 2030, it’s going to continue to be a difficult role to fill.

It’s more important than ever to support your software engineer employees. That includes supporting their professional development so they aren’t tempted to jump ship. Your number one goal should be to avoid having to go through the struggle of trying to fill their vacant position.

One way to do that is to create a meaningful engineering performance review process. The question is how?

Here is everything you need to know about performance reviews for engineers. The article includes software engineer performance review examples and metrics. Read on to learn how to provide the professional development, support, and praise that makes engineers want to stick around.

PerformYard can streamline your engineer performance review process.Learn More

Which Review Touchpoints to Use for Software Engineers

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to a software engineer review. The following touchpoints are options you can choose from that work best for you and your team. Choose one or two to get started, but don’t be afraid to revisit these ideas and change your review process if the needs of your team change.

  • 1:1s
  • 360 Peer review
  • Project-based review
  • Team review
  • Annual review


When you think of an engineer performance review, you envision a yearly formal review (which we’ll get to in a minute). It is an option, but your employees are likely to feel frustrated if they only get to talk about their goals and accomplishments once a year.

That’s where 1:1s come in.

They serve as extra touchpoints between formal reviews. Engineers can share feedback with managers and update management on current projects. It’s a great opportunity to reevaluate a goal that isn’t working, as well as gather the information that can be used during a more formal review. They can also support the process of building strong interpersonal relationships in the office.

This software engineer performance review example can be formal or informal. Either way, check-ins are an easy way to conduct 1:1s without extensive planning. 

engineer review

Use PerformYard for an easy, streamlined review process.Learn More

360 Peer review

Software engineers may indeed spend quite a bit of time alone focusing on their work, but they are still part of a larger team. Whether they are interacting in person or through messenger systems, it’s a good idea to assess how coworkers feel about each other.

After all, how employees work together can have a huge impact on productivity, company culture, and turnover. Satisfaction increases by 50% when employees have at least one close relationship at work. If dealing with negativity, office politics, or disrespectful behavior, 58% have left or would consider leaving a job.

One of our favorite software engineer peer performance review examples is the 360 review. This review enables you to collect performance data based on what other employees see and experience. The review gives management context for feedback. You’ll be able to dig deeper into why a certain project had delays or why a project went well. Managers can compare how each software engineer fits into the culture of your organization. The team can work on team building conflict resolution before an issue becomes a huge problem.

software engineer performance

Run 360 reviews in minutes with PerformYard.Learn More

Project-based review

Project-based reviews are a great choice for software engineers. Every development project presents unique challenges. These reviews enable you to talk about the specifics of each project. You can set goals for the next project without getting sidetracked by more generalized performance data. 

The biggest challenge with this type of review is the fact that projects don’t always finish at the same time. You can’t pencil in a certain time of year to conduct software engineer performance reviews. You’ll have to use flexible performance management software to activate the review cycle when a project nears completion.

Then, you have to make sure to ensure everyone has the time to join in the process without jumping headfirst into the next project.

Team review

Because so many software engineering tasks are project-based, a team review can also be a great option. It can give you a great understanding of how the team is doing without zeroing in on each team member. Zeroing in on team members can take a while if you have a large team working on the same project.

If you find that the team isn’t working well, it can be hard to figure out who is contributing to the problem. It could also be the case that a team is only performing well because one engineer is doing all the work. That can cause trouble for management, but it can be frustrating for employees as well. 

Some companies have close-knit teams that work together to solve potential problems. Other companies need to bake features of 360 reviews into the process to uncover issues.

Annual review

Annual reviews don’t work.

Well, they don’t work if you do them the old-fashioned way, which means collecting data and meeting with employees once a year. That’s especially the case with software engineers who work on several projects ahead of every annual review. It’s impossible to capture all the feedback for those projects at a single meeting.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t use annual reviews at all! It just means you have to change how you approach the annual review process.

An annual review should be the culmination of other review touchpoints throughout the year. This is true if you’re conducting any of the software engineer performance review examples mentioned above. This approach prevents employees from feeling surprised at their review meeting. You should already be meeting throughout the year to discuss performance and goals. That way, employees will have a good idea of what to expect at their annual review.

Criteria to Use in Software Engineer Performance Reviews

So you’ve decided what kind of review touch points to use. That’s great! It doesn't mean you know what kind of information should be in those reviews.

Here are the software engineer performance review metrics to use in your review process:

  • Professional development
  • Ability to be proactive
  • Communication
  • Product usability
  • Leadership

Professional development

Without a doubt, professional development should be part of every review.

Employees who have access to professional development opportunities are 15% more engaged on the job. According to one survey, 94% of respondents said they would stay at a company longer if that company invested in their careers.

When it comes to engineers, it’s even more important for them to pick up new skills, certifications, and coding languages. Not doing so means falling behind in the fast-moving technology industry.

Discuss each employee’s personal and professional development goals. Get crystal clear on the goals you have for your software engineers and the teams they work on. This will let you include measurable, professional development goals in the review process.

Ability to be proactive

Are software engineers fixing bugs before they become an issue? Are they developing new features and coming up with new ideas unprompted? These types of questions get to the heart of whether a software engineer is being proactive on the job.

The ability to be proactive is an important thing to foster among employees. Proactive employees tend to be better performers, contributors, and innovators. Not to mention, they can save management time while driving the company forward.

Measuring the ability to be proactive can be difficult because it is a qualitative measure and not a quantitative one. You can use peer reviews, continuous feedback, and 1:1s as measuring tools. Software like PerformYard lets you to capture and store feedback throughout the year. It can collate and analyze the information exactly when you need it. 


Measuring how your team communicates with each other is an essential aspect of conducting a team review, but it can be helpful in other cases as well. Measuring communication can increase efficiency and foster positive interpersonal relationships.

To measure this metric, you have to build a culture of feedback. That means making it easy for employees to provide feedback when it’s convenient for them. PerformYard provides you with a central place for everyone to store their feedback between reviews. When review time does roll around, you can access accurate, specific feedback that came in the moment. You won’t have to ask employees to come up with communication feedback on an old interaction.

Product usability

What is the quality of the product that your software engineers are creating? Do platforms contain bugs, or do they work well? Do users give it good reviews? 

Answering these types of questions helps you determine how much value engineers bring to the company. To track them, you will need to set goals with your software engineers that are related to these types of metrics. That might mean shooting for a certain number of positive reviews or completing a project with fewer bugs than the last project.

PerformYard lets you pull up the data when completing review forms and discuss it without bias.


Uncovering leadership capabilities shouldn’t wait until an annual review. You should measure it throughout the year. This will allow you to support leadership development, pivot if necessary, and provide accolades.

Like proactivity and communication, leadership can be difficult to measure. Peer reviews are one way to gather information about leadership as it impacts other members of a team. You can also view project-based reviews and team reviews to see if one employee stepped up to meet a deadline or encouraged the team to find a solution.

Having a place to store this information as it comes up is important. Your employees can capture feedback throughout the year rather than trying to gather information at review time.

Common Mistakes in Software Engineer Performance Reviews

Knowing what not to do is as important as knowing what to do when it comes to software engineer performance reviews. A few common pitfalls you’ll want to avoid include:

  • Using too many hard metrics
  • Failing to highlight individual achievements
  • Providing them with a cumbersome review process
  • Waiting too long to provide feedback

Using too many hard metrics

Number-based metrics are the easiest to measure, so they are often relied on in an engineer performance review. That said, information can fall through the cracks if you’re only using quantitative analysis.

You can’t measure leadership, communication, or proactivity with numbers. Measuring employee performance based on bug fixes or lines of code written could leave you thinking you have a high-performing employee when you don’t.

It’s much better to have a balance of hard and soft metrics so you can gain a clearer picture of employee performance.

Failing to highlight individual achievements

It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day tasks that leave little time for acknowledging individual achievements, but that’s a mistake. Employees who are properly recognized for their contributions are five times more likely to see a path to growth in the company they work for and they are four times more likely to be engaged at work. They are also less likely to leave their position or report feelings of overwhelming burnout.

software engineer performance metrics

Track individual goals within your performance management system.Learn More

Using performance management software to conduct multiple reviews throughout the year allows you to recognize individual achievements. With a well-designed review process, you can tie promotions and raises to performance. You’ll make employees feel like they are truly appreciated. You can protect your company from having its engineers poached by other companies. Employees are also more likely to be engaged in providing—and finding—value in their role.

Providing them with a cumbersome review process

Performance reviews are valuable, but they can also be irritating. The more they interfere with everyone’s ability to get their work done, the less likely they are to get real value from the process. It’s also less likely that you’ll get accurate, helpful information, which means the entire review cycle is a waste.

Software engineers and their managers are busy. Don’t make it difficult for them to track their goals, complete review forms, or demand that they provide impromptu feedback. Don’t slow the process down by using spreadsheets and Google Docs.

Take the time to design a review process that works for you, your employees, and the company using dedicated performance management software. It’s designed to make reviews as easy, valuable, and accurate as possible so the process doesn’t feel like it encroaches on day-to-day operations.

Waiting too long to provide feedback 

Over 75 percent of the respondents in one survey agreed that receiving feedback on the job is important. That said, don’t pat yourself on the back yet if you think you’re providing good feedback at an annual engineer performance review. It’s also important to provide that feedback in a timely manner.

Nearly 60 percent of workers said they would like to have feedback on a daily or weekly basis.

Providing feedback that frequently may sound like a lot of work. It’s worthwhile. Waiting too long to provide feedback to a software engineer who craves it encourages them to start looking for another job. Plus, they’re likely to find one. Software engineers are in high demand.

Talk with your team and come up with a feedback schedule that works for everyone. Then, create and execute a plan that ensures everyone receives that feedback promptly.

Continue Reading
No items found.
How to Fix Your Healthcare Performance Review Process

All performance reviews are not equal. How you review employees should differ depending on what industry you’re in. That’s certainly the case when it comes to the best practices for performance evalua

All performance reviews are not equal. How you review employees should differ depending on what industry you’re in.

That’s certainly the case when it comes to the best practices for performance evaluations in healthcare.

Healthcare organizations face unique challenges during a healthcare performance review. The article below will dive into some answers to address these challenges:

  • Exactly how can you improve the review process?
  • What healthcare performance review template is best? 
  • How should healthcare reviews differ from reviews in other industries?

You’ll find the answers to these questions below. Let’s start with some information on why performance evaluations in healthcare matter.

Why Do Performance Evaluations Matter in Healthcare?

Performance reviews in healthcare are often put at the bottom of the to-do list. It can be hard to justify focusing on the performance review process when you're stretched for time. It's even harder to justify a review process if you're dealing with staff shortages. But, we would argue these are the very reasons why healthcare professionals need reviews.

Healthcare can feel like a thankless job with workers reporting record-high rates of burnout. Between 35 and 54 percent of U.S. nurses and physicians have reported serious symptoms of burnout. More than a third of nurses planned to leave their jobs before the end of 2022.

PerformYard can help fix your organization's performance review process.Learn More

A clinical or hospital employee performance evaluation can help. It allows you to recognize the dedication of your hardest-working employees, making them feel like valued members of the team. It enables you to build better relationships too. Employees should regularly check in with their direct reports and members of HR. That way, the entire team can create a more positive work environment.

Opportunities for feedback are important too. Here are some best practices for performance evaluations in healthcare: 

  • Space for employees to express their concerns
  • Space for employees to bring up issues as they arise
  • Space for employees to help brainstorm potential solutions to problems.

Feeling like a valued member of the team and working in a positive environment has the potential to ease systemic challenges. You can reduce burnout, which in turn can reduce employee turnover.

What Kind of Healthcare Performance Review Is Best?

Performance evaluations matter in healthcare. So which healthcare performance review template should you use?

Here are the top three healthcare performance review template ideas:

  • Self-evaluation
  • 360 Peer review
  • 90-Day review


Self-evaluations can be helpful in any industry, but they are a must in the healthcare industry. Physicians, nurses, therapists, and other healthcare workers want to make a difference in people’s lives. They are highly educated and know the impact their job has on patients and the community. That makes them driven to reflect on their performance in a meaningful way—as long as they are provided with the opportunity.

When you choose self-evaluation questions carefully, employees can reflect on their performance. The right questions also let managers see how employees critique themselves. Some employees can be overly confident in their competence. Managers can focus on any small critiques the employee did have and bring up ones they glossed over. For a humble employee, it might be important to the time to highlight positives they may have missed.

360 Peer Review

Healthcare professionals don’t just impact the lives of patients. They impact the lives of everyone around them. 360 peer reviews can help you determine the extent of that impact in the clinic or the hospital. They are the best way to see how each employee fits into the larger team, and whether or not they are going above and beyond to help out other team members.

A word of caution—360 peer reviews are only effective if you’re using performance management software to facilitate the reviews. Without an electronic system, it’s hard to do any of the important tasks associated with 360s. That includes:

  • Collecting multiple reviews from each employee
  • Organizing reviews by department
  • Reviewing each form one at a time

It’s much better to use a digital system that can collect, organize, and store the review forms for you.

Run 360 peer review with ease using PerformYard.Learn More

90-Day review

How often do you conduct reviews? The majority of healthcare leaders report meeting annually to discuss performance. In the fast-paced healthcare field, that may be all you have time for.

That’s okay for established employees, but it’s not a good strategy for new hires.

A 90-day review is a critical step in the onboarding process for new nurses, doctors, and assistants. New hires are likely to feel overwhelmed and unsure of themselves. A review after just 90 days gives employees a chance to pause, reflect, and address concerns about their performance. They don’t have to wait an entire year for their first review.

How Are Healthcare Performance Reviews Different From Other Industries?

A healthcare performance review usually revolves around interactions each employee has with patients. Other industries may be able to measure things like sales or projects completed. Clinical performance evaluations should tie into interactions, decisions, and outcomes regarding patient care. It’s important to find a system for organizing and analyzing this type of data.

Office employees have all-the-time access to their email, and subsequently, performance review questionnaires. Healthcare employees don't have easy access to their email or a Google Doc all day long. You can't interrupt a patient interaction or delay a patient decision for a review.

Keep this in mind when scheduling reviews. It might mean conducting reviews less frequently because your staff is so busy. You can also block out certain times in employee schedules for scheduling review meetings. Just make sure everyone is committed to sticking to it without filling that time with other tasks.

Finally, hospitals have large numbers of workers. Even small clinics have employees in vastly different roles. This can make the healthcare performance review process difficult. It’s important to have a centralized system where all review information for every employee is stored.

How Did COVID Change Performance Reviews in Healthcare?

COVID-19 forced us all to reevaluate our priorities. In the healthcare field, a lot of peripheral operations and tasks got put on the back burner. Patient care and employee safety became more important than ever.

As the pandemic wore on, more and more people left the healthcare field. Almost one in five healthcare workers has quit since the pandemic started. This has resulted in employee shortages that leave everyone strapped for time. Doctors, nurses, and support staff are scrambling to cover the work that’s left behind. It can be difficult to justify having a performance review process when everyone is struggling to stay caught up in their day-to-day work.

That’s not all. The pandemic has changed the way we all work. The number of people working from home tripled between 2019 and 2021. Work-from-home opportunities are expected to continue growing. Some hospital workers, like HR departments, can work from home. Nurses and doctors are at the hospital working with patients in person. This disconnect can make the review process challenging.

Don’t let COVID and the demands of the healthcare field make you give up on a hospital employee performance evaluation process! These challenges can be overcome so you can support and encourage your employees to meet their goals.

How to Improve Your Healthcare Performance Review Process

You can improve your healthcare performance review process without compromising review quality.

Our top tips include:

  • Move everything online
  • Get some automated help for your HR department
  • Roll informal feedback into annual reviews

Move everything online

Gathering and storing review documentation the old-fashioned way is confusing, time-consuming, and frustrating. It’s frustrating for your employees too. Employees want transparency and visibility. They don’t want to be removed from the process. 

Move all documentation to a specialized performance management platform. It allows you to centralize every piece of the review process, from gathering reviews to feedback to improvement plans. You’ll be able to see every relevant document alongside corresponding review forms. Nothing falls through the cracks, no matter how large your healthcare organization is.

Automate your performance review process with PerformYard.Learn More

An online platform makes it easier for nurses, doctors, and other personnel to fill out review forms at their convenience. The platform allows employees to fill out forms from a mobile device. It gives them a centralized place to access their review information too. They can see the review process unfold in real time, doing away with the surprises that are common during old-fashioned reviews.

Get some automated help for your HR department

Automating what you can is a good strategy for any business. It works for hospitals and clinics too! Automated help is the answer if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of people, reviews, and forms you’re dealing with regularly.

A platform like PerformYard allows you to automate when reviews are scheduled for every member of the team in every department. It provides everyone with an automated notification when it’s time to fill out a form. PerformYard also sends out email reminders to employees when review time is getting close. Plus, it automatically synthesizes all healthcare performance review data into easy-to-read charts.

HR shouldn't have to remind people to fill out reviews. Let PerformYard handle it.Learn More

It does all of the minutiae for you so you can focus on creating meaningful reviews and supporting your employees to meet their goals.

Roll informal feedback into annual reviews

A lot of stuff happens in a single day in the healthcare field. It’s even harder to wrap your head around all of the things that take place in a week, a month, or a year. It can be hard to remember patient experiences, patient outcomes, and coworker interactions when it’s time for a mid-year or annual review.

Save time and simplify the performance review experience.Learn More

Dedicated performance management software lets managers store feedback in an employee’s profile. This simplifies the process of collecting data. During reviews, managers can pull up this feedback and remember something they wanted to mention at review time.

6 Healthcare Performance Review Templates:

Click the link below to download six performance review templates that you can use at your healthcare organization.

Six Essential Performance Review Templates for 2023

Continue Reading
No items found.
The 2023 HR Guide to Collaborative Performance Management

Think about how many communication channels you use. Consider all the different teams your employee works with. All these variables make it hard to get the most up-to-date data on your employee. It’s

According to IDC, enterprises with collaborative work environments will see the following by 2024:

  • 30% lower staff turnover
  • 30% higher productivity
  • 30% higher revenue per employee than their peers

It seems like a no-brainer that collaborative workplaces perform better, right? Well, let’s face it: effective collaboration isn’t always a reality. That’s a problem when it comes to performance reviews.

Think about how many communication channels you use. Consider all the different teams your employee works with. All these variables make it hard to get the most up-to-date data on your employee. It’s hard to assess how well an employee works when you have a constant flow of information. 

A single review form is a rather one-dimensional way to capture the full spectrum of an employee’s performance. Let’s try something different. Try taking a page out of Google’s or Netflix’s book and implementing collaborative performance management. We’ll show you how.

Use a performance management system that works for everyone. Experience PerformYard.Learn More

3 Common Hurdles In the Way of Collaborative Performance Management

Most companies don't built collaboration into their performance management process. If you're one of those companies, you likely have to overcome a few hurdles before you can build a more inclusive performance review system.

1. Individual KPIs that aren’t connected to company/team goals

Even if you’re good at tracking individual goals and performance, you won’t get any sense of how well teams work together. This issue can arise when each individual is tracking their goals in a separate document or spreadsheet. It also happens when managers don’t connect to talk about team and company goals before determining individual goals

Instead, try cascading goals. This can be done with software like PerformYard, which allows you to tie organizational goals to individual goals. You'll be able to see how the whole team is connected.

2. Cumbersome performance management processes controlled by HR

Some organizations silo their performance management process. That happens when the process runs on individuals filling out single review forms and emailing them back to HR. You’ve got to make it easy for employees and managers to use the performance management process. If not, you’ll get low engagement and few chances for collaboration.

HR often bears full responsibility for performance management. That’s why many HR departments end up creating a system that works well for them. That system may not work well for managers and employees. 

Modern performance management systems should be designed in collaboration with managers and employees. Those are the people who will be putting data into the system the most.

Switch to a modern performance management system. Switch to PerformYard.Learn More

3. Top-Down Approach to Performance Reviews 

A top-down approach to performance review means direct reports are judged individually. Managers don’t get any feedback on their managerial skills and thus never hear from peers about how to improve.

Consider introducing upward reviews. These are chances for direct reports to review managers. These types of reviews bring more collaboration into the performance review process.

3 Action Steps to Create a Collaborative Performance Management System

Here are our recommendations for progressive performance management at your organization. These steps reflect a dynamic process that’s all-encompassing. They’ll help you keep a clear view of goal progression at all times.

1. Use a centralized platform for performance management

Performance management software brings every employee into one platform. From there, it’s easy for everyone to participate in the performance review process. 

The software doesn’t have to give you a prescriptive approach to performance management either. The best software is flexible. It ensures HR people and managers can build collaborative performance management process. 

Having a centralized software platform also makes it easy to use additional touchpoints such as:

  • Upward reviews
  • 360-peer reviews
  • Continuous feedback 

You can do all these things without asking for a massive lift from HR. The software automates everything.


PerformYard provides a centralized place for all your performance management processes.Learn More

2. Introduce cascading goals and team goals

Let’s just talk about the benefits of cascading organizational goals into team goals into employee goals. This way, HR people can introduce more collaboration into plans and align their organization around common goals. Managers will still be able to measure individual goal progress. 

3. Implement continuous feedback between peers

Continuous feedback is a system used by many companies to build a culture of feedback. It requires having a centralized place where employees can drop casual feedback. Employees should be able to say if this feedback is public or private. 

Building this culture starts with a software platform like PerformYard. You’ll need a tool that facilitates, stores, and displays feedback. Then, you need to make sure employees know that they should feel empowered to leave feedback. 

Build a culture of feedback with easy-to-use software.Learn More

Examples of Companies with Collaborative Performance Management 

Here are some examples of companies that created collaborative performance management strategies. Check out Google’s “People Operations Practice” or GE’s “PD@GE” app. Use these examples as inspiration when you’re rethinking performance management at your company.

Amazon’s Performance Management Process
Google’s Performance Management Process
Netflix’s Performance Management Process
Tesla’s Performance Management Process
Apple’s Performance Management Process
Microsoft’s Performance Management Process
GE’s Performance Management Process
Continue Reading
6 Tips on How to Write a Performance Improvement Plan

Traditional performance improvement plans (PIPs) don’t have a good reputation in the workplace. Most managers dread figuring out how to write a performance improvement plan, and employees don’t like r

Traditional performance improvement plans (PIPs) don’t have a good reputation in the workplace. Most managers dread figuring out how to write a performance improvement plan, and employees don’t like receiving them.

But that doesn’t mean you should scrap them altogether.

The truth is, 65 percent of employees desire more feedback. That includes negative and constructive feedback. A whopping 92 percent of respondents said that negative feedback is an effective way to improve performance if it's delivered appropriately.

There’s an argument for continuing to provide constructive feedback to those employees who need it. The question becomes how to write a performance improvement plan that is fair for both managers and employees. 

Let’s find out how to write a performance improvement plan for an employee. Follow our tips below to make sure your employee feels supported throughout the process.

Need software to run all your performance reviews?Learn More

Ways to Start Writing a Performance Improvement Plan

Getting started is often the hardest part of any new process. That’s true when it comes to figuring out how to write a performance improvement plan.

The best way to get started is to dig into the data. It can illuminate what went wrong with an employee’s performance. Data is unbiased. It’s the best way to accurately determine whether the employee has made improvements ahead of their next review.

The first steps of writing a performance improvement plan for an employee include:

  • Finding examples of poor review scores
  • Finding examples of poor goal completion
  • Finding examples of poor peer feedback

PerformYard software can help you design and run your performance improvement plan.Learn More

1. Find examples of poor review scores

Before you even determine whether or not an employee needs a PIP, it’s important to get a big-picture view of their performance.

Look into their performance review results over time. Let’s say an employee’s performance reviews are becoming more and more negative every quarter. You may want to consider a performance improvement plan for that employee. 

At this stage, it’s important not to make any assumptions about why the employee has received a low score. Personal challenges outside of work and poor workplace support can cause low scores. Be sure to take a compassionate approach to a performance improvement plan conversation with any and every employee.

2. Find examples of poor goal completion

Receiving a PIP should never feel unfair or unwarranted. It should very clearly define examples of poor goal completion.

Outline any review questions where the employee received a poor score and document goals on their most recent review that were not met. Employees will be able to see that their performance improvement plan is based on impartial data—not management opinion.

The use of performance management software makes it easy to uncover poor review scores and poor goal completion. The data is accurate and compiled in one place. It’s also updated and tracked in real time.

All data is transparent and accessible to employees, even before the next review or a PIP . When you use software, performance improvement plan conversations don’t come as a complete surprise.

Track individual goals along with performance reviews with PerformYard.Learn More

3. Find examples of poor peer feedback

According to one research statistic, 56% of employees who have a friend at work are engaged. In contrast, only 8 percent of employees who don’t have a friend at work report being engaged.

That doesn’t mean everyone has to be friends with everyone else in the workplace. That said, there are benefits to employees having good working relationships with co-workers.

Integrating 360 reviews into your performance review process allows employees to provide insights about each other. You can refer to these insights when creating a performance improvement plan for an employee.

The feedback will show specific examples of instances where employees may have let down the team. It may also show how their interaction with others has impacted their review score or goal completion.

When creating a PIP, look for peer feedback that is tied to performance data. Do not include opinions, generalizations, or assessments of character in the plan. The goal is to outline the concrete reasons for having a performance improvement plan. 

Tips to Help an Employee Through a Performance Improvement Plan

Figuring out how to write a performance improvement plan requires some long-term planning. You have to do more than create the plan and leave it up to the employee to make the necessary changes. It’s important to provide continued support throughout the process.

Here are some tips for helping an employee through a performance improvement plan conversation:

  • Start with the specific instances that need to be addressed
  • Work with the employee to develop goals
  • Set up frequent check-ins beyond the normal review cycle

4. Start with the specific instances that need to be addressed

It is important to be as specific as possible when informing an employee that they are receiving a PIP. One way to do that is by showing data points on a performance management platform, like PerformYard. This approach ensures the employee knows why they are receiving a performance improvement plan.

Approach the conversation with compassion and be prepared to listen. It’s normal for employees to feel defensive about their performance, especially if they worry that it may impact their job. Bring a caring, team-oriented perspective to the conversation. Remember to also let the employee come up with their own solutions

5. Work with the employee to develop goals 

PIPs get a bad rap for being ineffective. That’s because they are often focused on employee performance but not inclusive of the employee’s perspective. Every HR person should want their employee to take their performance improvement plan to heart. The way to do that is to work with the employee to develop goals that address performance issues.

Managers should uncover performance gaps such as poor review scores, poor goal completion, and poor peer feedback. The employee should then be brought in to create a plan that articulates what needs to be done.

This strategy enables you to approach the employee improvement plan as part of the professional development process. You can give the employee ownership over their improvement.

Once goals are set, ensure you track the metrics that you and your employee agreed on. A performance management software platform allows managers and employees to see progress in real-time. The platform also ensures the process is as transparent as possible.

6. Set up frequent check-ins beyond the normal review cycle

An employee who is on a performance improvement plan needs extra attention to ensure they are on the right track. Build a specific review cycle for that employee that includes frequent check-ins so you can provide them with the support they need.

Reviews can be informal, with check-ins occurring frequently or infrequently. More formal check-ins could include monthly or quarterly reviews. You can also add more frequent goal milestones to ensure the employee is on their way to meeting their final goal.

Just make sure that goals are easy to access for check-ins and official reviews. You and your employee should reference PIP goals easily during review meetings and in between meetings.

Set up custom review cycles with check-ins and continuous feedback.Learn More

Building an employee-specific performance improvement plan is made easier with a tool like PerformYard. With just a few clicks, you can easily view goal data, and you can adjust any individual employee’s review cycle.

Using Performance Management Software to Design your PIP

As you have been reading about how to write a performance improvement plan, you have probably noticed we mentioned PerformYard as a solution. That’s because our performance management software makes designing, implementing, and reviewing PIPs easy.

PerformYard provides you with a place to document and track goals, run check-ins, and adjust individual employee review cycles according to the level of support each employee needs. It can run 360 reviews, where you can uncover how others feel about a coworker’s performance. 

Perhaps most importantly, it can provide data that illuminates the need for a PIP in the first place. That way you know where your employees stand, but they get the feedback they crave too.

Continue Reading
How to Design an Attorney Performance Review Process

Attorney performance reviews are different from your typical employee review. While the reviews may measure common objectives like new client wins or teamwork, they must also evaluate the factors that

Attorney performance reviews are different from your typical employee review. While the reviews may measure common objectives like new client wins or teamwork, they must also evaluate the factors that make successful attorneys, not just employees.

How have the attorney’s clients rated them?

How well have they developed junior associates? 

How do they contribute to team profitability?

The tips in this post will help you craft a meaningful law firm employee performance evaluation. You’ll find specific metrics to evaluate an attorney's performance and even get a head start on creating your review. 

5 Tips for an Effective Attorney Performance Review

The following four tips are a place to start measuring attorney performance. However, don’t try to boil the ocean. Take the time to build a concise list of metrics that are most impactful to your employee, team, and firm. 

1. Bring Measurable Goals into the Review Process  

Goals provide a baseline upon which to start the review process. According to Edge International, one category could be “outcome measures”—or the outputs and results the attorney has already achieved. Here are some examples of performance goals for lawyers; these can be quantitative, qualitative, or both.

Quantitative measures include:

  • Billable hours
  • Realization rates—the difference between recorded time and the percentage of that time clients paid.
  • Value/price of engagements negotiated
  • How much the employee has contributed financially to the firm, such as fees-per-earner. 

Qualitative metrics could include:

  • Junior staff retention rate
  • File and client audits
  • Training, coaching, and developing associates

Track your firm's individual and company-wide goals with PerformYard.Learn More

2. Formalize Peer Feedback

Incorporating positive feedback into the review process is a must. Don’t just limit it to feedback from a manager to a direct report—get input from peers too. 

This step is easy in PerformYard. The software helps law firms capture informal feedback, save it in an employee’s profile, and make it available to look at during reviews. Emphasizing an attorney’s strengths and highlighting them in reviews puts the attorney in a position to succeed.

Bring informal feedback into performance reviews with PerformYard.Learn More

3. Stay Current on Cases with Quarterly Reviews and 1:1s

An annual review at a law firm is fine, but it should be aided by quarterly reviews and 1:1s.

Attorneys may work on many cases throughout the year, and it’s hard to capture a clear view of all that work after a full year. Plans could’ve been diverted, there could’ve been staffing changes, etc.

Quarterly reviews and 1:1s allow attorneys to review more recent work and make improvements during the middle of the year instead of waiting 365 days.

4. Use Performance Reviews to Build Mentorship

Mentorship is vital at law firms, and performance reviews provide a chance for managers and attorneys to connect. However, that doesn’t happen at firms that only use annual reviews or downward reviews. 

Upward reviews allow attorneys to get a chance to provide feedback to the people above them and build stronger relationships. 1:1s provide the same  opportunity.

Creating a review cycle with 1:1s, quarterly reviews, and annual reviews gives attorneys plenty of chances to connect and increases the odds of your firm having a strong mentorship culture. 

5. Use Review Form Software to Formalize the Process

It can be daunting for an HR person at a law firm to revamp a review process set in stone for years. However, software like PerformYard can take your current process and streamline it, centralize it, and make it easier to execute.

Notifications, stored feedback, custom review cycles, and custom review forms make the process of running performance reviews easier for HR people. 

Building a culture of strong performance starts with showing your firm that you’re committed to the performance review process. Using dedicated software can help send that message. Plus, it’s easy enough for anyone to use, even longtime lawyers who are used to using paper forms. 

Take 20-minutes to seee why PerformYard is the easy choice for your HR department.Learn More

Attorney Review Templates to Get You Started 

If you’re ready to change how you do your performance reviews for your attorneys, you’re in the right place. You can customize the following review templates specifically for attorneys.   

Click here to see the six modern performance review templates

You can also get a quick demo of PerformYard to see how the software can streamline your firm’s attorney review, so you don’t have to use paper / PDF templates.

Continue Reading
How to Track Employee Performance in 2023 | Templates & Tips

Waves of employers are turning to employee monitoring software to track performance. Approximately 67.6% of North American employers with 500 employees or more use some kind of software to monitor emp

Waves of employers are turning to employee monitoring software to track performance. Approximately 67.6% of North American employers with 500 employees or more use some kind of software to monitor employee activity while they’re on the clock.

When you dig into the why, it makes sense that so many companies are jumping on the employee tracking bandwagon. Data breaches, insider attacks, and even accidental negligence are all threats that can cost a company time and money.

Remote work is also a huge issue. The number of people working from home tripled between 2019 and 2021. It will continue to be a popular perk, with over 36 million people working from home by 2025. 

How do you know if your employees are doing their job?

Employee monitoring software seems like an easy solution, but it creates problems of its own. Not only does it demonstrate a lack of trust in your employees, which can negatively impact their performance, the work environment, and employee turnover, but it also comes with legal risks.

Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees. You can figure out exactly how an employee is doing on the job, whether they work in the office or at home, by using an employee performance tracking system based around performance management—not a Big Brother-style monitoring system.

The question then becomes how to track employee performance.

Here are our tips for tracking employee performance so you don’t have to rely on intrusive monitoring software.

Build a strnog culture around performance with PerformYard software.Learn More

What Are 5 Different Ways of Evaluating Employee Performance?

The best strategies to monitor team performance require you to get laser-focused on how you’re going to evaluate employee performance.

They include:

  • Bringing goals to the forefront
  • Conducting frequent check-ins
  • Investing in tools to track performance
  • Using peer feedback
  • Analyzing data over time

1. Bring goals to the forefront

Goals should always lead your strategy to monitor team performance. That’s because a goal can provide you with the exact information you seek about productivity, so long as you set the right goals, the right way.

First, determine exactly what it is that you want to know about your employees and their performance. Do you want to know if they work well with the rest of their team? Do you want to know how many sales they make? Do you want to know if they are becoming more proficient at using a certain program?

Answering these questions will lead you to meaningful goals you can set for your team.

You should also think more broadly about the goals you want larger teams or the entire company to meet. For example, if you're worried about remote employees and the amount of time they spend on-task, create a goal that addresses your concern.

You could also create goals that address cyber security, like which devices can be used when completing work, and goals that encourage employees to complete online training courses. Create an incentive and the team will strive to meet that goal—no tracking software needed.

There are two tips to consider when setting goals:

Don’t let goals get stale. 

Goals should be updated, amended, and scrapped when they no longer serve you, your employee, or the company. Don’t wait for an official performance review. Goals should be updated whenever it’s needed.

Make sure your employees are engaged in the process

Employees who are allowed to create and update their own goals are more likely to feel a sense of ownership over those goals, which can greatly impact their performance.

The best way to track and set goals is by using employee performance tracker software. Especially if you’re tracking KPIs.

How do I track my employees’ KPIs?

If you want to know if your employees are meeting their goals, you have to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be measured.

It requires you to document things like:

  • The name of the goal
  • The target, and how it is going to be measured
  • Start and end dates
  • A description of the goal
  • The category the goal is assigned to for cataloging purposes
  • The assignee and others who have access to the goal
  • Other goals it’s aligned with

That’s why using an employee performance tracking system is recommended. Instead of trying to keep track of all that information manually on a software platform, like Excel, that isn’t technically built for the task, dedicated performance management software will walk you through the steps you need to take to create goals with KPIs. 

Track goals within your performance reviews using simple software.Learn More

The software can keep track of everything in real time, so you can pivot your strategy and modify goals as soon as it’s appropriate to do so. There’s no need to wait until an official performance review to do it.

2. Conduct frequent check-ins

Don't wait until it's time for an official performance review to see if employees are meeting their goals. Goals should continue to be at the forefront once they have been created.

Create a performance check-in schedule that enables you, your employees, and the entire team to see if everyone is on track. They don’t have to be long, and they don’t have to be formal.

You may find that a weekly check-in allows you to tackle the events from the previous week, while others may find that che2cking in once every two to four weeks is plenty.

The key to successful check-ins is to limit the agenda. Choose just one or two things to focus on at each check-in. Because it tracks important metrics in real time, a program like PerformYard can make it easy for you to see what needs to be discussed at the next check-in.

Don’t get caught up in the formality of a traditional meeting. Check-ins can be relatively informal. Talk about an important goal over a cup of coffee or plan a quick meeting on a bench outside instead of meeting in your office.

Quickly set up a check-in schedule that works for your team.Learn More

3. Invest in tools to track performance

Using the right tools is the only way to track goals and KPIs in detail so you know how employees are performing, but there’s another reason to invest in employee performance tracker software instead of monitoring software.

The message you send when you unveil performance-focused software is much more positive than informing employees their movements will be tracked with monitoring software. It lets employees know that you’re serious about tracking performance, but you trust them to work towards accomplishing their own goals, which can positively impact how employees behave on the clock.

In contrast, using monitoring software demonstrates a lack of trust and makes employees feel like they are being spied on, which has the potential to negatively impact performance.

4. Use peer feedback

Using peer feedback through 360 reviews can be a great way to gather performance information. It’s among the best strategies to monitor team performance because you can see how an employee’s performance relates to their interactions with other team members. 

360 reviews also let you see how employees are doing in between reviews. With PerformYard, team members can leave feedback on other employee profiles. Employees can see these reviews, but so are managers.

It enables management to provide teams with positive reinforcement when things are going well, and it enables management to address potential issues. That way team members can get back on track toward meeting their goals ahead of the next formal review.

Build a culture of feedback and accountability with PerformYard.Learn More

5. Analyze data over time

From the moment you first started to think about how to track employee performance, you probably felt like monitoring software was the easy choice. It certainly would give you access to data, but at the cost of your company’s work environment. Plus, the data won’t have anything to do with larger company goals; it will only monitor computer activity. With the right employee performance tracker software, you can analyze data over time that is more relevant to accomplishing goals—not just seeing if employees are at their desk.

A performance management software platform captures an employee’s performance on a review, then catalogs that information. Each performance review is added to the database, enabling you to see how they are performing over time. It allows you to see if an employee is improving, falling behind, or remaining consistent in their performance quarter after quarter and year after year.

Six Employee Performance Tracking Templates to Use

Using an employee performance tracker template is an easy way to track performance, which means you can track performance more comprehensively.

With PerformYard, you can customize these templates and build them into the software platform. That makes it easy for employees to fill out the forms, but it also means the information is automatically stored within the platform so you can track data over time without having to do all the work yourself.

Click here to download the templates.

Continue Reading
No items found.
A Practical Guide to Performance Management for Nonprofits

Performance management for non-profits looks a little different. Employees live by certain values, work for the greater good, and aren’t measured on profits. HR departments at non-profits may struggle

Performance management for non-profits looks a little different. Employees live by certain values, work for the greater good, and aren’t measured on profits. HR departments at non-profits may struggle to run a traditional performance management system.

A Bridgespan Group survey showed that two-thirds of nonprofit organizations think performance assessment is a weakness. If you look at all companies— for-profit and non-profit —less than half say their performance management system needs work.

So, why do nonprofits struggle with performance management more than for-profit businesses?

Nonprofits have unique challenges. Many nonprofits have small HR departments. These small departments have little time to build a performance management process. Measuring employees’ performance can be difficult when profits aren’t the main goal.

Though performance management for nonprofits may be challenging, it isn’t impossible. All you have to do is apply an approach that works for you.

Below, you’ll find steps you can take to design a nonprofit performance evaluation for your team. You can also see real-life examples of how other nonprofits approach performance management. These examples can guide you when you’re designing your performance management system.

The right software makes it easy for small HR teams to run performance reviews.Learn More

3 Steps for Designing a Nonprofit Performance Management Process

An HR person at a non-profit can get into trouble if they think of the performance management process as a whole. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Breaking it down into individual steps will help you tackle the process more quickly. 

The three steps for designing a nonprofit performance management process include:

  • Align your goals with your mission
  • Use a continuous performance management process
  • Use software tools to streamline the process as much as possible

1. Align your goals with your mission

There’s no need to reevaluate your mission to create a nonprofit performance evaluation. Your performance review process should align with your mission.

First, dig deep into your company's core values. Then, determine where you want to be. Compare that to your current values and see if they support your vision. If the answer is yes, they can be used in your review process.

Here’s an example. Let’s say positivity is essential to your organization. You can measure employee performance by observing if they show:

  • An openness to identify solutions when presented with problems
  • The drive to find progress every day
  • An encouraging attitude towards colleagues who are facing obstacles

Just be careful not to go overboard! Focus on the least amount of values that enable you to achieve your vision. This will prevent your evaluation process from getting too clunky. You can use PerformYard to streamline the goal process, as seen below:

See goals alongside reviews with PerformYard software.Learn More

2. Use a continuous performance management process

Let’s say you’re trying to find the quickest version of a nonprofit organization's performance evaluation process. You like the idea of an annual review because it sounds like it would take less time than a continuous performance management process. The truth is, a process with frequent touch points throughout the year is easier—and less time-consuming. 

It’s what your employees probably want too. 80% of employees prefer immediate feedback rather than waiting for an annual performance review.

Continuous performance management means both employees and managers talk about performance frequently. Reviews can be scheduled weekly, monthly, or biannually. You can create a schedule of informal check-ins or conduct project-based reviews every time the team completes a project. Discussions may include goals, celebrating wins, and how to improve performance. 

This type of performance management for nonprofits doesn’t force you to tie annual reviews to everyone’s work anniversary. HR doesn’t have to set aside huge chunks of time when annual reviews come around. Instead, you work continuous feedback into your weekly schedule. Continuous feedback is a popular feature within the PerformYard performance management platform. Using it helps employees get the frequent feedback they want.

Build a culture of continuous feedback with PerformYard .Learn More

Still like the idea of an annual review? Having smaller reviews throughout the year gives you a pool of review data to pull from at the end of the year.

3. Use software tools to streamline the process as much as possible

The trick to making a continuous performance management process easier is using the right software.

A software program like PerformYard is specifically designed for performance management for nonprofits. It can track details and collate data in real time. It enables employees and managers to get a detailed picture of performance. Both parties can make tweaks along the way without having to wait months until the next annual review.

Learn why nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity use PerformYard.Learn More

Well-built programs are fully automated. That means HR people can minimize the amount of time they spend on the performance management process. Even the smallest HR departments can run a continuous performance review process with frequent checkpoints and continuous feedback. You say what you want to measure, how to measure it, and how often, and the program does the rest.

Examples of Non-Profits Excelling in Performance Management

Let’s see some real nonprofit organization performance evaluation systems in action. These examples show you a clear path forward with your performance management process.

Here are a few examples of nonprofits excelling at performance management:

  • How Habitat for Humanity built a culture of accountability
  • How NAMI created more qualitative discussions with employees
  • How the Colorado Health Foundation modernized performance reviews

How Habitat for Humanity built a culture of accountability

Habitat for Humanity started with an annual review, which is where many nonprofits start. Those reviews included a self-evaluation and a downward review.

As the organization grew, the average review totaled nine pages. These reviews had wildly different feedback from different managers. The reviews included files that would just sit in a drawer until the next annual review. It was time for a change.

Kathy is the Director of Human Resources at Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia. She was introduced to the idea of a standalone performance management platform. Shortly after, she slowly began the process of transitioning.

In the first year, they kept their standard review forms and focused on getting employees comfortable with PerformYard. In the second year, they added a mid-year review to keep everyone accountable for the process.

They also simplified their forms based on their organization's core values. In their fourth year, 360 reviews were introduced. They also expanded access to PerformYard to include part-time employees.

Read more about how Habitat for Humanity built a culture of accountability here.

How NAMI created more qualitative discussions with employees

James Cornett, the VP of Administration at the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) used to spend two months each year on annual reviews. It relied on spreadsheets and binders. These were filled with the information the CEO would use to make salary raises for staff.

It’s no surprise that James started looking for a new system to automate the process and save time.

Now, NAMI has a biannual review cycle in June and December that starts with a self-evaluation. The self-evaluation responses move to management, and eventually to the CEO. Everyone can share comments throughout the process. It is all tracked digitally through PerformYard. There is no need for extensive spreadsheets and note-keeping.

James and the team can make continuous improvements to the forms and the process based on employee feedback. The system is streamlined and focused on quality. That means HR has more time to integrate check-in conversations between review cycles.

Read more about how NAMI created more qualitative discussions with its employees here.

How the Colorado Health Foundation modernized performance reviews

The Colorado Health Foundation found the previous software they were using to be restrictive. There was too much structure associated with the goal-setting process. This resulted in the employees having to fill out long forms. The organization wanted the flexibility to develop new focus areas. They also wanted a review process that required employees to have meaningful conversations as part of their review.

It was time for a change, so they started by implementing monthly conversations to get the process worked out. 

Next, they implemented a new process of recording goals in freeform notes. It allows all departments to use a single process. That process can be tweaked to fit their needs, even if they are engaged in dramatically different types of work.

For example, the philanthropy department once chose to add a prompt for one of their quarterly conversations. Another department added structured goals to pair with the standard freeform goals.

In the second year of implementing the modern, the most important questions were consolidated. That meant conversations could take place quarterly instead.

Read more about how Colorado Health Foundation modernized its process here.

Find out what PerformYard can do for your organization.Learn More

Continue Reading
No items found.
Performance and Compensation Management | Do’s and Don’ts

Do your employees feel like they are being fairly compensated?Nearly a quarter of the respondents answered “No” in one survey. Employees under age 35 are more likely to agree that they are paid unfair

Do your employees feel like they are being fairly compensated?

Nearly a quarter of the respondents answered “No” in one survey. Employees under age 35 are more likely to agree that they are paid unfairly, as are women and those who work at large organizations.

Plus, 63 percent of workers who quit a job in 2021 said low pay was the reason for leaving their job. It’s clear that companies should think carefully about their compensation management strategy.

So, how do you make employees feel like they have more control over their income? One way is by combining performance and compensation management.

Of the 250 largest companies in the S&P 500, 83 percent tie at least some employee income to performance. These companies do this through the use of a formulaic annual incentive plan.

Many other companies are doing the same. User Insight is one such example. They link performance with compensation to get a better understanding of company performance. 

Wondering if connecting compensation management and employee performance is right for your business? Here’s what you need to know about the relationship between performance and compensation management.

We’ve got five tips that will walk you through the dos and don’ts of tying these two concepts together.

The right software makes it easy to connect performance and compensation management.Learn More

What Is the Relationship Between Performance and Compensation Management?

Performance management can be an effective way to lay the groundwork for compensation decisions. It enables HR and managers to monitor and evaluate employee work against the strategic objectives of the company.

HR is armed with accurate information and a big-picture view of the performance of the organization. That makes it easy to use data to drive compensation decisions.

But, that’s only when it is done properly. Tying pay to performance is more than twice as likely to produce above-average engagement among employees. However, that’s only if they feel like their performance is accurately assessed.

The best way to accurately assess employee performance is to use performance management software. It is specially designed to track detailed performance metrics. Software eliminate human error and enables employees to see their performance data clearly. Employees can simultaneously understand exactly how their performance is measured.

The software can also store compensation data and performance data. This makes it easier for management to give out promotions, raises, and/or bonuses without delay.

performance-based compensation

PerformYard can show you salary info alongside performance reviews.Learn More

5 Tips for Linking Performance and Compensation Management

The right software program streamlines the relationship between performance and compensation management. However, there are still more steps to set up a system that’s right for your employees business.

Here are our five tips for linking performance with compensation:

  • Figure out how you’re going to track performance
  • Establish timelines and compensation updated schedules
  • Define important metrics for each team and individual
  • Implement HR software to track compensation and performance
  • Start with a small team and then consider expanding

1. Figure out how you’re going to track performance

Most companies follow the same process when they first tie performance and compensation management. They think about tying compensation to individual monetary achievements, like sales. It is an option, but it may not encourage employees the way you might expect.

This type of performance-based pay structure can encourage employees to work harder, but they can also end up with higher levels of stress. This can offset the gains in employee productivity that the new pay structure is trying to create.

If you worry about this possibility with your team, there are other metrics you can use to tie performance to compensation. For example, performance might be considered team- or company-wide based on revenue.

Everyone receives a bonus or a pay increase when the group is doing well. Some companies even tie executive pay to ESG (Environmental, social, and corporate governance). Others turn to operational and/or safety data when considering increased compensation. 

Goal setting is an important part of the process. It ensures employees have an active role in setting their own goals, as well as what successfully reaching their goals looks like.

compensation management

Track goals and reviews in the same place with PerformYard.Learn More

2. Establish timelines and compensation update schedules

You don’t want employees wondering whether or not they’re going to receive increased compensation. You don’t want them to feel like an unfair performance review meant losing out on a raise. Always clarify expectations when you're combining compensation management and employee performance.

Your performance review process should be clear. You have to determine whether you want to conduct quarterly, annual, or bi-annual reviews. It’s also important to determine what type of review aligns with individual and company-wide goals.

Then, create a compensation update schedule. That way, employees know what kind of pay increase or bonus they can expect if they meet their goals.

The best approach is to be transparent about the timeline and compensation schedules you have created. Employees won’t wonder when they’re going to receive their next raise, or how much it’s going to be.

PerformYard can help you schedule review cadences that align with your schedule and the goals you have for your company.

3. Define important metrics for each team and individual

Once you have figured out how you're going to track performance, it’s important to dig into the details. That means knowing whether or not you’re going to use team-based metrics or individual metrics.

Then, you have to define exactly what it will look like when the goal is accomplished. It might mean reaching a certain number of sales for an individual employee. It could mean accomplishing a revenue increase within a certain period among the team as a whole. When that goal is achieved you can activate a bonus, pay increase, or other compensation.

Some companies choose a combination of both team and individual metrics. That way, the pressure of individual performance isn’t too great. There’s still an opportunity to obtain increased compensation depending on team performance.

performance and compensation

Cascading goals in PerformYard can help you track individual goals alongside company goals.Learn More

No matter what you choose, it’s important to outline exactly what each goal is and what is needed to obtain the raise. Not only does it give employees a clear goal to work towards, but it also means there are no surprises. They already know whether or not they met their goal before their next performance review.

4. Implement HR software to track compensation and performance

If you want to implement a high performance management system that’s tied to compensation, you have to have the right software.

Attempting to track data by hand is time-consuming and prone to mistakes. Performance management software is designed to track any data points you ask it to. A program like PerformYard enables you to monitor goals to see how employees are performing. It also gives you the chance to update goals when necessary.

PerformYard also integrates with your HRIS to track compensation details. This enables you to compare current compensation with performance. In turn, you can implement an effective compensation update schedule.

Performance management software also lets your employees log in and see performance data themselves. This enables complete transparency among employees and management.

5. Start with a small team and then consider expanding

If you like the idea of linking performance and compensation, don’t feel like you have to start with a company-wide rollout. Start small instead.

Start with one sales team, for example. Gather feedback from the team and observe how it impacts their productivity and attitude. You can also see how it affects your bottom line. This will help you work out the kinks in your compensation schedule before a potential widespread raise mistakenly puts you in the red.

Some positions aren’t directly tied to revenue, like marketing and strategy teams. It is especially important to start small while you work out which metrics paint a clear picture of performance. That will help you figure out what type of compensation increases are fair.

Once you feel confident with the process, you can expand the concept to other teams. Your eventual goal could be implementing a company-wide compensation schedule that work for every employee.


Should you tie compensation to performance?

The answer to this question is unique to every business. Can you accurately track important metrics? Can you create a fair compensation schedule? Can you keep the process as transparent as possible so employees know exactly what to expect? If so, linking performance with compensation management might be a great strategy.

What does performance compensation mean?

Performance compensation means tying performance and compensation management together. Performance influences compensation. For example, employees or teams that meet goals receive a raise or a bonus according to your compensation schedule.

What is the main purpose of performance management?

The purpose of performance management is to boost employee engagement and productivity. Good performance management encourages employees to work towards goals that are aligned with company objectives. A good plan provides them with support and opportunities for professional development. It also provides increased compensation when appropriate.

What is the main purpose of compensation management?

The main purpose of compensation management is to distribute pay or bonuses in exchange for work. It is determined by company policy and procedures. Compensation management also includes benefits, like insurance and retirement benefits.

Continue Reading
No items found.
How to Update Performance Appraisal Processes | 6 Steps

According to Gallup, only 14% of employees strongly agree that their performance reviews inspire them to improve. Traditional performance reviews and feedback approaches worsen performance about one-t

According to Gallup, only 14% of employees strongly agree that their performance reviews inspire them to improve. Traditional performance reviews and feedback approaches worsen performance about one-third of the time. 

Why? One reason is employees don’t receive reviews regularly enough. Many organizations do one annual review. By the time employees hear feedback, the issue is obsolete, or they have already solved it. 

Performance management must be more than a box-ticking exercise to be impactful. We’ll walk you through the steps of how to develop an effective performance appraisal process.

Step 1: Define the Purpose of Performance Appraisals

For most companies, the purpose of performance management is to give employees:

  • the resources they need to develop
  • deserved recognition to motivate them
  • accountability measures

PerformYard software helps you create better processes for better employee outcomes.Learn More

Discuss how you’ll measure accountability early on with your employee. It’s particularly important to have this discussion if you’ve recently started managing them. This discussion mitigates unpleasant surprises and helps employees perform to specific standards. 

Quantitative measures are helpful for their specificity. 


Your marketing employee should publish at least three monthly content pieces.

Development-focused reviews are popular these days, from weekly 1-on-1s to engagement surveys. Perhaps your employee is hesitant to ask for the resources they need to optimize their performance. Reviews give them this opportunity.


The employee may have trouble with public speaking. Maybe they need guidance for coordinating among many stakeholders. The review presents them with a good time to ask for help. 

Recognition is an influential motivating factor but exercise caution. An employee could have immeasurable talent but cause friction in the workplace. They could also use the recognition to rationalize less-than-ideal behavior. Take a holistic approach when you’re awarding recognition.

Step 2: Partner with Leadership and Management

It’s essential to talk to managers about what they want from a performance management program. You also have to make it easy for managers to run the program. Getting buy-in from managers early on will help you design a process they appreciate.

For example, a salesperson has to hit a specific target each month. The problem is that their manager has been promoting people who haven’t consistently hit this target.  

This could be because the manager uses both quantitative and qualitative measures. Maybe the manager thinks about how effective employees are as teammates, or whether or not they provide mentorship and guidance. This manager might not want to use numbers-based reviews but instead, ask open-ended questions.

The secret to effective performance reviews is to get on the same page with team managers, executives, and department heads.

Step 3: Design the Review Forms and Cycle Timing

Generic and outdated review forms won’t do you and your employees any favors. The goals of the demand generation team are never going to be the same as the talent acquisition department. Different individuals require different questions and feedback. Therefore, you must establish how to update performance appraisal processes. 

PerformYard can help. The platform lets you customize performance review forms and update old ones with a few clicks. You won’t have to worry about tedious spreadsheets and sorting through different cells. In addition to writing specific comments, you can check off different fields for who’s reviewing the evaluation. You’ll also be able to incorporate feedback to the employee from various people across the organization.   

update performance appraisal

It's easy to build effective review cycles with performance management softwareLearn More

Step 4: Build Goals Into the Process

One of the best times to start focusing on goals is when you’re updating your performance appraisal process. Use software that tracks goals alongside appraisals, so employees know what they’re working toward and what they’ll be measured on. 

Here are five things you should do right away to establish a strong culture of achieving goals: 

  1. Decide if you want biweekly, monthly, or quarterly goals.
  2. Define expectations, timelines, and contributions.
  3. Break up larger goals into smaller, measurable tasks and link them to a timeline. 
  4. Track them individually to see where your employees excel or fall off track. 
  5. Continue to revisit your goals, show your employee the data, and work with them on improvement.
performance appraisal processes

See goals and reviews in the same place with a centralized performance management system.Learn More

Step 5: Try to Recycle the Best Parts of Your Old Review Forms

You want your performance reviews to be regular and effective. It’s possible to set up a manual process that happens on a regular basis, but it takes a lot of work on the part of the HR team. That’s not to say you need to abandon your manual review process entirely. 

PerformYard can help you move paper and email forms into the software platform. That means you don’t have to start from scratch when updating your performance appraisal process. Updating a process is as simple as streamlining the old forms and questions with PerformYard software.

Step 6: Invest in Performance Management Software

If you’re looking for solutions to performance appraisal problems, PerformYard is an invaluable resource. The platform consolidates and streamlines once-cumbersome review processes with features like one-click distribution. With one click, you can send forms to every reviewer in the organization. 

Custom workflows enable different stakeholders to coauthor a review or review employees in sequence. Receive notifications and track review completion processes. PerformYard lets you enjoy a super simple, flexible upgrade for your old, manual performance appraisal processes.

Take 20 minutes to see how PerformYard can make life easier for your HR team.Learn More

Next Steps for How to Update Performance Appraisal Processes

Standard performance reviews and processes won’t cut it anymore. The goal is to help your employee be the best asset possible for the company. Be purposeful about what your employee needs to benefit themselves, the team, and the company. Have reviews consistently, not once a year, and keep your documentation up-to-date. Lastly, use modernized software to make the process easier for everyone involved. 

Continue Reading
No items found.
How to Design a High Performance Management Process

Here’s something you might not realize. If you are familiar with performance management, you are also familiar with the concept of high-performance management. High-performance management is what all

Here’s something you might not realize. If you are familiar with performance management, you are also familiar with the concept of high performance management. 

High performance management is what all HR teams strive for when they put a performance management strategy in place. For that reason, performance management and high performance management are often used interchangeably. 

But they aren’t the same.

You can have a performance management system that isn’t high performing. Most businesses take an approach to performance management that falls into this category.

So, exactly what is the difference?

A high performance management approach motivates, measures, and develops the performance of a team. It incorporates employee strengths and skills into a focused strategy. The system relies on shared goals, transparent communication, and the involvement of all team members.

Detailed performance metrics are a big part of high performance management systems. These systems can increase productivity while instilling a sense of progress and growth in employees. 

Traditional performance management is often used to tell employees how management thinks they are doing. High performance management makes more of an impact on performance.

Design a high performance management process with PerformYard software.Learn More

So, how do you go from a regular performance management system to a high performance management system?

You start by understanding the characteristics that make high performance management systems different.

Five Characteristics of High Performance Management Systems

Smart HR departments sit at the helm of high performance management systems. These departments understand the importance of human-centered performance management. 

Here are five key attributes of high performance management systems:

  • Frequent touchpoints
  • Team-based reviews that measure high performing teams
  • Goal tracking as part of the review cycle
  • A data-based approach to performance reviews
  • Software that runs an integrated performance management system

1. Frequent touchpoints

The lone annual review is dead. One reason for that is the annual review can’t account for changing goals.

High-performing teams have goals, and they reach those goals. When those goals are reached, teams and individuals need new goals. Sometimes teams realize that existing goals aren’t quite hitting the mark. The team can scrap these goals and replace them with new ones.

A good goal-setting strategy sees goals aligned all the time—not once a year when annual reviews roll around.

That means managers and HR are very involved with high-performing teams, reviewing, tweaking, and working with individuals, management, and departments to celebrate achieving goals and making new ones on a weekly, monthly, or project basis. Frequent touchpoints and goal check-ins are baked into the process to ensure everyone is on the right track.

2. Team-based reviews that measure high performing teams

Two-thirds of performance management systems fail to recognize high performers. That’s a huge problem, as it leads to disengagement.

Highly engaged employees are nearly 90 percent less likely to leave their roles. In addition, companies that rank in the top quartile for employee engagement report that they are 23 percent more profitable. Consistently measuring individuals and their performance is vital to the success of any organization.

But there’s a missing piece.

The best high performance management systems also measure teams.

Individual performance impacts the team's performance, but teams also have to work together. High performance management measures team processes, practices, and collaboration. These factors are difficult to assess in individual reviews.

With team-based reviews, you can measure the team as a whole, providing support wherever it's needed. As the head of the team, managers are included in this process, creating an atmosphere for high performing teams that can thrive.

Consider incorporating project-based reviews

Team-based reviews aren’t a one-size-fits-all approach for those who work closely with others. In some cases, a project-based review is a better option.

With a project-based review, you can focus on the work after the project is completed instead of waiting until the next review cycle. Goals can be clearly defined and easily measured against the specifics of the project, with feedback closely tied to the work that was performed.

This approach is best for teams that work on distinct, discrete projects, as well as separate teams that come together to complete a shared goal.

Make sure you cater the review process to fit your needs. For example, you may not need a review after every single project if projects wrap up every week or two. Projects that take a quarter or longer may need at least one review during the project to make sure everyone is on track.

3. Goal tracking as part of the review cycle

When you get right down to it, high performance management is all about getting individuals and teams to hit ambitious goals. The question is, how clear are those goals? And, how will you know when those goals have been achieved?

A strong goal-setting and tracking system is needed to successfully integrate goals into the review cycle. That means creating goal-setting criteria that will help your management teams and employees to set specific, clear, focused goals that can easily be measured and tracked.

It also means setting the right goals. They need to push employees slightly beyond their comfort zone. However, goals must also be attainable. When you find that sweet spot, employees feel motivated to reach their goals. 

Additional considerations when adding goals to a high-performance management system include:

  • Remember to align individual and organizational goals
  • Separate employee development goals from company goals
  • Have a system for adjusting goals

Remember to align individual and organizational goals

Individual goals can be misleading. On the surface, they may sound like great goals for each employee to accomplish. However, if they aren’t aligned with organizational goals, your employees may meet their goals without meeting company objectives.

Aligning employee goals with corporate objectives allows HR and management to promote shared values and work together to accomplish the same business objectives. Cascading goals can also provide greater transparency, enabling employees to see how their work affects the company as a whole.

PerformYard makes it easy to align individual and organizational goals.Learn More

Separate employee development goals from company goals

Individual goals that further the company are important, but personal goals are important too.

Nearly 75 percent of employees say they aren't reaching their full potential due to a lack of development opportunities. Provide employees with personalized development goals so they can learn the skills they need to feel more confident and effective.

Providing employees with development opportunities can boost morale among employees. It can also strengthen your business. These employees will be more effective, which can boost your bottom line.

Have a system for adjusting goals

High-performing goals aren’t set and then forgotten until it’s time for reviews. Teams adjust them and tweaked the goals as needed.

This can seem like a labor-intensive process, but it’s important. Only with aligned goals can you make effective gains in your organization.

Software like PerformYard makes it easy to adjust goals. It allows you to break goals down into manageable parts that can be tweaked. You can also set different goal buckets for your employees. It’s easy to select one bucket whenever a goal needs to be tweaked.

When you have a system in place, it feels like less of a hassle to adjust goals, so you’re more likely to revisit goals frequently.

4. A data-based approach to performance reviews

Figuring out if a goal has been achieved isn’t always easy. Some goals may appear to have been achieved on the surface, but not when you take a deeper dive into the data. Not to mention, without a data-driven approach to performance management, your management teams and employees are more likely to create shallow goals that are impossible to measure.

If you're striving for a high performance management system, you have to take a data-based approach to performance reviews.

When creating or reviewing goals set by employees and managers, ask yourself, “How will I know when a goal has been achieved?” When you ask this question, you’ll naturally find yourself adjusting goals so that they can easily be tracked and measured.

For example, does an employee have to make a certain number of sales? How will the employee show they have learned how to use a new platform? Are peer reviews needed to see if employees met collaboration goals?

Keep the numbers in mind when setting goals and you’ll create measurable goals that will propel your employees and your company forward.

Capture better data in your performance reviews with PerformYard.Learn More

5. Software that runs an integrated performance management system

Performance management can be a pain. That’s usually the case when HR departments use tools that aren’t right for the job. It takes a lot of time to set up performance management through systems like Excel, Google Sheets, or Google Surveys. You’ll need specialized knowledge to manipulate these programs to meet your needs.

High performance management takes the process to the next level. These programs use software like PerformYard which is built to run integrated performance management systems.

PerformYard’s flexible performance management platform lets HR create, send, and track reviews. It also runs goal management programs and helps companies build a culture of meaningful feedback.

If you want to take your business to new heights, schedule a PerformYard demo. The platform makes it easy to build a high performance management system. You can quickly replace your old system with one that has a direct impact on performance. 

Continue Reading
No items found.
4 Things to Know About HRIS Performance Management

If you use a human resources information system (HRIS), you’ve probably thought about using HRIS performance management. After all, it's already keeping track of employee data. Not to mention, it mean

If you use a human resources information system (HRIS), you’ve probably thought about using HRIS performance management. After all, it's already keeping track of employee data. Not to mention, it means you can use the software you already have, making it a cheaper solution than purchasing a brand-new program.

We hear these things from organizations that need a performance management system. They want to see what their HRIS performance management system is capable of doing before they sign up for PerformYard.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a deep dive into your HRIS performance management system to see what it’s capable of. That said, don't be surprised if it doesn't fulfill your performance management needs.

This article will reveal why organizations choose a tool like PerformYard over an HRIS add-on. First, let’s show the differences between performance management software and HRIS tools.

Take a couple minutes to see why more companies choose PerformYard for reviews and check-ins.Learn More

What is an HRIS Performance Management Tool?

HRIS systems incorporate information related to new hires, payroll, and employee data management. They’re designed to help you organize the details that make up the people side of your organization. 

It sounds like it would lend itself well to performance management. However, that’s only possible if you add a performance management module.

Some of the top HRIS systems offer performance management modules. These modules let you conduct employee reviews, performance evaluations, and assessment planning.

The add-ons  aren’t part of the original design of the software. Add-ons must operate within the parameters of the existing system, meaning you won’t get the features you need to customize a  performance management system. The modules let you use your existing HRIS system, but they can end up feeling bulky and outdated

Is Performance Management Software the Same as an HRIS?

Both an HRIS and a tool like PerformYard help organize employee data. However, each application has a different purpose.

HRIS systems act as a repository for employee data like date of hire, compensation, and benefit selections. This information can help employees develop career plans and identify training opportunities.

On the surface, this may sound like a performance management system.

However, an HRIS system is not designed for designing, gathering, and storing review-specific information. That’s what a performance management tool is designed to do.

It is completely dedicated to performance management, whatever that means for your organization.

A specialized system is flexible, so you can customize a review process that is streamlined for HR, management, and employees. It allows you to take a deep dive into goal management and continuous feedback. You can also use reporting options that are specialized for the review process.

performance management software

PerformYard is purpose-built for streamlined performance management.Learn More

A performance management system has a lot more features that are specific to the review process compared to an HRIS tool.

4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Use an HRIS for Performance Management

An HRIS system for performance management is convenient if you already have an HRIS system. That doesn’t mean it is the best solution.

Here’s why HRIS add-ons are not the ideal solution for performance management:

  • They lack flexibility
  • Your managers and employees will hate it
  • HRIS systems aren't designed to offer quality support
  • You will likely experience data issues with HRIS performance management modules

See why HR pros choose PerformYard for easy, effective performance reviews.Learn More

1. It lacks flexibility

Great performance management is in the details. You should have the ability to decide what kind of review process is right for your employees and your organization. It’s also important to be able to switch up your approach whenever it’s necessary. Performance management software lets you create meaningful KPIs so everyone is working towards organizational goals.

An HRIS system isn’t designed for the flexibility that high performance management requires.

Though add-ons are available, they don’t offer the customization you get with a dedicated performance management system. You’ll will find that it won’t enable you to customize the process exactly the way you want.

2. Your managers and employees will hate it

There are a lot of people out there who aren't very happy with their jobs. In one report, 60 percent of respondents reported being emotionally detached at work, with many employees reporting feelings of worry, sadness, and anger on the job.

Where are all of these negative emotions coming from?

Things like pay and work-life balance indeed affect how people feel about work, but at the end of the day, it's how they experience their work that matters. If their day is punctuated by the use of ineffective tools that make doing their job more difficult, you can bet that resentments will develop.

Existing HRIS performance management add-ons aren’t designed for employees to collaborate on complex workflows. It is designed with administrators in mind, with employees doing simple tasks like putting in PTO or checking pay stubs. The complex tasks that are required to conduct thorough reviews will frustrate employees.

HRIS systems are rigid and centralized. That makes it difficult for your employees to participate, which makes it a pain for managers to manage. If they all hate the program, you can bet they won't be fully engaged in the process, and an unengaged workforce can have serious consequences for your business.

3. HRIS systems aren't designed to offer quality support

A dedicated performance management platform comes with expert support. Whether you have a question about how to customize the review process or you need advice on what steps to implement next, someone is standing by to answer your questions.

That’s not the case with an HRIS.

HRIS systems for performance management are an afterthought. They are designed as a bonus. That means the sales team and customer support aren’t going to know a whole lot about the program and what it does.

If you have a question about how the program works, chances are, you will wait on hold until the person on the other line can find someone who can answer your question if there’s anyone who knows the answer to your question at all.

Not to mention, their expertise is in what an HRIS system can do. They are not experts in performance management.

They will not be able to provide you with knowledgeable information if you want to know more about:

  • Creating effective reviews
  • The timing for conducting reviews
  • What kind of reviews you might want to consider.

4. You will likely experience data issues with HRIS performance management modules

One of the biggest selling points of using an add-on performance management module for your existing HRIS is that the tool will fully integrate with all of the data and tools that are already included in your HRIS.

Strangely, that isn’t the case.

The reality is that HRIS add-on modules are usually just lightly connected to the rest of your HRIS data. That’s because most HRIS performance management systems aren’t fully developed. They offer functionality that they know their customers will appreciate as a selling feature. The company is focused on the main benefits of the actual HRIS system.

HRIS performance management

PerformYard reporting stores all your important review data in one platform.Learn More

As a result, you’ll be stuck trying to figure out how to make the add-on work for your team.

On the other hand, a dedicated performance management system is specially designed for you to make the most of the entire review process. That means being able to integrate information between platforms. PerformYard will ensure your programs are transferring data and communicating the way they should.

That’s what it’s designed to do.

Continue Reading