Best Performance Management Software 2020 Review

As businesses continue to adapt to the pressures of transitioning from remote working during lockdown to on-site working, making sure they have the best performance management software is more important now than ever before. The debate over paper versus digital is over and companies that lack the digital tools to manage performance are destined to face challenges with growth, productivity and creativity.

According to a recent report by renowned global industry analyst Josh Bersin, trends indicate that business success will depend on making work better and improving the employee experience. However, this is only possible if companies find a way to engage their workforce whilst optimising teamwork and resilience.

A good HR software will help with all of the above, but with so many options available it can be difficult to identify the most suitable solution. So, we wanted to see how we stack up compared to other performance management and HR software platforms on the market. The results were surprising even to us. Read on to see what we found or jump to the feature comparison table.


+ Automated tasks

+ Chat function

– Availability of customer support

– Ability to see your whole team at a glance and click straight into an individual’s profile

PeopleHR was developed with the intention to make the lives of HR professionals easier, by utilising technology. The system centralises employee records which make finding and editing employee files simple. Their performance management enables setting goals that align with organisational values. This is great for employee engagement and developing company culture.

The platform also has holiday and absence management capabilities and a team planner, which allows managers to see who is off and when. Managers can authorise holidays with a click and lockout specific days when business needs require.

How StaffCircle compares

Whilst StaffCircle too automates tasks, centralises employee files and information, the ‘Today’ screen makes it super easy for managers to see their team at a glance and click into individuals for details on their performance, engagement or rewards, just to mention a few. Managers can also select to feed information to specific groups of employees depending on relevance.

The Performance Management function has customisable parts. This means that organisations can keep their current approach without having to change over to something new straight away. Alternatively, as time goes on, it is effortless to amend any section. The user interface is also really easy to navigate, rather than having to upload various files, information can just be fed straight into the platform, which will already mirror current initiatives.

StaffCircle is so confident in its product and its customer service excellence that it offers a money-back guarantee as part of its service-level agreement.

Breathe HR

+ Track and control employee footprint, such as sick leave, holidays, objectives, 1-2-1’s, training, documents

+ Great Customer Service

–  The user interface is deemed outdated and clunky to use by some of their customers

–  The system lacks the customisability to incorporate more advanced features specific to a company (e.g. Zero hour staff being able to have a Zero hour working pattern and also the ability to book holidays for multiple people on the same day simultaneously)

Breathe HR is a comprehensive HR software that offers a variety of features such as a dashboard that acts as a centralised hub for HR activities. Data is also easy to extract, and many administrative tasks can be automated in order to gain an overview of what’s coming up, allowing managers to keep track of their ‘to dos’

Breathe HR’s performance management includes one2ones and the software permits managers to set objectives and link them directly to company-wide goals, letting people see how their work plays a valuable part in the success of the wider business.

How StaffCircle Compares

Customisable features

Similarly to BreatheHR, StaffCircle has a dashboard the software allows users to upload documents and then it automates mundane HR tasks. However, unlike BreatheHR, it also offers a great degree of customizability when it comes to Performance Management, company objectives, team objectives and one2ones.

Bespoke approach

For companies with more complex holiday and absence management procedures, StaffCirlce’s development team adapts the software to meet bespoke client needs at no additional cost. This means, that by the time of launching the system, everything is already tailored to requirements, so clients don’t need to lift a finger or use separate spreadsheets to calculate anything. The platform also comes fully branded so it looks and feels bespoke.


+ Monitor probation period

+ Remote & distributed workforce friendly time management feature

–  Team specific goals

–  Employee engagement

Founded by Giovanni Luperti and Karolis Narkevicius, Humaans is an HRIS (Human Resource Information System) that allows HR teams to onboard, manage and grow their employees using a combination of fast workflows, automation and quick access to data. Built to be the foundation layer of an organization’s HR tech stack, its design is centred around easing the pain of working with clunky HR systems, taking over from cumbersome paperwork and moving companies into the digital age.

Humaans gives HR leaders the ability to monitor probation periods, keep an eye on who is joining and who is leaving your company, make sure ID notifications are up to date and onboard new members of staff. According to its founder Giovanni Luperti, “It is designed for speed, and features a beautiful people directory, document storage, time-off tracking, visual reporting, and connects existing systems through deep integrations.”


How StaffCircle compares

Onboarding and offboarding

With StaffCircle, onboarding and offboarding represent just one element of the core HR and time off functionality. Automated and templated onboarding and offboarding processes allow HR leaders a quick and easy method for managing their employees, giving them a central database of an employee’s personal details, payroll information and any other data required. The system’s flexibility allows HR staff to onboard temporary workers, contractors and freelancers, as well as help with cross boarding existing employees as they move positions within your company.

With the way in which companies onboard new staff changing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, StaffCircle’s system allows HR staff to integrate the process into a unified system. Familiarizing new hires with the company’s processes and policies, introducing them to their co-workers and creating digital connections can all be accomplished with easy to use tools, while your company’s culture is placed front and centre making sure your values remain visible at all times.


+ Customisable workflows

+ Great customer support

– No instant messaging

– No employee sentiment checking

Munich-based company Personio developed a HR platform that has worked with the HR departments of almost 2,000 SME customers around the world, using a SaaS solution to combine HR core features in one digital tool and enabling HR managers and business leaders to manage data such as attendance data, absences, and salaries. Founded in 2015 by CEO Hanno Renner, Roman Schumacher, Arseniy Vershinin and Ignaz Forstmeier, the company recently expanded into the U.K.

Making the most of a fully equipped performance management platform with HR features is essential for businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition. StaffCircle’s comprehensive suite builds upon the aforementioned onboarding and offboarding features to deliver HR leaders everything they need for their daily requirements, matching and expanding upon those features found in Personio.

How StaffCircle compares

Absence management

One of the core responsibilities of HR departments is to organize, manage and track employee absences, with the additional challenge as businesses return to work following on from the COVID-19 lockdown of juggling employees who are working on-site or remotely. StaffCircle gives HR leaders the means to manage sickness and holidays while monitoring these for trends of absences so that any issues employees might be facing can be addressed, noting the types of absences and allowing them to be entered into custom reports.

Department and organizational charts

Having the ability to see your company’s organizational structure at a glance is essential for its smooth operation, and using an organizational chart gives leaders and employees a visual representation of people, teams and departments. Small and large businesses alike benefit from these structures to understand the layers of management within their company, clarifying direct reports and other points of contact so that resource allocation and managerial authority is understood from top to bottom.

Cross functional teams and groups

HR leaders and managers aren’t just responsible for organizing and leading individual employees; they must also manage at the team and department level, and StaffCircle’s suite allows them to establish cross-functional teams and groups to do this. Employees from different departments and those working on the same projects can be organized whether they are working on-site or from home, giving leaders the ability to pool collective resources and expertise while improving productivity and morale.

Sentiment analysis

Another challenge faced by HR leaders and managers, particularly when dealing with remote workers, is keeping a finger on the pulse of employee sentiment. StaffCircle’s combination of sentiment analysis and internal communications allows employees to register their emotional sentiment as positive, negative or neutral, giving businesses the information required to understand any failures of their company culture and improve communications.

Sites and location check in App or Desktop

Companies with bifurcated workforces blending remote and on-site full-time employees with contractors and freelancers, potentially working across different time zones, require a digital solution if they wish to keep track of employees. By using StaffCircle’s check-in feature – which works across a variety of platforms, including laptop/PC and mobile devices – businesses can issue instant notifications across multiple locations while managing alerts and other targeted messages.


+ Easy to implement objectives and key results (OKRs)

+ Recognition that aligns with company values can be a great way to build culture and engage employees

– Some customers feel that 7Geese doesn’t offer the capabilities to look at the strategic steps involved in setting objectives and OKRs, nor does the system have the mechanism for tracking

– It can be difficult to navigate. Some users express frustration that every time they change view it takes a long time to load. The system also often defaults to personal OKRs, even if someone has none. Additionally, users have to constantly type in teams they use the most, as one can only belong to one team.

One of the negative side-effects of the lockdown on businesses and employees has been a lack of appraisals, with many companies struggling to keep the appraisal process on track. Psychologist Sakshi Mandhyan explained, “If we talk about the current situation, many people would have made plans for April and the coming months on the basis of appraisals they were expecting this month. But sadly that is not happening.”

While the upheaval in the workforce may have temporarily put a brake on businesses shifting from annual performance reviews to continuous performance management, successful companies understand how important regular check-ins with their staff are crucial for optimal performance. Performance management system 7Geese helps organizations set objectives and key results and plan performance reviews alongside continuous feedback. Employee engagement and recognition are featured alongside analytics which helps companies to boost talent and manage careers.

Companies looking for the best performance management software require a platform that integrates a wide range of performance management tools that help to bolster a culture of continuous feedback, performance coaching and the development of skills.

In addition to the extensive HR and time off tools mentioned above, StaffCircle’s all-in-one suite allows HR leaders, managers and executives to draw upon a comprehensive range of tools for continuous performance management.

How StaffCircle compares

Comprehensive appraisals, reviews, and one2one check-ins

Continuous conversations between managers, employees and team leaders improves engagement, keeps objectives clarified and allows companies to unlock talent. With StaffCircle, managers can plan for and schedule a wide range of appraisals and reviews to help keep their finger on the pulse of the organization:

  • Monthly reviews
  • Quarterly reviews
  • Annual appraisals
  • 360 appraisals
  • One2one check-ins

By keeping tabs on upcoming reviews and appraisals on the StaffCircle suite, managers can establish and build trust while monitoring employees’ progress, addressing any challenges and obstacles they may be facing and keeping them oriented towards their goals.

Development objectives with tracking of key performance indicators

The best performance management software brings company and employee objectives into alignment, and setting and tracking key performance indicators is one way in which StaffCircle’s suite establishes a framework for hitting ambitious targets. With the ability for managers and employees to track these objectives in real-time, businesses can remain focused on the top priorities while acting instantly upon any changing trends.

Achievements and performance leaderboards

Recognising the great work done by employees and rewarding them for great results is a good way of amplifying your core company values throughout the business. By tracking objectives, managers can develop a greater understanding of where performance is optimal and use StaffCircle’s employee reward system to place the spotlight on high achievers. Reward points and leaderboards combine with manager-to-peer and peer-to-peer recognition to reinforce positive behaviours.

Improve skills with personal development plans

Managers who understand where the different skill sets are within their department and teams are better positioned to shift resources and talent where it is most needed. Tracking these skills for individuals and teams within StaffCircle’s performance management tools gives leaders the flexibility to find the right talent in an instant, as well as identify those individuals who require more training and assistance with personal development plans.

Instant overview of priorities via dashboard and Today Screen

While StaffCircle’s performance management platform is rich in features, HR leaders and managers are able to avoid getting bogged down in unnecessary details with its easy-to-use dashboard,  enabling them to focus on what matters the most. The unique Today Screen feature gives employees across the company a clear and concise visual representation of tasks, meetings and other events of that day at a glance.

Performance Management Feature Comparison Table

StaffCircle PeopleHR BreatheHR Humaans Personio 7Geese
iOS AppAt the time of checking, we couldn’t find an iOS AppX
Android AppX
Flexible Performance ManagementXXXX
360 reportingXXPerform & Grow packages only
Payroll integration X
Time & Attendance X
Free trial X
Price ££££££££
Scheduling & Shift planning XXXX
Microsoft Teams integration XXXXX
Office 365 integration Word & ExcelOutlook onlyOutlook onlyX
Information sharing & learning XXXX
Open API Enterprise only
Money-Back Guarantee XXXXX
Sentiment checking & analysis XXX
Instant messaging XXXX
Multi-channel communication with traceability XXXXX
Automated worksheet & form builder XXXX
Automated customisable workflow Elite package onlyXX
Integrated antivirus XEncryptionXX
New features for free every 4-6 weeks XXXXX

*The table is based on information available on the website of the featured companies and customer reviews.


There are definitely some great HR platforms out on the market. Whilst many offer easy integration with other platforms, that can mean additional costs and separate systems for the end-user. This is likely to make navigation less smooth and seamless or create issues with analytics or reporting. Additionally, separate systems don’t give leaders a single source of truth.

Our research confirmed that StaffCircle comes out on top as an integrated all in one solution giving a 360 view of the employee rather than using separate point solutions.

We give access to all of our features, the price only depends on the number of users, making it extremely competitive. New features are added every 4-6 weeks, which customers have access to for free. Last but not least, the platform offers a huge degree of flexibility with a fully customisable performance management approach, making it very easy for anyone to implement.

Explore the full range of performance management tools offered by StaffCircle today.