The Benefits of Moving From Paper Appraisals to a Digital System

The business world appears to have a very odd relationship with performance appraisals. According to Willis Towers Watson research, less than half (45%) of employers say that performance management programs are effective, and yet we still do them.

The reason for this is that we need them. Managing the performance of employees is crucial for the success of a business.

The problem lies in how it’s done.

Too many companies use outdated paper systems. And this has a significant and detrimental effect on your employees, their line managers and the business as a whole. Move to a digital system and you’ll reap the benefits very quickly.

Effective capture and storage of discussion

On paper, feedback isn’t always captured accurately. Evidence can be limited or missing. Targets can be unclear. Sure, a lot of information is discussed in the meeting but without a digital system to ensure that every point is recorded immediately afterwards, it’s hard to commit to agreed actions.

Confidence that promised support and incentives will be delivered

As above, if feedback isn’t recorded properly, then how can promises be kept? With a digital system, you can not only record what was promised (against which goals) but also set review times or alerts to ensure that progress is monitored more frequently and commitments are met. This means good work is always rewarded.

A better working environment and greater opportunities

Appraisals aren’t one-sided. Employees have an opportunity to say what’s holding them back, where they’re struggling and what help they need. With a digital performance management system, not only can you store the information, but you can also compare and analyse it with other employee feedback to identify patterns and trends. What could look like one request for better IT equipment on a paper system, could actually be a much larger demand if a digital system is used. This presents a great case for making a change for the benefit of the employees.

More frequent communication and assessment

For some, the annual appraisal is the only point at which an employee can sit down with a line manager and hear what is thought of their performance. Why? Because using a paper system is time-consuming. But with a digital system, it’s possible for line managers to file short progress updates in real-time as well as detailed appraisal forms. This thereby allows employees to see a fuller picture of their progress more frequently.


Benefits to line managers of a digital performance appraisal system


According to a study by CEB, the average manager spends about 210 hours (almost five weeks) doing appraisals each year. That’s a lot of time taken away from their day-to-day jobs. A digital system ensures that info is recorded quickly and because it’s possible to add in quick updates from wherever you are at any point in the year, the prep work for the next appraisal takes minutes. This is because all the information you need on the employee is analysed and presented to you on the system ready for you to use.


Managing someone effectively requires you to gain their trust which means keeping promises, and being clear about instructions and feedback. A digital system, compared with a paper system, gives you full transparency over what was said when to aid a stronger working relationship with your team.

Difficult feedback is easier to give

As a digital system allows you to record feedback, progress reports and any other comments you may have on an individual’s performance in real-time, you’ll build up a bank of evidence on their behaviour very quickly. You should also be able to identify the causes for errors or poor performance. This means that when it comes to delivering negative feedback, you can present a clear case to them and build a plan of attack for addressing the problems.

You can grow a high performing team

By having full visibility of every team member’s strengths, weaknesses, and progress against targets, you can build in initiatives to ensure you’re getting the best from everyone, thereby making your team, and as a consequence, you, look great.

Benefits to a business of a digital performance appraisal system


As mentioned above, if line managers are spending less time on appraisals, they have more time to deliver on their own targets which means greater output overall.

Reduction in staff turnover

More than half (57%) of those surveyed by Randstad said they need to leave their current companies in order to take their careers to the next level. By making the appraisal and performance management system digital, you’re giving staff clear goals for their career progression and avoiding the £30,614 bill every time a staff member leaves.

Higher performance

If the performance of every member of your workforce is being tracked, then they’ll work harder and you’ll develop lots of high performing teams which should result in better results for the business overall.


By capturing feedback from your workforce as part of the appraisal process, you’ll identify trends and new ideas that could either save you money, make you more efficient or deliver a happier engaged workforce. Either way, it’s pretty compelling.

Which digital Performance Appraisal system should you choose?

StaffCircle helps companies to achieve all the above benefits of digital performance management, in an easy to manage app-based tool for office-based and non-desk based workers. Accessible via any device, it gives the user instant access to tasks, worksheets, company information, performance reports and news.

With StaffCircle, you can provide every member of your workforce with their own objectives dashboard to see progress in real-time  Performance analytics is also built in to give your management unrivalled visibility into how each member of the team is performing and who needs help.

What’s more, it’s simple to create a quick and consistent review process across the business for managers to report on progress instantly.

Get in touch for a free StaffCircle demo today.

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