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8 Key Components of a Web-Based Performance Management System

How to motivate and engage employees while driving performance using a web based performance management system

Business leaders who are looking to upgrade to an online performance management system will benefit from a range of advantages over companies still using more traditional methods. Using a web-based performance management system equips managers with the necessary tools to drive the best outcomes.

The article from Deloitte, Performance Management: Playing a Winning Hand, outlines the changing landscape of performance management. Digital tools continue to play an increasingly significant role in how performance is managed by leading companies.

“The vast majority of PM software tools, including those developed by market leaders and major human capital management cloud vendors, were developed around the old once-a-year model. Still, a small but growing segment of the PM tools market is leading the world of HR software in a completely new direction.” 

This new direction involves: 

  • Enabling goal making to be more social and transparent, mobile, and digital
  • Enabling easy progress tracking
  • Providing continuous feedback
  • Providing instant information
  • Deploying data/analytic
  • Supporting career development
  • Offering easy integration

Let’s examine the key components of a web-based performance management system and how these help drive companies towards satisfying this new direction.

1. Multi-channel communications to facilitate a hybrid workforce

Implementing a web-based performance management system means taking advantage of digital communications in all its various forms. It means understanding the technical capabilities at an employee’s disposal and creating the capacity to deliver across a spectrum of devices and methods.

Performance management software can be used on a range of platforms including desktop PCs/laptops and mobile devices/tablets, with easy installation as an app to allow users to access it wherever they are. This is particularly useful for businesses who need to coordinate activity between on-site and remote workers, as well as contractors and other freelancers who operate independently.

Through multi-channel communications, traditional emails are complemented with in-app push notifications and SMS notifications to strengthen comms throughout the workforce. Targeted measures can be sent with precision, while digital receipts and reports help ensure the communications platform is delivering the desired results.

2. Organizational maps to give business and HR leaders a holistic overview

When dealing with a potentially disparate workforce composed of on-site workers, remote employees and contractors, understanding where assets lie can be tricky. HR leaders and managers in particular could struggle to make decisions relating to hiring or lateral promotions if they aren’t clear on how the existing talent is distributed throughout the company.

Performance management software allows business and HR leaders to construct an organizational map of the company. Individuals, teams, departments and the company at large can all be visually represented in a variety of ways to orient this understanding towards desired outcomes. 

For example, if a manager is looking to hire someone with a particular set of skills, HR leaders can locate employees from other departments who have the necessary skills and qualifications. These organizational charts can also offer a lifeline to new hires, helping their orientation within the company.

3. Visual dashboards to align and focus employees

Building a visionary company requires 1% vision and 99% alignment.

Jim Collins and Jerry Porra, business thought leaders

One of the key advantages of a comprehensive web-based performance management system is its ability to pull together a vast amount of data for its users. But data alone can be overwhelming, and performance management tools help users to manage and focus on which data matters to them the most. This data can then be tailored and displayed via visual dashboards, presenting it in an easy to understand and concise manner.

Dashboards are versatile tools, and can be used for:

  • Visualizing performance-related data. Track real-time progress towards employee goals and gain a clear understanding of their development.
  • Boost the company’s culture to new employees. Onboard new starters efficiently, while introducing them to the brand values and expectations.
  • Gain insights into absence and attendance. Understand patterns of absence at the individual and team level and identify problems before they become overwhelming.
  • Analyze data at the team and departmental level. Visual dashboards aren’t just for individuals, and can be used to track and analyze trends at the macro- as well as micro-level.
  • Deliver customized reporting. Performance management dashboards can deliver comprehensive reports and allow users to view and export a wide range of performance data. Objectives, reviews and appraisals and skills can be easily collated into simple to understand visualizations.

4. Critical alerts to bring immediate attention to important developments

Making sure all members of staff are up to date on important company-related information can be tricky at the best of times. But when dealing with a hybrid workforce, communicating these updates can become even harder to coordinate. Critical alerts and push notifications available in web-based performance management systems help business leaders and managers bridge the divide between staff based at different locations or even time zones.

Critical alerts and push notifications can be used for:

  • Workplace emergencies, for example a water leak or power cut;
  • Unexpected absences, for instance a critical member of staff is off sick;
  • Important changes to health and safety guidelines; 
  • Schedule changes, for example a deadline has been moved forwards;
  • Urgent meetings requiring the participation of off-site staff

These alerts can be sent to staff requiring proof of receipt, so managers don’t have to wonder if the messages they’ve sent have been read and understood. And as they operate via a multi-channel communications platform, employees don’t have to be at their desk in the home office in order to receive them.

5. Community-building systems to connect employees together

A web-based performance management system isn’t just about making sure HR leaders, managers and team leaders can keep track of employee performance. It is also designed to build communities and strengthen relationships between employees and their peers. A company’s overall health is in part dictated by the bonds between the individuals from which it is composed.

Performance management tools provide the glue to strengthen these bonds. Such tools include:

Intranet/forums

While typically intranets and forums are locked to on-site networks, online performance management tools allow employees to access them from anywhere and on any device. 

Social intranets and forums allow staff to connect on a wide range of topics and share their expertise with one another to boost engagement. User-generated content, events and resources can be shared across teams and departments to help build a collaborative workforce.

News feeds

With many employees deeply wedded to social media platforms, performance management news feeds offer a familiar medium for accessing and sharing information. Business leaders can use these feeds to drive the company’s culture, as well as share success stories with employees. 

Microsoft Teams channels

Quality online performance management systems allow for comprehensive integration with other business digital platforms. By connecting users with one another via Microsoft Teams, managers and HR leaders can help set up working committees and other dedicated groups. MS Teams’ channels offer a high level of versatility, connecting like-minded employees with one another to share ideas and brainstorm innovative solutions.

6. Digital rewards and recognition tools for a social media-savvy workforce

When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.

Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why

Millennials make up a sizable proportion of the workforce and represent one of the key driving forces behind changes in workplace cultures. A report from Gallup highlights millennials’ priorities, particularly in the aftermath of the crisis of 2020 which led to wide-scale remote working.

“Among millennials who work remotely, 54% have “thriving” wellbeing, compared with 47% among those who work on-site. For context, the average among all U.S. adults is 48.8%, a 12-year low according to Gallup data. Millennials are also far more engaged when they work remotely: 41%, versus 29% among those who work on-site.”

Online performance management systems sit at the heart of this changing dynamic. As remote working looks set to remain a trend moving forwards, performance management software “puts millennial workers closer than ever to an employee experience that meets their definition of a life well-lived.”

Millennials will continue to have a strong impact on how companies operate, and performance management tools deliver the kinds of features they’re used to from social media. Likes and shares along with the ability to comment are included alongside peer-to-peer awards and recognition. When one employee helps another, or delivers a fantastic presentation, others can award them the relevant digital badge to commend them for a job well done.

7. Goal management systems to keep employees on track to success

First and foremost, a web-based performance management system is there to track performance. While overall performance is nuanced when it comes to getting the job done progress is typically measured through goals and objectives.

These goals and objectives can be inputted and tracked in performance management tools as objectives and key results (OKRs) and key performance indicators (KPIs). Such goals are most effective when they are established through collaboration between the manager and the employee. This process means that employees are clear as to their expectations, while managers are able to ensure alignment with the organization’s overarching ambitions.

Examples of OKRs and KPIs include:

  • Increase engagement with new customers
  • Get at least 20 new contact meetings
  • Generate 500 marketing qualified leads
  • Collect feedback from 40 customers/month
  • Increase departmental sales by 20% by the end of the quarter

Progress towards the completion of these objectives can be expressed through performance management tools in a variety of ways. For example:

  • Percentage
  • yes/no; completed/unfinished
  • Colour coded (for instance, green for in progress/red for overdue)
  • stages/phases, for example when breaking a larger goal down into components
  • Approaching deadlines, prioritizing the most imminent goals

8. Digital feedback mechanisms to keep managers and team leaders connected to their staff

Performance management tools help connect employees with one another and boost a network of skills. They also keep managers and employees connected via ongoing conversations, avoiding the trap laid when meetings are infrequent and exclusively formal. The same tools which allow peers to engage in constructive discussions allow managers and employees to build strong relationships based on trust.

A web based performance management system facilitates these ongoing conversations in a range of ways. These include one2one check-ins, which can be scheduled and reviewed within a performance management framework.

Digital tools also help to streamline the performance appraisal process. Commonly asked questions surrounding this topic include:

What is Web based performance appraisal?

Web-based performance appraisals are planned, conducted and reviewed through digital applications which draw upon a wide range of data. Managers conducting reviews can collate performance data as well as HR-related information such as attendance to ensure appraisals are conducted fairly and comprehensively.

What are the benefits of e performance appraisal?

By conducting appraisals through a centralized system, managers are able to save valuable time due to automation processes. Streamlining goals allows for additional flexibility, which also makes conducting regularly scheduled appraisals much easier. By implementing a continuous process of reviews and feedback, employee engagement is increased.

How do you conduct an online performance appraisal?

When conducting an online performance appraisal, managers, team leaders and HR professionals should:

  • Keep the discussion relevant to near-term goals and other immediate performance issues
  • Allow employees time to prepare for the appraisal
  • Schedule the appraisals in performance management software
  • Ensure constructive feedback is included whenever possible
  • Enquire as to the well-being of the employee
  • Include small talk to help strengthen interpersonal relationships with the employee
  • Draw upon data and analytics to make their point