Issue: Choose the software that best suits your organization's needs.
Benefits: Involving managers in the evaluation process not only helps you find the most appropriate software, it prompts them to buy into using it.
Action: Start the ball rolling by offering to conduct some research on what programs are available.
Even the simplest performance-appraisal software programs offer advantages over paper-and-pen appraisals, providing greater consistency and control over how managers perform reviews throughout your organization. Most software also helps managers focus on results and specific behaviors, not personality characteristics. That makes employees view the process as more fair.
In comparing packages, weigh these five factors:
1. Flexibility. Can you add or customize performance measurements? Is it possible to weight goals and performance standards? Can managers add department-specific measurements? Can they personalize their evaluations? Will the software's features be able to grow with your organization's changing needs?
2. Ease of use. How simple is the program to use? Does it lead managers step-by-step through the process? Are definitions of rating scales clear?
3. Report capability. Can HR and managers pull up reports on individual, department and organizationwide performance issues? Does the program let you search data for trends?
4. Compatibility. Is the software compatible with existing HR and ERP systems? If it's PC-based, can it be networked through your LAN system?
5. Security. How will you control access? If it's an online system, can your IT department set up firewalls and encryption technologies to prevent unauthorized access?
Tip: Involve managers in the selection process. Ask them to try product demos and offer feedback on what they like and dislike.
One caveat:are best when kept relatively straightforward. Although many software packages will let you churn out 10-page appraisals and evaluate hundreds of behaviors and performance measurements, keep it simple.