8 Best Performance Management Software and How to Find One

Read this article to get a comprehensive view (pros, cons, features and pricing) of the best performance management software available in the market today and essentials tips to find the right one

7

min read

Every people-manager understands the importance of having an effective performance management system for individual as well as organizational success. Here, using the right performance management software can help you automate many parts of the process as well as enable you to leverage industry benchmarks and AI driven guidance to drive performance in the right direction. 

To help you make an informed choice, we have curated this list of the top 8 performance management tools and a quick guide on how to find the best one for your unique needs. 

The top 8 performance management software for 2022

Did you know that choosing the best performance management software can help you accomplish a variety of objectives, including —

With these benefits in mind, let’s quickly check out the 8 most efficient performance management software for growing organizations.

  1. SuperBeings: Flexible performance management software which integrates OKRs, feedback, reviews and employee engagement
  2. Lattice: Performance management with public recognition and custom review cycles
  3. Culture Amp: Performance management platform used by 5000+ companies
  4. Leapsome: All in one people enablement platform with customizable development frameworks
  5. 15Five: Continuous performance management software with pre-built competency based assessments
  6. Engagedly: New age performance management software to redefine appraisals and succession planning
  7. BambooHR: Personalized Human Resources Information System for small and medium sized organizations
  8. Peakon: Intelligent listening platform to understand hidden truth behind employee comments 

Now, let us look at all these 8 platforms and learn the pros and cons of each.

1. SuperBeings

Next-gen talent management platform suitable for collaborative, comprehensive and regular performance reviews, tracking and real time feedback to facilitate high performance culture. SuperBeings comes with integrated OKR management and employee engagement modules.

SuperBeings best Performance management tools

Key features

  • Ability to choose flexibility and configure any combination of review options (goals, projects, competencies, values, leadership, qualitative, or something else), frequency (monthly, quarterly, half yearly, annual or custom) and stakeholders (self, manager, peer, reportee, skip level, others)
  • Run rating less reviews for comprehensive performance overview
  • Facilitate continuous performance management with regular goal based sync ups/ check-ins
  • Automation of performance review cycles, automated reminders and nudges to complete reviews to save admin time

Pros

  • Individual employee profiles based on top personality assessments
  • Ability to identify strengths and blockers for each employee
  • Combination of weekly goal and monthly performance check-ins
  • Automated 9 box grid of performance and potential snapshot
  • Automated annual and 360 feedback and reviews

Cons

  • The cycle set ups are handled by the support team, there’s no DIY option yet
  • Do not offer a self serve trial. You can contact the team to setup a trial account though

Pricing

SuperBeings is priced at a nominal cost of $3.00 per user per month. It is ideal for growing teams which need flexibility of scale and comprehensive functionalities to create a high performance culture.

There is a 21 day free trial available

2. Lattice

People management software focusing on 360 performance review cycles and engagement surveys, OKR tracking and real-time feedback ideal for teams of 40+ members

Lattice performance management software

Key features

  • Ability to offer public recognition, directly in Lattice, in Slack, Microsoft Teams, and on in-office screens
  • Option to see historical feedback for context and fairer, faster review cycles
  • Option to customize review cycle with automatic rules, make adjustments mid cycle, or streamline calibration progress

Pros

  • Intuitive tools for employees to communicate and request feedback
  • Seamless administration and management of performance assessment with intuitive UI
  • Option to run annual performance reviews, quarterly development cycles, project-based, or automated reviews

Cons

  • Too many notifications at the risk of important ones being lost
  • Limited integrations 

Pricing

Performance management with Lattice starts at $8.00 per month for each user with a minimum annual agreement of $4000.

Based on the minimum commitment, Lattice is ideal for team sizes of 50+.

There is no free trial, but a demo can be availed by interested users. 

3. Culture Amp

Comprehensive performance management and employee development software with reviews and conversations for managers and employees ideal for companies with 25+ members

culture amp performance review software

Key features

  • Built in reminders and shared agendas for collaboration
  • Integration feedback from self reflection, peers and managers for 360 assessment
  • Provision to request feedback for anyone at any time

Pros

  • Flow of work integrations to collect feedback and reviews from preferred platform
  • Flexible review templates and calibration tools
  • Designed by organizational psychologists, meaningful and actionable feedback powered by machine learning
  • Check-in questions focused on whole employee experience

Cons

  • Lack of report customization
  • Inability to view results in different ways

Pricing

The pricing for Culture Amp is available on request. It is ideal for organizations with 25+ employees. This performance management software provides different feature-clusters for different organizations based on their workforce strength and is, thus, ideal for small, medium sized as well as large enterprises. 

There is no free trial for Culture Amp. However, there’s a 3 minute pre-recorded demo available on request. 

4. Leapsome

All in one people enablement platform bringing together performance management, employee engagement, and learning ideal for teams of any size

Leapsome performance evaluation software

Key features

  • Ability to define important skills and track development
  • Option to create customized development framework based on reviews
  • Integrated dashboard with status of each review cycle at one place

Pros

  • Predefined best practice templates and frameworks which are customizable
  • Development matrix integrated with reviews, feedback and goals

Cons

  • Need for more automated messages
  • Improvement required in user experience

Pricing

The pricing for Leapsome starts at $6.00 per user per month. There is no minimum commitment, making it suitable for organizations that might be starting up as well as large enterprises. 

Leapsome offers a 14 day free trial for users.

5. 15Five

Continuous performance management platform which combines software, education, and community to develop successful managers improve employee performance ideal for teams of all sizes

15five continuous performance management

Key features

  • Consistent measure of performance with custom weights and actionable ratings
  • Promotes insight driven pay and promotion decisions
  • Ability to sync employee data automatically sync between HRIS and 15Five

Pros

  • Availability of pre-built performance review templates 
  • Focus on competency-based assessment with skills and behavior critical for high performance
  • Establish a standardized process when measuring performance using rubrics

Cons

  • User interface has limited capabilities
  • Limited reporting competencies

Pricing

Pricing for 15Five starts at $8.00 per user per month and is ideal for organizations of all sizes. It also has specific capabilities for managers to facilitate performance management starting at $9.00 per manager per month. 

Users can sign up for a free trial

6. Engagedly

New age performance management software redefining appraisals by combining employee engagement and performance reviews ideal for larger corporations with medium sized teams

Engagedly performance management

Key features

  • Detailed dashboards for succession planning with 9 box tool 
  • Online LMS for training and development
  • Built-in competency model and ability for employee development and growth

Pros

  • Real time and on demand feedback
  • Mentorship platform based on a proprietary behavioral and competency based algorithm
  • Alternative workflows for 30-60-90 days reviews or conversations for new hires

Cons

  • Too many features can be overwhelming in the beginning
  • Limited focus on 1:1 performance management

Pricing

The pricing starts at a minimal cost of $5000 annually. Therefore, having a critical mass of team members makes sense to use this performance management software.

There is a free demo available.

7. BambooHR

Personalized Human Resources Information System (HRIS) focused on performance management for small and medium sized organizations

BambooHR HRIS performance tracking software

Key features

  • Frequent and actionable reviews and assessments for self and managers
  • Strategic assessment planning with regular intervals coupled with impromptu and 30, 60, and 90-day check-ins
  • Automated reminders for performance tracking

Pros

  • Comprehensive goal status report with review notes and updates in a single window
  • Availability of desktop and mobile apps
  • Compare performance across years and departments

Cons

  • Only satisfactory layout
  • Scope for improvement in mobile version

Pricing

The pricing for BambooHR is available on request based on the number of employees and functionality requirements. It is ideal for organizations of all sizes and has a suite of HR services to offer, which can be of better use to organizations in their scale up phase.

There is an availability of free trial

Peakon

Intelligent employee listening platform to provide personalized employee experiences and maximize business performance for large organizations

Peakon employee listening platform

Key features

  • Collect real-time feedback on important aspects of employee satisfaction and performance
  • Organizational development-based question sets and custom surveys
  • Prescriptive recommendations and action plans based on industry benchmarks

Pros

  • Machine learning and NLP to actually listen to employee voice
  • Custom surveys and templates with automatic recommendations
  • Personalized micro-courses on how to convert insights into action

Cons

  • Too many data points can be complicated to understand
  • Requires training to use it effectively

Pricing

The pricing is available on request. This performance management software is ideal for large organizations and enterprises.

There is no free trial available. But a pre-recorded 2 minute product walk-through is available on request

How to find the right performance management software?

If you are wondering how to find the right performance management software or how to make a decision from the many options shared above, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

1. What do you seek to achieve?

Start by gauging where you are struggling and what are the problems that you seek to solve with the performance management software. The idea is to enlist all your pain points and intended impact

2. How do you want to achieve it?

Once you have your pain points, you will have a clear picture of what you need. Do you only need performance review capabilities or do you also need support with goal management as well as feedback. These considerations are crucial for you to make the right choices.

(Keep reading to learn the key features of top performance management tools) 

3. How much do you want to spend?

Next, you need to gauge your financial situation to decide how much you are willing to spend. While there will be pricing for performance management software available, you will first need to have clarity on your budget. Learn about the possible return on investment before you commit to a software.

Read ROI of Performance Management Tools to make a proper business case

4. How many people will use it?

In addition to the budget, you also need to figure out the number of people who will be using the performance management software, now and in the future. If you are a growing organization, you need to be cognizant of your scale up plan as well. While some performance management software are ideal only for large enterprises, others have solutions for the entire spectrum with flexible pricing. 

5. Do you need additional or basic features?

Finally, you need to consider whether simply gathering reviews and feedback is enough or would you need insights, reports, heatmaps, etc. as well to make sense of your data points. More often than not, having such features and integrations are integral to performance management and thus, this consideration can make a lot of difference.

Based on answers of these questions, you need to look for some features that are mostly non-negotiable if you want to leverage your performance management software to the maximum extent, including:

5. a) Goal setting and management

A key aspect of any performance management software is its ability to assist growing organizations and team members in goal management. There are multiple connotations at play here:

  • Goal and OKR setting with focus on both individual as well as organizational goals
  • Aligning everyone on the goals and providing complete transparency and visibility
  • Tracking performance on the prescribed goals in a regular and real time basis

The right performance management software will enable you to set, align and manage goals seamlessly to contribute to high levels of performance resulting from achievement of goals and OKRs.

key basic features of performance management tools

5.b) 360 performance review

Performance tracking and 360 review are very important aspects of a performance management software. Especially for fast growing organizations, it is important to track progress and performance in real time to:

  • Preempt risks and challenges to performance and prevent attrition
  • Address performance issues instantly to ensure long term success
  • Keep track of individual performance and ownership at all times for retrospective analysis

However, simply focusing on real time tracking is not enough. Performance reviews as a part of the performance management software must also be comprehensive and holistic in nature. This requires a focus on 360 performance review to ensure:

  • Feedback is collected from peers, managers, direct reports as well as in the form of self evaluation
  • Reduce rater bias by providing a wide variety of responses and offer a true picture of performance
  • Get a holistic view of the contribution of the employee towards organizational success, not limited to specific tasks or projects

Thus, the right performance management tools will enable you to frequently conduct employee reviews, involving all key stakeholders in a strategic and streamlined manner by leveraging the power of automation. Put simply, the pre-set review templates and surveys can be set automatically using the software with automatic reminders, reducing admin work while augmenting impact at the same time. 

5.c) 1:1 conversations and feedback

Based on performance tracking and reviews, the performance management software should be able to provide you with insights to offer feedback during 1:1 conversations. Some important aspects include:

  • AI driven guided templates for 1:1 conversations based on performance insights
  • Conduct continuous conversations focussed on level of goal achievement and developmental plans
  • Manager analytics and records to track performance over time with traceable history

Additionally, the various integrations of the performance management software should reduce the admin work for managers for scheduling and conducting 1:1 conversations. 

5.d) Appraisal and recognition

The best performance management software should be able to help managers and organizational leadership ensure frequent and meaningful recognition and appreciation. This generally requires:

  • Performance review in real time to appreciate a job well done on the spot
  • Insights into performance trends over time to identify development areas which have been worked upon
  • Understanding each team member with personality assessments

Therefore, a performance management software must provide insights into these and more aspects of appraisal and recognition. The objective is to enable managers to reward high levels of performance consistently to facilitate motivation and at the same time, identify and address blockers to performance, if any. 

5.e) Reports and analytics

Finally, the performance management software should have robust reporting and analytics capabilities. Simply conducting reviews, feedback, etc. will not bear fruit, if managers are not able to drive change with the results. Therefore, the performance management software should:

  • Provide actionable insights about employee pulse and performance in a single window format
  • Offer heatmaps for developmental areas for employees as well as the organization as a whole
  • Provide learning areas, support and resources for managers to develop key leadership competencies

Thus, reporting and analytics can be a culmination of all performance management efforts as well as the starting points on new priorities and areas of work. Without holistic but crisp reporting, a performance management software might not be able to provide complete insights into the performance culture for an organization. 

Advanced Features of Performance Management Software

advanced features of performance management software

5. f) Performance snapshots

In a performance management software, you should look out for the feature of performance snapshots to ensure bias free performance management with feedback captured at regular intervals. Your platform should:

  • Provide you with customizable templates to capture performance snapshots at frequency of your choice.
  • Aggregate snapshots to offer a holistic view of performance and gauge trends over time.
  • Leverage historic feedback throughout the year to check signs of improvement, need for interventions and even compare performance over time.
  • Performance snapshots also help you identify high potential employees as well as poor performers with data backed analysis of the same.

Good performance management tools can help you capture performance snapshots across an automated 9 box exercise and track improvement over time. 

5. g) Coaching support to managers

For performance management to be truly effective, your managers need to be trained on providing the right coaching to employees in a strategic manner. This not only enables them to provide feedback holistically but also have 1:1 conversations with employees in the right way. A performance management tool can help this by providing coaching support to managers by:

  • Integrating performance management with 1:1s and OKRs to facilitate effective goal setting
  • Providing AI driven recommendations for 1:1 conversations which capture key performance insights to ensure they don’t miss out on anything 
  • Offering guided templates to master critical conversations which may require extensive coaching

Thus, you must look out for a performance management system which can provide adequate coaching to your managers to help employees navigate their performance in the right direction. 

5. h) Personality assessment/ Talent profiles 

A performance management tool that comes with a feature of talent profiles or personality assessment is important for any growing organization. It can help you understand the strengths, skills and other important aspects of your team members and identify gaps if any. The right tool will enable you to:

  • Conduct short personality assessment tests for your employees to understand individual strengths and weaknesses
  • Use AI driven recommendations to have 1:1 conversations based on personality tests and use talent profiles to effectively delegate work
  • Understand gaps to facilitate hiring, succession planning, etc. strategically

Therefore, the right performance management tools will help you build talent profiles not only prepares you for better performance in the present, but ensures that you are set for the future too. 

5. i) Competency management

Ensuring the right skills and competencies are borne by each employee is an integral part of performance management. Thus, if your tool is able to facilitate this, you will find yourself in a position of success. A good performance management software can help you:

  • Undertake skills and competencies assessment for your employees and identify gaps with respect to their roles
  • Identify the right certifications, training, development opportunities to bridge the gap
  • Communicate the gaps with guided templates to ensure effective exchange of ideas

In a nutshell, the tool will be able to help you draw a blueprint for your organization’s learning and development based on competency management.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, it is evident that most of the performance management software available in the market today can help you transform your performance management process for the better. However, choosing a software based on its capabilities may not be enough. You need to gauge whether or not it is ideal for your organizational size and type too as well as measure its ROI before committing your resources to any particular software. Use the factors shared above for an informed purchase of your performance management software. 

If interested, book a free trial with SuperBeings today. No credit card required.

Suggested Reading

ROI of performance management software

8 point checklist for selecting the best PMS

Advanced guide on Continuous Performance Management (PDF)

Sudeshna Roy

Marketing, SuperBeings

Hi There! I am Sudeshna. At SuperBeings, I lead our content strategy to bring you the best and latest on everything related to people management

Latest posts

OKRs
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x
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Agile and OKRs: What You Need to Know to Thrive in a VUCA World

It is no longer an assumption that the traditional approach to annual goal setting and review has run its course. The VUCA world demands more quick and adaptable business models.

While the agile values and methodology was initially created for software delivery, you can apply the same to transform how you set and achieve your business goals. 

In this article, we will focus on:

  • Relevance of agile and OKRs in the VUCA world
  • Importance of leveraging agile techniques for OKRs
  • Best agile and OKR framework for growing organizations

Why you need to reimagine goal setting in the VUCA world

Traditionally, goal setting has been a very static and long-term process for organizations. Here are a few key components of traditional goal setting and performance management:

  • Annual or multi-year goals with little or no interventions at regular intervals to realign on changing priorities
  • Top-down approach — goals being set by those at the top with minimal inputs from those working on the ground
  • Only annual feedback cycles and the inability to identify or address challenges in real time
  • Lack of flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances or situations, which are uncertain and ambiguous

This form of goal setting and performance management had relevance for organizations operating in steady and stable market conditions. 

However, in today’s VUCA world, the pace of change is skyrocketing and organizations unable to tide with the same are finding it extremely difficult to survive, let alone thrive. 

Some of the reasons to reimagine goal setting for VUCA world include:

  • Increased globalization requires businesses to be agile and adapt to changes at all times
  • Focus on creating short term goals and action plans
  • Need to relook at business priorities due to changing market conditions and customer expectations 
  • Need to incorporate constant feedback from diverse stakeholders
  • Need to focus on collaborative goal setting over top down command

Relevance of agile and OKRs for growing organizations

While it may not be apparent in the first look, agile and OKRs are quite complementary and combining the two can be a great step for growing organizations. Here’s why —

  • OKRs can help you understand the end goal and envision what success will look like. 
  • On the other hand, the agile methodology can enable you to create the right roadmap with frequent experimentation to reach the OKRs successfully. 

Here are a few reasons why you should combine agile and OKRs for your organization:

  • Set shorter goals for each quarter with the flexibility to look at the results in real time
  • Agile iterations based on learning which can be communicated across teams 
  • Shorter feedback cycles which prevent investment losses that might occur if the whole project/ goal has to be reworked
  • Continuous improvement with frequent retrospectives which can enable you to reflect on what is working well
  • Focus on collaborative goal setting and performance management with team autonomy
  • Agile approach to progress tracking

How to use agile techniques for OKRs

Now that it is clear why working agile and OKRs together makes sense for growing organizations, let’s quickly explore the top ways in which you can apply agile techniques to your OKR framework to make goal setting and performance management suitable for the VUCA world. 

Agile Value 1: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

  • Ensure collaborative OKR setting, assigning OKR champions and the right team members to execute the same
  • Facilitate clear understanding and communication of the intention and expectation behind each OKR and the responsibility for every team member

Agile Value 2: Working software over comprehensive documentation

  • Focus on clear outcomes and key results instead of comprehensive literature on why something is important
  • Facilitate shorter feedback cycles to gauge challenges early on and ensure feasibility of the OKRs
  • Reduce administrative overheads and complex processes related to OKR setting and progress tracking by using a simple, integrated OKR tool

Agile Value 3: Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

  • Ensure continuous development by taking real time feedback from internal customers i.e. stakeholders in the leadership

Agile Value 4: Responding to change over following a plan

  • Facilitate dynamic planning over a static plan with quarterly OKRs
  • Ensure adaptability to change, uncertainty and ambiguity
  • Promote short cadence to gauge achievability and relevance of key results early on

Best agile and OKR framework

In this last section of agile and OKR for better goal setting and performance management, we will uncover the top framework. 

We have combined the best components of different frameworks like waterfall goals, delivery agile, scaling, full stack agile, into a single framework with 5 major components that can help you enhance the complementary potential of agile and OKR 

This approach can help you leverage the benefits of agile methodologies and OKR framework to impact all aspects of organizational structure for achievement of goals, including the culture, strategy, initiatives, tactics, etc. The framework is premised on:

1. Create value based OKRs

  • Focus on creating value based OKRs instead of activity based
  • Activity based OKRs are effective for specific projects, but for organizational goals, the focus should be on value
  • Instead of focusing only on the outcomes, have a clear understanding about how each of the outcomes can create value for the organization
  • The activities for each OKR should be a part of the agile roadmap and not the end destination

If you are struggling with combining agile and OKRs for your organizations, chances are you are focusing on activity based key results which often resemble agile steps, leading to confusion and inability to meet goals. 

2. Facilitate horizontal alignment for shared OKRs

  • Encourage collaborative OKR setting with realistic timelines and short intervals
  • Make OKRs team/ department specific and acknowledge avenues for collaboration and alignment between teams on shared OKRs
  • Acknowledge OKR dependencies between teams and facilitate transparency and horizontal alignment
  • Avoid splitting OKRs for a shared goal between teams, rather create opportunities for working together

For instance, if you have an event coming up and wish to successfully execute the same, the objective will be common, with specific value based key results for each team.

Objective: Successfully execute the 7th edition of our annual event

Key Results

  • Get 1000+ unique registrations
  • Raise INR 20,00,000 in sponsorship
  • Curate 5 high impact panels
  • Get 10+ media and affiliate partners
  • Get 5000+ impressions on social media with organic promotion

If you look closely, while the objective is shared, key results are spread across sales, marketing, and even product/ services teams

3. Combine quality and quantity results

Your agile and OKR framework should enable you to get the best of both worlds when it comes to results. Agile results by nature are qualitative in nature and focus on the features that you wish to ascertain in a specific period of time. On the other hand, OKRs are driven by metrics. Thus, you can use a combination of the two for effective results:

  • Use OKRs to validate goals set using the agile methodology
  • Ensure each key result has a quantitative (data) and qualitative aspect (value)
  • Use a combination of agile and OKRs to ensure that your progress is positively impacting the organization

The combination can help you create an ideal balance between outputs and outcomes which are both critical when it comes to goal achievement and performance management. 

4. Promote use of data

  • Leverage data and evidence to create your agile based OKRs
  • Instead of creating OKR based on leadership opinion alone, validate the same with market study
  • Don’t rely completely on hypothetical representation, undertake primary and secondary research to ensure relevance and perceived achievability

Pro-tip:

Using data and not relying solely on opinions will help you set agile OKRs which don’t under or over estimate the goals. For instance, if the market data on traffic to a new website in your industry is 20,000 clicks in one week, your OKR can focus on reaching 25,000 to make it aspirational but achievable up to 80%. 

However, if you set the target at 50,000 or above, it will become too far fetched and the team might not even strive for it. On the flip side, if the target is only at 10,000, it will not encourage your employees to push the boundaries. Thus, you need to replace opinions and command OKRs with data backed experimentation.

5. Build self organizing teams

  • Provide you teams with a clear idea of what the larger vision looks like
  • Encourage them to set their own OKRs and help with a direction to achieve the same
  • Facilitate team autonomy and empower your team members with the right tools and resources like SuperBeings to not only set OKRs, but also track progress in real time and grade them at the end of the cycle. (Learn more)

Self organizing teams are important for growing organizations as they proactively take onus and ownership of achieving OKRs and lead to a greater degree of success. Step away from controlling detailed plans for each OKR and encourage the leadership to provide direction. 

Wrapping Up

To conclude, if you combine agile and OKR, you have for yourself a clear model for success which you can easily apply to goal setting and performance management. Furthermore, leveraging the right technology resources can help you stay on track and enable you to thrive in the VUCA world. 

OKRs
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x
min read

How to Create a High Performance Culture Using OKR Methodology?

Like most fast growing organizations, you might also be leveraging the OKR methodology to set, implement and facilitate effective goal setting to maximize growth. If not, you should start using OKRs ASAP.

OKRs not only provide an excellent goal setting framework but also drive high performance when implemented strategically. Most importantly, with enhanced goal visibility and transparency, OKRs ensure that everyone is on the same page which is the foundation of a cohesive and high performing culture. 

In this article, we will discuss 8 ways in which you can adopt the OKR methodology to build a thriving company culture.

Use OKR methodology in 8 ways

1. Focus and clarity

A high performance and thriving company culture is based on the foundation of clarity and focus. When there are 100 things to focus on, your employees will eventually lose sight of what’s actually important and might feel burdened with non-priority tasks. This will lead to a poor employee experience and limited productivity, both situations that prevent an impactful culture.

However, when you apply the OKR methodology, you will be able to limit your focus on 3-5 top priorities which will attract attention, energy and efforts across the organization. You will then be able to create a high performance culture by dedicating all your resources to the key priorities to realize impact. 

2. Collaboration and alignment

A culture that thrives on collaboration, teamwork and alignment is one which creates maximum impact. The OKR methodology can help achieve this in an effective manner. On one hand, everyone is clear about their role in the OKR achievement, which makes collaboration seamless because everyone is on the same page and no one steps on the shoes of others. 

On the other hand, OKRs can help your employees align their responsibilities and tasks with the overall vision of the organization, motivating them to contribute to the big picture. 

To learn more about how to align teams using OKRs, read this

3. Agility and resilience

Recent times have shown that uncertainty and ambiguity will continue to mark the new normal. Thus, a culture of agility, resilience and responsiveness is critical for fast growing organizations. The OKR methodology can help achieve the same. 

OKRs are cognizant of the changing environment and have the flexibility to be adapted to the same. 

More importantly, you can leverage the OKR methodology to foster a culture that focuses on outcomes and is not fixated on the tasks to achieve the outcome at hand. 

4. Continuous engagement and reflection

One of the top challenges of building a great company culture is a siloed approach and annual reflection. This leads to surfacing of major risks and problems which result in high rates of attrition, absenteeism and lower levels of motivation, productivity, etc. 

However, the OKR methodology adopts an approach of continuous engagement and reflection. You can create a regular cadence to check OKR progress for each of your team members, even daily is effective. 

This continuous engagement and reflection can enable you to preempt risks before they surface and leverage the power of communication to address them in real-time. Invariably, a culture built on continuous engagement leads to greater impact and high levels of performance as well as employee satisfaction. 

5. Transparency 

The lack of transparency is one of the key obstacles for many fast growing organizations that seek to create a thriving company culture. A way out often seems difficult to navigate. Fortunately, the OKR methodology can help address this challenge as well. When you use OKR, especially with the support of an effective OKR tool, you can facilitate high levels of transparency. 

Everyone in the organization will not only know their role, but also will have a complete view of the level of performance for others. Such transparency can help you increase coordination of efforts and give everyone the visibility of what’s happening across the company. 

6. Non-hierarchy

You may agree that most fast growing organizations these days seek to replace a strict hierarchy with a more flat organizational structure that facilitates inclusion of diverse ideas, thoughts and opinions. However, many struggle when it comes to actually implementing this thought. 

Adopting OKRs can solve this problem.

By nature, the OKR methodology is based on a collaborative foundation where a top-down approach compliments a bottom-down approach for goal setting. 

This suggests that while the skeletal structure of the goals might be laid down by those in the top leadership, you can give all employees the freedom and autonomy to create OKRs for their teams and verticals. 

When your employees participate in setting the OKRs they have to execute, the level of ownership is much higher. Thus, you can leverage the OKR methodology to create a thriving culture built on greater ownership and a flat organizational structure. 

7. Open communication and feedback

With a focus on continuous engagement and reflection, the OKR methodology can help you facilitate open communication and feedback. Many studies have shown that a culture that facilitates regular feedback along with open channels of communication is more likely to thrive than one which does not. 

In the OKR methodology, when you constantly track your OKR progress (download our free template for tracking OKRs), you will be armed with data backed insights to offer regular feedback for your employees. Furthermore, you can also leverage the same to start meaningful conversations with your team members in case you feel that there is any kind of disconnect. Such open communication can help you create a truly inclusive culture when employees feel their voice is heard. 

8. Accountability and recognition

Finally, a company culture that thrives has two major components supporting it, accountability and recognition.

  • On one hand, only when your employees are accountable will they give in their 100% to create a high performance culture. 
  • On the other hand, if you don’t recognize the efforts of your employees frequently and in an effective manner, they are bound to feel demotivated with a lack of encouragement, leading to a poor employee experience and culture. 

The OKR methodology is an answer to both these challenges. 

  • First, being regularly reviewed, tracked and organization wide visibility makes accountability a given for fast growing organizations leveraging OKRs. Since everyone knows what the other person is responsible for, there is a development of a culture of accountability. 
  • Second, with regular tracking, monitoring individual progress becomes seamless for managers. Invariably, they can track the performance of their team members and recognize efforts in real time. This leads to a culture of recognition which is bound to see high levels of engagement, motivation and satisfaction. 

Empower your culture with the OKR methodology

Now that you know how the OKR methodology can help you in many ways to create a thriving culture, it is also true that as a fast growing organization with multi-pronged focus, leveraging OKRs is a challenging task. To address the same, you can collaborate with an integrated OKR tool like SuperBeings to automate the OKR adoption and maintenance.

With SuperBeings, you get to — 

  • Keep OKRs at the center of your business activities by aligning everyday tasks 
  • Reduce friction in goal management with zero context switching (by integrating Slack, Teams and Gchat)
  • Stay ahead of risks with a bird's eye view on key OKR status as well as compare progress over time with automated daily OKR tracking
  • Connect OKRs with Meetings tool to automate OKR check-ins and empower managers with data-backed AI driven actionable templates for meaningful conversations

Learn more about the OKR tool here. Otherwise, to see this in action, book a quick call with one of our experts. Also, get all your questions answered on the same. 

See Also

How to Run a Successful OKR Progress Review  

The complete guide to adopting OKRs (PDF)

Master OKRs in just 10 days: Free email course

Performance
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How to Write Negative Employee Reviews (Examples + Templates)

With performance management becoming a critical part of organizational success, giving effective employee reviews is becoming a crucial part of a manager’s responsibilities. While regular employee performance reviews focus on illustrating the strengths and what worked for employees and the organization at large, there needs to be an equal focus on areas of development in case of poor work performance

If you look closely, writing negative employee reviews is often considered to be more difficult because the words need to be chosen very carefully. It needs to have a developmental tone rather than a critical one. 

What are negative employee reviews?

As the term suggests, negative employee reviews are reviews delivered to employees who have underperformed and need to be pulled up to the expected levels. It involves a variety of components which include:

  • Problem statement i.e. an illustration of poor performance, how it has been manifested and its impact on the overall organizational success
  • A clear understanding of the level of performance which is expected
  • A potential way or action items to correct the poor performance and improve

To get actionable ideas of how to deal with poor performance issues at work, read this

Writing and delivering negative employee reviews is very important for any organization that seeks to maintain a high level of employee performance. It is critical to ensure that:

  • Poor performers are aware of their level of underperformance and have a clear picture of what’s expected from them
  • Those who are underperforming get an opportunity to improve or face the consequences of consistently performing poorly
  • Underperformers are given the right support and guidance to improve their work and efforts to meet the expectations

Why should you be cautious of your words?

When you are writing negative employee performance reviews, you need to be extremely cautious of the words you choose. Using the right words will help the receiver acknowledge and work on the suggested points, while using words that are too harsh or critical can lead to adverse consequences. There are a few reasons which make the choice of words extremely important. 

  • The right words can help negative employee reviews focus on the developmental aspects and the impact of poor performance on the organization, rather than criticizing the person in general
  • They can help ensure that the job and the performance are the focus of the employee reviews and not the character or the personality of the person
  • Being cautious also ensures that the negative employee reviews don’t have a negative impact on the mental and emotional wellbeing of the employee and are taken in a constructive spirit.

The same review when offered with the right words can be more powerful and have a larger influence. 

For instance a statement like ‘you interfere too much in the work of others’ can be seen as a personal attack and may yield a defensive response from the receiver. 

However if you frame it in a different manner like ‘if you give others greater autonomy and freedom to work in their own way, you will be able to inspire greater creativity and innovation’, you will be able to put your message across and also help your employees understand how it will make a difference. 

Download: Free guided 1:1 meetings template to get personalized meeting recommendations

Tips for writing negative employee reviews 

In addition to being cautious of the words you use, there are a few other tips which you must keep in mind while writing negative performance reviews, including:

1. Keep it crisp and structured

While giving negative reviews is difficult, don’t beat around the bush and get straight to the point. However, instead of directly saying what isn’t going well, try adopting the sandwich approach. Start with a positive comment, add areas of improvement and end it with some suggestions and action items. 

Example: Tina has an excellent eye for detail and is very dedicated to her work. However, she often misses the deadlines which has led to a delay in 30% of her projects resulting in poor client experience. It would help her performance greatly, if she is able to prioritize her work better and keep an organized calendar for timely delivery. She can consider using the latest project management tools to facilitate better prioritization. 

2. Don’t get personal

Second, negative employee reviews should focus on the job or the role and not the person specifically. Steer away from using words or phrases which may end up combining performance and personality of the person. Your review should be specific towards performance challenges and not generalize that performance challenge is a personality trait.

Example: Instead of saying, “you are not punctual”, you can say that “I have seen you arrive late for meetings frequently, leaving shorter time for discussions. It would be best if you could be more punctual to respect others' time and make the most effective use of the same.”

3. Focus on progress

When you are writing negative performance reviews, you must focus on the progress and how a change in behavior and attitude can help them in the long run. Simply mentioning what went wrong and the associated process might lead to demotivation. 

Example: Some of your work has had grammatical errors in the past, maybe because you were trying to complete a lot at once. I am sure if you prioritize some tasks and create an action plan, your work quality will be better. 

4. Offer facts

Don’t simply give negative employee reviews about the problem area, but back it up with facts and data points. This will help you illustrate a pattern and establish that your review is not based on a single incident. Also, it will make your review more credible and authentic and not just a few words strung together. This will also help you in being very specific.  

Example: It has been observed that 40% of your customers claim that you don’t have adequate knowledge of your product, leading to a poor experience. 

5. Give examples

There might be some performance parameters which are difficult to add quantitative data points to. In such cases, you can offer specific examples of underperformance, especially if it has been repetitive. It is ideal to have at least 2-3 instances of poor performance to make your point stronger. 

Example: It has been noticed that in the aspiration to get your work perfect, you end up delaying projects. It was observed in project X with client A, project Y with client B as well as when the internal submission for Z was due. 

Pro-tip: Use our free Performance Review Phrases template to get 50+ examples of writing a negative review positively

How to deliver a poor performance review?

Once you write the negative employee reviews, you exactly know what you want to say to your employees. However, the way you deliver it also has a big impact on how it is received. To make the process simple, we have compiled a list of some of the best practices to help you deliver a poor performance review in the best way possible:

1. Connect in person

If you are delivering a negative performance review, it is best to do it in person, or if your team is remote, over a video call. If you deliver it over an email, you cannot be sure of the tone and context in which your words will be read. 

It might backfire by being read as more critical than developmental as per the intent. Furthermore, when you are delivering the negative reviews face to face, you can also use your gestures and body language to facilitate authenticity and empathy. 

2. Steer away from yelling

No matter how poor the performance has been, when you are delivering negative employee reviews, you should stay away from yelling or using foul language. Since the focus is on facilitating development for your employee, yelling will only defeat the purpose, making the employee demotivated and pushing them towards even lower levels of confidence and motivation. Furthermore, it will negatively impact your organization from an employer brand perspective. It can also create a negative impact on the wellbeing of your employees. 

3. Add anecdotes 

While delivering the review, you may want to add some personal stories or anecdotes if you have yourself been through something on those lines. This will help you connect better with your employees and make them trust you more. Furthermore, it can enable you to illustrate how they can turn poor performance into something better with a live example in front of them. 

4. Make it a dialogue

Your negative review shouldn’t be a monologue where you deliver what you have written with the employee absorbing it as a passive recipient. Instead, make it a dialogue by putting forward questions to understand the reasons behind poor performance and how you and the organization as a whole can help turn the table. Hearing their side of the story is extremely important before deciding on the next steps. 

4. Create a safe environment

When you are delivering negative employee reviews, you need to create a safe environment. It should not be harsh and the employee should feel comfortable in receiving what you have to offer. Also, make sure you deliver the review privately and not publicly shame your employee. They should see it as a developmental conversation in a safe environment, where they can also voice their opinions. 

5. Make it regular

Finally, negative employee reviews need to be regular and not come as a surprise to your employees at the end of the year. Regular reviews will give your employees enough room to improve their performance. Furthermore, it will give them a clear picture of what to expect when the year closes. 

To learn how SuperBeings can help you have guided conversations around negative performance review with AI recommendations based on performance and goals history as well as maintain a steady cadence to maximize the impact of such conversations, see this

Offer suggestions and follow up

After you have delivered the negative reviews to employees, the natural next step is to create a plan for improvement to help your employees reach the level of performance you expect out of them. This is a critical part of the performance management and talent development process for employees who have been consistently underperforming. Here are a few ways you can help your employees improve their performance.

1. Create action items collaboratively

If you have reached this level of negative employee reviews, you and your employee would be on the same page about their level of performance. Thus, it is best to create a list of action items that can help them improve their performance. To create the next steps, you must:

  • Ensure the steps are specific and not generic which only state the objective
  • Create steps which are aspirational, but achievable at the same time
  • Ascertain that there is an intended result for each decided step
  • Collaborate and brainstorm with your employee to create action items which are agreed upon by both
  • Align timelines and other factors to achieve success

2. Document the next steps

Next, your focus should not only be on planning the action items, but documenting them as well, because once they are out of sight, they’ll be out of mind. Furthermore, documenting them will help you remember the agreed steps and track progress every now and then. 

Clearly document what needs to be achieved, by when and how. It can be a good idea to encourage your team members to constantly document their experience as well to help discuss what has been working well and what needs to improve. 

3. Draft a Performance Improvement Plan (PiP) if needed

Depending on the performance issue, you may want to introduce a performance improvement plan for your employee. It is a formal tool to address performance challenges which outlines specific goals and expectations along with clear actions that need to be undertaken over a duration of 30-90 days.

For more details on PIP, check out A guide to implementing a performance improvement plan (PIP)

4. Set up a cadence

You also must set up a cadence to discuss performance improvements or challenges once the next steps are agreed upon. Unless you connect regularly to discuss the status, you might find yourself at square one at the end of the next performance review period as well. 

Depending on what needs to be achieved, you can set a weekly, fortnightly or monthly cadence to connect with your poor performers. While it may be seen as a regular review, it will also act as a reinforcer for them to ensure there is some improvement everytime the cadence to meet comes up. 

5. Define metrics

When you are determining the next steps, it is important to identify the associated metrics as well. For instance, if you want your employee to become more detail oriented, your metric can focus on reduction in errors by a specific percentage over a specific duration of time. 

The metrics will help you measure whether or not there has been an improvement in the performance as desired or not. At the same time, the metrics will help your employee move towards a specific goal. 

6. Follow up

While you have a set cadence, you may also want to check-in or follow up from time to time to make your employee comfortable enough to reach out to you in between your cadence for connecting. The follow ups can be over emails or calls or simple messages to check if everything is on track and to offer them any support whichever is needed. Especially in the beginning, you may need to check from time to time in case there’s any additional support that the employee needs to work on the action items. 

7. Evaluate progress

Finally, to ensure that your negative employee reviews translate to impact, you must focus on evaluating progress. Use the metrics you defined to gauge the level of progress and document it whenever you evaluate the same. This will help you establish a trend over time. 

Furthermore, if you feel the progress is below expectations, try to understand the rationale behind the same to check if putting the employee on a performance improvement plan will make more sense. 

Wrapping Up

By now, you must have gained a clear understanding of how to write, deliver and follow up on negative employee performance reviews constructively. If you are keen to learn how best to connect negative performance issues with regular 1:1 meetings with your team members with technology, book a quick demo with one of our executives. We would love to show you around :)

See Also

How to use Start Stop Continue feedback framework for high performance

10 performance review tips for managers that actually work

How to use employee coaching to unlock performance

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