With so many performance management software available, figuring out which is best for your company is tough. You want software to provide continuous feedback, track goals, and measure long-term employee development, but you need to figure out which tool is best. In this article, I'll help you make this choice easier by sharing my insights on the top performance management software based on my personal experience preparing over 1,000 performance reviews.
What is Performance Management Software?
Performance management software are tools that organizations use to simplify the performance review process, set and track goals, analyze productivity, record achievements, and plan for the future. They also incorporate modern elements like collecting 360-degree feedback from team members, continuous feedback loops, and one-on-one check-in tools. They can also assist with succession planning by identifying skill gaps that need to be addressed for long-term strategic planning.
Performance management software offers numerous benefits, including improved employee performance, increased productivity, and better goal alignment across your organization. You can also use these powerful HR tools to automate all aspects of your performance review cycle, from tracking and data analysis to scheduling the review meeting itself, saving your HR teams a lot of time.
Trakstar is a cloud-based people management platform that helps organizations monitor and manage employee performance effectively. You can create a performance evaluation system that suits the needs of your business, using automated workflows, configurable forms, and evaluation templates to get your performance management program up and running fast.
Trakstar’s data analytics allow managers to analyze performance trends and identify areas for improvement. Managers can examine an employee's progress in various areas, including skills development, project management, and overall task completion, and compare that progress against those in the same role or department.
The feedback process is customized for each employee, taking into account their strengths and areas for growth. This includes the ability to collect multi-rater feedback from a group of close colleagues, also called 360-degree feedback. The software also offers an employee self-review feature that allows employees to evaluate their own performance before they meet with their manager. This feature empowers employees to bring their own reflections to their review meeting, giving them the opportunity to share their accomplishments and challenges with their managers from their own perspective, leading to a more open and transparent feedback system.
Trakstar includes evaluation templates that are designed to pinpoint critical performance indicators, which you can customize as needed. These templates make the review process faster and more consistent, helping managers provide feedback in a structured and comparable format. The software also assists in aligning employee objectives with that of the organization, making them feel more involved in the company's growth. In addition, Trakstar also supports setting SMART goals, with the option to track and add comments for specific goals to support better data-driven feedback.
Integrations are available with Google Workspace, Okta, and OneLogin.
Deel's platform is focused on helping businesses manage their international workforce, handling everything from hiring global employees to managing contracts, compliance, and payments. Their platform can also help organizations stay on top of their employee performance using their integrated tools for pulse surveys and 1:1 check-ins.
Managers can use Deel's Slack plugin to add more structure to their meetings with direct reports, ensuring employees can add items to their shared agenda as needed. These 1:1's will quickly become a touchpoint of continuous feedback, helping employees and managers address any roadblocks before they become performance blockers. To keep feedback flowing in each direction, Deel's plugin also concludes each 1:1 meeting with a post-meeting survey where employees can share actionable feedback about the meeting for future consideration.
You can also use Deel's plugin to collect employee feedback through surveys, including pre-made options to measure employee engagement and company confidence. Once that data comes back, HR teams can filter the submissions by department or location to uncover any problematic areas that need addressing.
Deel integrates with a handful of popular HR software systems, including Ashby, BambooHR, Expensify, Greenhouse, Hibob, Netsuite, Okta, OneLogin, Quickbooks, SCIM, Slack, Xero, Workday, and Workable. They also have an Open API that supports additional custom integrations as well.
PerformYard’s performance management software offers flexible features for HR, while creating a simplified employee experience for your staff. Their platform gives HR teams the tools they need to build out their performance review strategy, including 360-degree reviews, project-based reviews, custom rating scales, continuous feedback, and cascading goal structures. Meanwhile, employees benefit from a streamlined performance review process focused on effective discussions and delivering quality feedback.
In addition to your annual performance review cycle, PerformYard can also help you run regular check-in meetings, capture continuous feedback, recognize staff achievements, and document employee goals. PerformYard also provides a dedicated customer success manager to each new customer, to help you design an effective performance management cycle that works best for your organization’s needs.
PerformYard integrates with ADP, BambooHR, GSuite, Gusto, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Okta, OneLogin, Slack, Rippling, Paycom, Paylocity, UKG, and Workday.
Primalogik’s employee performance management software includes a wide range of features that foster employee engagement and empower managers and their employees to reach their full potential. Through a combination of performance review assessments, 360-degree feedback, engagement surveys, employee goals and OKRs (objectives and key results), and instant feedback including 1:1 check-ins, Primalogik helps employees gain insight into their individual performance and uncover areas to make small improvements.
Their 360-degree feedback module makes it easy to solicit feedback from multiple sources. Admin users can select their own rating scales for their evaluation questionnaires, and determine the level of anonymity that will be applied to the feedback. Advanced features in this module include the option for managers and admin staff to launch feedback requests about their employees and solicit responses from specific co-workers, automatic reminders to provide feedback by a certain date, and real-time feedback tracking.
Once employee feedback is in the system, Primalogik has several tools to support deep analysis of the data. For example, their system allows managers to compare employees’ self-ratings side-by-side against other respondents' feedback. This helps identify any blind spots between where an employee believes they are, and what their co-workers have suggested.
As well, their Comparison Mode allows admin users to benchmark each employee appraisal and compare them across their workforce — a useful way of identifying their overall top performers or spotting potential company-wide skill gaps.
Primalogik integrates with ADP, BambooHR, Google Workspace, Microsoft Azure, and Okta. Their performance management software is also available in Spanish or French.
Leapsome is an all-in-one people management platform with modules for performance management, learning management, strategic alignment, and employee engagement. Used by companies like Spotify, Mercedes Benz, and Bolt, their software supports a continuous cycle of performance management alongside personalized learning plans that power employee development over time.
Their performance review cycles are fully customizable and easy to set up, and can be scheduled to automatically recur at predetermined timelines (e.g., quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, or even for closing off probationary periods). Key features include 360-degree feedback (including anonymous feedback), expert question templates, skill frameworks, development paths, automations, and powerful analytics. Leapsome also includes OKR software to help manage goals and objectives at the company, team & individual level too, as well as helpful visuals like goal trees.
Leapsome integrates with Active Directory, ADP, BambooHR, GSuite, HiBob, Jira, Microsoft Teams, PayFit, Personio, Rippling, Slack, and others.
Lattice’s people management platform is designed to help organizations develop employees into high performers and with tools to help them set, monitor and achieve their personal and professional goals. In addition to their performance management module, Lattice also offers integrated solutions to manage objectives and key results (OKRs) and goals, employee engagement tools like surveys, pulses and eNPS ratings, and employee growth tools that help staff and their managers develop career growth plans and track skill competencies.
Lattice’s performance management software includes modern features such as continuous performance management feedback loops, 1:1 templates, and 360 degree feedback. This means performance reviews prepared within Lattice incorporate a blend of feedback sources from managers, colleagues, direct reports and the employee themselves, creating a well-rounded profile of how each employee is performing. Lattice also supports project-based reviews too.
Lattice integrates with many commonly used human resource information systems (HRIS), including ADP, BambooHR, Namely, Personio, Rippling, Workday, and Zenefits, as well as other popular software platforms such as Gmail, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Slack and others.
ClearCompany offers an end-to-end talent management solution that links their applicant tracking system (ATS) to their onboarding process, with additional modules for performance management, workforce planning & analytics, and employee engagement. Their software is also mobile-friendly, making it a good choice for teams that don’t work at desks.
Their easy-to-use employee performance review software lets you quickly set up performance review cycles using custom scoring tables, weighted sections, free-form response fields, and custom scheduling automations. You can also use ClearCompany to collect 360-degree feedback, schedule 30-60-90 day reviews for new hires, or conduct competency and role-based reviews.
ClearCompany is best for companies based in the U.S. and Canada.
ClearCompany integrates with 100+ commonly used software tools including Absorb, ADP, BambooHR, Canada SHL, Ceridian, CoAdvantage, eSkill, Gmail, Office 365, Okta, OneLogin, and UKG, as well as many additional tools for recruiting, background checks, and skill assessments too.
Paycor is a complete Human Capital Management (HCM) software. It facilitates several core HR functions, including performance management. Its other capabilities include payroll and benefits management, learning and training management, and employee engagement tracking.
When it comes to managing employee performance, the system offers a variety of tools you can use. First, it has 1-on-1 meeting capabilities for ongoing performance discussions between staff and their manager. It also has a goal setting tool you can use to set employee performance and growth goals that align with company objectives. You can also set up career trajectories and learning and training programs in the platform to help employees grow at your organization.
As for compensation management, you can craft a complete pay structure for your organization in the platform. This helps create clarity and transparency around pay across your company. People will understand how they can develop and get promoted, and the pay increase that will come with that growth.
The software's integrations include other digital workforce tools like HireTech, Emburse Certify, Zillion, Points North, FMLA, Tapcheck, Instant Pay, Sterling, Wageworks, and Ignite. Plans start from $5 per employee per month, with a $99 base fee. A 90-day free trial is available.
Peoplebox is an OKR software with performance management features that are ideal for growing companies. Their software supports continuous feedback through its performance review dashboard, summary reports, employee pulse surveys, and one-on-one meeting tools. Peoplebox was specifically designed to help growing startups tackle performance management, with ease of use in mind.
Peoplebox’s performance management features help HR and managers ensure that employees are performing well and gives them a way to link individual performance to company-wide goals and OKRs. Their system also includes a 360-degree performance review process that asks employees to write reviews for themselves, their managers, and their peers to help organizations collect objective feedback on other people’s performances.
Other features include traditional performance review cycles, review summary reports, and goal-tracking, plus real-time visibility and auto-reminders for managers and employees to keep review cycles running on track.
Integrations are available with a number of tools, including Asana, BambooHR, Google Sheets, Google Workspace, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoho People, and others.
Insperity is an all-in-one HR software solution that offers a range of features including performance management.
One of the standout features of Insperity's performance management system is the ability to create and customize review templates. This allows you to tailor performance reviews to your organization's specific needs and goals. Insperity also makes it easy to set up and track individual employee goals and align them with the organization's strategic objectives.
Another useful feature is the real-time feedback feature that makes it easy for managers and their team members to give and receive feedback throughout the year, not just at review time. This allows managers to provide more targeted coaching and support to employees, which can lead to better performance outcomes.
Insperity integrates with TurboTax, GoodJob, Indeed, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, Adzuna, QuickBooks, Sage Intacct, NetSuite, BambooHR, Salesforce, Taleo, Workday, Zenefits.
Best for developing a growth mindset among employees
Best performance appraisal software with integrated goal-setting and task-tracking tools
- Kallidus Perform
Best for creating feedback surveys using a customizable questionnaire builder
- Performance Pro
Best for evaluating individual competencies
Best for continuous feedback and deep HR analytics
Best for running your entire performance review cycle within Microsoft Teams
Best for integrated modules covering goals & OKRs and employee engagement, plus coaching conversation tools
Best performance management software for small businesses
Best for publicly recognizing top-performing employees with additional rewards
Best performance management software for affordability, with advanced hybrid workplace tools
Selection Criteria For Performance Management Software
I'm happy to explain how I built this top 10 list, in case you were wondering. To start off, I compiled a long list of performance management solutions with positive user ratings. With that in place, I embarked on a meticulous process of comparing all the systems to each other using the different selection criteria below.
I also drew on my previous years of experience organizing my company's performance review process to pinpoint the features that add a lot of value and ensure a smooth and unbiased evaluation process. No two workforce management solutions are the same, so I looked for ones specifically good for performance management.
Here's a summary of the main features I evaluated to create this list:
For any performance management system to land a place in this list, they needed to fulfill the following basic functionalities:
- Either standalone performance management features, or the same functionalities as a module within an HCM, HRIS or HRMS application
- The ability to track and store performance management data over time
- Built-in reporting and analytics capabilities of some kind, to save managers and HR professionals from the hassels of manual data calculations (my biggest pet peeve of all!)
In addition to the core functionalities above, I also assessed the following key features when creating this top 10 list of the best performance management software solutions:
- Continuous feedback mechanisms: This includes a whole host of features, like 1:1 check-in templates, tools to request feedback from colleagues, project-based feedback, or public praise and employee recognition tools. The idea behind all these features is to make feedback a more regular occurrence, instead of saving suggestions up for an annual review.
- 360 degree feedback: This modern element of performance management is designed to solicit feedback from multiple sources—managers, colleagues, direct reports, and the employee themselves—to produce a well-rounded picture of an employee’s performance.
- Goals & OKRs: These add granular focus to an employee’s work performance, giving them specific targets to aim for and measure progress against. They are also a powerful way of building a company culture of high performance since individual objectives are directly linked to top-level organizational goals.
- Strategic alignment tools: These features often go hand-in-hand with goals & OKRs, but strategic alignment tools are an important way to show employees how they’re contributing to the company’s overall success. This is often demonstrated through visual elements such as cascading goals, goal maps, or goal trees that link smaller tasks to big picture objectives.
- Career development plans: Since every employee always has their eyes on their future, career development plans are an important part of performance management since they outline a clear path forward to achieving each individual’s career aspirations.
- Assessment ranking tools: The best performance management systems offer users a variety of assessment tools, such as 9-box matrices, skill tracking frameworks, competency grids or role-based assessment benchmarks.
- Automations: These are features that help companies execute their performance review cycles at scale by automating time-consuming processes like scheduling review dates, sending out reminders or requesting additional feedback.
- Notifications: These help you improve your workflows to ensure no one’s performance review falls through the cracks. With notifications in place, your managers will always know when performance reviews are coming up or overdue. Similarly, your HR team will also be notified whenever system data is updated, so they can keep tabs on all aspects of the process too.
I chose systems with clean, attractive, and intuitive user interfaces that make the performance review process straightforward to follow. To determine this, I paid close attention to the structure of each system's menus and workflows to confirm the ease of use each solution offered.
I selected systems that clearly organize and track different elements of the performance management process. Other user-friendly features I look for include easy-to-understand performance-based visuals like historical charts and comparison graphs. These features make it easier to track an employee's performance over time at a glance.
I picked systems that integrated directly with human resources information systems (HRIS) or other similar platforms (or are HRIS systems themselves). This reduces the need to manually transfer data from one system to another, saving a lot of precious time. Another important integration to keep an eye out for are compensation management systems. That's because top performance and proper compensation should always go hand-in-hand.
Value for Price
I always prefer software with transparent pricing, so you can forecast your costs before requesting a demo or free trial. However, with some software systems, those details are only available upon request.
Performance Management Software Key Trends for 2024
Performance management looks pretty different today than it did a few years ago. More and more, organizations are opting to implement continuous performance discussions in place of annual reviews, and holistic 360-feedback forms in replace of top-down evaluations. And the software that runs these performance management tasks is keeping pace!
Today's performance management software not only streamlines performance evaluations but also directly impacts employee engagement, retention, and development. Understanding how these software solutions are evolving can significantly enhance the effectiveness of talent management strategies. With that in mind, here are some emerging trends cropping up in these platforms:
Continuous Performance Management
While it's not a brand-new concept, continuous performance management continues to become a leading framework for software solutions. These platforms are swapping out annual review structures for ongoing feedback models, and implementing additional tools like:
- Goal Tracking: Provides clear, measurable objectives, ensuring employees are aligned with company goals.
- Development Plans: Facilitates personalized employee growth paths, enhancing skill development.
- Skills Mapping: Spots skills overlaps and gaps across teams, departments, and the organization, facilitating cross-functional development and succession planning.
These tools address the need for constant development and performance improvement. They ensure that employees are consistently aligned with organizational goals and are continuously developing their skills.
In collaborative work environments where teamwork and cross-functional projects are common, gathering insights from peers is integral for effectively evaluating employee performance—not to mention eliminating bias. Colleagues who collaborate together can provide performance feedback on their peers that managers and leaders wouldn't otherwise know about!
360 feedback tools offer a more comprehensive view of an employee's performance and contributions. This leads to...
- Holistic Performance Insights: Encourages a fuller understanding of an employee’s impact, beyond the perspective of just managers.
- Increased Engagement: Fosters a culture of open communication and collaboration, leading to higher employee engagement.
- Empowered Employees: Gives employees a voice in the performance management process, enhancing their sense of ownership and responsibility.
This trend is crucial as it democratizes the feedback process, making it more inclusive and representative of an employee's overall contributions. By enabling employees to receive feedback from their peers, organizations can foster a more inclusive and transparent culture. This approach not only boosts engagement but also provides valuable insights for personal and professional development, directly contributing to the growth and retention of talent within an organization.
These trends in employee performance management software reflect a broader shift towards more holistic, data-driven, and personalized approaches to managing and supporting employees. Incorporating these trends into your performance management strategy can significantly enhance employee engagement, performance, and retention.
How does performance management software work?
Performance management software helps managers by adding structure to the traditional performance review process. They automate the process of tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) or other specific metrics according to each team member’s job description. When set up effectively, these powerful HR tools track these items automatically and compile the final results into performance reports on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis.
Performance reviews are an essential component of talent management, and the software is a modern solution for running performance review cycles successfully. They can also handle basic functions like scheduling, tracking, and data analysis, and incorporate modern elements like 360-degree feedback and continuous feedback loops.
What are the goals of performance management software?
The end goal of performance management software is to both help employees document their wins and successes and uncover any areas where they could potentially improve. Many of these systems also integrate with other HR solutions for skill building, learning & development, and compensation. In addition, performance management software can also help organizations flag their top performers with the most potential for succession planning purposes.
Performance management software also helps to ignite employee productivity and ensure employees are aligned with their company’s organizational goals. That’s why it’s common to find goal & OKR (objectives and key results) tracking features integrated within many performance management software solutions. Systems with these additional features help managers track team goals as well as individual goals, to ensure all parties are striving for the same end results.
If you’re interested in learning how high-performing companies capitalize on the OKR framework, see What are OKRs and How Can You Use Them.
Why is performance management important?
The research is clear: employees want feedback! In fact, 65% of employees desire more feedback than they’re already receiving.
Regular performance-based feedback can improve your employee’s engagement and reduce your employee turnover rate. Recent research has shown that organizations that provide regular employee feedback have a 14.9% lower turnover rate than organizations that don’t provide regular feedback.
Similarly, employees who receive regular feedback are motivated to work harder, whereas those who don’t are actively disengaged from their work. Consider these stats from the same study:
- 69% of employees admit they would work harder if their efforts were recognized through feedback.
- 98% of employees disengage from their roles when receiving little or no feedback!
With that in mind, it certainly makes a strong case for prioritizing performance management within your organization. Unless, of course, you want an unengaged and underperforming workforce!
Still not convinced? Take a look at Why is Performance Management Important? (+ Tactical Tips) for even more details.
What is continuous feedback?
Continuous feedback is a component of modern performance management that gives managers and employees opportunities to give and receive feedback regularly. This can be accomplished in many ways, but often includes daily or weekly feedback cycles through check-ins or 1:1 meetings.
Most performance management software includes templates for providing this type of continuous feedback, with prompts automatically rolled out so nothing slips through the cracks. The feedback is also recorded in the system, making it easy to refer back to during a more formal annual performance review too.
Research has shown the clear benefits of continuous performance feedback. Organizations that use a continuous feedback model outperformed their competition by 24%. Similarly, companies who use continuous feedback models are 39% better at attracting top talent, and 44% better at retention.
For more on this topic, see Continuous Performance Management: Why + How To Do It.
Other Performance Management Resources
If you made it this far, I'm guessing you're hoping to overhaul your performance management processes from the ground up. Luckily for you, we have a lot more resources to get you going!
Here are some links to our best performance management resources aside from our software recommendations:
- Why Is Performance Management Important? (+ Tactical Tips)
- How to Conduct a Better Performance Review
- Continuous Performance Management: Why & How To Do It
- 3 Ways to Optimize Performance Management in Your Org
- Top 7 Techniques for Effective Performance Management
- How to Choose the Right Performance Management System for You
- 5 Powerful Performance Review Questions to Tap Your Team’s Potential
- 54 Essential Performance Review Phrases and Best Practices
- 5 Simple Steps to Manage an Underperforming Employee
Other Related Software Reviews
If you're looking for another type of performance-related software, look no further. Here are some links to other related lists I've already created for you:
- Performance Appraisal Software
- Performance Management Tools
- Talent Management Software
- 360-Degree Feedback Software
- Employee Experience Software for Engagement & Performance
- Succession Planning Software to Develop Future Leaders
- Goal Setting Software for Keeping Teams on Track
- Productivity Tracking Software for Hybrid Teams
I hope this article explained the clear benefits of performance management software and why it's so important. Using a system like this will take the stress of running a performance review cycle off of your shoulders. It will also create more transparency around how you're evaluating your staff, and motivate them to strive for the goals and achievements that matter the most in your organization.
Lastly, before you go, I please consider subscribing to our People Managing People newsletter too. You’ll gain access to our latest articles covering a whole range of useful HR-related topics, podcasts, and tools.