Performance management is the process of involving employees in accomplishing your organisation’s mission and goals, helping them to set and achieve their own goals for the business, and see how they can reach personal growth as part of this.

Measurement and tracking are a part of how most businesses are managed: agreeing and setting sales targets and budgets, market share, Client satisfaction – and many other areas that tell the Business Owners how things are going against the plan.  So it should come as no surprise that there needs to be a programme that measures the Performance of Employees.

What Type of Performance Management system do SMEs need?

Performance Management Programmes align the objectives and plans of the Business with the month-to-month focus of its Managers, and what its Employees do every working day.

There are plenty of standalone Performance Management  software solutions available. Small and medium sized businesses however, need an integrated solution that links to and draws from the other HR data that is held centrally. In particular, tie-ins to training for certification and skills advancement so that the often mission-critical expiry and renewal dates aren’t missed.


  • Your employees represent a very significant financial commitment
  • There is a need to quantify the return you get on your investment and ensure that everyone is contributing to the success of the business
  • It is vital that the workforce are all aligned with the Company objectives and moving in the same direction at the same time

Performance Management Programmes align the objectives and plans of the Business with the month-to-month focus of its Managers, and what its Employees do every working day.


A robust performance management system:

  • Aligns the Company’s objectives with the performance and output of Employees
  • Sets and monitors goals – for the Company and the Individual Employee
  • Helps the business clarify and reach its goals more quickly
  • Identification of Skills Gaps and Training Needs
  • Ensures productivity and value for the Company’s investment in staff salaries and related overheads
  • Creates a developmental path for Employees
  • Gives visibility on Performance Levels across the Business
  • Creates and supports the culture in which Employees are always working on the right tasks and at the right time
  • Alignment of Teams with a common purpose
  • Provides a highly effective Management Tool for Managers
  • Structures and Professionalises already motivated Managers and Teams


  • Poor service
  • Poor communication
  • Reduced Management confidence
  • Less direction and support for employer
  • Staff turnover
  • Loss of good people

If your business is suffering from some of these issues, then it may be because there is no Performance Management System in place.

What are the main features and capabilities of good Performance Management Software?

  1. Goals – Organisation, department and personal
  2. Feedback and Tracking
  3. Performance review process
  4. Flexible options


Of these four items, the first three are core and essential to a good software system.

  1. Goals

The software needs to have some way for managers and employees to set long- and short-term goals, track those goals. It should have a repository to maintain overall organisational goals so all other goals and objectives are congruent.


  1. Feedback and Tracking

The ability to record feedback and track goals is central to the reason Performance Management Softweare systems are introduced. They should be capable of providing and recording manager feedback, and document any coaching provided (as well as how the employee responded to it).


The feedback and tracking system needs a high degree of flexibility built-in.  It needs to be able to cater for companies with a casual culture might want by a simple job-talk feature so that both manager and employee can maintain log of ongoing coaching and goal setting conversations. On the other hand, a more formal process, for example in highly regulated environments, might be required. This will need a more structured process involving specific documents and records, different levels of approval, and even numeric scoring.

  1. Performance review process

There are plenty of SMEs that are happy with one or two evaluation forms completed by employee and their manager which can then be stored for future analysis (in a GDPR compliant fashion of course). Equally, some businesses might want to use this data more frequently. This might necessitate a smart dashboard view of a given employee’s performance.  The system might give information and feedback on job delivery quality, skills assessments, positive and negative feedback, and performance versus goals or KPIs.


All the processes should be aligned to the review process, governed by the company’s Policies and Procedures. The software can automate much of the process either through email, messaging or document publishing.


Integrating the systems

For managers that have experience of Performance Management in big companies with traditional processes, they will be familiar with the annual chore of completing the process. The process was probably overseen by an unseen HR department that “took it all into account”.

These type of exercises are not practical or helpful for SMEs. An agile and responsive organisation needs a process and software to match their outlook. The Performance Management Software should be an effective tool for everyday management providing a way to track and document employee/manager communications. This isn’t meant to turn an employee’s work life into a police state. Rather, it’s designed to foster a culture that focusses on KPI ad goal achievement and promotes excellence.


The secret is to have a process and supporting system that enhance and improve a manager’s day-to-day workflow and helps employees reach peak performance.

That’s why HR Duo are focussed on usability and agility rather than just acting as a repository for annual metrics (if they even exist). Of course, a software system, no matter how good, is useless without a robust and effective system of management and accountability. To manage people, you need other people and the software should support the person. Here at HR Duo, we specialise in helping people develop policies and procedures that are practical and useful.

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