Are employee reviews really enough?

According to HR expert Susan M. Heathfeld, they’re not. And I agree! Although automating employee appraisals can make HR’s life a lot easier, the truth is there is a lot more to it than that. What your organization really needs is a complete performance and talent management process to work alongside the traditional employee appraisal. In other words, a holistic solution or as Healthfeld puts it, a system.

Long gone are the days (or at least, one can only hope) where the words ‘performance management’ are associated solely with an annual review.  Today’s employees want more. They want to feel valued. They want to learn and grow with an organization. This is where the development plan comes into play.

Once your company has executed a performance review process and you have some data under your belt, the next steps would be to examine and deliver the results (both positive and negative) to your employees on an individual basis. Before doing so, however, you’ll want to nail down a way to put forth effective development plans so that your employees live long and prosper (within the organization, that is).

The development plan is essentially the “follow-up” or “follow-through” to the review process. It’s a crucial part of the system, and should not be taken lightly.

At a high-level, a successful employee development plan can be packaged up into four key steps:

  1. Identify areas of improvement
  2. Define, set and manage goals
  3. Establish a plan of action
  4. Follow-up and re-assess

If you’re already utilizing some sort of automated appraisal solution, then identifying areas of improvement should be a piece of cake. An automated application will allow you to effortlessly analyze your performance review data with reporting and analysis features (refer to my blog on the benefits of effective reporting), hence making it simple to spot areas of strength and weakness.

An automated solution will also make it easy for you to define, set-up and manage employee goals. In the case of a development plan, it’s imperative that managers sit down and work out personal goals with each employee. These goals should be relevant to any issues they may be having or weak points they need to improve on. In addition, these goals should be documented in one central location so that the employees can refer back to them throughout the year to keep them fresh and top of mind.

Establishing a plan of action can include anything that will help employees strive to obtain their goals. Take, for example, training. According to a recent article, employee performance training not only increases business productivity, but it boosts employee confidence and morale. Putting together a targeted training or education plan is another way to achieve goals and facilitate the overall development plan.

The follow-up is quite possibly the most fundamental step in the triumph of any development plan. If a manager does not take the time to follow up with their employees on how they are doing, then your development plan can quickly fall to pieces and become completely redundant. It’s important to “check-in” every once in a while, and closely monitor progress and how your employees are getting on.

What are some of the key elements you think make or break a development plan?

Book your demo


The Benefits of Effective Reporting and AnalysisIn last week’s blog, we took a look at five key things to look for in an automated solution, including the ability to execute flexible reports and analysis.

This week I’d like to elaborate on said capabilities because let’s face it; it’s next to impossible to do any sort of organized and consistent reporting with a manual process, and if you can, it’s likely to be time-consuming and ineffective!

Not to sound like a broken record but if you can’t easily report on results then why bother? Ask yourself this: when it comes down to crunch time and management wants to see results from this year’s appraisal process, and fast, what do you do?

Is that data readily available at your fingertips? Or do you have to go looking for it through a mound of paperwork? Do you dedicate multiple resources to pull it together and create the reports manually? That could days or even weeks!

An automated solution not only takes the stress and hassle out of this crucial step in the appraisal process, it also gives you the ability to effectively report and analyze your employee data both during and post-review time. Consider the following.


When it comes down to reporting and analysis, an automated system should:

• Come loaded with a selection of pre-defined, web-based reports as well as the ability to create flexible, ad hoc reports. Depending on the needs of your organization, you should have the option to select from a list or set-up your own reports in a way that is valuable to your business.
• Give you access to real-time reports that allow you to pull up-to-the-minute results and keep management informed on where people are in the process at all times (see example below).
• Allow you to save and export your reports in a variety of different formats (.pdf, excel, etc).
• Allow end users to automatically receive reports on a scheduled basis via email


Reporting and analysis can help you determine:

• Which managers have a tendency to rate either too high or too low
• Who your top performers and high potentials are
• How many people are contributing to the overall goals of the organization
• What they’re doing as individuals to support those goals
• Who is above and below average in terms of performance
• Results between divisions, departments and positions
• Year over year employee performance trends and rating changes

Overall, the power to report on performance review data will give you greater insight into your talent pool and the information you need to better your business, and help run a smoother, tighter ship!

For more information on analytical reporting click here.