John Smith, the Director, Enterprise Business Solutions here at emPerform, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.

In the episode, Smith shares his insight on performance standardization, the recency effect, and the benefits of automated performance management.


Below are five biggest takeaways from the conversation.

1. The size of a company affects how it experiences HR software.

In smaller size organizations, people know each other a little better and communication can be a little bit softer. In larger organizations, it tends to be a much more structured, almost scientific-like process. Usually larger organizations have what we call anniversary-style reviews going on, and actually that can happen in the smaller ones as well, but usually that means reviews happen all the time. Every day somebody is in reviews. So the big organizations have a lot more structure around them, there’s a lot more to think about, and there are a lot more groups to impact.


2. Performance management data provides insight to employee trends and can improve workflow processes.

Analyzing the data is one of the biggest benefits of automating a performance management solution. Because if you step back and look at it, all organizations are striving to do that. For most organizations, if you look at their financial statement, the biggest cost they have on it is the cost of people’s salaries and benefits related to people. So we need tools to measure the performance that we’re getting from that investment in our people.

The automation of the solution means that we can extrapolate trends, we can look at performance reviews year over year. More importantly, if we think about it as a development opportunity, we can look for gaps. What are the gaps, and what kinds of things can we do to help them through that, and help people improve?

So all of those benefits come out of it but there is whole bunch of reporting and analytics we put around it to make sure that we are getting the right information out of it, to help people make decisions and understand the talent profile in the organization.


3. Reviews once a year don’t cut it anymore.

The biggest trend that’s seen in the last decade basically comes in two forms. The first one, and the one that is the newest, and the one getting a lot of attention, is what’s called Continuous Year-Round Feedback. Basically what it means is that getting together with your manager to talk about performance once a year just isn’t enough.

We’ve got some tools built-in for this. At emPerform, we have something called tag, where it allows us to give feedback to anybody we worked with at any time. It’s almost like giving high fives. Let them get recognized for that, and that tag can actually make it into their appraisal as a comment from a peer. So it’s almost like a soft 360-degree review, in a way. But really, it’s all about giving feedback as it happens, capturing the observation as you see it.


4. The recency effect plagues most performance reviews.

The big benefit with Continuous Year-Round Feedback is that it overcomes one of the biggest problems with performance management. From the manager’s point-of-view, there is something called the recency effect. It means managers often only remember what happened in the last six or eight weeks. So this idea of continuous feedback, notes during the year, helps us remember key events and observations at that point in time.


5. The 360-degree review is on the rise again.

We’re seeing a lot of interest in peer review and 360-degree feedback a lot. It seems to go in phases. A while ago, it was maybe not as popular as it is today, but it’s back. It’s the idea that lets us put more voices into the process so we get a well-rounded perspective on the employee’s performance.

The best examples of the 360 or the peer reviews we’ve seen are when the gaps point out development opportunities. So if it comes back that there’s some gaps that are sighted, it’s good because we use it as a positive way to plan for development.

This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Josh Bland. Josh Bland is a Digital Marketing Specialist podcasting about technology, business, and marketing at TechnologyAdvice. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Learn more about ongoing performance management and 360-degree feedback from emPerform: watch the tour