6 of the Best Performance Management Tools

Two people exchanging a high five in a virtual meeting, Frankli performance management and engagement software

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If we’re going to adapt to global shifts in the way we work, our approach to performance management needs to evolve, and the best way to manage this change is through digital performance management tools. After decades of research on the topic, we now know that traditional performance management, the kind that sees leaders analyse employee performance once a year through annual reviews, is largely ineffective, and that continuous performance management, the kind that relies on regular check-ins between managers and their people, is far more impactful on the company’s success (1).

People-centric performance management goes a step further, inviting employees to take ownership of their goals, and supporting them to do their best work through 360 degree feedback and career development.

It’s the style of performance management that we’re passionate about at Frankli, which is why we designed a platform to help teams master it.

Let’s be honest - effective performance management is hard work. Employing digital tools to support the daily, weekly and monthly rituals that help you create meaningful change across your teams just makes sense. Today, we’re sharing 6 performance management tools that we consider essential (including 2 free employee performance management tools!), plus a handy checklist to help you choose which ones are the best fit for your company. 

But first, let’s get an obvious question out of the way...

What are Performance Management Tools?

Simply put, performance management tools are software applications that help leaders improve performance at an organisational, team and/or individual level. They typically help leaders gather data and insights on how their teams are performing, which they can then use to inform key business decisions. In recent years, people-centric performance management tools, sometimes called continuous performance management tools, have become the gold standard. This kind of tool helps leaders enhance company performance by empowering individual employees to better understand and improve their own performance. When used correctly, these tools can help transform productivity, efficiency, employee engagement and even profitability. They’re also particularly useful for performance management for remote workers.

Frankli offers multiple performance management tools in one platform

6 of the Best Employee Performance Management Tools for Leaders, Managers and HR Pros:

1. Goal-Setting and Tracking Tools

Research tells us that when we create a goal, we’ve got a 10% chance of achieving it. When we plan our steps to achieving the goal through a framework like OKRs (objectives and key results), this rises to 50%, and when we make a commitment to someone like a manager or group of teammates, it rises again to 65% (2). In short, everyone on your teams can benefit from a shared digital space for setting and tracking goals. 

The best digital goal-setting and tracking tools on the market help employees chart a course for success by splitting large objectives into manageable steps, so they can easily measure their own contribution to the team and company’s success. They give everyone on the team visibility of company goals, and they integrate goals into daily conversations, so they’re always top of mind.

Useful features to look for: 

  • A step-by-step goal creation process
  • Objectives and Key Results in line with OKR framework
  • Tasks or To-Dos to measure smaller initiatives that help move goals forward
  • Goal alignment across the company
  • Visibility of personal, team and company goals for everyone
  • Goal progress bars for easy visualisation
  • Sample goal templates with options for different departments and roles
  • Team and company-wide data reporting

See how we do this in Frankli.

2. 360 Degree Feedback Tools

A healthy feedback culture can transform productivity, performance and employee engagement, but building one is easier said than done. Constructive feedback is a sticking point for a lot of people - some employees and managers find it so daunting that they don’t share it at all. 

Feedback tools can help take the sting out of constructive feedback by giving team members a purpose-built channel in which to exchange it and guidelines for how to structure it. The results speak for themselves - in one study, 70% of employees said they were more likely to share concerns through a digital feedback platform (3). 360 Degree Feedback tools can help improve the frequency and efficacy of praise, too, which is particularly useful for managing performance of remote employees.

Useful features to look for: 

  • Digital channel for giving, receiving and requesting prompted and unprompted feedback
  • Digital channel for praise and recognition
  • Digital channel for idea sharing
  • Manager access to team feedback history

See how we do this in Frankli - it’s free!

3. Performance Review Tools

For a practice that has such enormous potential to impact a company’s success, performance reviews get a bad rap. Employees dread them, and managers and HR pros dread the work involved in organising them. But both of these problems can potentially be solved by running your performance reviews through a software application. 

The very best performance management tools automate most of the admin associated with running reviews, and help teams seamlessly transition to a continuous performance review model that’s far less intimidating and far more effective.

Useful features to look for: 

  • Automated review scheduling
  • Customisable reviews
  • Self-reflection, manager-led, peer and upward reviews
  • Review question templates
  • Reporting on goals, feedback and career development metrics within the review space
  • Team and company-wide data reporting

See how we do this in Frankli.

Get 6 performance management tools in 1 people-centric platform

4. One-on-One Meeting Tools

Research tells us that we have a 95% chance of reaching our goals if we commit to a regular accountability check-in with someone (2), which is just one of the reasons why regular, focused conversations around performance are critical to our success. They also help build strong relationships between managers and employees, provide an ideal opportunity for exchanging ideas and feedback, and provide a low-pressure environment in which to raise issues. 

Most leaders and managers understand the benefits of regular one-on-ones, but they aren’t always following through on them - almost 30% of all one-on-one meetings are cancelled (4). There’s also a huge risk of wasting this valuable time by veering away from the agenda, neglecting to exchange constructive feedback, or using the meeting to exchange status updates. Automating one-to-one meetings using a performance management tool helps to ensure these conversations are consistently taking place. And having a digital space for one-on-one meetings, with clear agendas and relevant data reporting, can quickly improve the quality of these conversations.

Useful features to look for: 

  • Automated meeting scheduling
  • Talking point templates with sample questions for multiple topics
  • Note and document sharing and saving
  • Action points, including deadline reminders
  • Reporting on goals, feedback and career development metrics within the one-on-one space
  • Team and company-wide data reporting

See how we do this in Frankli - it’s free!

5. Employee Survey Tools

Like reviews, surveys are incredibly useful in helping us identify opportunities for improvement, but, given how time-consuming they can be, it’s not surprising that they’re often neglected. Running them through a software platform removes the administrative burden from managers and HR pros, and the best survey tools can help us craft more effective surveys through templates and sample question banks.

Most importantly, employee performance tools help scaling companies hear and understand their employees, no matter how large their teams are. 

Useful features to look for: 

  • Survey automation
  • Survey templates including eNPS, job satisfaction, etc.
  • Custom surveys
  • Sample question bank
  • Multiple question types, including multiple choice, Likert scale, etcl.
  • Company-wide data reporting

See how we do this in Frankli.

6. Career Development Tools

According to research by McKinsey and Company, lack of career development is the number one reason why employees leave their jobs, beating compensation and flexibility to the top spot (5). Clearly, this is something leadership teams need to prioritise if they want to retain their top people, and, ultimately, meet company goals.

Digitising the career development journey gives employees a clear roadmap for their future, while supports like coaching and mentoring programs can help them get there faster. This not only works to keep top talent in the company, it also boosts employee engagement and satisfaction.

Useful features to look for: 

  • Digital programs to connect people for coaching and mentoring
  • Competencies aligned to each role
  • Career pathways with templates for different roles

See how we do this in Frankli (Career pathways coming soon!)

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How do I Choose a Performance Management Tool? A Handy Checklist

There are lots of different types of performance management tools on the market, and some digital performance platforms even offer multiple tools in one piece of software. These types of platforms can be really powerful, particularly when the tools are set up to support each other. For example, in Frankli, managers can automatically access data from the Goals and Feedback tools during 1:1 Meetings, inspiring more focused and meaningful conversations around performance. 

Here, we’ll share a step-by-step guide for choosing a performance management tool;

1. Identify the tools that are most important for you and your teams. Think about where you want to see improvement. Are you looking to improve productivity by a couple of %? Then a goal management tool might be top of your list. Hoping to bring about major changes across performance and engagement? Then you’ll also need tools for Feedback and 1:1 Meetings.

2. Start by researching the 1 - 3 tools that you consider most important.

3. Compile a shortlist of platforms offering these tools.

4. Review the shortlist, asking the following questions; 

  • Does the platform offer all of the tools I’m looking for?
  • What additional tools does the platform offer? Will these be useful for my teams now, or in the future?
  • Do the tools integrate with each other?
  • How does the platform report and present data? 
  • Does the platform offer any customer support or training?
  • How easy is the platform to navigate and use?
  • Can the platform integrate with relevant platforms that we’re already using, e.g. Slack, Google Calendar, a HRIS system
  • Does the platform align with our company values?
  • What’s the cost of this tool? Does it fit our budget?

5. From here, you should be able to identify a couple of front runners.

6. Book a product demo, so you can see the platform in greater detail and ask questions.

7. Set a deadline for making a final decision (and stick to it!)

Frankli seamlessly integrates all 6 of these performance management tools in one powerful, people-centric platform. Find out how.

‍60-Second Version: 6 of the Best Employee Performance Management Tools

1. Goal-Setting and Tracking Tools

We increase our chances of achieving a goal by 40% when we plan our steps, and a further 15% when we make a commitment to someone like a manager. The best digital goal-setting and tracking tools help employees chart a course for success by splitting large objectives into manageable steps, and provide visibility of goal progress, so it’s always top of mind.

See how we do this in Frankli.

2. 360 Degree Feedback Tools

Digital feedback tools can help increase the quality and frequency of praise and constructive feedback by giving team members a purpose-built channel in which to exchange it and guidelines for how to structure it. The results speak for themselves - in one study, 70% of employees said they were more likely to share concerns through a digital feedback platform (3). 

See how we do this in Frankli - it’s free!

3. Performance Review Tools

The very best performance management tools automate most of the admin associated with running reviews, and help teams seamlessly transition to a continuous performance review model that’s far less intimidating and far more effective than the ones they’re used to.

See how we do this in Frankli.

4. One-on-One Meeting Tools

Research tells us that we have a 95% chance of reaching our goals if we commit to a regular accountability check-in with someone (2), which is just one of the reasons why focused conversations around performance are critical to our success. Automating one-to-one meetings helps to ensure these conversations are consistently taking place, while relevant data reporting can quickly improve the quality of these conversations.

See how we do this in Frankli - it’s free!

5. Employee Survey Tools

Running surveys through a software platform removes the administrative burden from managers and HR pros, and helps us craft more effective surveys through templates and sample question banks. Most importantly, these tools help scaling companies understand their employees, no matter how large their teams are. 

See how we do this in Frankli.

6. Career Development Tools

Reseach tells us that lack of career development is the number one reason why employees leave their jobs (5). Digitising the career development journey gives employees a clear roadmap for their future, while supports like coaching and mentoring programs can help them get there faster. 

See how we do this in Frankli (Career pathways coming soon!)

1. Harvard Business Review, Reinventing Performance Management. 2. The ASTD Handbook of Measuring and Evaluating Training. 3. Apollo Technical, 11 Remarkable Workplace Communication Statistics to Know in (2022). 4. Reclaim Ai, 2021 Productivity Trends Report. 5. McKinsey and Company, The Great Attrition is making hiring harder. Are you searching the right talent pools?

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