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Performance Management Buyer’s Guide

Table of Contents


Performance management is at the core of your company’s functionality. It keeps everything on-target and running efficiently to harness the talents of your workforce and transform them into growth and results. In short, here’s why why we put together this performance management buyer’s guide:

Your workforce is unique, so your performance management needs are, too.

This performance management buyers’s guide is designed to help you find the best solution for your company as you assess the available options. We’ll share sample questions and red flags for the following areas: 

  • Business/solution fit
  • Features and tools
  • Integrations and support

Ready? Let’s jump in!


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Questions to ask performance management vendors

Business solution/fit: Vendor philosophy

💡 Why it matters

Performance management has undergone a tremendous shift over the last decade. A modern approach requires a very different type of technology platform, one that facilitates a feedback-forward, transparent, and continuous performance management strategy.

Your technology provider should see the value in your approach and help you uncover the best way to carry out your program. This starts at the very beginning, with having a shared understanding of how the program will impact your organization.

❓ Sample questions to ask

  • What is your corporate philosophy regarding performance management?
  • What do you see as the three most important characteristics of performance management?
  • How does your own internal performance management program work?

🚩 Red flag to watch out for 🚩

The vendor has strikingly different performance management priorities than you do, and doesn’t seem open to discussing yours.


Business solution/fit: Strategic value

💡 Why it matters

To elevate your performance management program so it becomes a competitive advantage, you need a vendor who will think strategically and offer you ideas to make your processes better over time.

❓ Sample questions to ask

  • How does your technology incorporate the latest research into its functionality?
  • Does your account team regularly and proactively share best practices?
  • In what ways do you enable your customers to interact and learn from each other?

🚩 Red flag to watch out for 🚩

Your vendor agrees with everything you say, but doesn’t offer any meaningful feedback.


Business solution/fit: Company background

💡 Why it matters

Because HR processes have such an impact on your employees and company culture, it’s important to work with a business you can trust and connect with on a higher level.

The tl;dr: You should be looking for a partner, not just a technology provider, who you can count on to be with you for the long haul.

❓ Sample questions to ask

  • What are your short- and long-term strategic objectives?
  • What makes you stand apart from your competitors?
  • How many customers do you have and what is their average tenure?

🚩 Red flag to watch out for 🚩

If the vendor has customers with short tenures, it could mean that they don’t have a great product or their technology is too new to be considered proven.


Business solution/fit: Implementation and support

💡 Why it matters

Getting the right program for your company up and running is no small feat. It’s critical that both you and your technology partner are on the same page from the get-go and know what to expect from each other every step of the way.

❓ Sample questions to ask

  • How does your implementation process facilitate change management?
  • How does your organization measure, monitor, and ensure customer satisfaction?
  • What type of reports and what level of communication can we expect from you?

🚩 Red flag to watch out for 🚩

The vendor is vague about their implementation and onboarding procedures, and fails to set clear expectations.


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Questions to ask performance management vendors about features and capabilities

Goals & OKRs

💡 Why it matters

The importance of goals cannot be overstated. After all, they serve as a starting point for employee growth and a mile marker for performance.

Your technology system should enhance the goal process for employees, managers, and executives. It must be easy for employees to set and modify goals in real time, understand how their goals align to corporate objectives and follow the progress of their peers’ goals.

❓ Sample questions to ask

  • How many steps does it take for an employee to set and modify a goal in real time?
  • What visibility do employees have into corporate objectives, peer goals, and team goal progress?
  • What is the process by which HR executives can track company, department, and individual goal progress over time?

🚩 Red flag to watch out for 🚩

The goal process doesn’t seem intuitive or transparent.


Conversations (1-on-1s, check-ins, and performance reviews)

💡 Why it matters

Coaching and 1-on-1 conversations are at the center of a modern performance management approach. The flexibility of your technology tool is key in enabling a coaching-centric organization, as no two manager-employee relationships are alike.

❓ Sample questions to ask

  • Describe the process for requesting a check-in.
  • Can managers access past check-in notes in real time before performance reviews?
  • Share some successful ways other customers have used check-ins to motivate employees and improve performance.

🚩 Red flag to watch out for 🚩

The process for requesting a check-in seems complicated or limiting — or is nonexistent.


Feedback

💡 Why it matters

A strong feedback culture promotes an environment of communication, collaboration, and innovation. But it’s only valuable when employees and managers are actively engaged, and much of that depends on how easy and intuitive the technology platform is.

❓ Sample questions to ask

  • Describe the process for requesting feedback in your platform.
  • Is feedback integrated with goals and check-ins in your platform? How?
  • How does your platform enable and incentivize the giving and requesting of feedback?

🚩 Red flag to watch out for 🚩

The process for giving or requesting feedback is clunky, unintuitive, or poorly integrated with the other platform features.


Incentives and gamification

💡 Why it matters

A platform is only as effective as its adoption rate! Ask your vendor what options they have to drive desired employee behaviors and get the most out of their platform.

Look for a simple, appealing system that allows employees to earn points, badges, or other incentives for activities like completing goals, giving and requesting feedback, staying healthy, completing surveys, and more.

❓ Sample questions to ask

  • Do you offer any incentives, behavior boosts, or other gamification?
  • Describe the process for creating an incentive for employees who complete safety training.
  • Describe the process for the employee to redeem that incentive.
  • How do your incentives support adoption of your platform?

🚩 Red flag to watch out for 🚩

No incentives feature or other capability connecting the performance management system and company initiatives.


Insights & reporting

💡 Why it matters

You can’t measure what you can’t track. You’re investing in your performance management system — it’s critical to know how and where you’re moving the needle.

Look for admin dashboards that allow for easy tracking and actionable insights on who’s performing well and who’s lagging — plus, who’s using the program, and how.

❓ Sample questions to ask

  • What reporting capabilities are available in your system?
  • Does your platform allow admins to share reports across the company?
  • What sort of visualization of data and insights does your platform offer?
  • How do insights from different features work together?
  • How can a customer track overall usage of the platform?

🚩 Red flag to watch out for 🚩

The performance management solution offers little to no reporting or analytics. Reporting features may lack data visualization, shareability, or customization options.


Configurability

💡 Why it matters

Your performance management platform should fit your company — not the other way around. Your company’s culture and needs are unique. So make sure you can customize your platform accordingly.

Look for the a platform that’s easy for users to navigate, and the ability to make that platform your own — and reflect your company culture, brand, language, and values.

❓ Sample questions to ask

  • What options exist to change the platform visually (colors, logo, etc) to reflect our company’s visual brand?
  • What options exist to change the names of specific features or elements in the platform?
  • Does your platform allow for modular addition of features and functionality?

🚩 Red flag to watch out for 🚩

No customization options available.


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Questions to ask performance management vendors about integrations and security

Integrations

💡 Why it matters

You’ve invested in your existing solutions already (and your employees are comfortable using them). Your new tool should work with and empower your existing ones, rather than conflict and slow things down.

❓ Sample questions to ask

  • What other products does your technology integrate with?
  • Which integrations do you plan to add in the future?
  • Which data is important for your company to see across your technology stack?
  • How does your company select its API integrations?
  • How do you keep your customers’ information secure?

🚩 Red flag to watch out for 🚩

The vendor offers few or no integrations, and offers no plan to add more.


Security & business continuity

💡 Why it matters

In today’s world, nothing is guaranteed. All companies need to be prepared for any type of emergency, especially technology vendors responsible for your company’s important people data.

❓ Sample questions to ask

  • What is your formal risk assessment process to identify and manage production expectations and product delivery?
  • What are your company’s crisis communications plans?
  • Are your business continuity and disaster recovery programs subject to regular audits to ensure compliance with industry leading practice?

🚩 Red flag to watch out for 🚩

You don’t feel 100% confident handing over your data.


Kazoo for continuous performance management

We hope this performance management buyers guide has helped equip you to select the performance management program that’s right for your company. At Kazoo, we’re serious about building world-class employee experiences — for everyone. Ready to join us?

Because at Kazoo, we’re passionate about bringing together all the tools you need to make work work better for everyone. That’s why the Kazoo Employee Experience Platform brings performance management and recognition and rewards — including Goals, Feedback, Conversations, Recognition, Incentives, and more — into one simple, easy-to-use platform.

If you’re ready to align, connect, and engage your workplace, check out our Kazoo overview. Or, schedule a personalized demo today.

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