Employee appraisals aim to provide employees with feedback about performance, but also create a more engaged high-performance company culture.
While they are a common practice, managing the appraisal process can be a hassle. If you are tired of ineffective reviews, drowning in paperwork, and juggling scheduling conflicts, an employee appraisal platform can help.
Our guide will walk you through everything you need to know to choose the right platform for your organization.
What is employee appraisal software?
Employee appraisal software is a platform designed to track and improve the employee appraisal process. No more drowning in paperwork or ineffective appraisal sessions. With the right employee appraisal platform, your team can create an effective, streamlined process to engage employees and grow your company culture.
On top of handling regular performance reviews, employee appraisal software tools can also include features that help employees monitor their performance continually, including goal setting, direct feedback tools, and push notifications to keep appraisals moving forward.
The core features and functions of employee appraisal software
The features and functions of employee appraisal software vary by platform. However, there are common features that most platforms offer to improve the employee appraisal process.
When looking for the right solution, consider platforms that offer these core features.
Flexible and customizable appraisal management
The employee appraisal process can vary by company, department, even project. The right employee appraisal platform makes it easy to design and streamline the appraisal process based on your organization's needs. For example, you might want to offer appraisals by project, team, or connect goals across the organization.
Integrated goals and feedback
Integrating goals into the appraisal process provides employees with the context they need to succeed. Choose a platform that allows managers and employees to create and track goals so they can see exactly how they've progressed — and how to improve.
Feedback shouldn't just go from the top down. 360-feedback capabilities solicit input from all directions, including managers, coworkers, and direct reports. This provides more actionable feedback and enables multiple types of appraisals (like talent reviews, development appraisals, etc.).
Insights and analytics
Access to both high-level and granular appraisal data helps organizations make informed decisions that drive growth. The most effective platforms don't just dump a bunch of data in your lap; they help managers see how that data impacts the company with charts, graphs, and analytics.
Objective scoring adjustments
Lack of objectivity can hinder the effectiveness of appraisals. Make sure the tool you select provides features to ensure assessments are as objective and unbiased as possible. For example, Lattice's Calibration feature ensures all employees are scored on the same level by reducing bias in the data.
What are the benefits of adopting employee appraisals as a practice and using employee appraisal software?
Employee appraisals help organizations better understand their workforce and show employees how they stack up against themselves and their coworkers. However, it's often a long painful process.
Using an employee appraisal platform can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the process. Here's how.
Employees can see where they stand and gain access to more useful feedback.
One of the biggest complaints about the appraisal process is they often don't provide useful information. Using employee appraisals software provides employees with access to specific goals and metrics and can see how they've improved over time. With built-in goal-setting, they can see exactly what they need to improve. This creates a more actionable (and more useful) appraisal process.
Managers spend less time on paperwork and deliver more actionable appraisals.
Employee appraisal software streamlines the process, making it both faster and more actionable. When managers spend less time managing the appraisal process, they can spend more time helping their direct reports grow. Features like built-in goal setting and analytics help managers see how employees have improved over time, allowing them to deliver the feedback employees need to succeed.
Reduce paperwork and gain access to company-wide metrics
The benefits of an employee appraisal system go far beyond reducing paperwork and improving the actionability of appraisals. Access to data provides insights into the company culture as a whole, so your organization can improve employee retention, improve the hiring process, and drive revenue forward.
Free employee appraisal tools, templates, and resources
Goal setting is an integral part of a successful appraisal process. These tools and resources will help your team set actionable goals that drive your organization forward.
- Mastering the Performance Review Conversation: This webinar walks you through how to structure the conversation, provide negative feedback when necessary, and develop a post-appraisal action plan.
- HR's Guide to Performance Review Questions: A start-to-finish guide on how to set objectives and a template of questions to ask.
- Quarterly OKRs Template: An OKR template to help teams and individuals reach their long-term goals.
When and why should you upgrade from a template or Google Doc to employee appraisal software?
There's a good chance you already have an employee appraisal or review process. But is it working for your organization? Here are a few signs it is time to move on from using spreadsheets or Google Docs and invest in an employee appraisal solution.
- Employees dread the process: The appraisal process can trigger a fight-or-flight response in employees. However, the right tool can make the process transparent, painless, and actually useful.
- Your employee retention rates are falling: Rising turnover rates often mean your company culture is failing. Improving the employee appraisal process can increase morale and provide employees with the tools they need for success.
- Your organization is growing fast: A manual appraisal process may work fine for small to medium-sized companies, but large or fast-growing companies need a streamlined process to make the most of appraisals.
- The paperwork is becoming unmanageable: If managers and HR personnel invest too much time in paperwork or fall behind on appraisals, it might be time to streamline the process.
If you already use an HRIS system, that platform may provide the basic tools you need, but the provided appraisal features may be limited. Before deciding to switch to a new platform, you'll want to consider which features and tools you need the most. In a later section, we'll walk through how to decide if a specific employee appraisal tool is the right fit for your organization.
The cost of employee appraisal software
The average cost of employee appraisal software can vary. If you work with an all-in-one HR software platform, you may pay between $1.50 to $5 per employee per month, but if you choose to invest in a solution purpose-built for performance appraisals and people management, you might pay between $7-$10 per employee per month. It's important to look out for how much configurability and customization you want to make sure the vendor you partner with works for your process.
Larger organizations may pay a lower rate. For example, organizations with less than 1,000 employees might pay $3 per employee, while an organization with 10,000 employees may pay $1.50 per worker. Clearly, this can vary by platform.
When comparing costs between providers, make sure to consider the features each offers and how those features might impact your overall investment. For example, some platforms charge a one-time setup fee or may offer features that eliminate the need for another software.
The costs of employee management software can add up, but it can save your organization in the long run. Here's how.
- Lower turnover rates: The average organization pays $4,000 to hire a new candidate. Employee appraisals can improve morale and help your current employees reach their full potential.
- Employee appraisals improve performance: Employees are 42% more likely to reach a goal when they have an actionable plan. Employee appraisal software makes it easier for employees to set — and reach — goals.
- Reduced workload: Appraisal software streamlines the review process so managers and HR can focus on other tasks while improving appraisals.
An independent report found Lattice's People Management Platform drives $3.5 million in benefits and offers 195% ROI over three years. Want to learn more?
How to choose the right employee appraisal software for your company
Choosing the right employee appraisal software system can be overwhelming. As you may have noticed, there are dozens of options on the market. Which is right for you? Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when comparing software solutions.
Does it offer the features you need?
Take stock of your current appraisal process. Do they take too long? Do managers struggle to provide actionable goals? Do employees feel like the process is a waste of time? Make a list of your organization's challenges, and then ask how each platform can solve those problems.
Does the platform offer onboarding and sufficient training?
Even the best system is useless if no one uses it. Does the platform offer onboarding and training to increase adoption? Does it provide support during your business hours? If your company spans several time zones, is the company capable of providing the support you need? For example, if you have headquarters on the East and West Coast, will both have access to support?
What reporting and analytics features does the system offer?
Reporting and analytics tools help you do more with the data you gather. Ask what types of data you'll have access to, what reports are available, and what format the data comes in. Do you have the resources to access the data? Does the platform offer filter options for data, such as reporting by job position, project, or location?
Does it integrate with your current systems?
The right employee management platform should make it easier to see how employees perform, help your teams set and track goals, and improve the review process. If the platform you choose doesn't work with your current communication and HRIS system, you may not have access to the features you need the most.
The best employee appraisal software for companies in 2021
The employee appraisal process shouldn't be a painful experience. The following tools help drive conversations and give organizations access to the data they need to create a growth-oriented culture.
Please note: All ratings are based on the G2’s Momentum Grid Report for Performance Management Satisfaction score.
Review Score: 99/100
Pricing: Starts at $9 per user per month
Lattice is an employee appraisal software platform designed to transform employee management. Use it to track individual employee performance, provide feedback, set individual and organizational goals, and even automate the review process.
Lattice does more than make the appraisal process easier. It helps teams build 360-degree feedback loops, kickstart meaningful conversations between employees and managers, and track progress so you can make adjustments as you go. Plus, it adapts to how your company works — even if you don't fit in a traditional org chart.
Lattice is trusted by more than 2,500 top organizations, including Reddit, Slack, Samsara, and Asana. Request a demo to see how we can help your company grow.
- Provides a centralized dashboard for goals, appraisals, feedback, and more
- Transparent pricing
- Straightforward to use
- Not a complete HRIS system
- May need training to make the most of the platform
Learn more about how Lattice can help your company drive growth and save you money with our The Total Economic Impact Of Lattice guide.
Review Score: 98/100
Pricing: Starter plan: $7 per person, per month, billed annually/ $14 per person, per month, billed annually for the complete package.
15Five is an employee appraisal and performance management platform designed to help organizations bring out the best in their employees. Features of note include performance review management, real-time feedback, weekly check-ins, OKRs, goals, and "high-fives", an employee recognition feature that celebrates wins.
- Built with remote teams in mind
- Helps managers check in with employees regularly
- Tons of popular integrations, including Slack, Salesforce, and Google Calendar
- Limited training, which makes learning to use the system a challenge.
- Limited customization options
Review Score: 88/100
Pricing: Contact sales for pricing
Reflektive is an employee management platform aimed to help organizations improve employee productivity, engagement, and retention. Top features include individual, team, and company-wide goal setting, conversation starters, 360-degree reviews, and customizable performance review cycles.
- Customizable questions for review cycles
- Easy to use
- Mitigates recency biases to improve review accuracy
- Lacks ad-hoc feedback feature
- Limited goal measurements
- No ability to set reminders or send push notifications
Review Score: 93/100
Pricing: Starts at $4 per month, per person for limited features
PerformYard helps employees stay connected and motivated with annual review management, goal setting, and continuous feedback loops. Features include customizable review cycles, practice questions, progress tracking, and visual reporting tools to compare performance across the board. The platform's automation features help streamline the employee appraisal process.
- Offers enterprise-level security
- The dashboard is intuitive to use
- A dedicated success manager helps teams launch faster
- Less reporting functions compared to other options
- The search function is challenging to use
- No mobile app
Review Score: 93/100
Pricing: Starts at $7 per month, per user, with additional costs for specific features (which can add up quickly)
Leapsome is an employee appraisal solution that helps businesses streamline employee performance reviews and build custom engagement plans. Top features include automated review cycles, review templates, road maps for professional growth, and detailed review data.
- Easy to launch and customize for your business
- Designed with growing businesses in mind
- Detailed visual reporting tools
- Pricing is "modular" and quickly becomes expensive for all features
- Small support team with limited hours
Review Score: 60/100
Pricing: Contact for quote
Betterworks is an enterprise OKR and employee performance platform designed to facilitate continuous conversations, engage employees, and align individual and team goals. Rather than pushing the annual or bi-annual review process, Betterworks creates ongoing discussions between individuals and teams.
- Easy to use and update goals
- Increases transparency for goals and performance
- Solid customers support
- Reporting tools lack customization features
- No push notifications
- Lack of pricing information makes it difficult to compare to other platforms
Review Score: 49/100
Pricing: Contact for quote
Culture Amp is a performance management platform that helps companies build high-performance teams. Employee appraisal features include goal setting and tracking, continuous feedback loops, and ongoing growth conversations.
- Supports customization
- Detailed reporting tools
- Supports data migration
- Build for surveys and engagement, lacks performance management features
- Reporting tools can be challenging to use
- Admin features are limited
Average Review Score: 68/100
Pricing: Call for pricing information
Engagedly is a "people engagement platform" designed for the digital world. The tool creates automated notifications and leverages gamification to recognize top-performers and drive company culture.
- Mobile-enabled to drive real-time engagement
- Gamification features keep employees engaged
- Onboarding and training features included
- Difficult to use reporting features
- Limited customer support
- Not particularly user-friendly
Review Score: 51/100
Pricing: Starts at $2400/year for up to 50 users
Clear Review is a conversation-powered performance management solution. Employee appraisal features include instant feedback, goal setting, customization options, onboarding support, and professional development conversations.
- Supports high adoption rates
- Detailed insights and reporting tools
- More affordable than other options
- Fewer features; lacks document uploading and collective feedback
- Challenging to use
- Limited customization features
Best in HRIS that include employee appraisal features
Looking for a tool that supports appraisals, employee growth, and other HR needs? Here's a rundown of the top HRIS tools with built-in employee appraisal features.
Review Score: 88/100
Pricing: Call for a custom quote
Bamboo HR is a complete human resource management tool designed to help small and midsize businesses manage their workforce. Features of note include payroll management, applicant tracking, and time-off processing. Employee appraisal features include feedback management, goal tracking, and individual and company-wide performance reports.
- Complete HR solution that solves multiple problems
- Well regarded customer support
- Detailed reporting and analytics tools
- Lack of flexibility
- Challenging to use
- Limited scaling features
Review Score: 70/100
Pricing: Contact for pricing
Workday HCM offers a wide range of features, including payroll management, recruitment, performance management, and benefits administration. Despite its wide range of features, Workday HCM doesn't offer many dedicated employee appraisal features. However, it does allow organizations to assign lessons, set goals, and create tasks to keep employees engaged.
- Complete HR, finance, and planning platform
- Automation features to reduce tedious tasks
- Powered by machine learning
- Limited pricing information
- Few employee appraisal features
- Requires training to use
Trends in the employee appraisal software space are changing how reviews work
Technology is changing how organizations manage their workforce. Trends like AI, machine learning, and a rise in remote work impact how businesses communicate, collaborate, and plan for growth.
Employee appraisal platforms help modernize the appraisal process and provide employees --and their managers— with the data they need to succeed.
Lattice streamlines the employee appraisal process and provides the data you need to make better business decisions. Get a demo today and find out how easy the process can be.