Breaking Free from Disconnected Performance Management Tools

March 11th, 2024 – SkillCycle

Most companies rely on a handful of performance management tools to tell them what’s happening in the organization and to help make decisions impacting hiring and retention. However, a system constructed from disparate tools and platforms is limited in its ability to influence performance.

“Companies can have entire performance management processes stuck in multiple systems,” says Kristy McCann Flynn, CEO and Co-Founder of SkillCycle. “But nobody connects the dots to make the feedback actionable in real time.”

Over half of chief human resource officers believe they are not rewarding the right behavior in employees, while only 32% of HR business partners believe performance management delivers what employees need to perform, according to Gartner.

Over time, this disconnect can hinder your ability to understand and improve performance issues across your organization, holding you back from the success factors performance management should deliver.

In this article on performance management tools, we’ll examine:

  • 3 common performance management challenges
  • How disconnected performance management tools drive down impact
  • A better approach to performance management 
  • Connecting performance data and systems for better hiring and retention


3 common performance management challenges

While every organization will face unique challenges, there are common issues that can roadblock your path to meeting performance goals, no matter the industry. 

If you’re struggling to meet performance management KPIs, consider these potential roadblocks: 

Lack of process to support performance

In smaller companies, feedback may be offered intermittently but often through informal conversations. These organization may not have an established way to gather feedback throughout the year or ensure it’s actionable for the employee.

Multiple systems holding disconnected data

In their attempts to manage performance, some companies add new systems to collect data in different places, trying to gather more pieces of the puzzle. It’s a start, but there’s no way to put the pieces together or make feedback actionable at scale.

No way to measure or evaluate the organization’s skill currency

For those companies that have scaled up their systems, a significant gap can still exist in assessing the full skills inventory across the organization. Without the right platform, it can be an arduous process to identify what skills the organization needs to grow and build a sustainable future. 

“There needs to be an ecosystem that helps companies understand their skill currency and how to map that data to personalized learning for individual employees,” says McCann Flynn.

These obstacles dilute the impact of HR teams and highlight the need to explore better strategies to meet performance management KPIs in many companies. 

If organizational and individual performance management is handled by different groups, such as a finance team vs. an HR team, the disconnect that results lacks role clarity and keeps information siloed, according to McKinsey


How disconnected performance management tools drive down impact

There’s a difference between measuring and improving performance. If your organization uses too many disconnected tools, your performance management processes may not actually help you pinpoint or solve performance issues. 

You’ll need a combination of organizational goals, culture, and processes to improve performance. Without a way to understand how these components work together, it can be daunting for companies to figure out a path forward. 

Improving performance in individuals and organizations requires insights based on data so you can offer ongoing learning to bridge gaps. Still, if you can’t identify or understand the gaps, you’ll likely struggle to get results. And if your data is collected across too many systems, all it does is create yet another daunting task after performance management.

“It’s time to break the silos,” says McCann Flynn. “Doing so leads to transparency as to where people are, where the company needs to go, and the constant mapping it takes to get there.”

According to research from Harvard Business Review, a siloed approach to performance targets is a huge barrier to collaboration. Companies need to break down silos to grow revenue and succeed in volatile environments, but their systems for managing performance actually discourage their efforts. 


A better approach to performance management

A traditional performance review can take a manager seven hours to prepare. If a manager oversees a team of ten employees, that’s 70 hours devoted to reviewing past performance. It’s an annual process that doesn’t serve the company and puts a weight on HR teams to execute. 

Moving on from annual review and feedback cycles is critical to improving individual and organizational performance. Performance conversations should happen in real time and on a regular basis to be useful for employees to make changes. 

With a comprehensive system that collects data all year, companies can leverage actionable insights in an efficient and effective way. They can provide feedback in real time that influences an employee’s performance immediately and offer development opportunities to help drive better outcomes. 

“The data can lead to action across the board — for employees and organizations,” says McCann Flynn. “Data ignites the outcomes, and the outcomes become attainable.”

Once companies make the connection between ongoing feedback cycles and continuous performance improvement, it becomes clear that a different path forward could yield different results. 


Connecting performance data and systems for better hiring and retention

Creating proactive pathways for development in your organization can help you identify individuals who have a growth mindset. These employees are likely to welcome feedback and learning opportunities and will apply what they’re learning to their work. You’ll see progress related to learning, which is a critical success factor performance management can support.

An ideal solution will connect data so you can make hiring and development decisions based on facts rather than assumptions and perceptions. A system that allows you to collect data and measure progress against goals, as well as observe the tangible benefits of learning, gives you a much better picture of what’s happening in your company. 

“It’s about evaluating your tech stack,” says McCann Flynn. “What outcomes did you expect to get from the systems you’re using, and are you seeing them? Can you see gaps in your skills inventory and performance management and a path toward bridging those gaps?” 

Developing your best talent can drive measurable returns on investments in learning. It increases your overall skill currency as an organization while improving your employees’ experience at work. Doing these in tandem is a great way to keep your staff and their expanded skillsets from leaving your company. 

The right performance management solution will provide actionable insights that drive performance improvement and move your business forward. Schedule a demo to learn more.


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