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How Online Performance Appraisals Can Make Your Life Easier

How many times have you written a performance appraisal and had to print it out for someone else's review and comments? Have you had to wait for someone to return from a business trip or vacation in order to submit their performance review late? If your answer is "too many to count" and "Absolutely"—then online performance appraisals can make life much easier.

Accessible from anywhere

Having an online performance appraisal system allows you access to the data from anywhere—all you need is an Internet connection. Simply log on to your web-based program and view all necessary forms, as well as employee profile information and self-assessments. You can also solicit 360-degree assessments and electronically route the final performance appraisal to HR for approvals and signatures. Now, performance reviews can be written anywhere, at any time— eliminating age-old problems associated with a paper system, such as with tracking down people for missing forms or signatures!

Online writing assistants and coaches

Have you ever stared at a blank page looking for just the right word to describe someone's skill level or performance or worried that the review you've written isn't the best choice from a legal standpoint? A well-designed online performance appraisal system allows you to create customized reviews with suggestions from built-in writing assistants that help you find the "right word" and offer legal-scan functions that double-check each review from a legal perspective. Such built-in scans can identify and flag words that may be legally sensitive, explain the legal considerations, and offer suggestions for alternative wording.

Managers can also receive specific suggestions for coaching employees on office communications, interpersonal skills, and other competencies. These tools not only make it easier for managers to deliver quality feedback, but also make things clearer for the employee and enabling the employee to be more successful reaching his or her goals.

Make performance decisions based upon real-time data

Sometimes it's hard to remember all the projects your team has been working on throughout the year when it's time to write their annual performance appraisal. An online system enables managers the ability to collect performance data throughout the entire review period, acting as a system of record. So, when you are writing performance reviews, you have a more accurate picture of the employee's performance instead of what's available only in your recent memory.

With access to the information available at all times, managers are more in touch with their employees' progress—during every phase of goal completion, and can offer immediate reinforcement or coaching to keep performance and deadlines on track. Team metrics can be reviewed to calculate pay-for-performance bonuses, raises and promotions using the most up-to-date information. And, when positions open due to attrition or promotion, you have the information readily available to fill these vacancies with qualified personnel.

Goal Accountability

Accountability and monitoring of goals are linked together within an online appraisal system, allowing managers to ensure employees are held accountable for goals set. Employees can record progress on the goals listed within the online system and their managers can review the status at any time. This convenient access keeps everyone accountable and on track for success.

Once employees clearly understand their individual goals, management can also communicate how individual goals relate to the company's goals. This practice naturally creates more engaged employees who begin focusing on ways to work smarter and more efficiently. This boost in employee productivity naturally leads to increased profitability for the company.

Aligning individual goals and company goals is key to establishing a true pay-for-performance culture at your company by providing the foundation for closely linking reward systems with both individual and team performance. It's no secret that the key to retaining your top performing employees is recognizing and compensating them appropriately. Alternatively, companies often lose money each year in overcompensation to those individuals whose performance doesn't help achieve key business objectives.

Case Study: McKinstry Company LLC

The issue:

McKinstry wanted a performance management solution that enabled them to communicate cascading goals from the CEO down to the individual employees. This alignment was essential in ensuring the employees understood their roles and were engaged in a shared responsibility toward meeting these goals to deliver superior service to their customers.

The solution:

Safety became a goal that all employees were measured on with the result of driving new business and lowering the organization's costs. By communicating this goal company-wide within a formal framework, employees understood the business objectives and were committed to specific, measurable goals based on their position and phase of the project that supported the overall company goals.

The result:

  • 80%+ of managers are now aware of department and corporate objectives; up from 25%.
  • A high safety standard has had a direct impact on success of projects and getting future work.

Therefore, with significant traction towards the goal of zero safety incidents, with some business units already attaining their goals, McKinstry has seen positive results including lowering workers compensation premiums and insurance rates and, an increase of new projects in the pipeline.

For a distributed organization like ours you need a centralized goal alignment platform. SAP SuccessFactors delivers this platform and by having all, not some employees aligned, we’ve seen real business results

– John Benny, Director, Energy and Facilities Solutions

Cost-effective process

How many hours have you reviewed hard copy reviews to identify your highest performing employees? In the past, aggregating and analyzing data in the traditional paper-based format was often time-consuming and costly. An online system, converts it into a simple, cost-effective process. Managers become freed up from compensation calculations to focus on the tasks that are most meaningful and critical to achieving company goals.


By adopting a system that manages the entire employee lifecycle—from recruiting to performance assessment to goal alignment to employee retention—it's safe to say that having an online automated HR system can truly transform your business by increasing your revenue while lowering your bottom line costs.

About SAP SuccessFactors

SAP SuccessFactors Human Experience Management (HXM) Suite helps you completely reinvent the entire employee experience. You can shift from traditional HR transactions to engaging, end-to-end experiences, using intelligent technology to make each interaction simpler and more meaningful. And by linking employee feedback to operational data, you’ll understand what’s happening and why, so you can continuously deliver unexpectedly exceptional experiences that keep your business growing.

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