Poor communication is, according to 86% of executives, the primary reason for low productivity at work. The average employee spends up to 17 hours a week clarifying communication that has already happened. Work overload and high levels of stress in the workplace further diminish employee efficiency. Performance management software, however, helps businesses identify productivity gaps and evaluate their employees’ performance. For this reason, we reviewed the best software in this category. Below, we’ll explain our evaluation criteria and the core features of this type of software. Additionally, we’ll share with you software reviews and a simple buying guide that will help you purchase the best solution for your business.
In the following section, we’ll explain our comprehensive evaluation process that consists of two stages.
During the first stage, we categorize the software based on criteria, i.e., business size, industry focus, and deployment options.
In the second stage, we comb through core performance management features that each software solution in our table must support. We also check if the software has any unique features that make it stand out, and if it does, we rank it higher.
By the same logic, software equipped with the essential features only is ranked near the bottom of the table.
We’ll start our evaluation of performance management software vendors by classifying tools based on their industry focus. After that, we’ll explore the different business sizes this software is designed for, and research different deployment options of this type of software. We’ll end our classification process by defining the three different types of PM software.
Performance management solutions are used in many industries, including:
Regardless of the industry, the software can be used in any company that wants to review employee performance, increase engagement levels, and make sure company goals are met.
A one-size-fits-all approach to performance management platforms has many gaps, as businesses of different sizes have different requirements. For instance, performance management software for small business teams doesn’t need all the capabilities of an enterprise solution, and users shouldn't pay for features they won’t use.
For this reason, we categorized software platforms based on the vendors’ target audience — small, mid-size, and large companies. We also looked at personal performance management systems for highly engaged individuals, as well as software that caters to freelancers.
When it comes to deployment options, performance management products can be classified into on-premise, software-as-a-service (SaaS), or cloud-hosted solutions.
With on-premise solutions, businesses purchase a software license and deploy the product on their organization’s premises. Contrary to web-based performance management software solutions, apart from software maintenance, the company’s IT team is responsible for installing the software on the company’s servers.
This type of software typically comes with a high price tag and a perpetual (one-time) license. On the flip side, on-premise products boast a higher level of security than their web-based counterparts.
Additionally, this type of software is not reliant on the quality of internet connection and comes with extensive software capabilities tailored to the company’s unique requirements.
A cloud-hosted performance management system offers quick software deployment at a low cost. With the software delivered over the internet, there are no hardware investments either. Additionally, users don’t have to worry about web servers because everything is hosted on the vendor’s server. They get a ready-to-use software, and for that, they pay either a monthly or annual fee.
The software-as-a-service model comes with nearly all the benefits of the cloud-hosted solutions since it’s a subset of cloud-based software.
Much like cloud solutions, however, SaaS lacks some of the customization options available with on-premise software. Still, as a subset of cloud-based software, the benefits of using this type of platform outweigh the cons.
Another classification of performance management platforms focuses on software features that differentiate one software solution from another. Based on this classification, there are three types of products:
WPM tools fall into the employee performance management software category, offering a wealth of tools for assessing employees’ performance and efficiency. These tools range from 360-degree feedback functionality, development planning, and reporting tools to talent management solutions.
The primary use of the WPM software is to automate processes that focus on employee performance and are executed manually.
Corporate performance management platforms, contrary to WPM platforms, focus on the needs and processes of a business. This type of software is therefore often referred to as business performance management software.
Some of this software’s features include reporting tools for measuring the key performance indicators (KPIs) of an enterprise, operational planning, etc. The primary use of CPM software is to monitor business activities to synchronize corporate objectives with operational plans. The software achieves that through planning, budgeting, and forecasting functionalities.
Apart from WPM and CPM software solutions, businesses also use enterprise performance management software. This type of software is similar to CPM platforms and uses modeling and planning tools to help large companies identify their goals and measure their business performance.
EPM vendors often include both CPM and WPM functionalities in their product offerings. Taking this into account, many consider EPM products a subcategory of both corporate and workforce PM solutions.
We’ve come to the second stage of our rating process. Here we’ll go through the features that each of the software solutions must have to secure a spot in our table.
Setting specific, measurable performance goals is imperative for companies that want to adopt a performance-driven approach. With that in mind, we looked into performance management platforms that allow employees and managers to set and track the goals of individuals, departments or the entire company.
Basic performance management functionalities feature the option of setting individual and team goals. That said, basic features are not good enough for a software solution to earn a spot on our table.
We looked into the best process management software that offers advanced goal setting functionalities. This includes the option of not only setting goals but also managing and adjusting them to mirror a company’s objectives, as well as allowing managers to leave feedback on these goals.
Reviews are another crucial component of performance management. Since no two businesses are the same, the software of your choice should enable you to create custom reviews. On top of that, the creation process should be as easy as a breeze.
A performance management solution isn’t complete without a 360-degree feedback system in place. This tool allows managers to get a different perspective on employees’ performance since it lets them select several employees who can then review their colleagues’ performance.
Apart from peers, managers can also give feedback. Additionally, some of the best software solutions in this category allow companies to gather feedback from both internal (peers, direct reports) and external sources (customers).
The 360-degree feedback further includes employee self-assessment. If used correctly, this tool can help employees get an insight into their strengths and weaknesses. Managers, on the other hand, can use this performance appraisal software as a development tool or for performance evaluation.
Creating and nurturing strong and healthy manager-employee relationships is a pivotal part of the best performance management platform. With this feature, managers can set weekly meetings with employees and talk about the company's projects and goals. This helps build a communication-driven company culture, which is why we made sure the software solutions in the table support one-on-one meetings.
Another essential component of top-rated software from this category are integrations. The platform should provide you with the option of integrating employee data with HR and payroll systems.
We also appreciate performance management tools that integrate with calendar and communication services and Single Sign-On technology.
While analyzing the best software solutions, we picked the ones with comprehensive reporting capabilities. With that in mind, we’ve selected platforms based on their ability to deliver in-depth data-rich reports about the performance and engagement of employees, teams, and the entire company. We also made sure to include software that supports the option of tracking performance review progress.
Another thing we considered was whether the software has a notification-enabled system or automated reminders to ensure continuous progress, and eliminate the possibility of employees falling off the track.
We also explored whether the systems are easy to set up and configure. With this type of software featuring customizable forms and review cycles, we made sure performance management software vendors offered responsive and knowledgeable customer support.
The software of your choice has to be useful, and that goes beyond functionality. It also refers to flexibility and customization features. You shouldn’t customize your business to fit the software, which is why our goal is to find solutions that will fit your needs.
During our review process of workforce, enterprise, and corporate performance management software, we don’t strive to find only the cheapest solutions out there. Instead, we use our research to find feature-rich, customizable, and secure software solutions that provide the best value for money.
Additionally, we are firm believers that anything that sounds too good to be true probably isn’t. That is why we look for prices that are in line with industry standards. So, if we find a solution that is significantly below or above that standard, we won’t include it in our list.
Finally, we try to find the software that offers a free trial so you can take it for a test drive before committing. A money-back guarantee is certainly a big plus, so software with one of those or both would rank high in our table.
The company focuses on helping small and medium companies’ employees achieve excellence with more than just a basic performance management product. With Zenefits, businesses can easily set and track goals, be it employee or company-wide goals. The software also supports powerful performance review tools, one-on-one meetings, and much more.
Zenefits is an all-in-one HR product packed with different software solutions. Apart from performance appraisal software, Zenefits also offers time-off tracking, hiring and onboarding, business intelligence, and documentation management software.
Some of the many outstanding tools for staying up-to-date with employees’ performance include the option of customizing review forms and questions, private one-on-one meeting notes, and shared actions that make following up on meetings quite simple.
The Zenefits employee and business performance management software offers three plans — Essentials, Growth, and Zen. All plans provide core HR functionalities, integrations, time and scheduling tools, and a mobile app for managing employees’ performance on the go. Only the Growth and Zen plans, however, support performance and compensation management tools.
When paid annually, the Essentials plan costs $8/user/month. With the same subscription model, the Growth plan, which is the most popular, is priced at $14/user/month, while the price for the Zen plan is $21/user/month, and includes well-being software.
Behind CakeHR is a team of developers and designers that work on enhancing the company’s performance evaluation tool so that it is packed with all the features businesses need to manage their workforce nearly effortlessly. This performance management system software is suitable for companies of all sizes. Apart from performance management, CakeHR also offers expenses, recruitment, and leave management tools — all of which make it a well-rounded HR solution.
The CakeHR 360-degree feedback tool comes with many options, including simple form customization, the option of sharing reports with employees, and letting employees decide who will be providing feedback. Another feature that enhances the software’s capabilities is the one-on-one meetings feature that can be integrated with a calendar tool. Visual progress charts and the CakeHR mobile app meanwhile make everything about performance management much simpler.
As far as the CakeHR performance management software cost goes, everything is quite simple. Users can pick a CakeHR module they want to use — be it performance management, shift scheduling, or recruitment module. They are under no obligation to use the entire HR suite or software bundles. Instead, they can use only the functionalities they need.
Prices-wise, the Performance module costs $5.7/user/month when billed monthly. The annual plan, on the other hand, offers significant savings at $4/user/month.
The WebHR is arguably one of the best performance management software out there, as it has all the tools for gaining in-depth insights into employees’ performance and engagement levels. The company relies on SaaS and cloud computing technology to deliver the software to its clients. They’ve worked with over 25000 companies from around the world, while the PM software has been widely used by small and mid-size companies.
Using WebHR, companies have all the tools they might need to manage their employees’ employment cycle successfully. The software has a robust designer tool that makes creating performance evaluation forms incredibly simple. Both self-assessments and peer reviews can be added to an evaluation form. Additionally, all performance review data can be exported, saved, and emailed.
Integrations-wise, WebHR works well with many platforms, including G Suite, Asana, Zapier, Slack, etc.
WebHR is available as both paid and free performance management software, although the free version is fairly limited. It supports a maximum of five users, and the software capabilities are only a fraction of what you get with the paid alternative.
A paid plan, on the other hand, comes with SSL security, 24/7 support, and 1000 MB of data storage. This package includes base features, such as leaves and PTOs, onboarding and offboarding tools, comprehensive reports, and communication tools. The performance management product is available as an add-on module, at a price of $3/user/month when paid monthly, and $2/user/month with a yearly subscription.
PiiQ combines performance and learning management tools to boost employees’ performance and increase their efficiency at work. The software enables goal-setting, allowing for collaboration between managers and employees. This is only one of the capabilities of the software, with others including check-ins, powerful reporting tools, and 360-degree feedback. PiiQ is a perfect performance management software for small business users and mid-size companies.
When it comes to basic functionalities, the PiiQ software offers all the essentials and more. Companies can easily set and manage goals, as well as match them with company-wide objectives. Managing employees’ performance is also a simple task thanks to performance templates, a customizable 360-degree feedback tool, and the ability to schedule review cycles.
The PiiQ software comes with four different pricing plans, depending on the tools a company needs. The Learning plan provides a robust learning management solution, while the performance management software, priced at $8/user/month, is strictly focused on evaluating employees’ performance. For companies that want to leverage both of these products, there’s a separate plan that offers the two options at $15/user/month. Lastly, PiiQ has a custom plan as well for companies with more than 75 people. Pricing for this plan is available upon contacting the vendor.
Our performance management software reviews continue with BambooHR. This vendor understands that companies can’t do performance reviews once a year, and have a clear insight into their employees’ performance, skill gaps, and development opportunities. That is why their platform supports all the tools needed for continuous employee feedback. In terms of company-size, BambooHR is designed for small and mid-size businesses.
BambooHR claims to be an all-in-one HR solution that people love. Their performance management platform is second to none, as it allows for multiple goal management with a notification-enabled system and auto-reminders to keep every employee on track.
BambooHR’s performance management tools also have a peer reviews feature, with both internal and external sources able to provide feedback. Managers meanwhile can use the data from comprehensive reports to spot career development opportunities and help employees seize them.
The pricing for the BambooHR software is not available on the vendor’s site. You should contact the company for information on fees.
Zoho’s HR performance management software eliminates complexity from the equation, allowing companies to focus on working with their employees. The software can be tailored to fit different industries, including IT, media, advertising, healthcare, and finance, among others.
Zoho People is fully equipped with essential performance management features. The peer feedback feature can be adjusted so that the reviews are either anonymous or non-anonymous. The multi-rater feature supports feedback from external sources, while 9-box model performance reports gather all the information managers need to spot their employees’ potential and talent.
The platform integrates with the leading digital signature software and can be used alongside core HR features, including employee onboarding, shift scheduling, expense management, and advanced analytics software.
Zoho People can be used as a free performance management software by companies with up to five users. Still, to get all the advanced features, users should choose one of the four paid plans.
The paid packages start with Essential HR, which will cost you $0.83 per user per month if billed annually. Next up is the Professional plan at $1.66/employee/month. It’s important to note that the platform’s performance management features are not available with those two plans, but only with the Premium and Enterprise plans.
In terms of performance management capabilities, there is no big difference between the two pricier packages. Unlike the Premium plan, however, the Enterprise plan supports employee query management, and it offers more storage space. The Premium plan will cost you $2.5/employee/month with annual billing, while the fee of the Enterprise packages comes in at $4.16/employee/month.
With over 1,200 organizations in their portfolio, Lattice currently ranks as one of the best performance management software solutions. Apart from the PM software, the vendor also offers analytics and engagement software. On top of that, the software integrates with Gmail, Google Calendar, Outlook Email, and Slack.
The Lattice performance management solution has an outstanding review system. It allows managers, peers, and direct reports to give employee feedback. Companies can also use example reviews if they’ve never run this type of review before. Lattice also has a wealth of performance form templates.
One of the features we wanted to highlight is that, apart from regular review questions related to employees’ performance, it is possible to add goal-related questions to forms as well. The one-on-one meetings feature is also quite exceptional, allowing companies to nurture communication between employees and their superiors.
When it comes to Lattice’s performance management software cost, the vendor has three paid plans — Performance, Performance & Engagement, and Enterprise. The Performance plan is priced at $9/user/month. The Performance & Engagement package costs $12/user/month, while the cost of the Enterprise plan is available upon request.
It’s also important to note that Lattice has a starting annual agreement price of $3,000.
Performance Culture is a cloud-based software that dominates the performance management market courtesy of its scalability, flexibility, and ease of use. It supports all the tools companies need to evaluate their workforce and increase overall productivity.
Performance Culture’s performance management system allows for simple objective and key result (OKR) and goal management. Organizations can track OKRs and goals on every level, including individual, team, department and organization levels.
Companies can also view all the key details about their employees on a single page, along with one-on-one meeting notes, peer feedback, and goal achievements.
The software’s other features include surveys, recognition, and 360-degree feedback tools.
Performance Culture has a simple pricing model, with the fee based on the number of employees. The more employees a company has, the more affordable the pricing is.
For instance, a company with 50 employees would pay $6.18 per user, while a company with 100 employees would have to set aside $5.59 for each employee.
ReviewSnap is a powerful yet easy-to-use product that helps companies evaluate their employees’ performance, and explore their strengths and weaknesses. There’s no need for a performance management software comparison, as ReviewSnap is a one-of-a-kind solution for boosting employees’ productivity and engagement.
As one of the best performance management software out there, ReviewSnap features an intuitive dashboard that allows users to easily create performance reviews, update information about their employees, manage goals and automated notifications, and view reports. The interface is well-organized, and each of the ReviewSnap features can be accessed in a click or two.
This performance management product offers a yearly subscription, and three pricing plans — Standard, Pro, and Express. The Standard plan for up to 30 employees costs $3,933/year, the Pro plan comes in at $4,807/year, while the Express plan is priced at $3,496/year.
Engagedly is one of the best people-centric performance evaluation tools best suited, as the vendor suggests, for companies employing anywhere from 50 to 5,000 people. The company has had famous customers from different industries, including TechSmith, PartnerStack (formerly GrowSumo), and Experian, among others.
Engagedly is an employee performance management software packed with an abundance of features, including multi-rater feedback. It’s possible to make the feedback anonymous, as well as to nominate employees that will review their peers.
When it comes to performance evaluation forms, users can customize them to fit their company’s requirements. The software also cultivates communication-driven culture and has a Rewards feature for recognizing the company’s top-performing employees.
The cost of the Engagedly software is not publicly disclosed. To get this information, you should get in touch with the vendor.
Now that we’ve reviewed the industry’s finest performance management solutions, it’s time to take you through the selection process. We understand that having too many, and excellent options at that, can be overwhelming, so, we’re here to help.
The first step is to look at the software that is in line with your business size and industry. Also, double-check if the products that match your industry are aligned with the sector and jurisdiction regulations.
The second step is to think about the features that are essential for the software of your choice (360-degree feedback, robust reporting capabilities, performance form templates, etc.). Also, keep in mind that, a call center performance management software, for example, won’t have the same capabilities as a software piece dedicated to some other business field.
Having done that, compare the solutions you’re left with after step 1 with the desired software features.
The final step is to determine the budget for your performance evaluation tool. Once you decide how much money you are willing to set aside for this type of software, compare the prices of the products left after step 2. The performance management software that aligns with your budget is the one you should choose.