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Rick Blabolil

What to Consider When Selecting a Performance Management Technology

When was the last time you stepped back and took a good look at how you manage your incentive, recognition, engagement, loyalty or similar kinds of programs? Are you confident that the right pieces for managing those programs are in place? That your measures are generating actionable information? That the programs are aligned with current realities rather than yesterday’s possibilities?

Performance management technology can enable you to answer those and many other questions. It provides the means for tracking, recognizing, and rewarding employees and, when appropriately selected and properly designed, it will collect critical data from your performance management programs and turn it into information that can be used to give feedback and make good decisions.

The first step in selecting any performance management technology would be to work within a methodology that (1) examines your business drivers, (2) identifies what success would look like, and (3) establishes an effective information and communication loop. This is an intense process, but it is important, especially if your organization has multiple or complex program management needs and you’re driving to be a high performance organization.

Performance management technologies range from the simply configurable (i.e., changing colors and logo) to the totally customizable, where data models are modified, organization hierarchies are infinite, the number of tracked variables are abundant, and the outputs are customized. Keep in mind: The best performance management technology is the one that fits your corporate structure and needs. It is the accelerant to excitement, feedback, and management.  

Here are six “must haves” for any technology you select:

  1. It mirrors your programs’ rules as well as the organization of the participants.
  2. It permits you to reach individuals while managing the program and funds.
  3. It levels the playing field, so that all managers are working with their direct reports in the same way.
  4. It puts funding controls in place and provides reports and feedback on activities.
  5. If you have multiple programs, it enables you to leverage administrative costs while allowing participants to combine awards from all of those programs, and access rewards from a single portal.
  6. Each program is designed correctly and can stand alone.

There are also some trends to keep in mind, and these could influence your choice:

  • If you don’t have virtual or “egift cards” in the mix, consider adding them. Egift cards enable immediate rewards and employees can use their mobiles to redeem at any time at the point of sale.
  • Is your system mobile friendly? Pew research shows that at least 33 percent of U.S. adults have a smart phone and 87 percent use it to access email or the Internet.
  • Are you using games? Games and “gamification” can be a powerful employee engagement tool creating “stickiness” and loyalty, when designed and used appropriately.
  • Does your external social media plan align with your internal programs to spur interaction? Are you using it for instant feedback, podcasts, blogs or chats, for example?
  • Are you nurturing the human connection? Technology adds convenience and timeliness to the people performance management, equation but it can never replace face-to-face interaction.

There’s a lot to think about. Would you care to share your ideas with other readers? What are your experiences with performance management technology? What does it do well for you, or where can it be improved? Let us know.

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