Tools of choice in Performance Management Systems

A proper and effective performance management system directs employees where the business wants and needs them to go.

But, businesses have ineffectively assessed the performance of employees based on past performance. They have tried hundreds of forms and pursued endless theories, but they have consistently looked back.

When the yearly date comes around, managers too reluctantly do their paperwork and meet with each employee to review the employee performance as the manager remembers it.

Managers hate the process, and employees endure it waiting to hear if there will be a raise.

All businesses need a future.

Any organization needs a future. It needs to visualize growth and the paths to reach it. And, you don’t get there by looking backwards.

To deliver the future, the organization and its people must claim and coordinate the business’s goals and their respective roles in its achievement.

Setting goals identifies needs, and defining strategies to resolve those needs create the paths to for employees, units, and divisions to follow.

Performance Management Systems

BizMerlin is a total Human Resources Management System that appeals strongly to employers with 200-2,200 plus employees. It has many strengths and features including easy navigation and engaging visuals.

It does include a Performance Appraisal suite. It will create appraisals that match the user’s expectations and the company’s expectations of the employee.

It assigns appraisals as tasks to the reviewers who can appraise themselves or to their peers, supervisors, and others accountable.

On completion, the appraisals are consolidated for review.

However, in addition to these administrative functions, BizMerlin also facilitates Goal Management by customizing the process with quantifiable goals that it will track throughout the period appraised.

Its Insta Feedback feature allows managers or peers to recognize an employee achievement in real time at the time instead of waiting until the annual assessment.

And, finally, the appraisals and goal management integrates with BizMerlin’s ability to optimize human capital allocation, build a skills matrix, and analyze talent retention.

BizMerlin pricing starts with a free trial.

Employee Goal Management System by BizMerlin
Employee Goal Management System









ReviewSnap is a cloud-based performance evaluation system. It promises to integrate multi-rater 360° feedback into performance reviews. The integration is structured to align individual performance goals with corporate goals.

They promote it as SaaS accessible from any device with Internet access. It permits the business HR to continue with its proprietary performance review forms on to customize one of the templates built-in.

Likewise, you can add metric scales, modify theirs, or select one of their four options. Reviews are geared to employee dates-of-hire, and emails remind employee and reviewer.

Available testimonials represent companies of different sizes although many are quite small, non-profit, or public education.

They offer ReviewSnap a 21-day free trial.



Appraisal Smart is a software program that emphasizes goal alignment. Aware that there is often an unproductive disconnect between employee and supervisor and between them and the organization, they claim to offer a system that promotes engagement, motivation, and collaboration.

Centered on the traditional S.M.A.R.T. model. Their unique proposal is to allow for customization to goal hierarchies at different org chart levels. They integrate corporate goals with those added by division or department managers reflecting the goals at that level.  And. Individual employees can collaborate with goal planning.

This is an add-on the Appraisal Smart™ performance appraisal software package, its 24/7 accessible cloud-based SaaS system used by businesses as small as 15 employees.

An Australian firm now marketing world-wide, it’s web-site appears curiously amateur although its promised benefits and features describe a comprehensive solution to goal management.

They offer a free online demo and 7-day free trial.


PerformYard offers a two-pronged effort to solve talent management and customer retention management. Its promise to grow people and revenue seem to have a sales and customer service focus.

The PerformYard information does not focus on goals alignment, but it claims to let employees and managers follow goals and achievement tasks. As a reporting system, it displays updates in real-time with the intent that they provoke employee/supervisor discussions on progress or needs to improve.

Fundamentally an administrative tool, it does offer opportunities for engagement with the added plus that employees can enter notes on their performance achievements for file and later assessment.

They offer a demo and pricing on request.



Trakstar is a performance assessment software solution with some engaging visuals. They promise to “reduce the paper chase,” so managers have more time to develop employees towards business goals.

Accessible by any device with access to the Internet, it keeps assessments current and shared. A typical screenshot lists an employee’s tasks side by side with stated goal and a bar metric indicating progress.

Other color displays show supervisor and employees progress and concerns in real-time, hopefully to initiate acknowledgment, coaching, or corrective action.

Pricing is not available without demo request.


Clear purpose benefits everyone.

To the extent that managers and employees work on defining their specific goals, they understand the work better, but they also effectively identify potential obstacles.

This helps manage from the bottom up. After all, the organization depends on the successful completion of individual employee goals.

If management finds this process time-intensive, management must reconsider its own role. Managers need and want to do more than process paper. And, the business needs coaches and mentors.

It’s far easier to manage people who know what is expected of them and who feel empowered to make some of their own decisions. And, they perform better when they see the connection between their individual contribution and the overall business outcomes.

Clear metrics present a measurable path each employee can monitor on an on-going basis. That on-going process is future-directed and self-fulfilling. This creates a sense of independence and interdependence among teams and co-workers.

These metrics also provide record of progress or failure that provides notice of needs to fix and reorder. In doing so, it reduces stress on employee and relieves managers to redefine goals and redirect employee efforts. explains, “When an employee understands what he or she needs to do to succeed, it’s much easier to contribute. It’s also much easier for managers to do their jobs, to improve productivity, and to manage proactively, rather than have to spend time stamping out small fires after the fact. Clear purpose helps everyone succeed and, bottom line, that’s what we all want.”

Looking for a system that aligns employee goals and corporate interests –

Now, of the systems reviewed here, most are performance assessment administrative tools. That is, they help with the system of scheduling assessment events and with the replacing the paperwork in the process.

At best, they integrate with other HR systems to archive records of the process. While SmartAppraisal talks a very good game regarding individual and corporate goals alignment, its own very archaic website leaves you to wonder about the sophistication of their software.

ReviewSnap and AppraisalSmart, regardless of their marketing message, target performance appraisal processing. And, in the case of PerformYard, their marketing focus seems to split between HR and Sales interests.

And, although Trackstar is a handy and convenient performance tracking tool, only BizMerlin offers a module, in a larger HRM system, specific to identifying, tracking, and engagement over the alignment of individual and corporate goals.



Onboarding software programs are not created equal

When a business fails to invest in Human Resources, it gets a Personnel Department that earns its keep by juggling a hundred daily duties. It’s asked to function and deliver, so it hires people, runs them through their paperwork, introduces them around, and moves on.
They call this “orientation,” and some do a better job than others. But, you shouldn’t confuse onboarding with orientation, something a harried HR manager can’t handle.
• Orientation is an administrative process that takes new hires though company policies, procedures, safety rules, and the like. It aims to acquaint hires with the company and its expectations and hopefully leave the employee with a feeling of satisfaction at taking the job.
• Onboarding is a strategic process that transitions the new hire into the organization’s culture, purpose, and behavior. It builds relationships that retain employees into the future with training, mentoring, and coaching over six to twelve months.
Orientation is often pushed down to clerks who distribute paperwork and cover a checklist of policies. But, the Onboarding strategy takes monitoring, tracking, and continuing involvement. And, employee onboarding software systems can now run and enhance the process.

5 employee onboarding software programs for your consideration:

We have handpicked the best onboarding software programs in their respective geographic boundaries.
1. BizMerlin has a huge presence in North America and Asia. It dominates the human resources interests at small and medium sized businesses. It’s a comprehensive cloud-based HR solution available through web browsers and iOS and Android devices. While competitive systems claim to onboard employees, they are configured for large companies with big HR data. While they gather, sort, and process all the usual orientation and onboarding forms, they seem less inclined to acclimate and acculturate the new hire. BizMerlin fills that gap with its engaging and user-friendly interactivity. Time is always the heaviest expense in onboarding, and BizMerlin does promise savings through a faster process thanks to the creation, management, and tracking of task checklists. Still, its emphasis on tasks makes it more individualized, and its reports on metrics like hire date, status, and overdue tasks give supervisors meat with which to coach and mentor.

Paperless onboarding by BizMerlin
Paperless onboarding by BizMerlin

Tip: BizMerlin’s onboarding system includes pre-configured forms and supports HR-created forms. User-friendly, accessible, and navigable, the onboarding module makes a quality first impression, engages employees, and encourages retention. And, it relieves HR and employee supervision to work more constructively on new employee assimilation.
BizMerlin pricing starts with a Free Trial.

2. HR Onboard targets businesses with 200 to 2000 employees with an onboarding specific program. That is, it is not a total HR management system, preferring to put its focus on employee onboarding.
HR Onboard organizes forms, manages documents, monitors tasks and notifications, and plugs into other systems like payroll and benefits administration. But, HROnboard also includes the ability to cross-board; that is, it will handle promotions, re-hires, transfers, contract updates, and more without any paper. And, its exit module collects all it needs from departing employees in a respectful way.



Tip: HR Onboard smartly focuses on the onboarding process with user-friendly interface and navigability. The ability to cross-board seems unique among the reviewed systems.
Current pricing for premium package starts at $6,000 with customized packages open to negotiation.

3. Onboard Express has good hold in Australia. It claims to save your business 80% in onboarding expenses while promoting company values, culture, and goals. Forms and contracts are electronically created, reviewed, and issued with e-signatures. Content and access are secured yet accessible from any internet platform. Onboard Express to and across departments improving onboard process visibility through an HR dashboard that reflects task reminders and notification.


Tip: Onboard Express does facilitate the administration of forms for new hires. And, the dashboard shares employee entry. But, it does not focus on employee acclimation to corporate culture and tasks geared to acculturation.
Current pricing starts at $5,000 for start and $35 per onboarded employee.
4. Silkroad Onboarding claims its software “raises the bar and transforms a new hire process into a talent activation and engagement experience.” The Onboarding is part of a comprehensive HRIS program that serves 2000+ large and global businesses. User portals allow access from any location to participate and report on time sensitive tasks. SilkRoad organizes and tracks e-forms and task completion. Employees can even complete their hire forms before their start date. The system automates task workflows based on position, department, and location. And, it lets supervisors and HR monitor performance and engagement. Finally, SilkRoad Onboarding includes an off-boarding package that terminates benefits, secured return of company assets, and revokes system access.


Tip: Silkroad is a well-rated HRIS program, but its sophistication takes some learning curve. The Onboarding functions take some training. Current pricing for the differentiated Onboarding module is difficult to determine although it promises no free trial.

5. ExactHire is a robust recruiting and applicant tracking software. It starts when candidates enter the business website career portal. As they apply, the upload personal documents, answer screeners, and complete skill assessments. ExactHire rank applicants according to predetermined criteria and, then, schedule phone and personal interviews. The system scans for keywords and prompts applicants through the next steps.
That automated tracking mindset runs through their onboarding capability which focuses on completion of auto-populated forms to speed functionality and accuracy.


Tip: ExactHire is an applicant tracking system, and its onboarding really refers to the administration of forms.
Current pricing shows ExactHire pricing fees start at $150 per month, but large employers pay more. There is also a one-time implementation fee to secure a dedicated Client Services Manager.


A true and effective onboarding system needs more than efficiency and expediency. Most reputable HRIS, HRM, and Applicant Tracking Systems complete the administrative tasks associated with new employees.
But, a business is better served by software designed specifically for onboarding new hires into the business culture, systems, and expectations. So, you might not want to overinvest in automation that does not do the job you need done.