With technology currently playing such a vital role in our corporate world, your performance assessment process is only as good as the tools and software you have as an organization. Performance management can no longer be a once-per-year process, as assessment must be ongoing at most organizations.

Your PMS should provide in-depth information and analysis regarding several elements of the team member experience. There should be a significant mapping of employee goals and expectations as well. Included in the following section are the top characteristics to look for in PMS tools as we head into the new year.

PMS Tools

What Your PMS Tools Platform and Tools Should Do for You

These are the most significant highlights to look for regarding your PMS tools platform and optional tools. If you’re thinking about updating your PMS tools platform, the right choice should have all or most of the following characteristics.

Long-Term Career Paths

One of the most significant parts of performance management nowadays is understanding the route employees wish to take for their careers. This can give you a look into the future of where specific team members fit in with your organization in terms of long-term goals. There are several different ways this can be mapped out.

A team member could potentially go straight through the ranks of the company linearly. Alternatively, they could choose to master new skills and do things in a non-linear way, taking the road less traveled.

Setting these career paths doesn’t mean the maps are set in stone, but it can give you a better opportunity to gauge where team members are as far as leadership skills, vital roles, and collaborative efforts. These can potentially mean presenting training opportunities to team members that want to step up and take responsibility.

Short-Term Goals

Short-term goals are vital as stepping stones on the way to long-term career choices. These use employees’ strengths and current skill sets along with manager coaching and resources to set them up for success in the near future.

This can also help team members who are having difficulties in specific areas. It can mean helping them overcome roadblocks they are experiencing or be as simple as finding answers to questions they’ve been having regarding projects or overall job duties.

When short-term goals are addressed, it gives team members and managers a starting point to move forward from daily and weekly. This is vital for painting a picture for long-term success.


One of the most important parts of improving the team member experience and raising morale is by recognizing top-level performers and rising talent. Giving accolades for employee performance and contributions to the team makes a tenfold difference.

This also gives other team members something to strive for and, in turn, improves their performance as well. Additionally, a pat on the back is a lot less expensive than a raise, but those are good performance enhancers, as well.

Open Communication Between Employees and Management

One of the areas with increasing demand in the corporate environment is better communication between team members and managers. One way to improve communication is to do weekly performance management check-ins. This plays a crucial role in improving employee performance and maintaining the corporate culture.

When communication is a part of the daily cycle of the workflow, it becomes a casual part of the workplace routine instead of a nervous conversation that happens every so often. The days are gone when employees should be afraid of that “meeting with the boss.” In fact, the term boss is all but gone as well.

Management receives more respect, and engagement rates are better when leaders immerse themselves into the daily activities of lower-level team members and almost become a peer. A manager that is in the trenches with his team will be looked at in a much more favorable way, which does wonders for performance management.

Employee Coaching Model

Managers turning into coaches for team members is an increasing theme in the most successful PMS platforms. Coaching doesn’t mean telling your employees what to do. It means asking the right questions and listening in an effective way to help team members come up with solutions to existing issues.

In studies, there have been more favorable results when team members come to management for answers, and their managers engage and converse with them to come up with a solution, rather than barking some answers at them. Nowadays, team members are just as capable and intelligent, if not more so, than their managers.

They’re not looking for someone to lead them or pull them along. They are looking for someone to be right there with them, digging for solutions as part of the team. Managers should be more useful for their resources and ties to corporate than being looked at as an authority figure. Management should still be active players in the starting lineup, but just calling the plays from the huddle and not the sidelines.

A Steady Cycle and Not a Checked Box

Think about a cyclical view of performance management instead of a straight-line or a once-per-year box-checking party for all the employees of a company. The path to improvement is never a straight line; there are many circles, curves, arches, and other weird routes that lead to the goal.

When you treat performance management as an ongoing process instead of a once per quarter or once per year paper assessment, it’s much easier to embrace a management role that’s more like a coach or mentor. You’re holding your team members’ hands the entire way instead of waiting for them at the end of a line with an ax and chopping block.

It seems the recurring theme for performance management and assessments is having more focus on the development of employees and more engagement and coaching from managers. So far, this has been a winning formula, and if you can produce these elements within your PMS platform, you should have no trouble keeping up with the competition. Download the ebook, “The Skeptics Guide to Performance Management” and get started on improving your performance management process.