Better Ways to Gauge Workplace Performance

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<p><strong>Mountain View, Calif. &mdash; June 8&nbsp;</strong><br />More than 55 percent of companies struggle when it comes to assessing employee performance, according to a survey by learning and talent management software provider SumTotal Systems Inc.&nbsp; </p><p>The findings of a global survey, distributed by SumTotal to more than 1,000 HR and training professionals around the globe, found that nearly half (47 percent) keep tabs on workforce performance with paper, computer spreadsheets or word-processing programs.<br /><br />&quot;Many senior-level managers simply aren&#39;t aware that relying on a paper-based system is an impediment to managing and fairly compensating their employees,&quot; said Dan Boccabella, SumTotal senior director and general manager. &quot;HR pros have the opportunity to play a much more strategic role, as talent scouts inside their organizations. But most of them are forced to rely on binoculars to see the talent inside their companies, instead of radar.&quot;<br /><br />More than one-third (38 percent) of respondents to SumTotal&#39;s study cited internal time and resources as the biggest challenge to overcome when considering technology for assessing employee performance, closely followed by budget challenges (20 percent).<br /><br />More than 30 percent of North American and European companies surveyed said they have, or plan to buy, software for managing talent because they are automating an existing process for gauging workforce performance. </p><p>That finding differs in Asia and Latin America. Forty-five percent of Asian employers who responded to the survey say that a desire &quot;to improve their ability to assess and deploy talent&quot; guided their decision to buy talent management software.<br /><br />In Latin America, 39 percent of those answering the survey said they bought, or will soon buy, talent management software &quot;to retain critical talent.&quot; </p><p>For employers in Asia and Latin America, only 5 percent and 8 percent, respectively, said that automating existing<br />performance management processes was the reason for buying talent management software.<br /><br />&quot;Asian and Latin American employers appear to be tying their purchases to a more strategic reason than simply automating performance appraisals,&quot; Boccabella said. </p><p>Heidi Spirgi, president and co-founder of Knowledge<br /> Infusion,&nbsp; Minneapolis-based consultancy focused on technologies for managing corporate talent, agreed. </p><p>&quot;There&#39;s nothing wrong with HR and training professionals making automation a part of their rationale for buying talent management technology,&quot; Spirgi said. &quot;That might prove a good way to formalize goals for employees and streamline a performance appraisal process that only becomes more and more complicated for larger employers.</p><p>&quot;However, the most effective business cases combine the value of automation with the more strategic goal of driving business value, for instance, developing a pipeline of talent to execute a business plan or mobilizing talent to support new products or new markets.&quot;<br /><br />Almost half &mdash; 47 percent &mdash; of respondents from companies of all sizes preferred talent management software installed behind their technology firewall, but this approach is the most taxing to a company&#39;s IT resources.<br /><br />In contrast, the software-as-a-service, or on-demand, model is relatively new, and its adoption rate has been limited by myths about security and performance despite demonstrated benefits.<br /><br />&quot;A common misconception is that the on-demand model is less secure,&quot; Boccabella added. &quot;In reality, a company&#39;s data may be stored on a server dedicated only to its organization. And if not, then their vendor should be able to demonstrate that the data is impenetrable.&quot;<br /><br />Other results from the SumTotal survey showed that most organizations are still very early in the evolution of employee performance management from a paper-based, manual process to a sophisticated, online exercise that delivers strategic results such as linking employee goals to an employer&#39;s business strategy or tying<br />pay to performance.</p>

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