Apr 08, 2008
by LOWELL H. LAMBERTON of Central Oregon Community College
Could your business benefit from some professional help with the appraisal of your employees? One choice would be to hire a consultant for some analysis and direction. But that might be too cumbersome--and too expensive. Are you aware of the variety of software programs for employee evaluation that are accessible for use and purchase on the Internet? Let's take a look at some of the better ones that are available:
PerformanceReview.com. This program comes from Petaluma, California-based KnowledgePoint. The website will allow you to choose from six different templates to conduct an appraisal. They also provide examples of each of the three on-screen before you have committed a cent to the process. When you do decide to use the online software, the charge is $9.95 per single use. An entire year will cost your business $89.95. As for the competency areas, you can choose theirs (e.g. "communications ability," "organizational skill") or create your own. It's a system that is both user-friendly and inexpensive.
The Exxceed Company of Chicago has a program called PerformancePro.net. This package emphasizes the employees setting their own goals and objectives using a three-phase system that walks employer and employee completely through the process. This system has a tracking module that will allow you to get a "snapshot" of any employee's performance at any time. The actual end-of-period evaluation is sufficiently flexible to allow you to use self-evaluation by the employees, the traditional manager evaluation or the 360-degree approach that involves appraisals from as many sources as possible. After a set-up cost determined by the size of your company, annual cost per user varies from $25 to $100.
Employee Appraiser Deluxe 5.0 comes from Austin Hayne Corporation of San Mateo, California. This is a software package that can be purchased at several different office supply stores--or from a web supplier such as Amazon.com. This program offers a menu of many dimensions of performance such as productivity, initiative, dependability, etc. Within each of the major dimensions are sub-dimensions. This attention to detail can produce a very thorough appraisal that can be instantly called up for examination. The software features a graphic ratings scale that is remarkably easy to read. The software package sells for under $100 at most sources.
Improvenow.com is a web site that invites employees and/or employers to complete an online assessment that is made up of 60 questions that must be answered candidly. This evaluation can be administered to members of a work team or to employees in a more traditional setting. The site will provide analysis based on the answers to the questions. Although its uses are limited, this process can throw light on personnel issues that otherwise might have gone unnoticed.
Several other packages handle virtually all Human Resource Management functions, placing employee appraisal in context with all other areas. One of the best of these comes from PeopleSoft and can be accessed at http://peoplesoft.ittoolbox.com/.
Most of better available appraisal software allows you to keep ongoing electronic notes that can later be compiled for generalized analysis. This feature is a must for busy entrepreneurs, especially for those of us who have limited experience dealing with employees.
Whatever the size of your operation or your level of need, there is likely an electronic appraisal method available to you. If you search the web, you will find dozens of other packages--probably including the one that is an exact fit for your needs.