New PerformanceHub Release

Chairman support, competency reports and an improved Grandfather experience


PerformanceHub now supports a new special type of user – ‘Chairman’.

You can now add a chairman to PerformanceHub and optionally make the chairman the CEO’s manager.

If you make the chairman the CEO’s manager, the CEO can be appraised by the chairman and can have ‘personal objectives’, i.e. objectives that are not company objectives, and are proposed and agreed between the CEO and chairman.

If you just want to add a chairman to the system because they have a direct report you want to be appraised (such as a PA) but don’t want to appraise the CEO, then you don’t have to make the chairman the CEO’s manager.


Other updates in this release

Competency information added to the Excel report

We have added competency review information to the Excel report emailed on a Monday.

The new information allows you to find people who are performing/under-performing in role and find people with particular competencies and ratings. For example, find everyone in the company that has excellent communication skills.

If you are not already subscribed to the report, HR admin users can subscribe by logging in, clicking your name and selecting Reports.

Rolled-up Grandfather dashboard notifications

We noticed that some users had a lot of dashboard notifications about grandfather meetings. To avoid cluttering up their dashboards with repetitive information, we rolled the alerts up to make the dashboard less daunting.

Improved appraisal status reports

We have added a new column to the appraisal status reports to show when appraisals are waiting for Grandfather sign-off.

Squished a bug

In some circumstances, if a user’s manager was changed, their objectives were not reassigned to the new manager. This prevented the new manager from completing their part of objective reviews. The bug fix prevents this from happening in the future. Any objectives that got into this funny state before the bug fix was released will be updated.

Performance Review Tips – Getting the most out of performance reviews



Performance reviews are sometimes seen as stressful by employees and managers alike. Or worse, a time vampire with little payback. However, with a simple bit of preparation, performance reviews can go from a dreaded process to a rewarding way to develop and motivate your employees. Here are some tips on how to make the most out of your Performance Reviews:


No surprises

Make sure that you have regular meetings with your direct reports during the course of the review period. If something important comes up (good or bad) provide feedback as soon as possible. There should never be any surprises when it comes to the final performance review.


Get to know your direct reports

Discuss where your reports wish their careers to go, what they enjoy doing, their expectations, etc. This will allow you to develop and motivate them accordingly. Create a good working relationship with your team members; you will both feel more comfortable in each other’s company. Your role is as much to act as a mentor as it is to manage day-to-day activities.


Set clear objectives

Set clear, achievable and time-bound objectives. Make sure that time frames are realistic and discuss the objectives with the employee beforehand, making sure that you both agree on what they are expected to do. Have regular meetings to discuss these objectives. This will enable you to make sure that your direct report is doing the right thing and allow you the coach them in the right direction. This will make their performance much more effective and you will both know how they are doing prior to the performance review, so there won’t be any nasty surprises.



Make sure that both you and your direct report agree on how they are to be evaluated prior to the performance review. You must be clear about how you are going to evaluate, and what part they are going to play in the process. This way you will both know what to expect.



Preparation is key for both you and your direct report. Make sure that you inform them about the upcoming performance review; this will allow them to complete any relevant documentation or finish up any objectives. For you, remember to make notes about their performance during the course of the year and bring along notes from your regular meetings held during the year. This will ensure that you do not focus the meeting solely on recent events, which may not give a fair representation of the entire year.


Constructive Feedback

It is important to discuss both negative and positive points during the performance review; do not just focus on one area. Give constructive feedback. Remember that this should be a two way conversation, instead of just giving negative feedback ask your employee how they feel they did on certain objectives and what they feel they could have done differently, in other words, let them self evaluate where appropriate. This is your chance to coach your employee and to give them the opportunity to see where they went wrong and how they could have done better, instead of simply giving negative feedback which could demotivate them instead of encouraging them to do better. Spend time exploring your direct report’s strengths and make plans to capitalise on them in the future.


Most importantly, remember that your direct report will respond best when they feel ready and they know what to expect from you. Develop a strong professional relationship with them; this will allow you know how to challenge and motivate them accordingly and, as a result, create a successful working environment.


Plan for the future

You know what your direct report’s career aspirations are; you know their strengths and weaknesses. Set objectives or make development opportunities to help them realise their aspirations, building on their strengths and help reduce their weaknesses.



One final note, some people just aren’t great in some areas. No amount of motivation (positive or negative) will make a difference. If it doesn’t REALLY matter and, in particular, they excel in other areas, don’t dwell on the weaknesses and play to their strengths.

New release: Objective types and more


Today we released the latest version of PerformanceHub. In it, we have added support for employee objective types, introduced new features into HR’s dashboard and have improved the way review periods are selected.


Here are the details.

Development Objectives and Functional Objectives

Users can mark objectives as either Functional Objectives or Development Objectives, and HR can track progress against each objective type separately in the KPI charts and weekly Excel report.

This allows HR to track progress against personal development activities vs functional deliveries, and ensure your managers are taking development of staff seriously.


Other updates in this release


A more intelligent review period selector

PerformanceHub will select the most appropriate review period more often. Before this change, if you didn’t explicitly select a review period, PerformanceHub would select the current review period. Early on in a period, people are still wrapping up the previous period rather than starting to set objectives in the new one. PerformanceHub will now select the previous period until the appraisal deadline date has passed.


3 new HR and CEO dashboard entries

These new entries help:

  • Keep track of the appraisal completion process and provides a reminder button for you to send email to managers lagging behind the process
  • Keep track of the interims and provides a reminder button for lagging managers.
  • Keep track of the appraisal balancing process, provides onscreen completion rates and provides a reminder button


We squished a couple of bugs too

  • Managers were being alerted to unlinked draft objectives their direct reports had created.
  • The CEO couldn’t reconsider a completed company objective.

New Feature: Performance Feedback


Today, we released our latest feature – Performance Feedback


Performance Feedback


PerformanceHub now allows employees to give performance feedback to other people in your organisation. It allows managers and their direct reports to ensure performance reviews include opinions and ratings from all relevant people across the business, and also enables employees to give ad-hoc feedback on anyone at any time (for instance, to acknowledge a job well done).

Performance Feedback is a configurable feature you can turn on whenever you like, and there are two independent configuration options:

  • Requested feedback: If enabled, employees will be able to explicitly request feedback for use in their appraisal, as can their manager. When asking for feedback, an employee (or their manager) can create one or more questions which can then be asked of one or more people. In this way, employees can use the feature to make simple feedback requests, or create bespoke 180 or 360 degree feedback around specific subjects. People asked do not have to be in your organisation either, which is great for those employees who have a lot of contact with the outside world.
  • Unprompted feedback: If enabled, employees will be able to provide feedback on others at any time without the need to be asked first.


For a full list of PerformanceHub functionality, check out the features page  here.

New Feature: Mission Statements

PerformanceHub is on a Mission. Are you?

We have just released a new feature – “Mission Statements“.

Your CEO can now publish a mission statement on the Company tab for all your employees to rally behind. Combined with Company Goals and Company Objectives, your CEO can now communicate the full strategy; from your company’s  Mission, to its long term Goals, to timely Objectives right the way down to each individual’s deliverables.

Not enabled the Goals feature? You can from the PerformanceHub configuration page.

There’s no need to enable Mission Statements, they show up as soon as your CEO chooses to publish one.

It works for schools too – Head Teachers can set a Mission Statement in the School tab.

With this release, we are laying the foundations for some exciting Talent Management features we’re sure you’ll love – watch this space. In researching talent management, we learnt how something as simple as providing a clear mission statement can help with employee engagement, leading to better performance and improved retention.

New Release: PerformanceHub V3

We have some news we’re very excited to share with you.

Over the last few months, we have been analysing usage patterns and collecting user feedback to help us re-think PerformanceHub’s look and feel.

After weeks of tireless effort, this weekend we will release PerformanceHub 3, so here’s a sneak preview…

Overview of the changes

  • All screens have been simplified, removing visual distractions
  • The navigation is now oriented around major work items: Objectives and Appraisals
  • Improved the names of the stages in the objective lifecycle, and now give better in-line directions.
  • Simplified the dashboard so it only shows things you need to do, in a simpler format
  • Separated out HR and Admin functions from the main user interface
  • Given it a new home – (the old one will redirect you automatically)

Some more details

User interface redesign and the new navigation bar

We have simplified the interface, allowing your employees to concentrate on what’s important, whilst giving them on-screen direction as to what they need to do next to keep the process moving. The old navigation bar had a My tab to distinguish between your objectives and appraisals, and if you were a manager, your team’s. However, over 70% of users aren’t managers, so the My tab was a distraction.

The new navigation bar doesn’t have sub-tabs. The new navigation bar is provides quick access to the 3 main areas of interest: Objectives, Appraisals and Company information. Managers now switch between their objectives/appraisals and their team’s using the sidebar. For the 70% of an organisation who aren’t managers, they don’t get a sidebar, simplifying screens further.

Take a look at a screen shot of objectives for a manager with both direct reports and matrixed reports:

PerformanceHub Objectives tab screenshot

Reduced visual clutter

Many screens now look less cluttered, and some of you will be pleased to see that we’ve made the text bigger!

Take a look at the objectives list in the screen above, it’s much cleaner, allowing you to focus on what’s important. Don’t worry, you can still drill into an objective to see the details and perform actions, like this:

PerformanceHub Objectives capture screenshot

See how we have separated out the objective details from the objective’s review information. To switch between the two, use the tabs at the bottom of the information screen. PerformanceHub will automatically open the objective’s details on the most appropriate tab.

We’ve also replaced the traffic light with a new ‘timer’ icon which now only shows in red and amber situations. Why a timer icon and not just a red or amber badge? Well, we wanted to help people with certain types of colourblindness differentiate between red and amber items.

PerformanceHub Objectives list screenshot

Improved objectives lifecycle and in-line direction

Based on user feedback, we removed the need to tell PerformanceHub that you have completed an objective in order to review it. Now, you simply say “Ready for Review”. We found that some users were getting confused over the objective state “Complete”. It was intended to show that the objective work was complete, but not reviewed yet. Some people thought that it meant no more actions were required, even though the review itself wasn’t complete. Also, there’s the situation where an objective’s work may not be complete, but it must still be reviewed. Marking objectives as complete in those situations wasn’t the obvious thing to do.

The new objective lifecycle goes like this:

PerformanceHub Objectives progression

PerformanceHub will tell you where an objective is in the lifecycle, and if required, tell you what you need to do next to progress it, like this:

PerformanceHub Objectives review screenshot

See how the state on the top right is saying “In review: give rating” and the information box gives more details as to what is required.

Dashboard updates

Based on user feedback, we have removed ‘checkboxes’ from the dashboard and now only show items that require your attention. Buttons are colour coded to show urgency and clicking on the button will take you to the most appropriate screen.

PerformanceHub old dashboard tab screenshot

HR and Admin Screens:

HR and the CEO get a special dashboard screen with direct access to reports, like this:

PerformanceHub HR Dash tab screenshot

Finally, we have placed Admin and HR access into the drop-down menu on the top right and reorganised some of the content. Anything related to how PerformanceHub works is now under “Configuration” and any HR actions relating to employees are under “Employees.

PerformanceHub More actions screenshot

Once you are in one of these screens, the navigation bar changes colour from blue to green, so you can differentiate between “HR” tasks and your own tasks as an employee or manager.

We realise that a change like this can be a little daunting, but your employees will instantly recognise how to use the new system based on their experiences of the old.

As ever, your feedback is a powerful motivator, so please let us know what you think of these changes, especially once you have used them for a few days. As a note, we’re not resting easy on this, we have plenty more ideas in the pipeline in our quest to make PerformanceHub the most intuitive performance management tool on the market.

New Feature: Improved Appraisal Configuration

Today we released 2 great new features for creating your own bespoke appraisal form.


For a long time now, you have been able to add your own sections to an appraisal form, but today we added new features to extend this function futher.

When defining a new section on an appraisals, you can now:

  • Choose to make the section rateable
  • Say whether the section applies to Managers, Non-Managers or both

These are in additional to the existing abilities to make a section mandatory/optional and to say whether the section should be completed by the manager, direct report or both.





The importance of corporate transparency

In the early days of our company, we hammered out a set of principles. Not only corporate principles, but in particular those that our system should embody. One of those was transparency, which has turned out to be a bit of a thorny issue.

What I’m thinking about more and more these days is simply the importance of transparency.

— Esther Dyson

In this post we’ll first talk about corporate transparency: why it can be a good thing, and why some people don’t like it, at least in some situations. In a following post, we’ll illustrate this with an example from our performance management system, PerformanceHub, where we’ve had to address transparency.

There are two main types of corporate transparency: external and internal.

External transparency

External transparency is a measure of how open a company is with its customers, partners, shareholders, and the general public. More and more companies are realising this is important, and the dangers of not being transparent.

Investors should steer clear of companies that lack transparency in their business operations, financial statements or strategies.

There can even be financial reasons to be transparent:

Mounting evidence suggests that the market gives a higher value to firms that are upfront with investors and analysts.

Angela McClellan describes the link between lack of transparency and corporate corruption:

In addition, as the recent banking scandals have demonstrated, lack of access to information also means a lack of accountability, which creates an enabling environment for, as Transparency International (TI) puts it, “the misuse of publicly entrusted power for private gain”. In other words: corruption.

There are plenty of examples now of companies trying to hide problems from their customers, only to be embarrassed very publicly by customers banding together against them. An early example of this was Intel’s poor handling of a bug in the Pentium chip [Emery].

Internal transparency

Internal transparency is a measure of how open a company is with its employees. Until recently most companies treated employees paternalistically, and only shared what they wanted to with employees. This is changing, for a number of reasons.

The Facebook generation (aka “Generation Y”) are used to being open about all aspects of their lives, and expect that to apply to all facets, including work. And they have no compunction about moving on from a company which has the ‘wrong’ ethos:

As Gary Hamel gingerly pointed out in his speech this morning, the best and the brightest Gen Y employees require a high level of transparency, and companies that don’t deliver on that will risk losing their most talented future managers.

[…] for the Gen Y members of our workforce transparency is a given. They post their life stories in public domains; they expect nothing less in their workplaces.

Vineet Nayar, the CEO of HCL Technologies, recognised that transparency helps a company be more effective and binds the organisation more strongly together:

transparency helps to ensure that every stakeholder has a deep, personal commitment to the aims of the organization.

Nayar drove a transformation of HCL’s culture over a number of years, with transparency as a central pillar. The transformation is described his book “Employees First, Customers Second” [Nayar]. He notes that many people feel uneasy at the prospect of transparency, for a variety of reasons; for example, middle managers might worry that they’ll lose their power. Transparency does flush out many things which often lurk in the shadows:

A transparent house [has] a dramatic effect on the culture inside […]
if you can see the dirt, you will be much more likely to get rid of it.

Being transparent holds a company to a higher standard: you can’t be lazy. But everyone gets held to that higher standard:

We’ve always known that radical transparency is only advisable where an operation is orderly. But still, isn’t it ironic that the most disciplined companies are the ones that are letting it all hang out?

This is one of the reasons I believe many people are wary of transparency — they’re worried they’ll be caught out winging it. But if you are winging it, your employees are certainly aware of that, and will think better of you for admitting it. Those same employees will be more forgiving of screw-ups if you have been open:

Those who follow the [transparency rule] get a chance to survive, even possibly thrive. Those who do not, suffer, and perhaps die.

External and internal transparency are really two sides of the same coin:

Because no organization can be honest with the public if it’s not honest with itself, we define transparency broadly, as the degree to which information flows freely within an organization, among managers and employees, and outward to stakeholders.

A company is fooling itself if it thinks they can achieve one without the other.



Vince Emery, “The Pentium Chip story: a learning experience“.


Julia Kirby “Is your company buttoned-down enough to be see-through?“, Harvard Business Review Blog Network, 6th October 2008.


Ben McClure, “The Importance Of Corporate Transparency“. Investopedia article, 24th October 2010.


Angela McLellan, “Lack of transparency is the path to corporate corruption“, article on Consumers International Blog, 23rd August 2012.


Nick Morgan, “Is Corporate Transparency always a good thing?“. Harvard Business Review Blog Network, 17th October 2008.


Jacqueline Murphy, “Transparency and Employee Engagement at Unstructure 2010“, Harvard Business Review Blog Network, 12th April 2010.


Vineet Nayar, “Employees First, Customers Second“, 2010.


James O’Toole & Warren Bennis, “What’s Needed Next: A Culture of Candor“, Harvard Business Review, June 2009.

Latest PerformanceHub Release

We’ve just released a new version of PerformanceHub. The highlights are:


  1. A new interactive appraisals dashboard, which is available for all managers
  2. 30+ user-inspired usability enhancements
  3. Speed improvements


Interactive appraisals dashboard
The new appraisals dashboard is available to all managers from the Dashboard tab. Users with HR permissions also get a special “CEO’s view” so they can look at the entire company. The dashboard shows you where appraisals are in the process for your team. Depending on how big your team is, it will also show you information about your direct reports’ teams, and the deeper organisation under you (ie, if your direct reports have 2nd line reports of their own). You can drill into anyone listed in the dashboard to see the dashboard from that person’s point of view. This is a great way to get into the details and find managers who may be bottlenecking the process.


Once we’ve had feedback on the new appraisals dashboard, we’ll update the objectives dashboard to make it interactive in the same way. So let us know what you think, please!


Usability enhancements
We have been working closely with our customers to get usability feedback. As a result, we have made over 30 small changes to help users understand what they need to do when, and make PerformanceHub easier to use. We will be releasing more of these changes over time, so let us know if you can think of any ways we could make your life with PerformanceHub easier.


Speed improvements
No one likes a slow website, so we keep an eye on how responsive PerformanceHub is. PerformanceHub is by no means slow, but there are always ways to improve things. This release has the first set of speed improvements, there will be more coming soon.


More features are on the way soon, so keep an eye out for the next update.