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.

It’s the little things…..

We’ve not posted any updates for a while, but that doesn’t mean we’ve been idle. In fact, we’ve been through an intense round of updates driven by feedback from our users. Here are the highlights:
Easy reviews:
Managers can now progress objective reviews for their whole team at the press of a button making the process a lot easier
Easy appraisal close:
HR can now close an appraisal and the associated objectives are automatically closed saving HR even more time
Encourage objective linkage:
HR can enable a feature to encourage managers to link objectives together by alerting them to orphaned objectives in their dashboard. Managers can now link objectives straight from their dashboard and also using the cascade button
Enforced browser control:
We don’t let people log in if they are using really old versions of Internet Explorer and we will warn people if they are using a browser that maybe slow or have security issues
Better dashboard:
We have added more dashboard nags, improved the wording of many and stopped some from appearing if there was nothing the user could action to get rid of it
Performance improvements:
Some HR screens were a bit slow to load for large organisations. We’ve made progress here and have plans to make more
Bug fixes:
Yeah, we have them too, but when we find them we squish them.

Browser Tech and Google’s Stand.

I must say, we were pleased to read Google’s announcement that they will no longer support legacy browsers for certain service features. Google’s vice president of engineering, Venkat Panchapakesan, wrote in a blog post: “Older browsers just don’t have the chops to provide you with the same high-quality experience.”

This is great news for us. Without the backing of the big boys like Google, the world just won’t move on.  Our development cycles are extended by about 20% to ensure we work on older browsers and in most cases we have to write special code to cope with legacy bugs (that perpetuate into newer browsers for ‘compatibility’ reasons). It’s all very tedious.

We want to give our users the best experience possible. We also want to move our products forward quickly and smoothly, but these aspirations are impeded by outdated tech that is oh-so-simple to update.

This reminds me of my Vodafone days when mobile data was growing up fast. We would spend both an age and a fortune trying to ensure that services worked with legacy devices. Usually, this necessitated a reduction in functionality of new services we were trying to launch. In the end, we’d launch a product that didn’t work very well on older devices or work as well as it could on newer ones.  The irony was that the kind of people who owned the older devices neither wanted or cared about funky new services in the first place, so it just hurt the people that did.

Back to Cogendo and we’re also liking Google’s Chrome browser. From a compatibility stand-point it seems to be rock solid. It also, in our opinion at least, seems to be leading the way in functionality, security and speed. We also like Chrome’s fast, incremental updates. Does this make us fringe and alienate us from our own customers….? Not nowadays we think.