Introducing Appraisal Notes

Hot on the heels of the last new feature we introduced (Competency Comments), over the weekend we released another new feature – “Appraisal Notes”.

It allows HR and HR Partners to add notes to employee’s appraisals. It can be used as a stand-alone feature or in combination with the Appraisal Tags feature we released late last year.

Please get in touch to find out more.

 

Introducing Competency Comments

Over the weekend we released a new feature for competency based reviews. It allows managers and direct reports to add comments against individual competencies when reviewing performance against them.

As a bit of background – before the release, if you are using Competencies in PerformanceHub, then at appraisal time the manager and direct report are required to select a performance level for each competency in the DR’s role. The available performance levels are based on your competency framework.

The new Competency Comments feature gives employees the opportunity to add comments to each selection. A little ‘comments’ icon will show users if notes are available and indicate if notes are mandatory (see later).

To turn Competency Comments on, just go to the Configuration page and under the Competencies section, you’ll see a new option for comments. If you enable comments, another option will appear to ask if you want to make comments mandatory. If comments are mandatory, both the manager and direct report must add comments to each competency, otherwise the appraisal cannot be marked as finished.

Appraisal Tags – A New Feature

Appraisal Tags in PerformanceHub are powerful ‘snippets’ of information HR can create and associate with an employee’s appraisal. Think of them like ‘stickers’ that you can ‘put on’ employee’s appraisals and are only visible to HR.

Err, ok, so what does that mean?  Well, you can use them for all sorts of things, but perhaps the best way to describe them would be to walk through an example use.

Let’s say that you have a talent management and succession planning process you want to keep track of. You already have all sorts of information in PerformanceHub about people’s performance, and you may also collect other data you can make use of through PerformanceHub’s “Appraisal Fields” feature too, but how do you bring it all together in a meaningful way? Well, that’s one way Appraisal Tags can help you.

You could define a set of tags for Talent Management and Succession planning.

For instance:

  • Flight risk
  • Impact of leaving
  • Ready for promotion
  • Potential
  • Willingness to travel

Once you have created a tag, you can then create some values that tag could take.

For instance, the Flight Risk tag could have values:

  • High
  • Medium
  • Low

and the Ready for promotion tag could be:

  • Now
  • Within 12 months
  • Within 24 months
  • Within 5 years
  • Never

Once you have set-up your tags, you can apply them to appraisals. Why an appraisal and not an employee? Well, we thought that applying them to an appraisal would give you an opportunity to see how things have changed over time. Is Donald getting closer to that promotion? Has Theresa’s risk of leaving increased?

Once you have tags applied, then you can use them in reports and the distributions reporting tool. They fit neatly into the other reports PerformanceHub has, so you can answer all sorts of questions about your employees.

This is just one example of how you may use Appraisal Tags, but you could use them for all sorts of other things too.

If you would like an online demo of how Tagging works, then please drop me a mail.

Also in this release

  • A new “Probation Employees” report
  • Employee location added to the interim report
  • Employee start date added to the Objectives Count report
  • Employee status added to the Last Login report
  • Various small tweaks to the layout and in-line guidance

Mission vs Vision Statement: New Feature

Vision Statement Support and More

We are pleased to announce that the latest version of PerformanceHub went live over the weekend. As ever, you get instant access to all the new features this new release provides.

This is a special release for us because it’s the first that has been made as a direct result of your comments and votes on our new public roadmap (which is now available to Admin users directly from the PerformanceHub Dashboard).

Our plan is to use the public roadmap to ensure we’re prioritising the features you need.

In this release:

Vision Statements

You can now have a Vision statement, which will appear on the Company tab. You can choose to have a Vision statement or a Mission statement, or both. Studies have long shown that having clear vision and mission statements, and aligned company objectives, can result in better employee engagement and retention, and financial performance[1].

Objectives Due Soon

Employees will now get a dashboard action when they’re approaching the due date for an objective. This only applies if the due date is ahead of the usual “end of review period” deadline that objectives have by default.

New HR Controls for Appraisal Management

HR can now force close appraisals early, for example if an employee is off on long-term leave or maternity and an appraisal is not required. You do this from the Appraisals Manager page (select “Employees” in the extra functions menu, then select “Appraisals” from the navigation bar).
HR can also re-open closed appraisals. This might be needed if you accidentally close the wrong appraisal, with the previous function, but we’ve seen situations where someone comes back from long-term leave earlier than expected or where something comes up that warrants an appraisal form being updated.

Tweak to interim comments

In the interim review section of appraisals the manager’s comments were displayed first, but in all other sections the direct report’s comments are displayed first. So we’ve changed interim reviews to match.

Display bug in Safari squished

On Safari (iPhones, iPads and Macs), when an appraisal had been finished, in some sections of the appraisal the text was too pale, making it hard to read.

Roadmap access

A new “Useful Links” link has been added to HR’s dashboard so you can go straight to our public roadmap from PerformanceHub.

Other bits and bobs

  • If a manager proposes an objective to a direct report and then agrees it soon after, the proposed notification is suppressed.
  • If an objective or development target is proposed and then deleted soon after, no notification is sent (rather that 2).
  • External feedback requests now say which company the person the feedback is on works for.
  • We’ve also squished a few minor bugs.

Introducing Probation Reviews

Probation Reviews

PerformanceHub now supports probation reviews to help you with your employee onboarding process.

Many organisations have a probation period for new starters. Often just thought of as a “safety net” to catch poor hiring decisions, they are an important period in the early stages of a new employee’s appointment. During this period, new employees should be given a sufficient level of support to enable them to become an effective member of the team. PerformanceHub provides new appointments, their manager and HR the platform to do this, and now, PerformanceHub will ensure that probation reviews are conducted on time and with an appropriate audit trail.

Before moving onto the details, we would like to thank all our customers who helped us design probation reviews. It’s been a while coming, but all those comments you made on our early specifications have paid off, so thank you for your support. For any other customers reading this, if you would like to help influence PerformanceHub’s roadmap and features, please let us know and we will include you in our product programme.

How probation reviews work in PerformanceHub

Probation reviews are a new feature you can enable in Configuration. Once enabled, there are a number of sub-options you can also configure which we’ll cover below, but essentially new starters can be put on probation. The length of the probation period can be changed on a per employee basis, but will default to whatever you have set in your config.

An employee who is in probation does not go into the ‘normal’ appraisal review cycle. Instead, they have a probation review that needs to be completed at the end of their probation period. A probation review is similar to a regular appraisal, but the information collected in it can be different if required. These are the stages of the probation review:

  1. The manager and new starter are asked to start the review before it’s due (how far in advance is configurable)
  2. The manager needs to make a recommendation for HR to approve (Pass, Extend or Fail). This recommendation and any notes the manager has entered into the review are not visible to the new starter at this point and a manager cannot progress any further until the recommendation has been approved by HR. Note that, depending on your “2nd Line Manager” settings, the 2nd line manager can also be involved in the probation review
  3. Once approved, the manager can share their review with the new starter and the review can be completed much like a normal appraisal
  4. Once the finished review is submitted to HR, HR can close the review. PerformanceHub automatically deals with the next step depending on the result of the review. If the new starter passed, they are put into the normal appraisal cycle. If they failed, the new starter’s account is marked as a Past Employee. If the result was to extend the probation period, then a new probation review is created and the old one kept on record.

All other aspects of PerformanceHub work in the same way, ie, a new starter can have objectives, 1-to-1 meetings, a development plan etc.

HR have a new Probation Manager screen that allows them to manage probations. HR’s dashboard has also been updated to include important probation review information.

Configuration sub-options

Once enabled, you can set the following sub-options:

  • Default duration: This is the default duration of a probation period. If your new starter has a different duration, this can be changed when you add them to PerformanceHub
  • Prompt manager time: This is the time before the probation review is due the manager is asked to start the review. The default is 2 weeks, but it can be changed to give a longer lead-in if required
  • Default on probation: If set, all new starters will be put on probation by default. You can opt a new starter out of probation when you add them to PerformanceHub or visa-versa, depending on whatever your ‘norm’ is
  • Give managers an objective: If set, whenever a manager gets a new starter in their team, the manager of the new starter will automatically be set an objective to ensure a successful onboarding (their manager will review them against this objective)
  • Probation review sections: Just like you can add sections to an appraisal, you can also add them to a probation review. These could be the same as your regular appraisal form, or you may wish to make a probation review slightly different

PerformanceHub: Little Big Things Release

We’ve just released a new version of PerformanceHub with some of those “Little Big” changes we like to do. Small things, that make a big impact on usability.

 

Here’s a run-down of what’s new:

HR Partner improvements

  • We have changed the selector that allows you to pick what zone you are looking at. It’s now a nice neat dropdown.
  • We noticed that the selected zone was not “sticky” as you flicked between certain reports, so we fixed that.
  • We re-worded some of the dashboard actions for HR Partners so that the action relates to their specific zone(s)

 

Long term leave

We updated how PerformanceHub behaves when a user’s account has been disabled. Now, as well as that user not getting any notifications, their manager will also not receive any notifications or actions that relate to that user. Disabled user accounts are also removed from various HR dashboard actions.

The manager will also see a new icon in the sidebar next to the user to show that their account has been disabled.

More legible date format

We have changed the way dates are displayed on objectives from the international date format to a more “human friendly” format. We also changed it when users look at important review period dates.

One to One meetings

We have improved the wording on 121 meeting prompts and made it clear that placeholder meetings can be used to publish an agenda or working notes for future meetings.

Objectives

We saw that some people were putting objectives into “In Review” when they were doing their interim reviews, even though they hadn’t finished work on them. To help avoid this, we have changed the button from “Ready for Review” to “Ready for Final Review” and improved the tool-tips (instructions you get when you hover over a button)

We have also improved the tool tips and confirmation dialog when users Propose objectives.

Appraisal balancing

We have “upgraded” a manager’s dashboard action to set a Provisional rating from “Blue” to “Amber” between the End of Period date and the End of Period date. This should encourage ratings to come in sooner and help speed up any balancing, calibration or levelling processes you have as manager will now be reminded to add the ratings each week until they are done.

Formatting of rating descriptions on appraisal fields

You can now add bullet points in rating descriptions like you can in other field descriptions.

“Quirks Mode”

We have found that a small minority of users have their Internet Explorer set to “Quirks Mode” (it emulates the browser running as IE7 or earlier so PerformanceHub won’t work properly). We now catch that and tell the user what they can do about it.

Improved shared PC support

Where users are sharing PCs, in some circumstances, when the 1st user leaves themselves logged in to PerformanceHub and a 2nd user clicks on a link in their email notification, they are taken to the 1st user’s account rather than their own. We now catch this, automatically log the 1st user out and ask the 2nd user to log in as themselves.

 

As ever, feedback is a powerful motivator, so let’s have yours.

PerformanceHub Release

In this release:

  • Way better interim reports
  • A new employee engagement report
  • Various bug and usability fixes

You can’t have too much of a good thing right…? ..thought so.

Sooooo, we have added even more sunburst reports! We had some great feedback on the Objectives Sunburst, so we thought “why not?”.

 

Interim review progress sunburst chart

The Interim dashboard report (click on Interims in the Dashboard’s sidebar if you have one) now gives you a better overview of progress on interims. You can even click a button to see things in percentage terms. But, if you look on the far right, you’ll see the, by now familiar, sunburst chart icon. Click that and you’ll get a breakdown of progress on interim reviews in a chart.

 

Employee engagement report

We’ve introduced a brand new report. On your Dashboard, you’ll see a new entry in the sidebar “Engagement”. Click on that and you will see a, yes, you guessed it, a sunburst chart showing you when people last logged into PerformanceHub. It’s the start of a few ideas we have on Employee Engagement reports.

Check your report out here (you’ll need to be logged in). Don’t be too upset if you see a lot of yellow, depending on where you are in your review period, you may not be expecting people to have logged in for a while.

 

Various stability and usability updates

  • We’ve got rid of that jitter on Chrome!! Hoorah!
  • Feedback tool-tip now takes into account anonymity settings
  • Managers who were “matrix managers only” were incorrectly being given the opportunity to change matrix managers for their team members (when they didn’t have any)
  • Titles have been added to more reports

As ever, feedback is a powerful motivator, so let’s have yours.

Latest PerformanceHub Release

In this release:

  • Objectives sunburst chart
  • Role descriptions in user profiles
  • New option to enable/disable anonymous feedback
  • Target completion dates now show in the overview view
  • Clearer average objectives rating chart title
  • Various stability and performance updates
  • Various bug and usability fixes

 

We are currently preparing a big new feature for probation period reviews, it’s quite a complicated feature to develop and we want to maximise your input to its design. If you aren’t already involved in reviewing the new feature, but want to be, drop me a mail and I can send you our latest thoughts.

Iterating on the design is going to take a couple more weeks, so in the mean time, we thought we’d sneak in a couple of quick PerformanceHub updates for you. This is the first one, we hope you like it. Here are the details:

 

Employee Objectives Visualisation

The appraisals sunburst chart has proved to be a very popular tool, so we have now introduced a similar chart for objectives.
You can use the new Objectives Sunburst chart to see whether people have agreed the minimum number of objectives, at a glance, across the whole organisation. The chart will give you % coverage statistics and allow you to zoom in on areas of interest.
You can get to the new chart from your main dashboard or when looking at the Objectives dashboard. If you are logged into PerformanceHub, you can click here to see yours (note, the feature isn’t supported on IE8).

 

Role descriptions in user profiles

If you have Competency based reviews enabled, and you have defined some Roles, employees can now see their Role Description in their profile. To get to a profile, you just click on your name on the top right and select Profile.

 

New option to enable/disable anonymous feedback

If you have unprompted feedback enabled, then you can now control whether people are allowed to give anonymous feedback or not. We used to always allow it, but now the default is not to allow it. If you want to continue to allow people to give anonymous feedback, you will need to turn the feature on in the Configuration – Setup tab.

 

Target completion dates now show in the overview view

When people complete a target, we capture the completion date, but to be able to see it, you had to open the target. The completion date now shows in the list view.

 

Clearer average objectives rating chart title

We have clarified the title of the new chart we introduced on appraisals for the average objective rating. We have simply added the word “objectives” so that people know that the chart only relates to objectives.

 

Various stability and performance updates

  • In some circumstances, when HR looked at an appraisal with a lot of text in, the scroll-bar wasn’t behaving itself.
  • The Excel report, org chart and objective cascade could have ‘funny characters’ in it. This was caused by accented and non-English text, but we now deal with it properly.
  • You could blank out the title of a target, which would cause an error on the page.
  • You could blank out the title of a company goal, which made it look odd.
  • Some browsers would ‘jiggle’ the layout as the page loaded. We have reduced the jiggle in this release and will complete the job in the next release.

 

See all PerformanceHub Features.

As ever, feedback is a powerful motivator, so let’s have yours.

 

– Rob.

New feature: Bonus objectives and Objective weights

In this release:

  • Overall objectives performance summary chart
  • Objective weights
  • Bonus objectives support
  • Various stability and performance updates

We recently updated PerformanceHub with three new features to help get the most out of objectives.

 

1) Overall objectives performance summary chart
A new chart has been introduced in appraisals to give employees a summary of performance against all objectives.

It takes the average rating for all objectives and draws both the manager’s and direct report’s results in the chart, like this:

Average objective performance

The chart is particularly useful when doing an appraisal because it gives you a quick overview of performance against objectives without having to open each objective up.

 

2) Weighted Objectives
When enabled (in HR Admins Configuration screens) all objectives get a weighting. Objective weights can be used to show the relative importance of each objective, and when applied, objectives are listed in weight order, with the highest weighting at the top. Weights are set by the line manager by simply clicking on the icon.

The new weight icon shows, even when objectives are in the list view:

Objective Weights

 

In addition, if set, an objective’s weight is used when calculating the average rating in the new chart mentioned above. The greater the objective’s weight, the more influence performance on that objective has in the chart.

 

3) Bonus Objectives
PerformanceHub now supports bonus objectives. You can enable the feature in the HR Admin Configuration screens. There are a number of configuration sub-options to tell PerformanceHub whether everyone is entitled to a bonus or just some employees. And whether all objectives are bonus objectives or just some. If not all employees are eligible for a bonus, then HR can mark the individuals who are via their profile in the Users tab.

A new icon is used to indicate weather an objective will form part of the bonus payment:

Bonus Objectives

The faded ‘present’ tells the user that the objective does not form part of the bonus calculation and the solid present means that the objective will be included in the calculation.

The line manager decides which objectives are bonused. All they need to do is click on the icon and confirm the change.

HR can generate a new report for bonuses, which provides you with the overall bonus calculations for all eligible employees.

The bonus calculation takes into account an individual’s performance against each bonused objective and a new parameter in the objective rating scheme which tells PerformanceHub how much bonus should be paid for each performance level. For example, you can configure the system such that ‘Good’ performance gives 100% of bonus, better performance gives more than 100% and anything under good gives 0%, but it’s up to you, it’s entirely flexible.

If objectives are weighted, the weighting is also taken into consideration in the bonus calculation.

If you are interested in setting up bonus objectives, then please get in touch and we can help you set it all up.

 

Final Notes
We squished a few bugs, and made some changes to speed up certain pages and reports.

New Release

Today we updated PerformanceHub with various bug fixes and usability enhancements.

  • Sort Roles and Competencies alphabetically, whenever they’re listed
  • IE8&9: the “spinner” text didn’t show properly in some circumstances
  • Don’t allow escape characters (esp ^K) to be written to text fields in the database.
  • Add “6 weeks” as an option for frequency of 121 meetings.
  • On last day, DR appraisal nag should go Amber if they haven’t provided comments & rating, or shared.
  • The term Grandchildren was still used on the profile page
  • Firefox 37: when looking at PDP section in an appraisal, if a target came from an earlier period, the graphic shown needs moving slightly left.
  • The comments boxes for fields in appraisals have the same bug about leading newline.
  • Layout updates
  • Email address validation on the login page