HRIS platforms fall behind on performance management. Try this instead.


Because they’re built for generalist HR purposes, HRIS platforms can’t achieve the effectiveness of dedicated employee experience technology.

You could technically use nothing but a knife to eat your food, cutting the meal down to size, then painstakingly scooping pieces up or piercing them individually. But since forks exist, why would you do that? Similarly, organisations can use human resources information systems (HRIS) to handle all their performance management, but why would they do that when a more effective system exists: a dedicated employee experience platform?

Research shows that organisations with employees who are more satisfied with their company’s approach to performance management are:

  • 1.3x more likely to meet their financial targets;
  • And three times more likely to manage change effectively.

A performance management system that employees are satisfied with is one that is perceived to be fair, transparent, and valuable for the employee – not just the employer. Creating such a system is a big challenge and most HRIS are just not up to the challenge.

The typical reasons companies stick with HRIS for performance management are cost, convenience or both. The HRIS is already embedded and it has some performance management functionality, so some organisations don’t see the need for an employee experience platform when integrating it with their HRIS seems difficult. 

But those who rely on their HRIS might not be aware of its many performance management limitations.

A ‘nice to have’ vs dedicated functionality

On the surface, the standard HRIS platform offers the essentials an HR team requires. It tracks employee data like salary, leave entitlements and so on, while allowing you to enter and view performance-related data. 

The back-end of the technology tells a different story. Rather than an integrated system, HRIS platforms are often a collection of discrete databases. This tends to mean HR will spend more time and encounter more errors than they would with a dedicated technology.

This issue extends to the interface. According to a US-based survey of 48,000 people by Leadership iQ, only six per cent of CEOs and only 13 per cent of employees and managers find their company’s performance appraisal system useful. This could be because many HRIS platforms’ feedback features are tacked-on.

The worst outcome of this is that feedback becomes less common and less embedded in the culture. A meta-analysis of 71 research articles found that frequent feedback had one of the largest positive effects on job performance.

Compare the overly simple feedback of some HRIS’ platforms with Culture Amp, an employee experience platform that makes feedback engaging and accessible to all relevant stakeholders, and measurable to HR. Not only does it encourage more frequent and useful feedback, it allows employees to set meaningful, realistic goals and track progress over time.

The core distinction to keep in mind is that while HRIS companies are focused on delivering generalist technology, employee experience platforms are supported by engineers and IT specialists solely focused on people management. The best ones are also designed by behavioural scientists to maximise the usage and impact of the technology.

For example, creating a performance review template on a lot of HRIS platforms requires HR to liaise with their provider or in-house IT team, and then wait their turn in what’s likely a long list of other competing priorities. However, Culture Amp’s platform offers functionality for HR professionals to do this quickly and easily. Rather than a team having to support the technology, the technology supports the team.

This dynamic also affects innovation. Because performance management is a ‘nice to have’ in an HRIS and not a make-or-break feature, its evolution is slow and updates from the provider can be sporadic. Like Uber Eats’ pickup option, HRIS companies are not too concerned if the feature is seldom used.

Deep, accurate analysis

Perhaps the most important reason to have performance management technology is to unearth insights you would not otherwise be able to see. The underlying technology of Culture Amp is built from the ground up to track, analyse and present performance data. Just as importantly, they’re designed to simplify data collection.

Performance management workflows have to be streamlined, because most line managers’ jobs are difficult enough as it is. If entering information about an employee’s goals, one-on-ones and performance reviews is cumbersome – if it requires opening up several windows and fumbling for the correct section – they will likely either avoid doing it, or do a half-hearted job.

If this happens, the data can’t be analysed properly and will often not be there when leadership needs to review it. Worse, what’s there to review might be misleading, if a frustrated manager has entered inaccurate information. All of this can exacerbate the impact of bias on the performance review process – which can hugely undermine the perceived fairness of the process.

Dedicated employee experience platforms such as Culture Amp are designed with managers, HR and leadership in mind, so workflows can be tailored to optimise completion rates.

It doesn’t have to be either/or

HRIS platforms make functional HR simpler and are exceptional at doing that. They can be the single source of truth for your core employment data, keep track of leave and other entitlements, and be a linchpin of other employee-related processes.

Employee experience platforms are more focused on that next stage of organisational maturity. They are designed to maximise employee engagement and unearth what makes your people productive – they make strategic HR simpler. As the profession tries to fulfil that more strategic role, they should look for the technology that can support them.

Of course, the two things can co-exist. For HR teams that rely on their current HRIS, it can be synced to supply data to Culture Amp. That way you get the benefits of dedicated performance management technology with minimal disruptions to your current processes.

It turns out that eating with both a knife and fork is not only possible, it’s really effective.

Embrace a more human approach to performance management today and download Culture Amp’s free Performance Management Toolkit or book a demo of Culture Amp for your business.

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HRIS platforms fall behind on performance management. Try this instead.


Because they’re built for generalist HR purposes, HRIS platforms can’t achieve the effectiveness of dedicated employee experience technology.

You could technically use nothing but a knife to eat your food, cutting the meal down to size, then painstakingly scooping pieces up or piercing them individually. But since forks exist, why would you do that? Similarly, organisations can use human resources information systems (HRIS) to handle all their performance management, but why would they do that when a more effective system exists: a dedicated employee experience platform?

Research shows that organisations with employees who are more satisfied with their company’s approach to performance management are:

  • 1.3x more likely to meet their financial targets;
  • And three times more likely to manage change effectively.

A performance management system that employees are satisfied with is one that is perceived to be fair, transparent, and valuable for the employee – not just the employer. Creating such a system is a big challenge and most HRIS are just not up to the challenge.

The typical reasons companies stick with HRIS for performance management are cost, convenience or both. The HRIS is already embedded and it has some performance management functionality, so some organisations don’t see the need for an employee experience platform when integrating it with their HRIS seems difficult. 

But those who rely on their HRIS might not be aware of its many performance management limitations.

A ‘nice to have’ vs dedicated functionality

On the surface, the standard HRIS platform offers the essentials an HR team requires. It tracks employee data like salary, leave entitlements and so on, while allowing you to enter and view performance-related data. 

The back-end of the technology tells a different story. Rather than an integrated system, HRIS platforms are often a collection of discrete databases. This tends to mean HR will spend more time and encounter more errors than they would with a dedicated technology.

This issue extends to the interface. According to a US-based survey of 48,000 people by Leadership iQ, only six per cent of CEOs and only 13 per cent of employees and managers find their company’s performance appraisal system useful. This could be because many HRIS platforms’ feedback features are tacked-on.

The worst outcome of this is that feedback becomes less common and less embedded in the culture. A meta-analysis of 71 research articles found that frequent feedback had one of the largest positive effects on job performance.

Compare the overly simple feedback of some HRIS’ platforms with Culture Amp, an employee experience platform that makes feedback engaging and accessible to all relevant stakeholders, and measurable to HR. Not only does it encourage more frequent and useful feedback, it allows employees to set meaningful, realistic goals and track progress over time.

The core distinction to keep in mind is that while HRIS companies are focused on delivering generalist technology, employee experience platforms are supported by engineers and IT specialists solely focused on people management. The best ones are also designed by behavioural scientists to maximise the usage and impact of the technology.

For example, creating a performance review template on a lot of HRIS platforms requires HR to liaise with their provider or in-house IT team, and then wait their turn in what’s likely a long list of other competing priorities. However, Culture Amp’s platform offers functionality for HR professionals to do this quickly and easily. Rather than a team having to support the technology, the technology supports the team.

This dynamic also affects innovation. Because performance management is a ‘nice to have’ in an HRIS and not a make-or-break feature, its evolution is slow and updates from the provider can be sporadic. Like Uber Eats’ pickup option, HRIS companies are not too concerned if the feature is seldom used.

Deep, accurate analysis

Perhaps the most important reason to have performance management technology is to unearth insights you would not otherwise be able to see. The underlying technology of Culture Amp is built from the ground up to track, analyse and present performance data. Just as importantly, they’re designed to simplify data collection.

Performance management workflows have to be streamlined, because most line managers’ jobs are difficult enough as it is. If entering information about an employee’s goals, one-on-ones and performance reviews is cumbersome – if it requires opening up several windows and fumbling for the correct section – they will likely either avoid doing it, or do a half-hearted job.

If this happens, the data can’t be analysed properly and will often not be there when leadership needs to review it. Worse, what’s there to review might be misleading, if a frustrated manager has entered inaccurate information. All of this can exacerbate the impact of bias on the performance review process – which can hugely undermine the perceived fairness of the process.

Dedicated employee experience platforms such as Culture Amp are designed with managers, HR and leadership in mind, so workflows can be tailored to optimise completion rates.

It doesn’t have to be either/or

HRIS platforms make functional HR simpler and are exceptional at doing that. They can be the single source of truth for your core employment data, keep track of leave and other entitlements, and be a linchpin of other employee-related processes.

Employee experience platforms are more focused on that next stage of organisational maturity. They are designed to maximise employee engagement and unearth what makes your people productive – they make strategic HR simpler. As the profession tries to fulfil that more strategic role, they should look for the technology that can support them.

Of course, the two things can co-exist. For HR teams that rely on their current HRIS, it can be synced to supply data to Culture Amp. That way you get the benefits of dedicated performance management technology with minimal disruptions to your current processes.

It turns out that eating with both a knife and fork is not only possible, it’s really effective.

Embrace a more human approach to performance management today and download Culture Amp’s free Performance Management Toolkit or book a demo of Culture Amp for your business.

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More on HRM