After reviewing dozens of leading performance management systems, we recommend Halogen Software's TalentSpace as the best performance management system for small businesses in 2017. To understand how we chose Halogen, see our methodology on our best picks page.
Why Halogen TalentSpace?
Halogen's performance management system is our best pick for small businesses because it combines simplicity and comprehensiveness, as well as lends a level of custom control to that helps tailor the performance appraisal to a company's specific needs. Taken together, these three traits – simplicity, comprehensiveness, and customization – make Halogen a good option for small businesses. If you're growing quickly, this system can scale with you. If you're a small startup with specific needs, Halogen can be customized exactly as you need. And no matter what, you'll have access to all the necessary features laid out in a simply navigated user interface. Simplicity, the final component, is essential to our selection of Halogen as the best system for small business, because many entrepreneurs don't have the necessary staff or time to dedicate to deal with an unwieldy system. With Halogen, you won't have that concern.
Halogen Software also offers a full human capital management (HCM) software suite so you'll have the option of integrating other HR solutions with your performance management system. Succession planning and career development modules, for example, can integrate with a performance management system and taking the information gleaned from reviews to the next level.
Already prepared to choose a performance management solution? Here’s a breakdown of the rest of our coverage:
- How to Choose the Right Performance Management Software
- Best Performance Management Software for Business 2017
- Best Performance Management Software for Mid-Sized and Enterprise Businesses: UltiPro
- Best Standalone Performance Management Software: BambooHR
Performance management features
Halogen boasted one of the most comprehensive performance management modules we reviewed. Not only does Halogen offer a wide array of essential features, but they come in an adaptable package that can be customized from performance review to development planning. From the manager's perspective, Halogen brings reviews into a central location and displays the completed and pending reviews together. Users can access each individual review from this central location and fill out a customizable form, which will be automatically distributed to each stakeholder in the process once it's completed (as will every other necessary document, such as employee self-evaluations.) Halogen supports 360-degree feedback, meaning employees, managers, and other members of the organization can engage in the process. Employees have the option of adding peer reviewers and managers can set permissions for other reviewers to join the process as well.
Goal setting and tracking comes integrated with performance management, making it easy to create, set, and track goals for specific employees or teams. During reviews, if a manager notices a shortcoming or an opportunity for growth, goal setting comes in handy. Then, over the course of the next weeks or months, it is easy for users to track the progress an employee has made toward each assigned goal. Creating the goals also includes fields for users to define exactly what conditions should be met to consider the goal completed as well, allowing for specific, measurable progress against a task.
One unique feature we particularly liked was Halogen's "feedback central," which operates like a real-time social channel for day-to-day feedback and kudos between managers and employees. This feature functions almost like a messenger on a social media website, and is very useful not only for constant contact but also encouraging employee engagement.
Halogen also includes a career development component within its performance management module that helps managers recommend to employees where they can build their skills and continue their education. Like much of the rest of the system, career development is adaptable and allows managers to create plans to address skill gaps, bolster strengths, or base development paths on the employee's own career goals.
Finally, Halogen helps offer managers, HR staff, and executives a clear picture of who the organization's best and worst performers are. This information can aid in succession planning and understanding the trajectory of your organization, who to promote, who to terminate, and what talent to look to bring onboard.
Ease of use
Halogen's seamless use interface helps create a positive user experience throughout the entire process. Filling out reviews is easily done with a form navigator that quickly links the user to each part of the document, preventing needless scrolling. Because every document lives on the system, you can automatically send completed reviews and forms to the necessary recipients. However, if your company also requires those documents to be exported for any reason you can print them out or convert them into PDF form with built-in tools.
Our customer service experience was positive. Representatives were informative and respectful each time, and we only encountered prolonged hold times on one occasion. Representatives were always knowledgeable and respectful, and they were usually able to easily answer our questions about the system and about implementation. However, we did have to be transferred to a manager on one occasion when the representative was unable to answer a question about goal setting and tracking.
It is worth noting that some users have complained that implementing the system can sometimes take longer than average.
Pricing can vary depending on the size of your organization and your specific needs for implementation. However, Halogen offers several different packages that include various degrees of the features mentioned above. With the "Coach," 'Align," and "Aspire" packages companies can opt for more or less out of the performance management system – Coach covers the essentials of performance management, Align offers additional functionality surrounding goals and development plans, and Aspire adds succession-like functionality, as well as enhanced development programs.
Halogen's biggest limitation is its narrow set of available integrations with third party applications. If your business relies heavily on a number of applications, make sure you won't need to integrate them with your HCM software.