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Modernize your performance and evaluation tools

(MoneyWatch) Over the years, I've seen performance management handled in many different ways. Some companies have no formal program at all for establishing performance goals or commitments, and have similarly loose guidelines for performing annual reviews. More commonly, especially among larger companies, there's an annual commitment-setting exercise that informs a more structured annual review.

But no matter what the process looks like, I've yet to see a solution that really works for employers -- one in which both employees and managers feel confident that good performance is rewarded and promotions aren't awarded arbitrarily. Rypple wants to change all that.

Rypple is a Web-based performance management tool that integrates all aspects of employee performance-monitoring into a single elegant system. That's a fancy way of saying that Rypple offers a single interface for configuring employee performance goals; providing ongoing feedback on that performance; delivering performance reviews and coaching; and even sending out messages recognizing workers' achievements for the entire team to see.

The service is free for up to 50 users, or for the first 30 days for larger organizations. After that, plans start at $5 per user per month.

Rypple looks and feels a bit like a social media site; you can see your own profile, for example, as well as that of everyone else in the organization. You can see performance goals and the threaded conversations that track your progress for each of those goals. And goals can be private -- just for you -- or shared, where multiple people sign up to contribute to the success of the project. That's great for cross-team goals that require the buy-in of folks across the company.

In addition to tracking performance goals, the site aims to help managers and employees have ongoing conversations, so you can send messages and provide feedback continuously about goals and use all of that information as a starting point for such dialogue. The site also has a tool called "loops, " which are structured performance reviews you can manage and conduct from within the site. Loops can include a self-assessment as well as peer feedback.

And while some companies half-halfheartedly bolt on peer-recognition and "kudos" reward programs into their corporate culture, Rypple has fully integrated a "public thanks" system. That makes it easy to recognize anyone at any time, and the kudos information is tracked along with everything else in Rypple's reports, which makes it easy track employee performance and progress throughout the year.

If you're looking to roll out a performance system -- or you want to overhaul the antiquated, mostly offline system you use today -- Rypple might be the software tool you're looking for.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user stevendepolo

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