Tools help staff see the effects of effort

November 14, 2007

By SAM HISER

Securing the services of the best available candidates is at the heart of e-recruitment systems. But once the new recruits are on board, technology now plays a big part in helping to monitor, incentivise and manage them.

Performance management software tools are maturing, taking advantage of the internet and replacing custom-grown solutions to help managers more effectively monitor and offer incentives to staff.

Also known as business intelligence (BI) or business performance management (BPM), e-performance management is a growing field.

Oracle, through its Peoplesoft and Hyperion acquisitions, SAP, Cognos and Business Objects are some of the big software providers helping managers collect, organise and massage data coming in from across finance, back office, manufacturing, production, sales and compensation business processes.

A growing list of smaller players, too, provides targeted services in a variety of niches. In the sales performance management (SPM) arena, for example, sales personnel and managers need a clear view of objectives and sales plan rules. They also need real-time visibility on their compensation statements and incentive goal sheets as well as
performance comparisons versus prior periods.

A dashboard screen on a desktop, laptop or smartphone allows them to absorb this information by showing up-to-the minute sales and compensation statistics and integrates incentive plan information.

In any sales organisation where the compensation plan drives the business, there is a need for everybody to be connected to central goals and respond quickly.

“You want to turn the business rules into compensation. With a centralized book, you can cascade strategic changes in the call plan,” says Leslie Stretch, senior vice-president of global sales, marketing and on-demand business at Callidus Software. The implications penetrate to the bottom line.

Mr Stretch says integrated software permits incentive compensation to be awarded faster and targeted with precision, while slowness and inaccuracy can demoralise a sales force.

Callidus, for example, is establishing a de facto standard for sales performance it calls the “true performance index”, that a professional can use to monitor the effects of their efforts. They can take this statistic with them – possibly to different employers. For heavily unionised customers, such as telecoms companies, Mr Stretch reports
fewer disputes, due partly, he claims, to trust in the Callidus data.

E-performance management tools are making a difference in operations management, too. A UK software and consulting group, eg Solutions, offers straightforward technology and advice which seeks to identify processes and tasks, assign roles, groups, teams and skills, and match desired outcomes with human activity. The business-intelligence
gathering mechanism is embedded in the process, which means data input is not segregated from the work itself.

Elizabeth Gooch, eg’s chief executive, says: “It’s like driving a car, first in manual and then in automatic.” The key is to make people autonomous optimisers by showing them the results of what they do.

Employees are said to appreciate sharper e-performance management tools and thrive because they feel a greater sense of accomplishment when their efforts are connected with results.

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