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Excel horror and its impact on performance management


First step in implementing a performance management process in any organization is defining the process and implementing the process.  Needless to say, most of the organizations will either adopt paper based forms where people fill in the forms and submit the printed ones (or) use Excel, fill it and send it to the HR / manager.  It is definitely a right way to get started.  You get to know the feedback on the forms design / what to capture / what not to capture / employee’s reaction to the form itself / whether you need one form for entire company (or) multiple feedback forms based on the level / etc.

However, following are the challenges as the organization grows:

1. Paper based form/Excel form eats more time for HR, Manager and the employee.

  • From the HR end, the distribution of forms to all the employees requires much effort. Especially in case of multiple forms for the different level/different designation employees, it takes much time for the distribution itself.
  • On the other hand, employees may not express their original feedback as they find it difficult or time consuming process to fill the form / excel.
  • The HR need to collect all the data. They should follow up with each employee to ensure that everyone has filled the necessary fields of the forms and submitted the same. This process requires more number of resources and lot of time.

2. Aggregation of data from paper based form/Excel.

  • Aggregation of data takes lot of time.  Collecting all data and preparing reports from them will leave the HR in trouble. HR needs to spend a lot of time and needs to be much careful while integrating feedbacks from multiple employees.
  • If an organization wants the feedbacks submitted by the employees to be reviewed /approved by their managers, here comes the inconvenience for managers.
  • Maintaining all the forms throughout the appraisal process, getting the approval of corresponding managers, returning the forms to the employees when the feedback is rejected and recollecting the forms from the employees. This sequence requires many resources and also may lead to the extension of the appraisal period.

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3. Confidentiality.

  • The performance management process should encourage the employees to strive for excellence by conveying their thoughts. But in this case, the employees may get a feel like their feedback may not be kept much confidential as there is a possibility of the paper forms to be read by others.

4. Possibility for human mistakes.

  • As there is no system involved, all the efforts are from human. This leads to the thought of error rate probability.
  • The level based forms might have got distributed wrongly. The HR might have missed to collect the form from few employees. There are chances for the collected hard copies to be missed.
  • Use of effective performance management systems will reduce the likelihood of errors occurring.

5. No history maintenance.

  • When an organization implements the appraisal process using paper forms/Excel forms, the history of employee performance level from each quarter/year will not be maintained. It is very hard to refer the previous year ratings of the employees.
  • The history will help both employees and higher level authorities to fill the forms and to take the decisions on the employee appraisal.
  • The consistency of the employees will be mostly figured by the history, as the possibility of change in employee hierarchy is high in the organizations based on the business needs.

6. Increased workload.

  • This excel or hard copy process will work for a company with maximum of 25-30 people. But as the company grows, once it hits 100 people count, workload increases massively. It is impossible to rely on such excel/paper based stuff.  On an average, if you use Excel based forms, HR spends atleast 60% of their effort in administering, collating the data.


Defeating the above drawbacks brings in the introduction of effective online performance management software such as Synergita.  Using a good performance management software reduces the number of resources needed to administer the process and increases the productivity.  This saves tons of time of both HR and employees. The software will have the provision of defining the workflows which eases the process of submission and approval.  We will have an easier way to track the employees who are stuck in a particular step so that they can be notified about the dead line for the same or go and help them solve their challenges in providing feedback or whatever help they need.

This makes the whole process much easy & pleasing.  History can be maintained for all the years which can be referred at any point of time. The appraisal process can be completed on time which will increase the reliability. Data can be kept more confidential and safe.  There are several advantages of having an online performance management software such as Synergita.

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