If you ever worked for a large company before starting your small business, you probably remember the rigid performance review process. This process  often involved powerful software built to handle tens of thousands of users that integrated with the company’s back-end enterprise systems.

There are all sorts of great performance review applications built by IBM, Oracle, SAP and Saba that are specifically targeted at the Fortune 2000.

But what if you’re not in the Fortune 2000?

What if your company is a little bit smaller?

You might have 10 or 25 or even as much as 100 people in your company. You’re still a small business, but you have the same needs as a larger organization. You want to make sure that your people are being reviewed consistently and that there is a process to follow. You want to make sure your employees are setting goals, working productively and (most importantly) being recognized for their efforts.

You want good software to help you do this. Do you have options? You do.

In fact, there are a bunch of good performance review applications available on the market today that can help you. I’ve chosen three that I like, mainly because I have clients that use them. They’re all cloud-based. And let’s cut to the chase – they’re not as expensive as you’d think. These three applications will cost you about $5,000 a year if you’ve got as many as a 100 employees and less if you employ fewer than 25 people. This is not a big investment to make if you’re looking to have a well-structured performance review system in place that helps your employees achieve their goals, work better with each other and contribute to your profitability.

A quick summary of the three that I like:

Halogen Software

Long-established with more than 2,000 customers globally, Halogen’s modular based approach is targeted for small business owners to manage their employees performance, goals and career growth.

The software includes everything from performance review capability (evaluation questions, scheduling, responses, aligning goals and strategies, building a process for coaching and feedback, tracking individual development, updating and aligning job descriptions) to Meyers-Briggs personality testing and succession planning (identifying and ensuring there’s talent ready in case of vacancy or new roles).

Trakstar

Trakstar was established in 2001 and now serves over 800 companies worldwide from its Seattle, Washington headquarters. The company provides powerful performance review features as well as 360-degree feedback, self-service data entry from employees via customized forms, workflows, real-time feedback, year-round journals, goal setting, compensation strategies and scheduling. Trakstar works well for both big and small organizations.

Reviewsnap

Reviewsnap specializes in taking the results of performance reviews and turning them into long-term “learning plans” where companies can also create (or upload) educational content specialized by job classification. Based in Des Moines Iowa the company is a division of Applied Training Systems Inc. which has been providing performance management tools since 1995. The company emphasizes service and its relationships with its customers, which has grown to include more than 1,200 companies.

Based on my experience with clients, you won’t go wrong by implementing any of the above applications for your smaller company. Make sure you put one person in charge of the implementation internally and that you invest resources for training and setup.

If you’re not sure of how you want your performance review system to work, these applications will help you formalize a long-term process.

Join writer and small business owner Gene Marks each Wednesday on the Small Biz Ahead podcast. You can also submit a question for Gene to answer on the podcast.

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