Performance Management by Rippling


May 16, 2024


Dan Green

Rippling’s latest product, Performance Management, uplevels employee development like never before. This product suite includes multiple apps: Goals, Review Cycles, and (coming soon) 1:1s. With Performance Management, you can create a single source of truth for employee growth and companywide goals, configure review cycles in half the time it takes in other systems, and build high-performing teams year-round.

The performance management dilemma

For HR leaders, performance management is a top priority that unlocks the power of your people—and employees agree. According to Gartner, 85% of employees view performance management as worth the time and effort when the results are put to use. But the way we practice performance management today is too time-intensive and misaligned with business needs. 

As a result, instead of an ongoing effort, performance management becomes a check-the-box routine that teams don’t put into action. Rigid and fragmented systems alike have forced HR leaders to focus on processes rather than people. Legacy all-in-one systems share some data between the performance module and the rest of their ecosystem but don’t allow for flexibility to meet your unique business needs. And point solutions have more configurability but rely on inflexible integrations that require manual work to ensure data is in sync. 

Always-on performance management, realized

We built Performance Management based on two key findings we established from our work with over 16,000 companies:

  1. Every company wants to manage performance according to its culture, not its system. 
  2. Performance management is most effective when it’s an ongoing process, not a one-off. 

All of Performance Management is customizable to your business’s needs. And since all Rippling apps are natively built on top of our platform, you can seamlessly connect performance data with other Rippling applications, like Recruiting and Payroll.

Instead of relegating performance to a point in time, Rippling lets you weave it into every part of the employee lifecycle. It’s painless, unique to your culture, and sustainable in the long run. Here’s how. 

Align everyone instantly with Goals

Goals makes it easy to quickly align your company around a shared set of objectives. Managers can quickly create goals, cascade them through their reporting line, and allocate ownership to specific team members. 

At every level of your organization, Goals helps you foster a culture of performance with minimal effort. Instead of logging into a separate system, employees can review their goals regularly using a system they’re in every day. 

Managers can also use Goals data when giving feedback in Review Cycles. As they’re writing a downward evaluation, they can quickly reference their direct report’s goal completion in a side panel to make their feedback more objective. 

With Rippling’s analytics, leaders can bridge the gap between targets and results, reporting on goal trends using any other data in Rippling—including department, tenure, and level. This makes it possible to unlock next-level insights into how teams are performing throughout the year, not just during annual performance reviews.

In the near future, leaders will even be able to push third-party data from GitHub, Salesforce, and all your favorite applications directly into Goals. Leaders will be able to see relevant performance data from third-party systems directly in Review Cycles, blending feedback and actual results seamlessly. 

Review Cycles lets you focus on people, not spreadsheets

In Review Cycles, you can quickly jump-start reviews without compromising on configurability. Rippling already understands your company’s roles and reporting structures, so you can skip the part where you tell your point solution who should be evaluating whom. You can select: 

  • Which employees are eligible for review by using employee attributes like department, tenure, or work location
  • What kind of reviews you want, including downward, upward, self, and peer 
  • Who will be a cycle admin and what level of permissions they should have 
  • Whether the cycle will include calibration or compensation stages 
  • Which questions different employees will have as part of their review cycles

Within each of these criteria, Review Cycles gives you unprecedented control and flexibility. For example, you might have someone who recently changed managers. With other systems, it’s a pain to track this and make sure employees are getting relevant feedback from the right people. 

With Rippling, you can create rules that dictate what happens when someone’s manager has changed recently. Should they be reviewed by the former manager, current manager, or both? Is this contingency triggered if they’ve only had the new manager for a month, a quarter, or six months? It’s up to you. 

You might also want certain employee populations to be evaluated differently. Maybe people who have been at the company longer have more questions. Or members of the Engineering team have different ones. Using Supergroups, you can tailor your packet’s questions by any employee attribute. 

While you might be able to achieve similar results with another system, it would definitely require manual workarounds and hours of busy work. Review Cycles frees teams to focus on what matters most: your people and their development.

Calibrate performance ratings with ease

Running a fair and effective calibration process is normally a nightmare. Managers shouldn’t have access to performance ratings of employees outside their scope. Many companies address this problem by creating hundreds of spreadsheets, which is extremely time-consuming. More often than not, a spreadsheet is eventually shared with the wrong person. 

Point solutions try to fix this pain point with collaborative 9-boxing. This approach has its own problems. You still have to manually configure who can see what in the calibration phase, a chore that inevitably forces you to limit managers’ visibility more than you'd like. 

Calibrations in Review Cycles are built to work seamlessly. That means no more manual spreadsheets and no more integrations to manage. As the single source of truth for your employee data and organizational structure, Rippling automatically handles permissions to let you compare and calibrate ratings, significantly reducing the risk of confidential information falling into the wrong hands.

Push compensation directly into payroll

Once you’ve finished calibration, you normally have to transfer compensation decisions into payroll. If you’re using a point solution, that involves downloading a CSV and then manually inputting employees’ merit increases and bonuses into payroll. 

You might think that legacy, all-in-one HR solutions don’t share this problem. Unfortunately, most all-in-one solutions are actually separate systems cobbled together under the hood, so you’ll still have to tab-switch between the performance management window and the payroll window. If, by chance, your all-in-one is integrated, you still have to go outside the system to get compensation decisions approved. 

That’s not the case with Rippling. In Review Cycles, you can push compensation decisions directly into Payroll. Admins can even build approval rules so any merit increases that meet certain criteria will automatically be approved, while others that fall outside those criteria will be flagged for review.

Rippling even helps managers budget better. You can define raise guidelines for your review cycle, and Rippling will automatically advise your managers on how to allocate their team’s budget for merit increases, taking the guesswork out of budgeting. And because Rippling handles currency conversion, you won’t have to search for exchange rates for any international employees. 

For managers and admins, the focus stays on rewarding and retaining top performers, rather than double-checking their work. 

Continue the conversation with milestone reviews 

Together with Goals, Review Cycles helps you create a culture of performance with almost zero effort. However, these are still tentpole events. What about the development milestones in between? 

This is where milestone reviews comes in. Milestone reviews is a feature in Review Cycles that lets you stage important feedback conversations between employees and managers with a greater frequency than formal performance reviews and goal-setting conversations.

Using milestone reviews, you can trigger evaluations using any data in Rippling. For example, you can automate 30-60-90 day check-ins or spin up a review on the anniversary of an employee’s start date. And these are just the obvious ones. 

Switching teams internally is an important milestone in the employee lifecycle. You could build a milestone review that triggers 30 days after any team transition. The employee and their new manager don’t have to remember to check in; Rippling will send them a feedback form so they can each reflect on how the change is going. 

This feature enables performance management to become a natural and healthy part of your company’s operating cadence, rather than an afterthought that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. 

Manage performance, not systems 

Goal-setting and feedback conversations are essential for building a high-performance culture, but they ask a lot of your leaders, managers, and individual contributors. With Rippling, everyone at your company focuses their energy and attention on their team’s performance instead of wrangling spreadsheets and systems.

If you’re already a Rippling customer, you can get started here.

Disclaimer: Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, accounting, or legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide or be relied on for tax, accounting, or legal advice. You should consult your own tax, accounting, and legal advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.

last edited: May 16, 2024

The Author

Dan Green

Product Lead, Talent Products

Dan leads product initiatives related to recruiting, headcount planning, compensation bands, and org charts at Rippling. Before Rippling, he spent 10+ years building finance and business operations teams to solve similar issues as the end user of these tools.