Nobody is a fan of performance reviews.

Not managers. Not employees.

Yet, they are, one way or another, indispensable to any organization that seeks to meet its goals and those of its people.

When performance reviews are done well, they can help employees perform better, enhance engagement, give performers a clear path for future learning, mentorship and growth and reinforce their reasons for staying with the organization. For managers, performance reviews offer a clearer view of the talent in their organization and what competency gaps need to be addressed so the organization can meet its goals.

Fortunately, the right technology can go a long way toward making performance reviews a simpler and more efficient process. As an integrated complement to your human resources information system (HRIS), a learning management system (LMS), for example, can streamline and automate multiple aspects of the entire employee assessment process in these seven steps.

1.  Define employee goals

An LMS can extend to everyone in the organization, acting as the central location for business goals and objectives to be formally defined. The learning platform can allow employees and their managers to readily locate these goals through their respective learning paths, linking their goals to that of the organizations.

Once a manager and employee have identified the employee’s personal learning and development (L&D) goals, they can then identify how those goals will contribute to the company. For example, the marketing consultant of a professional football team is not competing on the field for the championship trophy, but that consultant should be capable of identifying their contributions toward achieving that win.

2. Define learning paths to achieve goals

Once goals are set, learning leaders need to break down the components of knowledge, skills and attributes (KSAs) needed to reach those goals.

For example, let’s say an employee wants to be a customer success leader. Using the LMS, the learning leader can define the KSAs required, provide assessments to see what the employee’s baseline competencies are and then identify possible skills gaps. With that information in hand, personalized learning paths can be added to that employee’s LMS to help achieve their goals.

When an employee attains milestones in their learning path, the LMS can award a badge to recognize the achievement. Managers are also automatically notified of this success so that they can contribute to the recognition of the achievement and provide any helpful feedback and guidance.

3. Simplify the organization of assessments

Regularly scheduled assessments are essential to measuring the impact of training and identifying areas of improvement. The notification feature streamlines and automates the organization of these assessments within a defined period. For example, all the parties involved in the assessment (the team and manager) are all automatically notified of scheduled training tasks with a description.

Furthermore, the LMS can provide the necessary appraisal forms and self-assessments, collect the completed forms and then set up the final performance interview. For example, if certification renewal is required of employees, a modern LMS can efficiently ensure that your workforce remains compliant.

The recertification feature automates a workflow to handle all the notifications and monitoring needed to make sure that the employee is on track for timely recertification.

4. Use a variety of assessments to assess employee performance

An LMS greatly facilitates the assessment process with a variety of options for evaluating a range of skills. For example, if you’re testing for relatively low-stakes or elementary knowledge acquisition, online questionnaires can offer a multitude of test-question types, such as single-choice answers, multiple-choice, true or false statements and short answers.

What’s more, the LMS easily provides reporting on the results of the tests, the training courses completed, the time taken to complete them, how peers compared and other performance-related data. If you want to evaluate more complex skill sets, (e.g., negotiation or leadership skills), you can evaluate the employee by putting them in role-playing games, scenario-based situations and collaborative assignments that require team play.

In such testing contexts, your LMS can be used to organize a live meeting or a synchronous video conference which enables managers to assess employees interacting with others and provide feedback on the test situation.

5. Centralize feedback and assessments

Because all the feedback, assessments and appraisal forms are centralized by the LMS, a manager has easy access to all the pertinent documents they need to develop a mutually beneficial performance review.

6.  Issue the right reports

Between performance reviews, managers need to monitor how their employees are doing and check in with them to provide support and guidance. Through an LMSs’ reporting feature, a manager can create reports that provide segmented data on how training is progressing (e.g., courses completed, time of completion and performance in assessments).

7.  Personalize the development plan

Once the performance review is completed, a new set of goals, KSAs and learning paths for the employee’s development should be mapped out. These new training requirements may cover a host of learning opportunities, such as online courses, in-the-flow-of-work training, microlearning modules, shadowing and so on. All of these activities can be efficiently monitored in your LMS.

While no one is a fan of performance reviews, your LMS can go a long way toward simplifying and automating key aspects of employee performance assessments.