10 Best Agile Performance Management Tools for People Teams

By 
Ben Goodey
Published on 
Ben is an HR enthusiast & researcher with an obsession with creating human-centred content.
I asked our People Science experts to help me review ten well-known and niche agile performance management tools. Here are the results. We'll start with an explanation of what factors to look for in your tool and then show you how each one can work for you based on different use cases.

In this article:

What’s the Difference Between Agile and Traditional Performance Management, Anyway?

Agile performance management is a modern approach to managing employee performance that prioritizes flexibility, collaboration, and continuous improvement. It’s all about:

  • Real-time, continuous feedback
  • Regular check ins
  • Habit formation
  • Goal alignment
  • Capabilities alignment 

In contrast, the more traditional performance management relies on annual or bi-annual performance reviews with feedback given less frequently. It tends to be more rigid and slower to adapt to changes.

A similar concept to agile performance management is ‘real time performance management’ or ‘continuous performance management’.

More companies are adopting agile approaches as they begin to realize employees value real-time feedback more than infrequent feedback. 

It has also been proven to reduce the administrative burden that comes with scheduled performance reviews while increasing the impact of feedback provided. 

Take it from this Reddit user who documented his learnings from making the switch to a more agile performance management approach in 2016: 

In it, this person talks about how delayed feedback ‘never felt right’ and that traditional performance review processes felt like ‘busy work’. 

‘Bradybd’ later wrote in his Reddit post:

“Looking back, the shift to real-time feedback was one of the most challenging yet rewarding changes we've ever undertaken. It wasn't just about enhancing productivity or streamlining processes; it was about building a culture where everyone is genuinely invested in each other's growth.
Yes, it was uncomfortable. Yes, it was messy. But was it worth it? Absolutely.
It makes any other performance review system feel totally archaic. Without immediate and actionable feedback, it’s impossible to create any meaningful improvement.”

The switch to agile performance management, and even better—performance enablement, is well documented. 

Josh Bersin estimates that about 70% of multinational companies are now moving towards the continuous characteristics of performance enablement.

That being said, what should you look for in a tool that enables agile performance management?

What to Look for in an Agile Performance Management Tool

Gaurav Chaubey, our People Science Leader here at Mesh, recommends you look for an agile performance tool with these four factors:

  1. The ability to co-create goals as managers and employees for better alignment and to increase the likelihood they get achieved
  2. A ‘nudge’ feature that increases the frequency of feedback, giving your people insights into how they’re performing and how they could improve at the exact moment of need, not six months later
  3. Facilitation of more effective and frequent 1:1s between managers and employees which builds better relationships and enables higher performance
  4. Surfaces data points to managers that inform unbiased, 360 views of performance your employees trust and use to improve

The 10 Best Agile Performance Management Tools - Summary

In a nutshell, here are the 10 best performance management tools we'll review today:

  1. Mesh
  2. Engagedly
  3. HelloTeam
  4. BambooHR
  5. Sage
  6. Threads Culture
  7. Workleap (formely Officevibe)
  8. HiBob
  9. Effy AI
  10. Zavvy AI

And here's a summary table:

Full transparency, we’re kicking this list off with our own product, Mesh. We think it’ll impress you, but we also want to make it clear that this article won't dump on our competitors. We can acknowledge their strengths and the situations where they’re a better fit than we are.

1. Mesh - Best Agile Performance Management Tool for Boosting Employee Performance

Mesh is more than an agile performance management tool, it’s an agile performance enablement tool. 

Why does that one word matter? 

Because management, no matter how agile, is too focused on measuring and not enough on equipping managers and their teams to progressively get better in their roles, a little bit every day. 

With Mesh, you get the features you need to enable better performance and tangibly drive growth:

  • Continuous feedback that comes at the moment of need and is written to make a lasting impact (thanks to our Mesh Maven)
  • Goal setting that’s transparent, consistent, and aligned to business initiatives
  • 360 performance reviews that are fair, unbiased, and easy to complete
  • Capability tracking that encourages employees to focus on developing skills that will make a difference to their performance
  • Analytics that provide real-time insights to managers and HR they can use to pivot strategy and provide tailored support
  • 1:1s that aren’t empty checkbox exercises but rather facilitate regular, meaningful conversations
  • Engagement surveys that tell HR who’s engaged, who’s not, and what they can do about it
  • Nudges that encourage the right action at the right time, whether that’s updating a goal or providing feedback after a big event 

Below, we’ve honed in on a few of those features and how they meet the four factors we introduced earlier. 

→ Factor 1: How Mesh allows managers to co-create goals and capabilities

Teams that manage goals on Mesh achieve ~22% higher achievement of team and individual goals than legacy performance management systems.

With Mesh, employees and managers co-create goals and OKRs to ensure alignment with business strategy and consistency across the business. 

They’ll put those goals into the OKR section of the platform to document progress over time.

→ You can learn more about setting up goals in Mesh here

Once goals are set, employees receive nudges from the Mesh platform, prompting them to update goals and stay on track. If they’re at risk of successfully completing a goal on time, Mesh will let them know:

Managers and employees can also work together to identify what competencies the employee should develop to improve their overall performance, meet the expectations of their role, and achieve the goals they’ve set. 

Each of these steps and features increases the likelihood that goals are achieved and provides the employee the support they need to feel engaged and focused at work.

→ Factor 2:  How Mesh increases the frequency of feedback with ‘nudges’

It’s easy for tasks like giving continuous feedback to fall by the wayside, which is a shame given how important timely praise and advice is to improving engagement and performance amongst your employees.  

It’s even reported by Gallup that employees who receive regular praise and recognition are 10-20% more productive.

Mesh makes sure managers are giving frequent feedback with AI ‘nudges’, rooted in behavioral science and proven to drive action.

Nudges let managers and colleagues know when it’s time to give feedback or praise based on lifecycle events such as goal and initiative completion, work anniversaries, and time elapsed since last feedback. 

These notifications appear in the Mesh platform and in Slack or Teams:

This means managers get alerts directly in their inbox to give feedback and reviews to their direct reports. 

And once employees receive feedback, they’ll also get alerts on which action items to follow-through so the feedback actually gets implemented. 

Teams that conduct 1:1s on Mesh see a ~64% increase in completion rates over legacy performance management systems.

→ Factor 3: How Mesh facilitates more effective and frequent 1:1s between managers and employees

Research shows that 15 minutes of regular conversations between managers and employees boosts engagement and performance.

That’s why Mesh makes it possible to set up recurring 1:1s with each direct report, sync the meeting automatically to their calendar and video tool, create agendas in under 5 minutes, and document action items all from one place.

See below how to set up a 1:1.

And an example of a populated agenda:

While holding the meeting, Mesh brings past conversations and data points to the manager’s attention. This enables better support for each individual team member and more focused conversations.

And afterwards, employees and managers alike are automatically given action items from the AI summary of the meeting along with nudges for next steps. 

→ Factor 4: How Mesh surfaces data points to managers that inform unbiased, 360 views of performance

Biased performance reviews plague performance management unless you have a tool in place to actively counter common causes of bias. 

Mesh eliminates bias in performance reviews by surfacing data from across the performance period and collecting reviews from multiple sources. 

This builds trust in the feedback and reviews employees receive, increasing the likelihood that they will act on them.

Managers can look at feedback the employee has received and given across the period:

They can evaluate dashboards that show how their goals and competencies have progressed:

They can also look at past 1:1 conversations. 

Then, managers can use all this past information about employees to provide fair and effective reviews.

With Mesh in place, every performance review can be more impactful and fair leading to higher engagement and genuine development. 

Pros, Cons, and User Reviews

We spoke to some of our customers and read reviews they’ve posted on G2 to understand how Mesh helps them enable performance.

Here’s what we found.

Pros:

  • Improved 1:1 management where managers feel empowered and informed
  • Goals and capability tracking better supports the overall business strategy 
  • Effortless and impactful performance review process HR, managers, and employees love

Cons:

  • Unable to download documents and data from the platform
  • Lack of employee onboarding specific features
  • Employees who are collaborators for goals can edit targets later on

User Reviews:

Want to see more? Head to our G2 profile.

Mesh Costs

Our pricing is designed to meet and scale to your organization’s people analytics needs. 

That’s why there’s more than one package to choose from: Base, Premium, and Enterprise.

  • Base: $4 per user, per month
  • Premium: $7 per user, per month
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing 

You can see what features are included in each:

→ Want a tool where performance management becomes performance enablement? Get in touch with us for a demo of the product.

2. Engagedly - Best Agile Performance Management Tool for Building Mentorship Programs

Engagedly is a renownedn agile performance management tool that drives performance outcomes with their full suite of features like goals/OKRs, performance appraisals, 360 reviews , and more.

But what we especially like about Engagedly (and that we don’t see in other software) is its Mentorship programs designed to help employees grow and succeed.

This feature facilitates the creation, management, and tracking of mentoring relationships within the organization, supporting both mentors and mentees. It involves five key components:

  • Onboard: Promote mentoring programs and onboard participants smoothly.
  • Connect: Create promising mentoring matches using AI.
  • Engage: Engage mentees through chat sessions and calls
  • Develop: Help mentees create development goals.
  • Measure: Interactive reports and data to track the program’s progress

You can also customize the mentorship reports to fit your organization’s needs.

Engagedly’s mentoring programs are designed to enhance professional development, increase engagement, and retain top talent by providing structured support and growth opportunities.

We also love that their platform is mobile friendly for performance management on the go:

Pricing: All Engagedly plans start at $5,000. 

They then offer packages starting from $9 per member/month.

3. HelloTeam- Best Performance Management Tool for Tracking Learning Performance

HelloTeam is an agile performance management tool that emphasizes learning and development, making it a good fit for organizations that prioritize employee growth and skill acquisition.

Their learning feature is in addition to traditional performance management features such as goal setting, performance reviews, and engagement surveys.

Its standout learning features help track and measure the impact of learning initiatives on overall performance:

  • Learning paths: Allows managers to create personalized learning plans for each employee based on their role, skills, and career aspirations
  • Skills tracking: Enables employees and managers to monitor progress towards acquiring new skills and competencies
  • Learning analytics: Provides insights into the effectiveness of learning programs and their impact on performance

We love that HR teams using HelloTeam don’t have to bring in a separate tool to address learning needs. 

Pricing: Performance Plan: $7 per user, per month 

Pro Plan: $11 per user, per month

4. Bamboo HR - Best Performance Management Tool for Faster Onboarding

Bamboo HR is an agile performance management tool that accelerates employee onboarding, making it suitable for organizations with high turnover or rapid growth.

The faster you get your new hires onboarded, the sooner they can be productive and valuable contributors to the company. 

Here are some of its standout onboarding features that will support your agile performance management:

  • Onboarding checklists: Ensures a consistent and thorough onboarding experience for all new hires
  • New hire portal: Provides a centralized hub for new employees to access important information and complete necessary paperwork
  • Goal setting for new hires: Helps new employees align their objectives with team and company goals from day one

Pricing: Unfortunately, pricing for BambooHR isn’t publicly listed. 

5. Sage - Best Performance Management Tool for Setting the Foundation for Performance

Sage HR is an agile performance management tool that allows HR to upload important company documents to the platform. By having this information available to employees, they are setting the foundation for the company to perform.

Employees can access documented processes, role expectations, and more which increases transparency and eliminates confusion and unnecessary back and forths.

Beyond that feature, Sage HR supports performance management with:

  • Goal library: Provides a repository of pre-defined goals and competencies to help managers set clear expectations
  • Performance agreements: Allows managers and employees to collaborate on defining objectives, metrics, and success criteria
  • Competency assessments: Helps identify strengths and areas for improvement based on predefined competency models

Pricing: Sage HR starts at $6 per user, per month with their Performance add-on as an unspecified extra.

6. Threads Culture - Best Performance Management Tool for Linking Core Values to Performance

Threads Culture is an agile performance management tool that emphasizes linking core values to performance, making it suitable for organizations that want to ensure their employees embody and demonstrate company values in their work. 

Its features help integrate core values into the performance management process:

  • Values-based recognition: Allows managers and peers to acknowledge employees who exemplify company values
  • Values-based goals: Encourages employees to set objectives that align with and support organizational values
  • Values-based feedback: Provides a framework for delivering feedback based on how well employees demonstrate company values

While we love the emphasis on values, it could be limiting on the type of feedback your employees give, potentially leaving other areas of praise and advice neglected. 

Pricing: Pricing varies by headcount. Minimum $100 monthly spend

7. Workleap - Best Performance Management Tool for Free Team Access

Workleap is an agile performance management tool that offers free team access, making it suitable for organizations with limited budgets or those that want to encourage widespread adoption of performance management practices. 

It offers a range of features designed to support team collaboration and performance improvement.

  • Free team access: Allows all team members to participate in the performance management process at no additional cost
  • Team goals: Enables teams to set and track shared objectives, fostering collaboration and alignment
  • Team feedback: Provides a platform for team members to give and receive feedback, supporting continuous improvement

Pricing: 

  • Free plan available for 1 team
  • Essential plan: $3.50 per user, per month
  • Pro plan: $5 per user, per month

8. HiBob - Best Performance Management Tool for In-depth Performance Insights

HiBob is a versatile performance management tool that simplifies HR processes while boosting employee engagement and performance.  

What we like about the software is its capacity to turn performance review data into actionable insights.

After all performance reviews are conducted, HiBob shows you insights into your employees, managers, and teams. 

These insights include:

  • Which employee, manager, or team is underperforming / overperforming and why
  • What each employee, manager, or team is best at (e,g. Communication, Project Management, etc.)
  • Attrition indicators and risk statuses

This data helps you track progress and address issues early on. 

You can view results as you choose, slice and dice the data, and generate reports filtered by system-wide metrics. 

Additionally, HiBob allows you to analyze results in context, with all review responses aggregated in one view.

Because all your people data, including compensation, employee timelines, and personal information, is housed in HiBob, you can connect performance to other relevant data points. 

This provides customized, hyper-relevant insights, enabling you to make the right people decisions and drive overall organizational success.

HiBob is also highly rated on G2.com for its ease of use. 

Pricing: Unfortunately, HiBob’s pricing is hidden behind a “Contact us” wall. 

9. EffyAI - Best AI-Focused Performance Management Tool for Running Review Processes

Effy AI is an affordable performance management tool designed to streamline employee evaluations with powerful AI-driven insights. 

What we especially like about it is how easy it is to give 360 reviews and performance feedback on the platform using AI.

All you need to do is:

  • Choose a template (whether it’s 360-degree reviews, performance evaluations, quarterly reviews, or more)
  • Run the performance review process
  • Get AI generated summaries (ChatGPT) of each employee’s performance and the review process as a whole

Effy AI stands out by offering a user-friendly interface and robust analytics at a budget-friendly price point, making it accessible for organizations of all sizes.

Pricing: You can either purchase Effy for one-time review, which costs $240 for 10 employee reviews. Or you can opt for a continuous review which costs $35/month for 10 users. 

10. Zavvy.io - Best Agile Performance Management Tool for Streamlined HR Solutions

Zavvy is an innovative performance management tool that replaces scattered HR solutions all in one place, so your employees don’t get overwhelmed and you can track performance easily.

You can pick and choose the solution you need:

  • Preboarding & Onboarding
  • Performance & Feedback
  • Development & Skills
  • Training & Knowledge
  • Engagement

These solutions replace spreadsheets and the more traditional HR systems like LMS, survey software, and goal tracking software.

HR leaders can seamlessly link individual competencies to performance reviews, turn weaknesses into development areas with a click, and suggest training courses directly in development plans. 

This streamlined approach ensures more efficient and effective performance management.

Pricing: Zavvy offers different pricing for different solutions, but they do not list out the prices on their website. 

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About the Author
Ben Goodey
HR Content Strategist
Ben is an HR enthusiast & researcher with an obsession with creating human-centred content.
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