HR software solutions are quickly expanding as the world goes remote, but navigating the plethora of options can be confusing. Maybe you’re wondering whether you should be looking for a human resource information system (HRIS) or a performance management system. Or maybe your company already has an HRIS, but you’re asking yourself whether you still need performance management software as well. We have answers for you! We’ll outline the key features of each one, along with the purpose they serve.

What’s the purpose of an HRIS?

An HRIS is a general set of software tools that allow you to easily manage a broad spectrum of HR processes. What modules does an HRIS typically include, and how does that compare to a performance management tool? Here’s a rundown of the common features of an HRIS:

  • Retaining personal data and job information
  • Managing benefits administration
  • Tracking time-off requests 
  • Streamlining onboarding tasks
  • Maintaining compliance
  • Tracking job candidates
  • Managing payroll
  • Handling scheduling
  • Tracking 401(K) contributions

A high-quality HRIS keeps up with current regulations pertaining to HR to ensure you stay compliant. It will send out documents needing eSignatures to employees with zero effort on your part. It also streamlines benefits administration and time-off requests, allowing employees to make choices at the click of a button. 

Some HRIS options include a performance management module. Thus, companies sometimes seek out an HRIS rather than a performance management tool. Often, though, the performance management module of an HRIS has not been developed enough to facilitate continuous feedback. Many organizations realize that they need a more robust performance management system that addresses a broader spectrum of needs within that domain.

What to look for in a performance management tool?

Here’s a checklist of what features to look for in a performance management system. Choose a solution that covers the full scope of your needs, not just a few! Your tool should do all of the following:

  • Streamline the performance review process.
  • Facilitate the gathering and analysis of 360-degree feedback.
  • Track progress toward goals and OKRs.
  • Allow you to share instant feedback.
  • Produce reports that deliver up-to-date insights.
  • Let you send out employee engagement surveys and synthesize the results.


A great performance management solution helps you track and make sense of your analytics. At the click of a button, you can draw up reports that give you actionable insights. A quality system also simplifies the performance review process. It automatically sends out self-reviews and prompts managers to use the same metrics for all employees at a similar level and function. Plus, it allows you to easily gather 360-degree feedback and make sense of the insights it provides. You can also periodically send out quick “pulse” surveys to check employee engagement and get their thoughts on various topics. Unlike the typical HRIS, a performance management solution also lets you customize your surveys, which is key to getting the insights you need. It also sends reminders automatically to let people know when they need to complete a survey or provide 360 feedback, so your workflow will progress smoothly.

Since performance management is sometimes one component of an HRIS, it is possible for such a system to handle this function successfully. As you can see, though, performance management requires an extensive array of complex tasks that the typical HRIS is not equipped to handle. 

It’s not necessarily an “either/or” situation.

Many companies find that having both an HRIS and a performance management tool is the best option for them. Each covers a different spectrum of essential needs, equipping their HR with the best of both worlds. If you go this route, be sure to choose a performance management solution that integrates seamlessly with the HRIS. For example, Primalogik integrates nicely with BambooHR. 

In a nutshell, an HRIS is a general-purpose system, while a performance management solution gives you a robust range of tools within that particular domain. Now that you have a better understanding of the distinction between an HRIS and a performance management system, consider whether they could dovetail into the perfect solution to meet all your HR needs. Check out our ebook, Essential Performance Management Solutions for Today’s HR, for more insights on providing your workplace with top-quality software!