9 Employee Engagement Tools And How To Choose One (or More)

What are your department’s goals for 2023?

If you’re aiming to increase employee satisfaction and engagement in the company because you know how much it can affect your organization’s overall productivity and profitability, you need to equip yourself with the right tools to achieve it.

Over the last two years, according to Gallup, employee engagement rates saw a slight decline, but leveraging technology can help stop it. Your employee engagement strategy can bring outstanding results if supported by HR tech, in more aspects than one: interpersonal connections, productivity, internal communication, and more.

In this article, we’re sharing our choice of the best employee engagement tools and tips on how to select the right one that will ensure an elevated employee experience and boost the engagement levels of your distributed team members.

What are employee engagement tools?

Employee engagement tools are platforms and apps designed to help employers improve their employees' level of involvement, enthusiasm, and commitment to their jobs. If implemented correctly, they can make work more enjoyable and meaningful for employees, which in turn can increase productivity, employee retention, and overall job satisfaction in your organization.

Employee engagement tools are particularly important for remote teams distributed around the world.

Remote workers can sometimes feel isolated or disconnected from their colleagues and company culture due to the lack of interactions that happen in person and in real time. By using engagement tools, employers can foster a sense of connection and community among remote workers, making them feel more engaged and invested in their work and promoting company values across a distributed workforce.

Common employee engagement tools include:

  • Communication and collaboration tools
  • Employee recognition and rewards platforms
  • Learning and development tools
  • Employee feedback and survey tools
  • Wellness and well-being platforms
  • Team-building activities tools

Why should you use employee engagement tools?

In a world that’s going through rapid digitalization, where remote working has become mainstream, companies are actively looking for tools that will ensure the same levels and efficiency of in-person collaboration, communication, and connection. In the same way you’re using video conferencing tools for team meetings, and project management software to manage your team members’ day-to-day tasks, employee engagement tools can help you build a strong team that resonates with the company’s mission, finds value in their jobs, and is eager to collaborate on common goals.

Here’s how employee engagement tools play a crucial role in building a strong and connected workforce and a healthy (hybrid) work environment:

  1. Improved employee communication and collaboration: Employee engagement tools facilitate and guide communication and collaboration among team members, helping them to feel more connected and engaged in their work.
  2. Increased motivation and employee morale: Employee engagement tools help employers recognize and reward employees for their hard work and contributions, which boosts team morale and motivation.
  3. Enhanced employee well-being: Employee engagement tools can promote employee wellness by providing resources and support for mental and physical health, which is critical for remote workers, who may be more susceptible to burnout and other work-related stress.
  4. Support for employee development: Employee engagement tools can provide opportunities for remote workers to learn and develop new skills, which can increase job satisfaction and motivation.
  5. More efficient feedback collection: HR teams can use automation features in employee engagement tools to gather continuous feedback and valuable insights from their remote team members and inform decisions and strategies for improving the employee experience.

Best employee engagement software for remote and hybrid teams

The value of the employee engagement software market is projected to reach 2,753.0 million by 2030: new tools are emerging almost daily, which means you might not have an easy decision to make when choosing the right tool for your team. To help you make the best pick, we’re sharing overviews of nine top-rated tools, based on online customer reviews and the platforms’ official websites.

1. Culture Amp: Best for a holistic approach to engagement

Culture Amp is an innovative employee engagement tool designed to measure, analyze, and improve the overall employee experience, performance management, and work culture. Unlike other employee engagement tools, Culture Amp goes beyond traditional surveying to provide a comprehensive approach that includes real-time feedback, insights, and recommendations for action.

Pros

  • User-centric approach
  • Interactive and customizable
  • Provides actionable insights that help organizations identify areas of improvement
  • Access to surveys and insights from any location

Cons

  • Performance features still not perfected
  • Poor customer support responsiveness

Culture Amp has a flexible pricing model that is based on the number of employees in an organization. The pricing model starts at around $3-9 per employee, but you need to contact the company to get a quote.

Some of the features you’ll love:

  1. Pulse surveys, onboarding surveys, exit surveys, and other types of customizable survey templates
  2. Analytics and AI-powered reporting
  3. Employee recognition options
  4. Employee performance benchmarking
  5. Integrations with HR and collaboration tools

2. Gable: Best for supporting in-person collaboration

Gable is a flexible workspace management solution that enables companies to source, book, and manage workspaces for their distributed teams in one holistic platform. It provides access to numerous metrics to track and measure employee engagement and workspace utilization and help Workplace and HR teams manage their budgets as efficiently as possible while having control over how their workers use the available workspaces.

Engaged employees actively seek opportunities to collaborate with their team members and co-workers from other departments, and Gable has a way of helping companies leverage the power of on-site collaboration to strengthen interpersonal relationships in the company and enable innovation and fruitful teamwork among employees.

Pros

  • Centralized workspace management for a holistic view of your workplace strategy
  • Possibility to also onboard your own HQ for full visibility
  • A wide range of integrations with HRIS and HRMS solutions and other tools
  • 2,000+ reliable and vetted locations for your team worldwide
  • Available on mobile devices

Cons

  • If you don’t use the HRIS integration, there’s some manual work to be done to set up departments and invite employees

When it comes to pricing, Gable has a pay-as-you-go model, letting companies spend only for what they’re using, with no contracts or long-term commitments required. For enterprise customers, Gable offers custom pricing options - reach out to the Gable team to find out more.

Features you’ll love:

  1. See your top locations, workspaces, and active users
  2. Monitor employee satisfaction score
  3. Define workspace usage limit per user or department
  4. Integrate with Slack and receive notifications when team members book nearby workspaces
  5. Give flexibility to employees while staying on top of usage, data, and spending in the dashboard

3. TinyPulse: Best for employee engagement surveys

TinyPulse is an employee feedback and engagement platform that helps businesses gather employee feedback, measure employee satisfaction, and improve workplace culture. It’s particularly well-suited for hybrid teams because it’s designed to facilitate communication and collaboration across different locations and time zones, especially because all feedback is centralized in one place, making it easy for managers to track progress and identify trends.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface
  • Real-time feedback, enabling managers to address any issues quickly
  • Customizable surveys
  • Actionable insights

Cons

  • The app is paid in advance per user for one year of use
  • Admin dashboard can be confusing

TinyPulse offers a free trial period, after which pricing starts at $5 per user per month. The price varies depending on the number of users and the features included. Organizations can also choose to pay annually for a discounted rate, but the price is paid in advance, meaning that you need to pay the annual fee even if your employee leaves the organization after a month.

Features you’ll love:

  • Cheers for Peers feature supports peer recognition initiatives and milestone celebrations
  • Users can submit anonymous suggestions and comments
  • Managers can use template survey questions or create their own
  • 1-on-1 coaching tool for more effective check-ins and supported employee development

4. Slack: Best for team communication

Slack needs no special introduction—it’s one of the most popular team communication tools with a range of features for efficient and organized collaboration. One of its key strengths is its flexibility, allowing teams to communicate in real-time through channels, direct messages, and integrations with other software. Additionally, Slack offers a robust search function that makes it easy to find past conversations and information. The platform also supports video and voice calls, making it a great tool for remote and hybrid teams.

Pros

  • Available as a mobile app
  • A wide range of integrations
  • Features that respect time zone differences
  • Easy to include in automated workflows in combination with project management tools

Cons

  • Can sometimes be perceived as distracting

In terms of pricing, Slack offers several options based on the size and needs of the organization. The standard plan starts at $8.75 per user per month, which is suitable for small teams, with more advanced plans available for larger teams and those with more complex needs.

Features you’ll love:

  • Huddles for quick audio calls (individual or group)
  • Message scheduling
  • Powerful search engine with many filters
  • Long-kept conversation history

5. Betterworks: Best for setting and tracking goals

Betterworks is a performance management platform designed to help companies align and develop their workforce, with a goal-setting and tracking feature that allows teams to stay focused on what matters most. Thanks to a range of features for continuous feedback and coaching that help teams improve employee engagement and development and integrations with other HR systems, the platform makes it easy to manage employee engagement, performance reviews, compensation data, and more, all in one place.

Pros

  • Easy to personalize
  • Efficient top-to-bottom goal alignment across the organization
  • Helps promote a transparent culture
  • Robust onboarding system

Cons

  • Not the most intuitive tool
  • Some features require too much manual work

Betterworks offers several pricing options based on your needs. The standard plan starts at $8 per user per month, with more advanced plans available for bigger companies.

Features you’ll love:

  • Visibility into all level goals
  • Performance review calibration process with unbiased insights
  • Customizable feedback experience based on role, department, and more
  • Betterworks Engage features for AI-driven employee engagement insights

6. Lattice: Best for performance management

Lattice is a cloud-based performance management software designed to help organizations manage their workforce and align their goals with employee development. It’s designed to simplify the performance review process and enable continuous feedback. It features a user-friendly interface that allows managers to set goals, provide feedback, and review performance data in one central location.

Pros

  • Offers career planning tools
  • Includes an employee directory
  • Strong emphasis on continuous, real-time feedback
  • Easy-to-navigate interface

Cons

  • Lack of flexibility for smaller teams
  • Updates might make it harder to navigate

Lattice’s basic performance management plan starts at $8 per user per month and the price increases as you add more features, like goals and OKRs. Enterprises can reach out to Lattice to discuss other pricing options available.

Features you’ll love:

  • Progress and KPI monitoring
  • Team and individual OKRs
  • Customizable employee pulse surveys
  • Praise feature integrated with Slack

7. Kudos: Best for employee recognition

Kudos is an employee engagement tool that enables organizations to foster a positive work culture by acknowledging and rewarding employees' efforts, achievements, and contributions, connecting their effort to the company values. The platform also provides actionable people analytics that helps employers identify what works and what doesn’t in driving employee engagement.

Pros

  • A user-friendly interface
  • A variety of ways to acknowledge and recognize employees
  • Reporting capabilities to track engagement and recognition activities
  • Available as a mobile app for easy access to the platform from anywhere

Cons

  • Lack of flexible and customizable pricing plans
  • Sometimes the platform can be slow and buggy

Kudos offers a pricing plan based on the number of employees in an organization, starting at $5 per user per month, for a minimum of 500 employees.

Features you’ll love:

  • Peer-to-peer recognition
  • Customizable awards
  • Insightful analytics and reporting
  • A variety of integrations (Paylocity, Workday, BambooHR, ADP, Slack, and more)

8. Leapsome: Best for learning and development

Leapsome is an all-in-one employee engagement tool that provides performance management, employee engagement, and learning and development features, covering the entire employee lifecycle. Both small teams and big companies enjoy using this tool to close the loop between employee development, engagement, and performance management, and building a thriving workplace no matter where they’re located, which makes this tool ideal for hybrid teams.

Pros

  • A truly comprehensive solution
  • The tool provides a wide range of features, like goal setting and performance reviews
  • In-depth analytics for tracking progress
  • Highly customizable options
  • A mobile app is available

Cons

  • The tool can be difficult to navigate at times
  • Less affordable than other employee engagement tools

Leapsome offers modular pricing plans, based on your needs, starting at $8 per user per month when billed annually. Some features are always included, no matter what package you choose, like HRIS integrations and full GDPR compliance.

Features you’ll love:

  • Virtual meetings, ideal for hybrid teams
  • Learning gamification through quizzes
  • A library of learning and development resources
  • 360-degree feedback
  • Compensation and promotion features

9. Officevibe: Best for company culture management

Officevibe is an employee experience platform that helps companies measure employee satisfaction and engagement levels, gather feedback, and improve workplace culture. It allows companies to gather feedback from employees, create a space for employee recognition, and conduct surveys to gather insights and turn them into action to boost the company culture.

Pros

  • Easy to set up and use
  • A variety of surveys and feedback options (pulse surveys, customizable surveys, and anonymous feedback)
  • Data analytics and reporting capabilities to track feedback trends over time
  • A library of best practices for improving workplace culture and employee engagement

Cons:

  • Lack of advanced customization options
  • Not very cost-effective for big corporations

You can save money by choosing Officevibe’s annual plans, where you can pay between $3.50 and $5 per user per month. There’s a free plan with access to basic features like core reports, email support, and Slack and Teams integrations. The Pro plan has the highest price, but also offers personalized onboarding if you have over 100 users.

Features you’ll love:

  • Pulse surveys micro-customization
  • Anonymous feedback
  • The resources and best practices for improving workplace culture and employee engagement
  • Over 30 HRIS integrations
  • Actionable insights for managers

Can you track employee engagement without a software solution?

We’re going to have to give you the “yes, but” answer here.

It’s possible to track employee engagement without a software solution, the same way it’s possible to run payroll manually and calculate taxes and benefits without relying on tech. You can do it for a few employees for a few months, and then it turns into a daunting, time-consuming, and error-prone process.

Here are some methods human resources can use to track employee engagement without software:

  1. Surveys conducted through email, phone, or other communication channels
  2. One-on-one meetings with employees to discuss their work, career goals, and any challenges they may be facing
  3. Focus groups that employers can organize focus groups with employees to gather more in-depth feedback and insights
  4. Performance metrics like productivity levels, attendance, and turnover rates, to measure employee engagement indirectly

So, yes — you can measure employee engagement without a software solution, but it will require more manual effort and may not be as comprehensive or efficient as using employee engagement software.

How to choose the perfect employee engagement solution for your team: essential features to look for

When you start the search for an ideal employee engagement tool for your team, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of possibilities out there. We’ve given you an overview of some of the top-rated apps and platforms, but if you’d like to explore your options some more, here’s what to look for in the perfect tool(s).

Communication and collaboration features: Look for a tool that provides features for remote communication and collaboration, such as instant messaging, video conferencing, and file sharing. If your team is distributed across time zones, favor tools that provide many possibilities for async work.

Integrations: The best tool for employee engagement is the one that can fit seamlessly into your existing workflows. Look for platforms that offer a wide range of integrations and can easily be synced with the tools you already use, so you don’t need to spend time on data entry.

Analytics and reporting: Look for a tool that provides analytics and reporting features, so you can track and measure employee engagement over time. This can help you identify trends and patterns, make data-driven decisions to improve employee engagement and prove the ROI of the tool you’re using.

Customization options: Look for an employee engagement tool that allows you to customize the features and settings to meet the specific needs of your hybrid team. This can help you tailor the tool to your team's unique needs and preferences.

Security and privacy: Ensure the tool has robust security measures in place to protect sensitive employee data and help you stay compliant (remember what GDPR is?). Look for a tool that adheres to industry standards and regulations, and that provides secure data storage and transmission.

**Intuitive interface: ** The software you choose should be intuitive and user-friendly so that your team can go through platform training quickly and start using it as soon as possible.

Responsive support: As with every other platform, your chosen employee engagement tool should offer responsive customer support, not only during your setup period but throughout your use of the software.

Mobile compatibility: Look for an employee engagement tool that has a mobile app or is mobile-friendly, so remote workers can access the tool easily from their mobile devices, especially if your team often completes their tasks on the go (for example, field sales reps).

You may have a clear picture of what you want now, but how do you narrow down your options? Follow this process to ensure you’ve made a wise choice and selected a tool that will enhance the employee experience in your organization.

  1. Evaluate your needs: Start by identifying the specific needs of your hybrid team. What are the main challenges you face in engaging both in-office and remote workers? What features would be most useful for your team?
  2. Consider the user experience: Look for an employee engagement tool that is user-friendly and easy to navigate, both for in-office and remote workers. Make sure the tool is intuitive and easy to use, so employees can quickly and easily access the features they need.
  3. Read reviews and ratings: Look for online reviews and ratings of the employee engagement tool you are considering. This can help you get a sense of the pros and cons of the tool and whether it is a good fit for a hybrid team. Check out websites like G2, Capterra, and Trustpilot.
  4. Book demos: Eliminate solutions that don’t offer the features you need and make a shortlist of three to five tools that are all good candidates. Book a demo with each to see what the platforms look like in action. But don’t just show up unprepared—have a list of questions to ask the sales rep to ensure the tool has what your team needs.
  5. Use free trials: If you’re still unsure which of the platforms to opt for, check if the company offers a free trial. Most software solutions come with seven to 14-day free trials, allowing you to test the tool before you pay for it.

Learn more: How to Choose the Best HR Software for Your Business

Proving the ROI of employee engagement platforms

Has your chosen employee engagement platform paid off? Proving the ROI of an employee engagement tool requires a systematic and data-driven approach.

Start by defining your objectives and goals for the employee engagement tool. These could be reducing employee turnover, increasing productivity, improving employee satisfaction, or boosting team collaboration.

Before implementing the engagement tool, establish a baseline of the current state of employee engagement. You can do this by conducting surveys, focus groups, interviews, or other methods of data collection. Make sure to collect both quantitative and qualitative data.

Collect data on the impact of the engagement tool, again through surveys, feedback sessions, or other means of data collection and analyze and compare it to your baseline.

When you determine the impact of the engagement tool on employee engagement, you can calculate the ROI. Compare the cost of the engagement tool to the benefits derived from it. These benefits could include cost savings from reduced employee turnover, increased productivity, or other measurable outcomes.

Other than proving the ROI, you can use this data to build an effective employee engagement program that will support your business success in the future.

Track and prove the increase in employee engagement with Gable

Hybrid teams are different from fully remote ones—you have two workplaces to manage and need to have two different approaches to employee engagement.

Want to know how on-site collaboration influences your team’s engagement? Want to help your distributed team members reach their goals even faster by providing them with engaging spaces where they can collaborate more efficiently?

Start by checking out Gable. Our platform enables you to make the most of the time you spend together with your team through easy workspace management and actionable insights that let you optimize space usage. Find out more about our tool today.

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