How to spot the best employee engagement tools versus those that are too good to be true
Employee engagement is at the core of what we do, but we’re not the only ones. So, how do you choose the best employee engagement tool for your company, and how do you know when something’s just too good to be true?
The different approaches to measuring engagement
Engagement is a very broad concept. It’s the extent of an employee’s commitment and attachment to their role, their colleagues, the organisation and its goals. So, choosing the best employee engagement tool is a matter of understanding the different approaches they take.
- Passive versus active measurement: Passive engagement measurement means that employees don’t need to be directly involved, as data is gathered from their output and performance. Active measurement methods, like check-ins and surveys, require employees to provide information and insight, usually through answering questions. The benefit of passive measurement is that it minimizes the need for employee buy-in, whereas active measurement builds trust through ongoing dialogue.
- Continuous versus sporadic feedback: Personal growth is a key contributor to employee engagement, which is why feedback plays such a vital role in the workplace. Traditional performance reviews and engagement surveys typically take place on an annual basis, but it’s obvious that these tools aren’t fit for purpose. Effective employee engagement solutions require ongoing feedback, delivered in a timely manner.
- Check-ins versus pulse surveys: Check-ins and pulse surveys serve a similar purpose, as quick and effective questionnaires for measuring employee engagement. But pulse surveys are anonymous, ideally to encourage employees to speak up without fear of reprisal. Check-ins, by comparison, are designed to be highly customisable on a personal level. They lack anonymity, but make it easy to follow up on issues affecting individuals.
Engagement versus experience
If you put employee engagement and employee experience on a Venn diagram, there would be a lot of overlap between them. But, despite that, they’re definitely not the same. Engagement is specifically the attachment and obligation an employee feels towards their job and the organisation, but employee experience encapsulates everything about our working lives.
That’s not to say that employee experience isn’t worth considering. But, when you’re trying to objectively measure and track employee engagement, mistakenly focusing on unrelated aspects of their experience can muddle your results.
When you’re trying to pick the best employee engagement tool for your business, think about whether the options you’re considering affect engagement or experience. A 2018 study of well-over 7,000 employees found that more than half prioritised personal development over fun or monetary perks. In fact, only 12% of employees thought that recreational perks (like an air-hockey table in the breakroom) should be there in the first place.
Is some engagement software too broad in scope?
There’s that old adage about a Jack of all trades being better than a master of one, but does that apply to employee engagement tools and techniques?
Of all the various employee engagement platforms, a lot of them certainly try to do it all. This one might mainly be a survey tool, but that one over there has performance tracking and a virtual perk catalogue!
Having a whole gamut of features under one subscription can be great value for money, but that doesn’t make it the best employee engagement tool for you. In the words of Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson, ‘Don’t half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.’
The main benefit of choosing a platform with a very broad range of tools and options is that it prevents you from having to shell out on multiple subscriptions if you really can’t do without certain features. But, for the most part, we believe a focused approach is better.
Take Weekly10, for example. Our employee check-in is the core of our service. As a result, most of our other features are built to work with our check-in system, so you can get the most out of it. Our machine learning compiles bespoke reports full of data-driven insights, and can recommend check-in questions based on what’s proved effective for similar businesses. On top of that, our performance review tool takes advantage of check-in histories, so managers and employees have the relevant information ready to go.
None of these features would be possible without our check-in system at the centre of it all. By taking that level of focus, we’ve managed to make the different parts of our platform into a well-oiled machine where everything compliments each other more effectively than a bunch of random features.
The employee engagement market is saturated
There are so many options to consider, in terms of employee engagement software. In recent years, more and more major companies have started taking an engagement-centric approach, which in turn, has made employee engagement a highly profitable business sector. Figuring out which platform is the best employee engagement tool can seem like an impossible task. That’s why we’ve decided to end with a few tips to help you get through it:
- Most engagement platforms have demo options: There are dozens of employee engagement platforms available, and each one wants to position itself as the best on the market. The simplest way to cut through it all is with hands-on experience. Fortunately, most of these platforms have at least one demo option, whether they’re virtual exercises or a live demo run by one of the platform’s designers.
- Ease of use is essential for employee buy-in: If your engagement platform is a virtual maze, then don’t expect employees to have much patience for it. Engagement platforms don’t work if you have to nag people into using them, so they need to fold seamlessly into our working lives.
- IT can help HR make the best choice: There are lots to consider when choosing new software. Engagement might mostly be a HR concern, but IT are still the best ones to give advice about which tools are effective. It’s not just a matter of features, but how well they integrate with existing hardware and applications.