How to Select the Best Employee Engagement Software for Your Team

How to Select the Best Employee Engagement Software for Your Team

In today's competitive business landscape, employee engagement is more crucial than ever. Whether you're a small startup or a large corporation, our expert insights and practical tips will help you navigate the complex landscape of employee engagement tools.

How to Select the Best Employee Engagement Software for Your Team

When it comes to shopping around for the best employee engagement software, any HR team might feel overwhelmed.

Trying to find the right employee engagement tools to serve your organization’s overall performance or profit goals, along with serving your people, is a tall order. As you continue to do your homework, you’ll see a variety of platforms that support specific features like recognition programs, automations, or messaging. You’ll also see a lot of AI!

It might be daunting, but we created this resource to help you find the right employee engagement platform that will support your workplace culture and help your team with those wins.

Read below for ways and guiding questions as you search for the best employee engagement software.

Before You Start Shopping Around

For any HR team, looking for the right tool to support your company culture is a big investment of time and cost. Sit down with your people team to see what’s most important to you and use these steps below as a guide:

1. Review Your Goals

First, think about your organization’s goals. This can be anything like increasing employee retention or increasing sales for the quarter. (It can also be both!) Keeping those goals in mind can help your human resources research what’s most important to your team when it comes to the right software.

If it’s employee retention, maybe this means looking at what solutions focus on team culture and track employee sentiment. If it’s business related, consider solutions like an employee rewards program.

2. Assess Your Budget

Employee engagement software has a range in cost. Pricing might depend on the amount of employees, your needs, the amount of customization, and whether any additional training is included.

So as you look into what you can afford, remember your goals and focus on what solution would support your team.

3. Consider Growth

Now as important as it is to remain within budget and to stay on top of your company’s needs, don’t forget to consider your organization’s growth. As you continue to increase that employee engagement or productivity metrics, consider the additional ways that employee engagement solution can be used down the line.

Look at your own organization’s goal setting. Maybe this year, you’re focused on morale, but next year you set a goal to increase product knowledge for the sales team. In that case, you might want a space to incentivize training modules. Can this platform serve that?

Let’s Find the Best Employee Engagement Software for You!

Many employee engagement tools will provide the following considerations listed below, but we want this resource to help you ask yourself (and your potential platform provider) what’s right for your team.

Employee Recognition

We know that recognition programs can boost engagement: employees are 2.7x more likely to be highly engaged when they receive positive feedback and they feel more valued and connected with their team. Real-time feedback not only encourages the recognized individual, but also boosts overall employee morale.

While some organizations prefer to leave employee recognition to each manager’s discretion or a Slack channel for #wins, a platform with a central employee recognition feed can create a more seamless experience for users and leadership.

Guiding Questions:

  • What notifications are used to encourage adoption?
  • How do we encourage meaningful use of the product?

Performance Management & Rewards Program

When it comes to corporate rewards, the Incentive Research Foundation saw teams with programs in place boost productivity by 44 percent.

Many sales teams utilize incentives to create healthy competition for the quarter or month. At Cooleaf, for example, we’ve seen success with goal setting at Synovus Bank, creating a rewards program which doubled their banker’s projected goals for a credit card campaign.

And while rewarding employees with gift cards or high end merchandise is important to drive productivity, don’t forget to also think about how you can track individual success and metrics to share with them at the end of the year. That is valuable feedback your employees can utilize and be proud of!

Guiding Questions:

  • What behaviors* does our team want to drive? How can we use that in this platform?

*This can be anything from driving customer acquisition, improving customer retention, creating a better customer experience!

  • How can we benchmark success after a campaign or competition?
  • How does it track individual employee performance*?

*This can be anything from answering a certain number of customer tickets, moving prospects, and more.

  • How can we track team members’ success for performance reviews?

Employee Lifecycle

The right employee engagement platform can support an individual’s employee lifecycle. From onboarding, development, retention and onward, consider how your platform can feed into these areas.

For example, at Cooleaf, our Customer Success team works with our partners, like American Auto Shield, to improve their onboarding process to introduce new hires into their culture quicker. Adopting an HR software like Cooleaf enabled them to increase employee retention, and support their people through Cooleaf’s approach to Listen-Engage-Measure. By bringing a holistic approach with an engagement app, Cooleaf’s able to support individual’s growth and adaptation in a new environment during a very unprecedented time.

Guiding Questions:

  • How do other clients use your platform for onboarding?
  • What sort of features do you provide to support the onboarding process?
  • Does your platform have a space to host training or development modules?
  • How do you measure success on the platform?

Integrations & Security

For many large corporations or hybrid/remote teams, having one specific place to build positive company culture and stay connected is that digital space. Most employee communication lives in an intranet or Slack. However, a central digital work environment needs a user-friendly experience so your people can find it all.

Big announcements, policy updates, shoutouts, or even opportunities to connect can get lost with real-time chatter— which isn’t a bad thing! But you want a central feed that is easy to navigate and filter. Consider that main feed in your new platform and see if it can connect with where your people are.

Guiding Questions:

  • If we use [this specific internal communication software], can this platform integrate with our current system?
  • Is there a mobile app? Does it have all the same functionality?
  • What notifications or automations are available to keep employees up-to-date?
  • What does privacy* look like for our employees?

*If you have additional sign-in security, be sure to ask the platform provider how it would be set up

  • What additional authentication is available for mobile and desktop users?

AI Capabilities

According to Cooleaf’s podcast The Great Retention, 50 percent of HR and people leaders are looking to incorporate more AI into their people strategy. And we’re also seeing many platforms are offering ways to streamline program planning.

Remember: a strong workplace puts its people first, so AI should be used responsibly in order to be most effective.

Guiding Questions:

  • What repetitive tasks or workflows can be streamlined with AI?
  • How is this platform using AI in data prediction or strategy recommendations?
  • What data, actions, or prompts are used to feed this platform’s AI? Share examples.

Survey Tools & Metrics

In order to build your organization’s employee engagement strategy, you’ll need a way to benchmark progress with the right people analytics. Most platforms offer a survey tool, but always check on how your platform receives anonymous feedback and how that data is collected and kept private.

At Cooleaf, our Customer Success team offers a personal touch-point through our clients’ journeys. They host quarterly check-ins to review app use, participation, and survey results to offer actionable insights. Each team is different, and the Cooleaf crew is great at recommending new employee engagement programs or opportunities to push towards those goals for the next quarter.

Guiding Questions:

  • What types of employee engagement survey options* are available?

*Think pulse surveys or eNPS scores.

  • Are surveys customizable?
  • Are surveys anonymous? How do you keep employee’s responses private?
  • How are responses stored? Can we download reports?
  • Is there a way to measure reports over time to compare?

Ease of Use and Admin

Most HR teams will be the point person for the platform’s use, so you want to be fully comfortable with the app itself and the team behind it. Not only will you need to know how to accomplish the basics like recognitions or scheduling a post, but you should also know how to add a new teammate or pull information if you need.

You also have to consider how easy it is to use for your employees, if the features are pretty intuitive, etc.

Guiding Questions:

  • What does set up look like? Is there training involved?
  • Are there different levels of access on this app and what does each level entail?
  • What does a regular dashboard look like for an employee vs an HR manager?
  • Will there be a point of contact here to help my team with any changes, updates, etc.?
  • How do we set up integrations or what data is needed to set up employee accounts?
  • Who do we contact if we need help with xyz?

Employee Experience

When we talk about employee experience, we mean the holistic approach towards creating a positive workplace culture. That means listening to employee feedback, taking action with goal-oriented initiatives, and hosting employee engagement programs to support your people’s needs.

When it comes to investing in the right platform, we at Cooleaf think it should be a platform that serves your people and helps you take employee morale to the next level. It’s why we bring programming, recognition, and surveying together— to help make your team better.

Guiding Questions:

  • What are some ways this platform supports wellness, learning and development, or team culture goals?
  • How do you measure user or employee satisfaction on the app?
  • How do you create a holistic, inclusive employee experience in a digital space?
  • Is there a space for ERGs or divergent groups to connect, plan, and message?

Are you ready to shop around for the right employee engagement software?

Whichever platform you’re considering, be sure to take a step back and see how it fits within your team’s current needs and the potential to grow together.

It takes time to find the right one, but if you’re ready to chat about Cooleaf, we’re always here to help.  


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