A Managers’ Guide to Choosing Employee Engagement Software

ShowUp Team | Published: July 27, 2021
Employee Engagement

When Khan first discovered and discussed employee engagement back in 1990, many people considered it another buzzword.

Well, you wouldn’t be here if it was another buzzword.

I say that because the importance of employee engagement is increasing daily. In short, this ever-growing importance is what led veteran Management Consultant Victor Lipman to say:

One thing I can tell you from a boots-on-the-ground management perspective is that—having managed disengaged and highly engaged employees alike—I sure know whom I’d rather be managing: the engaged folks.

Like Lipman, all managers (I bet you too) crave engaged folks.

But the problem is before you can even call one employee engaged, you must differentiate between a whopping 14 behaviors:

Showup - Employee Engagement Behaviors

[source]

In other words, it’s difficult to identify, let alone manage, a team of engaged employees manually. Think about it, can you approach, say, over ten employees every day to find if they’re engaged?

Doing that one-on-one is neither efficient nor effective.

And that’s where employee engagement software comes in.

An excellent one automates the process of identifying engaged folks by tracking your team’s pulse constantly. And not only that. It’ll also help you spot weak areas and deliver timely insights to improve engagement among the people you manage.

But choosing that excellent one isn’t easy for managers.

It’s why we wrote this piece to help address the vital questions so you can make an informed decision.

Improve Employee Engagement

With ShowUp’s Automated Team Pulse Survey Software.

What Does Employee Engagement Software Do?

As a manager, employee engagement software helps you measure how engaged the employees you manage are. It also gives you insights so you can improve it and achieve increased passion in the workplace.

Let’s quickly see how HR experts describe what it does.

Dom Nicastro is a Senior Employee Experience Reporter at CMSWire. In one of his excellent reports, Dom accurately captured what employee engagement software does.

According to him:

Employee engagement software are tools designed to help companies measure and/or improve employee engagement.

Dom went on to break down relevant features of employee engagement software into three categories. They are:

  1. Cultural alignment
  2. Feedback management
  3. Surveys.

Shining more light on these categories, Brian Westfall, a Principal HR Analyst at Capterra, observed pulse surveys as the main functioning feature for employee engagement software.

In Brian’s words:

The most common feature that ties these employee engagement software systems together is the presence of some type of mechanism to measure employee engagement in an organization.

He continued:

Typically, this mechanism comes in the form of pulse surveys: short, informal, anonymous surveys that are sent out to workers frequently to track how happy or engaged they are at work, and common sources of disengagement (e.g., bad managers, lack of training opportunities, etc.).

Based on these expert takes…

Let’s briefly see how employee engagement software brings cultural alignment, feedback management, and surveys under one roof.

How Typical Employee Engagement Software Works

A root cause of workplace disengagement is a misalignment. It’s simple. When the employees you manage aren’t aligned with your company’s culture, building an engaged team becomes far-fetched.

And misalignment is a massive problem for managers and top-level executives alike, as this poll result by Grant Thornton shows:

Showup - Team Alignment Graph

In short, another study by Grant Thornton found that: While 76% of executives reported their organization had a defined value system that’s understood and well-communicated, less than 33% of employees believed this to be true.

By their design, employee engagement software can help bridge your company’s culture misalignment gaps. Also, excellent ones come with features for feedback management and sending out surveys as well.

For instance, assume your team isn’t aligned on what your organization considers professional behaviors.

With employee engagement software, you can find out by automating such culture-related surveys via email blasts:

Showup - Engagement Email Survey

Like the one used above, excellent employee engagement software also doubles as feedback management and survey tool.

First, it anonymizes the survey, so privacy-conscious employees will feel free to participate. Then, it collates and crunches their feedback into a dashboard for you to spot weak areas hurting team engagement:

Showup - Transparency Engagement Results

[as shown in the snapshot above, lack of transparency is what’s causing disengagement on this team using ShowUp to improve engagement]

What Are Other Companies Using to Improve Employee Engagement?

Before choosing software, most managers like to explore how other companies are improving engagement.

Let’s see some of them.

Staff Training

Investing in someone’s development is one way to create a sense of loyalty, leading to higher work engagement.

But training your staff, as a way to improve engagement, is two-fold. You must train them very well and treat them even better. This quote by Richard Branson, a British entrepreneur, and billionaire, captures it well:

Train people well enough so that they can leave, treat them well enough so that they don’t want to.

One enterprise company doing this well is Delloite.

The company uses Udacity to upskill its employees. Deloitte is a company known for paying its employees well, so that passes for treating them well too. These efforts make them one of the 100 best companies to work for.

Reward System

Employees would do a good job for the money. But they would go the extra mile in search of perfection if you offer recognition and reward.

One company that understands this is Zappos.

Zappos prides itself on its company culture. It understands the importance of using employee recognition to boost engagement. And that’s why 82% of Zappos employees say Zappos is a great place to work, compared to 59% at a typical US-based company.

Engagement Surveys

Let’s get one thing straight.

Managers can talk all day about employee engagement. You can train and reward employees all you like. But if the people you manage don’t open up to you (i.e., voice out how they really feel), you’ll still struggle to improve engagement.

So how do most companies try to motivate their employees to open up?

By using engagement surveys. But are engagement surveys a proactive way to capture how employees feel on an ongoing basis?

Let’s see.

Are Engagement Surveys Great for Capturing Ongoing Team Pulse?

Not really.

Companies usually send out engagement surveys yearly. The problem with trying to capture how your team feels (i.e., their pulse) this way is by the time employee feedback arrives, it might no longer be relevant.

Team pulse surveys, on the other hand, cuts short the cycle to days.

With team pulse survey software like ShowUp, for instance, you can automate weekly or bi-weekly surveys and track your team’s pulse regularly.

The ShowUp platform takes a 3-step process:

  1. Ask
  2. Analyze
  3. Act

Ask

Once you invite your team to ShowUp, they start receiving weekly or bi-weekly surveys to track how they feel.

Each survey contains a set of 6 psychology-backed questions that measure 6 team culture traits relevant to team engagement (or related things).

Let’s say you wanted to track if politeness was causing disengagement in your team. You simply click on a few buttons, and ShowUp will automate, anonymize, and send the surveys for this via email blasts:

Showup - Transparency Engagement Results

Analyze

Analyzing the feedback from your employees begins immediately after they complete your survey. On your dashboard, you’ll get a detailed and easy-to-understand report of the survey’s results.

With this information, you’ll see your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Also, you can compare reports to examine if your team’s engagement is improving or declining.

Act

Now, it’s time to take action. Here, you get the insights needed to act on weak areas. ShowUp automatically gives you access to resources that’ll help you create an action plan and resolve your employee engagement problems:

Showup - Lack of Team Cooperation [as the snapshot shows, lack of cooperation is what’s causing disengagement on this team. ShowUp pulls out resources to act on improving this to drive engagement]

Improve Employee Engagement

With ShowUp’s Automated Team Pulse Survey Software.

What’s the Best Employee Engagement Survey Software?

Employee engagement software takes different approaches. So what you define as ‘best’ is subject to your specific needs and how you prefer to build engagement.

In previous posts, we reviewed six famous software managers’ leverage to build a more engaged workplace. Here, in no particular order, I’ll summarize each software company with a link to our detailed reviews.

1. OfficeVibe

Officevibe focuses on helping managers build better relationships as a way to increase engagement through feedback. The software is robust with lots of third-party integrations.

2. 15Five

Unlike OfficeVibe, 15Five, helps managers create and strengthen a lasting bond between employees. It uses employee surveys to gather feedback and track employee performance, giving you insights to make them happier, more productive, and engaged.

Here’s our detailed comparison of OfficeVibe and 15five.

3. Quantum Workplace

Quantum Workplace is a cloud-based employee engagement solution used by businesses of all sizes. As a manager, you can use this tool to send out surveys, gather feedback, and pinpoint low engagement problem areas.

This software also comes with capabilities to track your team’s engagement analytics, personalized alerts, and real-time suggestions for managers.

4. TINYpulse

With TINYpulse, managers can gather employee feedback anonymously. This anonymity helps increases participation from privacy-weary employees.

The software also sends reminders to employees who forget to respond without any involvement from you. Beyond surveys, employees can celebrate their colleagues whenever they do something exceptional with TINYpulse.

Here’s our detailed comparison of Quantum Workplace and TINYpulse.

5. 6q.io

6q.io comes with over 200 in its questions’ library for managers to choose from and create pulse surveys.

Then, bi-weekly or monthly, you can send out these surveys to employees you manage. 6q.io collects the feedback and measures relevant engagement metrics over time.

6. Emplify

Regarded as one of the best employee engagement tools, Emplify takes a different approach.

The software offers simple assessments for employees that keep managers in the loop. From these assessments, you get insights into how your actions affect employees and engagement.

Here’s our detailed comparison of 6q.io and Emplify.

What Questions Should You Ask on Your Employee Engagement Surveys?

Robert Half was right when he said:

Asking the right questions takes as much skill as finding the right answers.

And this makes sense for any manager seeking to improve engagement.

To get actionable feedback, spot weak engagement areas, and get the right insights to act, you must ask the right questions. In other words, your survey questions must compel employees to give you answers you can act on.

But the last thing you want is random questions not aimed at a particular insight. Asking randomly only yields random answers that’ll lead you nowhere.

And that’s why excellent employee engagement software comes preloaded with well-researched, psychology-backed questions aimed at producing insights relevant to team engagement.

Take ShowUp, for instance.

Each pulse survey has six questions to help you measure how engaged your team members are on six key areas, including:

  • Alignment
  • Trust
  • Respect
  • Transparency
  • Innovation
  • Passion

Take note of these six traits.

And that’s because if you can measure and improve how the employees you manage perceive you, their manager, and the company, in these areas, you’ll improve engagement, productivity, and consequently, profitability.

Let’s conclude by showing you how.

Conclusion: Improve Employee Engagement with Team Pulse Surveys

Do you still remember Victor Lipman, the veteran Management Consultant I mentioned at the beginning of this article?

Good.

I went deeper in search of why he preferred working with engaged folks over disengaged people. Victor observed it was because engaged employees have traits such as:

  • Emotional commitment to their organization.
  • Excellent attitudes towards work.
  • They go the extra mile for managers and the company.
  • They are more collaborative.
  • More reliable and responsible, and
  • They are plain old easy for managers to work with.

I brought this up again for a reason.

If you look closely at the employee engagement traits ShowUp measures and helps you improve, you’ll notice something.

They circle back to the traits highlighted by Victor Lipman:

Showup - 6 Traits we Measure

In other words, by using the ShowUp software to automate weekly or bi-weekly team pulse surveys, you can measure the six relevant traits related to employee engagement.

What’s more?

ShowUp crunches the data into an easy-to-digest dashboard and automatically provides real-time insights. You also get the resources to take action and improve engagement continuously.

So, are you ready to boost your employee engagement with team pulse surveys?

Take ShowUp for a spin (it’s free for six whole months).

Does your team feel safe? Find out what they think.

Measure and know where to improve your team culture so that everyone enjoys showing up to work.

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