Technology has revolutionized nearly every aspect of how companies conduct business, including their ability to connect with employees. From appreciation programs to facilitating employee giving, technology can make your business more efficient, organized, and transparent.
However, your work isn’t done after you upgrade to the latest technology. Your next step is getting your employees to use with your brand-new employee engagement platform. After all, each software solution you adopt must be adopted by your team, and it’s your job to convince employees your new system is worth exploring.
To help your company earn employee buy-in for your latest engagement software, this guide will answer essential questions businesses are likely to have, such as:
- What is employee engagement software?
- What are the types of employee engagement software?
- What are the benefits of employee engagement software?
- How can my business increase employee engagement using software?
Knowing the answers to these questions will not only help you implement a stronger employee engagement program but also set you up to answer any questions your employees may have. Let’s get started.
What is employee engagement software?
Employee engagement software is any digital tool you use to improve employees’ connection, commitment, and overall attitude toward your organization. Employee engagement software includes both platforms that employees actively interface, like a matching gift portal, and tools that your leadership uses to analyze employee behavior and make workplace decisions to improve employees’ day-to-day experience.
In this guide, we’ll focus on tools specifically designed to increase workplace engagement and motivation. However, note that platforms that focus on productivity and efficiency, like timesheet software solutions, can also be thought of as employee engagement software.
What are the types of employee engagement software?
Employee engagement software provides a wide variety of services. Your business may require employees to interact with certain types of engagement tools, like project management platforms. However, for the purposes of this guide, we’ll explore engagement solutions that are optional for your employees to use.
A few common types of this employee engagement software include:
Corporate Social Responsibility Software
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) software offers multiple types of tools. CSR programs like matching gifts and volunteer grants are common throughout the corporate sector. In fact, over 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs and many are backed up by a software solution.
CSR solutions generally help your company organize its employee-backed philanthropic initiatives. Different CSR platforms will focus on different types of philanthropy. Thus, your business should aim to find a solution that aligns with your specific employee engagement program. For example, you might prioritize finding a CSR tool that allows you to conduct one of the following engagement activities:
- Matching Gifts. As mentioned, matching gifts are a popular workplace giving program, allowing employees to support the causes they care about and having their employers match their donations at a 1:1 ratio. CSR software enables your employees to easily submit their matching gift forms for review and in some cases even help find nonprofits they may be interested in donating to.
- Volunteerism. There are several types of CSR volunteer programs to consider, such as volunteer grants and organized employee volunteer days. Use your CSR platform to gather employee sign-up information to coordinate volunteer efforts or track volunteer grant applications and awards.
- Employee Assistance Fund. Sometimes, the cause employees want to give to is themselves. An employee assistance fund (EAF) is a fund employees can donate to. Then, in the event of financial hardship, they can apply to receive aid. For example, a remote employee might live in an area prone to hurricanes. They could apply for your EAF and receive the financial assistance they need to repair damages to their home and get back on their feet. Your CSR software may provide a donation portal for employees to make gifts to the EAF, allow you to track the funds in the EAF, and enable you to review aid applications.
If your CSR platform has an interface for employees to navigate, ensure it is user-friendly with clear directions about the actions they can take. The simpler your system is to use, the quicker employees will adopt it.
Showing appreciation is one of the easiest ways to keep your employees engaged. Software can help you systemize your appreciation efforts to be consistent and more impactful.
When it comes to appreciation software, consider if you need a platform that facilitates just leadership-to-employee appreciation or peer-to-peer recognition as well. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between these two approaches:
- Leadership-to-employees. Leadership-to-employee recognition is when managers, supervisors, and other senior staff members acknowledge their directs’ good work. This type of appreciation tends to be more formal, and employees may expect the amount of times they were recognized to be part of their performance review, even if not explicitly stated.
- Peer-to-peer. Peer-to-peer recognition allows any staff member to show appreciation for anyone else. This system feels less formal, but it also allows for more appreciation overall as your leadership team can only observe so much of your employees’ work on a day-to-day basis.
Certain technology like eCards allow you to get the benefits of both methods. eCards allow you to send over quick messages of appreciation whenever you notice an employee going the extra mile. You can also use eCards for peer-to-peer recognition. Be sure to set up your system so leadership is notified whenever an eCard is sent out, letting more employees be appreciated while also keeping your senior staff in the loop.
Employee Experience Software
You may be familiar with the term “customer experience,” which refers to all interactions customers have with your organization and their overall impression of your business. Positive customer experience also involves following up with customers when an issue arises to alleviate their concerns, retain the customer, and improve your business practices for future customers.
You can similarly retain your employees by implementing employee experience practices backed by software. Employee experience software essentially consists of survey tools and backend analytics that allow you to assess survey responses.
With this simple platform, you can implement an employee experience program that identifies and follows up with employee concerns, known as a closed-loop feedback system. This system looks something like this:
- Send regular experience surveys. Routinely survey your employees to identify what is going well with their work and which parts of their work process cause frustration. Be sure to vary which employees you survey to avoid overwhelming any one team member with multiple surveys on top of their usual workload.
- Employees identify “moments of truth.” The frustrations your employees identify are called “moments of truth.” In customer experience, moments of truth determine whether the customer continues interacting with your business or abandons their customer journey altogether. For employees, the majority will continue working through a moment of truth, but it causes similar emotions that result in customer loss, such as frustration.
- Surveys are elevated to leadership. After submitting a survey, your employee experience software sends the survey to employees’ supervisors. If there are no concerns, the supervisor can be rest assured they are helping create a positive experience for their directs. If there is an issue, they can act on it or forward the survey to someone else at the business who can.
- The issue is resolved. Many businesses survey their employees but often fail to complete the feedback loop by taking action and reporting back. If the problem has an immediate solution, implement it and let the employee know. If the solution is not immediately clear, still get back in touch with the employee to let them know you have heard their concerns and the problem is on your radar.
Acknowledging employee experiences and taking steps to resolve issues helps employees feel heard. That way, you can reap the benefits of engaged employees. Plus, experience software is an easy way to find missteps in your workflow that may be limiting productivity.
What are the benefits of employee engagement software?
Businesses can run employee engagement programs without underlying software. For example, you might organize an office volunteer day by having employees add their names to a spreadsheet or conduct your matching gift program by providing a PDF employees can download and email back when completed.
However, low-tech strategies rarely scale well, and businesses without dedicated employee engagement software miss out on several worthwhile benefits, such as:
- Improved organization. Software systemizes your engagement programs, making them more structured, routine, and consistent. For example, you’re far more likely to host regular corporate volunteer days if you have a calendar system dedicated to their planning.
- More accurate reporting. Are employees actually engaging with your engagement program? Software lets you collect data on employee attendance, money raised, hours volunteered, employee satisfaction, and any other metric you might be interested in collecting. For example, your CSR software’s information about total donations matched helps promote your program to employees and can be used as a marketing tool to show customers your philanthropic impact.
- Better communication. At large organizations and especially businesses with multiple branches, communicating your engagement programs’ details can quickly become a challenge. The right platform will let you automate reminder and follow-up messages, reducing wait times and letting employees participate in engagement times at their discretion.
The benefits your software provides become benefits of your engagement program. In other words, software that improves transparency means you now have a transparent employee engagement program. The more benefits you can bring employees, the more valuable your engagement programs are and the easier you can pitch them as part of your employee compensation packages.
How can my business increase employee engagement using software?
Starting an engagement program is just the first step in connecting with your employees. After all, despite the prevalence of matching gift programs, 78% of donors don’t know if their employer offers a matching gift program.
Make sure your employees know about your engagement programs by using your software to:
1. Host a Walkthrough
If you plan to implement software your employees will interface with, you’ll need to walk them through how to use it. Create a recorded demo yourself or, for some solutions, download training resources from your platform’s provider. Then, invite employees to submit questions in the following days so you can address any common points of confusion.
Ensure you document your walkthrough so when future employees join your business, you can easily train them to use your employee engagement platform.
Additionally, make sure to choose a platform with active technical support. Then, if you encounter an issue, you can quickly contact someone to help resolve it. Buggy systems are a fast way to lose employee buy-in, but a responsive technical support team can help alleviate concerns.
2. Gather Employee Input
Once you get your engagement program up and running, invite employees to share their feedback. This might be done through surveys (anonymous or identified) or ad hoc as employees interact with it at their own pace.
To get useful feedback, try asking specific questions related to various parts of your engagement program, such as:
- How did you first learn about the engagement program?
- Was the program easy to understand and engage with?
- Is the program software intuitive?
- Do you feel the program has an impact on company culture? If so, what is it?
- Do you plan to continue engaging with the program?
When requesting feedback, it’s useful to have a goal in mind first. Consider what you want the reaction to your engagement program to be. Then, when you roll it out, compare whether the responses align with your expectations.
3. Showcase Leadership Participation
Set an example for your employees by participating in engagement programs yourself. For instance, employees will likely feel more connected to an employer who volunteers alongside them during volunteer days, matches donations made to the EAF fund, and sends out appreciation messages.
Additionally, participating in your own program provides an on-the-ground perspective of how your engagement activities and software are functioning. While employee feedback is useful, firsthand experience of the program is an efficient way to put that feedback into context.
Plus, letting employees know that managers, senior team members, and leadership plan to participate in various engagement activities can help market the programs. Employees interested in building stronger bonds with their co-workers or demonstrating their commitment to the business may be more eager to join in on engagement activities if they know their efforts will be seen.
4. Select a Few Employee Leaders
Outside of leadership, consider asking a few specific employees to lead the charge when it comes to jumping into engagement programs. This might involve formally appointing mentors who attend engagement events alongside new employees as part of their welcome to your business. Or, you could take a looser approach and request employees who naturally command respect or have many friends in the office to participate publicly, which is likely to make others follow suit.
5. Share Program Results
Your software should provide reporting features, and this data can be shared with your employees to encourage participation. Promote your engagement program by sharing the total number of hours volunteered, how much your business has donated to charity, and the number of appreciation eCards you’ve sent to team members.
Sharing program results incentivizes employees to get involved by demonstrating that your programs are active and making a difference in both the workplace and greater community. Plus, regularly sharing stories is an effective way to continually remind employees about your engagement programs, keeping participation steady.
Employee Engagement Software: Final Thoughts
Employees are more engaged when they work at companies that are committed to creating a positive work environment, appreciating their staff, and making a positive difference in the world. However you decide to engage your employees, consider if there is a software platform that supports your efforts and how it can improve the transparency and effectiveness of your engagement program.
To continue your research on the wide world of employee engagement best practices, explore these resources:
- Developing a Matching Gift Program: A How-To Guide. Ready to take the next step and launch a matching gift program? Get an in-depth overview of what goes into developing a matching gift program.
- The Workplace Giving Guide for Corporate Changemakers. Corporate philanthropy is about making a positive impact in addition to engaging employees. Discover how you can strategically focus your efforts to make a difference in your community.
- Small Businesses With Big Matching Gifts: Examples + Tips. Companies of all sizes can start matching gift programs, including mom-and-pop shops. Learn how to make your small CSR budget go further with these tips.