What is Employee Engagement? (+20 Best Pulse Survey Tools)

Courtney Moran
Courtney Moran  |  January 14, 2019

Engaged employees are the force that propels successful organizations into the future.

It's not just another buzzword, but it certainly is a steadfast 2019 HR trend. Businesses and HR employees have a wide array of options to improve employee engagement and we foresee these initiatives expanding rapidly in 2019.

But what is employee engagement, and what can businesses and HR departments do to improve employee engagement at their company?

First, they need to start by creating a culture of engagement.
 employee engagement definition

Let's discuss employee engagement, learn more about employee engagement, or surveys, and highlight some ideas and activities to increase employee engagement. And then we'll get into the employee engagement software, list some common employee engagement software features and highlight the top rated employee engagement solutions to consider for 2019.

We recently polled 400 HR and non-HR employees and found that only 34 percent of non-HR employees felt more engaged than they were 12 months ago. Meanwhile, 66 percent of HR employees believe that employee engagement has increased over the past year. Yet only 40 percent of HR employees provide employee engagement solutions as part of a broader employee engagement initiative. Six percent don’t know if they will implement these solutions at all.

Tip:  Learn how employee engagement plays into your overall talent management strategy

There is a disconnect between how engaged non-HR employees feel and what plans HR employees have for investing in employee engagement solutions. Of course, there are many solutions that can impact engagement, but only employee engagement software helps companies regularly survey workers to understand their concerns and level of satisfaction.

Are employees as engaged as HR teams believe? Download Free Report →

What Are Employee Engagement Surveys?

Employee engagement surveys, otherwise known as pulse surveys, are a continuous survey system with a regular interval of week to month rotation. Pulse surveys help organizations take a “pulse” on the overall health of the company via employee engagement.

Employee surveys have been around since the 1920s in the form of “employee attitude surveys,” which measured morale. Currently, companies often opt for software to help manage regular, anonymous surveys and results. These solutions often provide ready-made and customizable questions.

Pulse surveys provide businesses with regular feedback in real time so they can address any issues that may arise in a timely fashion. These surveys have also been found to promote open communication and increase employee engagement.

Employee Engagement Strategy Ideas

Beyond surveying how employees feel, companies and HR personnel can implement activities (and software) to help promote and increase employee engagement throughout the company and, by doing so, improve the employee experience. Using software or a simple worksheet can help users manage the process of creating a work buddy program or coordinating taking everyone out for a museum tour or baseball game, for example.

1. Create a safe space for open communication

This can come in any form, whether that be face-to-face via an open-door policy or digitally via pulse surveys or performance management software.

Related: Read up on workplace messaging and why it's so important to the modern office. 

2. Provide corporate wellness initiatives

These help companies promote a holistic view of wellness that includes physical, mental and financial health. Helping employees improve their overall health will reduce any barriers to full productivity and engagement.

3. Establish a mentoring program

There is a variety of mentoring software out there to help streamline and manage the program, or, simply use a simple document to track all employees willing to be mentors, and those looking for some mentorship.

4. Foster an environment of team collaboration

Everyone wins when we break down the individual siloing that occurs, especially in computer-based and tech roles. Collaboration tools connect employees, teams and departments to help employees direct task and project alignment.

5. Deliver a productive onboarding program

This is essential to setting new employees up for total success. A clear and thorough onboarding program will help initiate employees quickly into company culture and team goals as well as help them become productive, engaged employees faster.

6. Promote career development

Support employees in career development by providing  opportunities for continual education and training, thereby opening up opportunities for internal growth and promotion.

7. Recognize employees that perform consistently

Create a recognition program that provides a platform for peer-to-peer and manager-to-employee recognition to get everyone in on the fun. Recognition often comes in the form of awards, certificates or monetary value.

employee engagement ideas

Employee Engagement Activities

  • Celebrate staff birthdays, work anniversaries, professional achievements, etc. Taking time out of the day to celebrate staff members’ professional and personal accomplishments and milestones can go a long way to making people feel like important members of the team. Even celebrating silly holidays, like national donut day, or more poignant ones, such as sexual assault awareness month, will make everyone feel like they are valued.

  • Plan company-wide team outings and events. These provide opportunities for employees to get to know each other and begin to build relationships and bonds around topics other than the tasks at hand. Not every activity will appeal to every employee, note: although tech often cites happy hours and key on tap as fun perks, keep in mind not everyone drinks. To make everyone feel welcome, make sure the activities are not centered only around drinking alcohol.

  • Sponsor a volunteer activity where employees can volunteer together. There are an abundance of volunteer activity options, from working with a crew to build homes to serving food in a soup kitchen. These activities get employees out of the office and into a space where the tangible results of their efforts have nothing to do with the bottom line, but instead everything to do with helping others together.

How Employee Engagement Software Can Help

Businesses use employee engagement software to build, grow and manage employee engagement initiatives. Companies, HR departments or personnel use employee engagement solutions to solicit and track feedback from their employees.

Pulse surveys help businesses to cull actionable insight from employee feedback. Understanding the employee experience can help companies to promote company-wide engagement.

HR departments and personnel commonly implement employee engagement solutions, typically as a supplemental tool for traditional performance review processes. Employee engagement software is great for businesses and HR departments of all sizes looking to implement, manage or expand employee engagement initiatives. These tools help engage the entire workforce, especially when employees work remotely, on different floors or in different segments of a company.

See the Easiest-to-Use Employee Engagement Software →

Common Features of Employee Engagement Software

Pulse surveys are the main tool for employee engagement. HR personnel and managers can access ready-made questions, or can customize pulse surveys for company-wide or department-based distribution. These engagement solutions enable users to organize and manage data collection for reporting purposes. Additionally, some solutions provide employee recognition capabilities.

The best employee engagement apps and tools

So what can businesses and HR departments do to improve employee engagement at their company? They need to start by creating a culture that consistently asks workers how they feel in their company environment. Employee engagement software can help. We’ve compiled a list of employee engagement software types to help you get started.

For each product we provide:

  • G2 star rating
  • User satisfaction
  • A product overview and pricing information, when available
  • Reviews highlighting what users like and dislike

1. 15Five Continuous Performance Management

Product Name: 15Five Continuous Performance Management
G2 Star Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars
User Satisfaction: 99 percent 
Reviews: 963

Overview

15Five Continuous Performance Management is a performance management solution that combines employee feedback, pulse surveys and peer recognition via weekly check-ins.

Pricing

  • Basic: $7 per person, per month
  • Plus: $14 per person, per month

2. Lattice Performance Management

Product Name: Lattice Performance Management

G2 Star Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 95 percent 
Reviews: 188

Overview

Lattice is a continuous performance management solution that provides performance management, goal setting, real-time feedback and one-on-one tools.

Pricing

  • Reviews: $6 per person, per month
  • Performance: $9 per person, per month
  • Performance & Engagement: $12 per person, per month
  • Enterprise: Custom solution; contact Lattice for pricing information

3. Motivosity

Product Name: Motivosity
G2 Star Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 83 percent 
Reviews: 168

Overview

Motivosity is a peer-recognition software solution that provides employee engagement, employee motivation and company culture solutions.

Pricing

  • Contact Motivosity for pricing information

4. Clarity Wave

Product Name: Clarity Wave
G2 Star Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 83 percent 
Reviews: 31

Overview

Clarity Wave offers an employee engagement solution that helps businesses determine the quality of their employee engagement.

Pricing

  • Contact Clarity Wave for pricing information

5. TINYpulse Engage

Product Name: TINYpulse Engage
G2 Star Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 81 percent 
Reviews: 114

Overview

TINYpulse is an employee engagement solution that allows companies to solicit anonymous feedback to improve employee engagement, retention and culture.

Pricing

  • Contact TINYpulse Engage for pricing information

6. Culture Amp

Product Name: Culture Amp 
G2 Star Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 81 percent 
Reviews: 61

Overview

Culture Amp provides businesses with employee engagement solutions that collect, understand and act on employee feedback to improve employee engagement.

Pricing

  • Self-starter: Ideal for 50–200 employees, starting at $4,500 per year
  • Standard: Ideal for 200–2,000 employees, starting at $10,500 per year
  • Enterprise: Ideal for 2,000-plus employees. Contact Culture Amp for pricing information.

7. Branch Messenger

Product Name: Branch Messenger
G2 Star Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 79 percent 
Reviews: 122

Overview

Branch Messenger provides businesses with employee engagement solutions including custom channels, activity feeds and chat.

Pricing

  • Free: Covers an hourly team at a single location
  • Custom: Covers the entire enterprise

8. Officevibe

Product Name: Officevibe 
G2 Star Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 79 percent 
Reviews: 143

Overview

Officevibe is an employee engagement solution that measures employee satisfaction and provides tips on how to improve company-wide engagement.

Pricing

  • Single Team: Free
  • Workplace: $4 per user, per month
  • Custom: Contact Officevibe for pricing information

9. Qualtrics Employee Experience

Product Name: Qualtrics Employee Experience
G2 Star Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 75 percent 
Reviews: 189

Overview

Qualtrics Employee Experience provides businesses with employee survey tools and 360-feedback features to measure employee engagement in real time.

Pricing

  • Contact Qualtrics for pricing information

10. HALO Recognition

Product Name: HALO Recognition
G2 Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 74 percent 
Reviews: 59

Overview

HALO Recognition is an employee engagement solution that provides businesses with employee recognition, rewards and incentive programs.

Pricing

  • Contact HALO Recognition for pricing information

11. Rallyware

Product Name: Rallyware
G2 Star Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 74 percent 
Reviews: 23

Overview

Rallyware provides businesses with employee engagement solutions that train, motivate, engage and develop their workforce.

Pricing

  • Contact Rallyware for pricing information

12. Energage

Product NameEnergage
G2 Star Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 72 percent 
Reviews: 46

Overview

Energage is an employee engagement platform that helps companies transform their workplace and build a high-engagement culture.

Pricing

  • Contact Energage for pricing information

13. Reward Gateway

Product Name: Reward Gateway
G2 Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 72 percent 
Reviews: 77

Overview

Reward Gateway is an employee engagement solution that helps businesses simplify and unite benefits, communications, employee recognition and employee engagement.

Pricing

  • Contact Reward Gateway for pricing information

14. Hyphen

Product Name: Hyphen
G2 Star Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 71 percent 
Reviews: 25

Overview

Hyphen is an employee engagement solution that provides businesses with employee surveys, pulse surveys, feedback platforms and smart insights to improve engagement.

Pricing

  • Contact Hyphen for pricing information

15. Beekeeper

Product Name: Beekeeper
G2 Star Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 68 percent 
Reviews: 34

Overview

Beekeeper is team communication app that provides businesses with engagement tools, content management, chatbots, surveys and analytics.

Pricing

  • Contact Beekeeper for pricing information

16. Threads Culture

Product Name: Threads Culture
G2 Star Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 62 percent 
Reviews: 37

Overview

Threads Culture is a workforce management solution that provides culture reviews and analytics, feedback, goal measurement, job descriptions, hiring & interviewing, and org charts.

Pricing

  • Contact Threads Culture for pricing information

17. GetFeedback

Product Name: GetFeedback 
G2 Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 62 percent 
Reviews: 116

Overview

GetFeedback is an employee engagement solution that helps businesses build branded, mobile-friendly engagement surveys.

Pricing

  • Professional: $50 per month
  • Advanced: $150 per month
  • Corporate: Contact GetFeedback for pricing information

18. Bonfyre

Product Name: Bonfyre
G2 Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 59 percent 
Reviews: 11

Overview

Bonfyre is an employee experience platform that provides businesses with communication, feedback, recognition, events and data solutions.

Pricing

  • Basic app: Free for groups up to 100
  • Enterprise: includes additional features, contact Bonfyre for details and pricing information

19. Quantum Workplace

Product Name: Quantum Workplace 
G2 Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 56 percent 
Reviews: 42

Overview

Quantum Workplace provides businesses with employee engagement tools for achieving and recognizing employees.

Pricing

  • Contact Quantum Workplace for pricing information

20. Poppulo

Product Name: Poppulo
G2 Star Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars 
User Satisfaction: 51 percent 
Reviews: 75

Overview

Poppulo is an all-in-one platform that provides businesses with employee communications and engagement solutions.

Pricing

  • Candidate search is free
  • Pay-per-click model lets companies set a daily job budget for each job posted. These can be purchased in advance, and applied across multiple job posts.

Next steps for keeping an engagement workforce

Many companies employ additional solutions to help them increase employee engagement. Visit G2’s talent management software categories, where thousands of verified user reviews can help you find the best solution to fit your company’s needs. Reviews can be tailored to view company sizes, user roles and industries, specific ratings and other categories to help determine which product will work best for your unique business and its goals.

Ready to learn more about employee programs? Learn about the best employee recognition software in 2019.

* Please note: Reviews may have been edited for spelling and grammar.

Courtney Moran
Author

Courtney Moran

Courtney is G2's senior research analyst for HR technologies, with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). She maintains the integrity of the HR technology space by consulting directly with HR vendors and analyzing authenticated review data. Companies and HR professionals apply Courtney’s research and publications to understand the solutions available for creating a diverse, inclusive, and engaged workplace culture. Her comprehensive research on employee engagement and HR trends have been quoted in TechRepublic, among other publications. Her coverage areas include: employee engagement, corporate wellness, and talent management.