In a competitive business landscape, finding the best employee recognition software is now paramount for fostering a positive work culture and maximizing employee engagement.
Among the myriad options available, some solutions stand out as the top contenders for 2023: Nectar HR and WorkTango.
These platforms help you acknowledge and appreciate employee contributions, driving motivation, and enhancing overall productivity. They also provide a streamlined platform for peer-to-peer recognition, aligning recognition efforts with core values and behaviors.
However, choosing the right software requires careful consideration of factors like customization options, scalability, user experience, integration capabilities, customer support, data security, and long-term value.
Let’s delve deeper into this topic and discover the path to effective employee recognition.
Best Employee Recognition Software
1. Nectar HR
Nectar HR is an employee recognition software aiming to improve employee engagement and recognition within organizations. It combines social recognition, rewards, employee discounts, and challenges to create a culture of appreciation and connection across the organization.
One core feature is the ability to send shoutouts based on core values. Both managers and employees can tag a team member, write a personal message, and add Nectar points that your employees can redeem for rewards and access thousands of discounts.
When it comes to rewards, employees can use their points to redeem rewards from a catalog of company-specific rewards, on-demand swag, and digital gift cards.
For the uninitiated, Swag includes promotional products or corporate gifts like t-shirts, mugs, pens, or other branded merchandise that organizations use to reward employees.
In addition, Nectar also has a direct Amazon integration, allowing you to offer a wide variety of Amazon products for your rewards program.
Other key features and workflows include:
- Managing swag: Administrators can create and manage swag campaigns, track inventory and orders, and automate swag delivery to employees’ addresses.
- Creating challenges: Nectar helps you create and assign challenges to employees or teams based on core values, goals, or behaviors. Employees can complete challenges and earn points and badges.
- Analyzing data: You can view and export reports on recognition activity, engagement trends, core value alignment, reward redemption, and more.
While Nectar HR is a versatile solution, it may not be suitable for small organizations that don’t have the resources to prioritize employee recognition. Plus, it charges per user per month, making it more unsuitable for companies with a tight budget.
On the other hand, it’s especially helpful for remote or hybrid teams that need to maintain a sense of community and camaraderie.
- The software enables peer-to-peer recognition and collaboration, allowing employees to publicly acknowledge and celebrate their colleagues’ achievements.
- It has a simple, transparent pricing model with no implementation fees or lengthy contracts.
- It integrates with Slack and Microsoft Teams to enable recognition directly from those environments.
- It charges per user per month, which may not be affordable for some small businesses or non-profits. The price point is also higher than many other employee recognition tools.
- There’s no free trial or freemium plan.
- Currently, the expression tools are limited to emojis, without support for GIFs.
Nectar HR has two main plans: Standard and Plus.
The Standard plan costs $2.75 per user per month billed annually or $3.00 billed monthly. The Standard plan includes features like real-time activity feed, peer-to-peer recognition, manager-to-employee recognition, birthday and years of service automation, and more. It also allows Slack integration, Microsoft Teams integration, and powerful analytics.
The Plus plan costs $4.00 per user per month billed annually or $4.50 billed monthly. It includes everything in the Standard plan, plus company branding, Amazon reward catalog, HRIS and SSO integrations, dedicated account manager, and swag rewards/management.
Volume discounts are available for both plans.
WorkTango is an all-in-one employee experience software tool that helps you enhance employee engagement using rewards, surveys, and goal setting.
Talking of one of its core features, employee recognition – WorkTango helps companies recognize employees in any direction (peer-to-peer, top-down, or bottom-up). Plus, you can add points and tokens to accompany the recognition messages.
In addition, WorkTango offers a variety of reward options beyond traditional recognition. Employees can choose from merchandise, gift cards, experiences, and even make charitable donations. This wide range of rewards allows employees to select options that resonate with their individual preferences and interests.
You can also add personal messages, emojis, GIFs, and images to make recognition more meaningful.
Beyond that, WorkTango supports performance management by facilitating ongoing conversations, goal setting, and performance tracking. It allows employees and managers to align on expectations, provide feedback, and evaluate performance throughout the year.
Here’s an overview of WorkTango’s key features and workflows:
- Continuous Feedback: WorkTango enables ongoing feedback between employees and managers through a user-friendly interface. Employees can provide feedback to their managers, peers, or teams.
- Pulse Surveys: The software offers pulse surveys to help gather regular feedback from employees on various topics like engagement, satisfaction, and company culture. These surveys help identify trends and areas of improvement.
- Action Planning: WorkTango assists in creating action plans based on feedback and survey results. You get access to tools to develop and track progress on initiatives aimed at addressing employee concerns, improving engagement, and driving positive change.
- WorkTango offers a wide range of features, including employee recognition, engagement surveys, and performance management, providing a holistic employee engagement solution.
- It integrates with popular tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Outlook to enable recognition within the flow of work.
- The layout is modern, making it easy to use and navigate.
- There may be a learning curve to become familiar with WorkTango’s extensive suite of features.
- The workflow could be more intuitive when it comes to the goal setting functionality.
- Pricing plans aren’t available on the site – you’ll have to contact the sales team for a custom quote. There’s no free plan or free trial either.
Motivosity markets itself as an all-in-one employee experience platform with tools for employee recognition, manager development, community & connection, and employee insights. They also put a strong emphasis on peer-to-peer recognition as opposed to top-down recognition.
One of its standout features is the #ThanksMatters card – a physical card to express gratitude and appreciation to employees in a tangible way. The card can also include reward points that can be redeemed for various options in Motivosity’s catalog.
Additionally, you can customize it with a personal message, a photo, and a QR code that links to a digital recognition on Motivosity’s platform.
Administrators can also create custom awards and badges specific to their organization’s initiatives and activities. This allows for personalized recognition tied to various accomplishments or participation in specific programs, including employee-of-the-month, book club engagement, or even unconventional events like the team hot dog eating competition.
Other key features and workflows include:
- Social Feed: Motivosity provides a social feed where employees can view and engage with recognition posts from their peers. This encourages a sense of community within the organization.
- Reporting and Analytics: The software offers reporting and analytics features to track recognition trends, identify top performers, and gain insights into employee engagement and satisfaction levels.
- Manager Development: Motivosity has tools and training options to help your managers coach employees and set up 1-on-1s.
- Motivosity focuses primarily on peer-to-peer recognition, empowering employees to recognize and appreciate their colleagues, and promoting a positive work culture.
- You can incorporate gamification elements like badges to encourage friendly competition.
- Motivosity provides the ability to upload documents and screenshots, allowing you to track and verify wellness program activities. This helps organizations promote employee well-being and participation.
- Integration with Slack and Microsoft Teams to streamline employee recognition.
- Core features like recognition and rewards, manager development, and employee insights are available as paid add-ons. There’s no free plan or trial either.
- It limits the number of characters when documenting priorities and goals. This can make it challenging to outline complex objectives in a concise manner. After all, goals and priorities often require more than just a simple sentence!
- It can be buggy at times.
Starts at $2 per employee.
Bonusly is a peer-to-peer employee recognition platform that helps you automate awards and milestones.
The simple, intuitive interface makes it easy to provide recognition. Employees and managers can give recognition to anyone in the organization by simply typing @name +points #reason. They can also add emojis, GIFs, or images to make it more personal. Other team members can further add praise and recognition.
Coming to rewards, Bonusly provides a range of gifting options, including over 1,200 instant gift cards, cash-out options on PayPal, Visa gift cards, prepaid Mastercards, charitable donations, and company swag. Organizations can also offer custom rewards as well – it could be extra vacation days, local experiences, and the like.
Other key features include:
- Automated Milestones: Bonusly automatically recognizes birthdays and work anniversaries without manual administration. Employees can receive recognition points and messages from their colleagues and managers on their special days.
- Incentive programs: Bonusly helps create incentive programs that suit the company’s needs. You can set up company awards, team achievements, referral programs, quarterly goals, health and wellness activities, and more. Employees can earn recognition points and rewards for participating in these programs.
- Analytics: You’ll get access to insights into recognition activity, engagement trends, value alignment, reward redemption, and more. You can also filter by date range, department, or location. This feature helps measure the impact of recognition and rewards on employee engagement and performance.
- Bonusly integrates with popular communication and HR systems, allowing employees to give and receive recognition directly from platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams. This streamlines the recognition process and increases accessibility for users.
- It offers a variety of reward options, including custom rewards and cash-out options.
- There’s a 14-day free trial.
- It doesn’t offer a performance management module like many of its counterparts.
- Higher price point than many other employee recognition tools.
Starts at $3 per user/month when billed monthly or $2.70 per user/month when billed annually.
RewardGateway is an employee engagement platform that offers a holistic approach to employee recognition. This platform combines employee recognition, employee benefits, employee communications, and employee surveys in a single integrated solution.
It allows employees to give and receive recognition for their achievements, contributions, and behaviors aligned with company values. Various recognition options include social recognition feeds, e-cards, and instant rewards.
It also has a well-being center that provides employees with access to physical, mental, and financial well-being resources and programs. Employees can track their well-being goals as well as progress.
Other key features include:
- Employee Surveys: It helps you collect and analyze employee feedback through pulse surveys, eNPS surveys, and custom questions. It also provides insights into employee sentiment and engagement trends.
- Employee Discounts: RewardGateway offers discounts on everyday purchases from thousands of retailers, including groceries, clothing, electronics, travel, and more. Employees can access discounts from the benefits hub by clicking on the Discounts tab. They can also use the SmartSpending app to find nearby deals and save money on the go.
- Employee communications: You can create and deliver engaging content to employees across multiple channels, including newsletters, blogs, videos, podcasts, and more. Employees can view communication content from the communication hub and interact with their colleagues through social feeds and comments.
- RewardGateway offers employee recognition, employee benefits, employee communications, and employee surveys in one platform.
- You can access real-time data and insights into employee engagement, recognition activity, and program effectiveness.
- The blog features and the ability to create custom pages and smart hubs is a plus. It’s a fantastic way to engage and connect with your employees in a meaningful and tailored manner.
- Pricing isn’t available on their official site – you need to schedule a demo to get quotes.
- There’s no free plan or a free trial, which may deter some potential customers who want to test the software before buying.
- The mobile app isn’t as robust as the desktop app.
AwardCo is a simple recognition program that allows employees and managers to send and receive recognition in any direction (both peer-to-peer and manager-to-employee), with or without rewards.
They can also align recognition with core values and behaviors.
It also offers a global reward marketplace that integrates with Amazon, allowing employees to choose from millions of reward options, including gift cards, merchandise, experiences, and more.
There’s also an awards feature that automatically recognizes birthdays and work anniversaries in a personalized way. Employees can receive recognition points and messages from their colleagues and managers on their special days.
In addition, AwardCo helps create incentive programs that suit the company’s needs. You can set up company awards, team achievements, referral programs, quarterly goals, health and wellness activities, and more. Employees also get a chance to earn recognition points and rewards for participating in these programs.
- AwardCo integrates with popular tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and ADP to enable recognition within the flow of work.
- It also integrates with Amazon Business to help you manage your reward budget more efficiently.
- The point-based recognition system provides a sense of achievement and motivation for employees.
- A bit on the expensive side.
- Doesn’t have advanced performance management or employee engagement features.
Starts at $2500 per year with features like automated service awards, automated birthdays, tracking and reporting, and more.
Benefits of Using Employee Recognition Software Tools
1. Increased Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is one of the most important factors in having an effective workplace. If your employees aren’t engaged, it can be difficult for them to perform well and ensure their work gets done efficiently.
According to Gallup, organizations with high employee engagement experience 21% higher profitability and 17% higher productivity than those with low engagement levels.
Employee recognition tools offer a solution to low engagement levels.
In fact, one of the biggest benefits of employee recognition software tools is that they can help increase employee engagement by making it easier for managers to recognize their employees for doing a good job. By recognizing employees for doing a good job, companies can help boost their productivity rates as well as improve morale among their staff members. In the end, these initiatives are necessary for improving the employee experience.
2. Improved Employee Retention and Loyalty
People who feel appreciated tend to stay with their employer longer than those who don’t. A study found that organizations with strong recognition programs have a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.
So, if you have an employee who has reached a major milestone, such as ten years with your company, then this is an ideal opportunity for you to send out an email congratulating them on this achievement and thanking them for all of their hard work over the years.
3. Improved Morale
It was reported that 79% of employees who quit their jobs cited a lack of appreciation as a key reason.
Recognizing your employees for their hard work can help boost morale throughout your organization, leading to greater productivity and motivation among your staff members.
This can also improve employee engagement and job satisfaction among employees who feel valued by their employers.
4. Better Productivity and Satisfaction
Employee recognition tools allow managers to recognize their employees’ accomplishments in real time and provide feedback on what works well and what can be improved upon. This provides an opportunity for both managers and employees to see how they’re doing together and how they can improve communication with each other.
Recognition software also allows employers to track their employees’ progress over time, helping them identify potential problem areas before they become major problems down the road.
5. Improved Collaboration and Teamwork
Employee recognition software tools allow managers to deliver praise quickly, which helps build trust between employees and managers. This makes it easier for employees to speak up when they have questions or concerns about something related to their job description or performance review process.
It also makes them feel more comfortable sharing ideas about how things could be improved in their department or company as a whole.
6. Reinforced Company Values and Culture
Employee recognition software helps reinforce the culture of your organization by allowing employees to recognize one another for their contributions, no matter where they are located or what level they hold within the company hierarchy. This makes it easier for everyone to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves and contributes to a sense of belonging among all levels of employees.
Employee recognition software also reinforces your company’s values by rewarding employees for exhibiting them, whether completing a project ahead of schedule or showing exceptional customer service skills.
Key Features That Your Employee Recognition Software Should Have
When selecting employee recognition software, it’s essential to consider the key features that align with your organization’s needs and goals. Here are some crucial features to look for:
- Customizable Recognition Programs: Your employee recognition software should let you align recognition messages and rewards with your organization’s unique values, culture, and goals. For example, you should be able to set up specific recognition categories like “Employee of the Month,” “Innovation Award,” or “Team Player.”
- Multi-channel Recognition: Choose an employee recognition solution that supports recognition across multiple channels, including web-based platforms, mobile apps, and integration with communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams. This allows employees to recognize their peers conveniently and promotes a culture of continuous recognition.
- Points-Based Recognition and Rewards: Your employees should be able to accumulate points for their achievements or contributions. These points can then be redeemed for various rewards, providing a tangible incentive. For example, a points system where employees can earn points and redeem them for gift cards, merchandise, experiences, or even custom rewards.
- Social Recognition and Peer-to-Peer Recognition: Social recognition features enable employees to publicly recognize and appreciate their peers, fostering a culture of appreciation and collaboration. Look for software that facilitates peer-to-peer recognition, allowing employees to give and receive recognition from their colleagues. This promotes a sense of teamwork and builds positive relationships within the organization.
- Trackable metrics: Employee recognition software should allow you to track metrics like the number of employees who are recognized, their average tenure with the company, and what kind of recognition methods are most popular with employees (e.g., cash rewards, and gifts). This will help you determine what kinds of rewards would be most effective for your company.
- Gamification Elements: Some employee recognition platforms incorporate gamification elements to enhance engagement and make recognition more fun. These elements can include leaderboards, badges, or levels that encourage healthy competition and motivate employees to actively participate in recognition programs.
Questions to Ask Vendors on Demos
When you’re on a demo, you want to know what the product does and how it works. But there’s a lot more to demos than just asking questions about features.
Here are the questions you should be asking when you meet with vendors:
- How customizable is the software to align with our organization’s specific recognition needs? For example, can we create custom recognition categories and criteria based on our organization’s goals and values?
- How does the software facilitate social recognition and peer-to-peer recognition? Does it allow employees to publicly recognize their peers through social feeds or comments? Can employees give virtual badges or tokens of appreciation to their colleagues?
- Could you walk us through the steps of giving recognition to a colleague? How does the recipient receive and respond to the recognition message?
- How does the software integrate with other HR systems? Can the software integrate with our HRIS, performance management, or employee engagement platforms? How does the integration work, and what data can we synchronize?
- Can we generate reports on recognition trends, top recognizers, and most recognized employees? Are there analytics to measure the impact of recognition programs on employee engagement and retention?
- What is the cost of your solution? Is it monthly or annual? Is there an up-front fee? What is the pricing model (e.g., per employee or per recognition)? Are there any other costs associated with using your product, such as hardware, software upgrades, etc.?
- Can you share customer success stories or case studies? This question will help you learn more about the vendor’s track record and how their software has benefited other organizations like yours.
- What type of customer support do you provide, and how can we reach your support team? Is training provided to help our administrators and employees effectively use the software?
What is employee recognition software?
Employee recognition software tools are digital platforms that help employees, managers, and HR professionals recognize and celebrate team members for their contributions. They also provide a platform for companies to create and share personalized awards, badges, certificates, and more with their employees. It helps them to build a positive culture by celebrating employee achievements.
How does employee recognition software work?
Employee recognition software typically allows employees and managers to send and receive recognition messages, give virtual badges or tokens of appreciation, and track recognition activity. It usually includes points-based rewards, social recognition feeds, manager approval workflows, and integration with other HR systems.
What are the benefits of using employee recognition tools?
Such tools allow you to recognize your employees in real time so that they know how much you value their contribution. It also helps your workers feel more valued as they receive this appreciation from management or peers at different times during the year.
In addition, it makes it easy for all employees to see who has been recognized so they can congratulate them on their achievements. A good employee recognition software will also allow you to create personalized awards based on different categories like leadership, innovation, or customer service, which can be given out during annual performance reviews or other events throughout the year, like Christmas parties.
What is the difference between recognition software and performance management software?
Employee Recognition platforms help you manage employee recognition programs and recognize your employees when they go above and beyond. It can help you create and send electronic employee awards, certificates, tokens, gift cards, and other virtual rewards.
On the other hand, performance management tools help you track employee performance metrics like sales, service quality, attendance, and more. It allows managers to view data from all their employees in one place, making it easier to manage their teams.
When should I use recognition software?
Employee Recognition tools are most suitable for recognizing employees when they go above and beyond. Some companies use them to recognize performance on a quarterly or annual basis; others use them for spot awards like “Customer Service Hero” or “Employee of the Month.”
You can also use it to thank employees who have been with your company for a long time or to recognize someone who helped you out during a tough time. Employees appreciate these types of gestures because they know that it wasn’t required of them — they did something extra without being asked.
Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying an Employee Recognition Software Tool
Employee recognition software is an excellent way to acknowledge and celebrate your employees. But you may not be aware of the pitfalls that can come with using this type of tool. Here are some of the most common pitfalls to avoid when buying an employee recognition software tool:
- Buying on price alone: The first thing you should never do is buy an employee recognition software product based solely on price. You’ll regret it later if the tool doesn’t meet your needs or have poor customer service. Instead, consider these factors when choosing a solution:
- Functionality – Determine exactly what features are most important for your business model and needs.
- Customer Service – Evaluate whether the vendor offers sufficient support and whether their service levels are acceptable for your needs (e.g., response time).
- Ease of Use – If employees need multiple training sessions before using the tool effectively, that’s not ideal for your business.
- Overcomplicating the recognition process: Opting for a software tool with excessive administrative steps, complex approval workflows, or convoluted recognition mechanisms may discourage employees from actively participating in the recognition program, defeating the purpose of fostering a positive work culture.
- Not knowing what type of recognition you want to use. If you want to give employees more than one kind of reward or incentive, ensure your software supports your needs. For example, if you want to give employees points for completing certain tasks and then redeem those points for gifts, make sure that’s possible with your software.
- Being blinded by bells and whistles: A flashy interface isn’t necessarily a sign of a good employee recognition software tool. It’s important that your tool is easy to use, but it should also be flexible enough to fulfill your needs – whether you want to send out automated appreciation messages or create custom rewards for employees.
- Not looking at how it fits into your current processes: You need to make sure that whatever software solution you choose can integrate seamlessly into your existing technology infrastructure.
- Not testing the software before deploying it: Once you’ve found an employee recognition software tool that fits your needs and preferences, it’s time for testing! You’ll want to test out the software with a small group of employees before deploying it across all departments and locations within your business. This will give you a better idea of how well the program works and whether or not it will meet everyone’s needs going forward.
That’s a Wrap!
Employee recognition plays a crucial role in fostering a positive work culture, enhancing employee engagement, and driving organizational success.
In this article, we explored the top six employee recognition software solutions for 2023.
Each software has its unique differentiators, target audiences, and key features that make them stand out in the market.
For example, Nectar HR offers a comprehensive platform with features like social recognition, rewards, and performance management, making it suitable for organizations looking for an all-in-one solution.
WorkTango comes with employee engagement survey capabilities and aligning recognition with core values and behaviors.
Motivosity stands out with its focus on peer-to-peer recognition and its #ThanksMatters Card feature.
Bonusly offers a user-friendly platform with its unique micro-rewards system, making recognition fun and easy.
RewardGateway provides a diverse range of employee rewards, including merchandise, gift cards, experiences, and charitable donations, appealing to organizations looking for varied options.
AwardCo shines with its custom awards and badges, promoting initiative engagement and excitement among employees.
Ultimately, the best employee recognition software will be the one that aligns with your organization’s goals, values, and unique requirements and helps create a culture of appreciation and recognition, driving employee engagement and productivity.