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The Recognition Software Round-Up: 4 Great Tools to Boost Employee Engagement


Incorporating a formalized recognition program into your talent management initiatives could be the linchpin that prevents good people from leaving your company. New research from Bersin & Associates reveals that “organizations with recognition programs that are highly effective at improving employee engagement had 31 percent lower voluntary turnover than those with ineffective recognition programs."

Here are four Web-based software tools that can help companies manage recognition programs while simultaneously driving employee engagement and enhancing performance:


Ideal for: Organizations with at least 50 employees, though companies with larger or more diverse teams will likely realize the most value.

What it does: We all know Rypple, the social performance management platform that Salesforce acquired last year. Rypple goes beyond recognition functionality with tools for goal setting, team collaboration and project management. Teams or individuals can set objectives, see how the projects align with the organization, and track progress. Along the way, anyone can publicly recognize employees for meeting objectives.

Why it’s great: Integration options and flexible access methods are two of Rypple’s key differentiators. Data can be shared between Salesforce, Jive and other HR systems, and Rypple can be accessed from Apple or Android smartphones, through one’s Google identity or even through a Chrome browser plug-in. Another nice integration feature: employee feedback sent by email can be captured by Rypple simply by cc’ing the system. Managers can leverage Rypple’s integration capabilities to centralize and review data for performance reviews. For recognition purposes, users can give badges that are tied to corporate values, or custom badges that the recognizers attach with specific skills or competencies to reflect the meaning of each award.


Ideal for: Businesses with 50 to 1,500 employees seeking a stand-alone employee recognition tool.

What it does: Kudos is a straightforward employee engagement and recognition platform. Employees post updates, or “kudos,” to the Twitter-like feed stating the reason for the awarded kudos in 140 characters or less. Awards are given in point increment levels designated by the employer, which employees can then redeem through an external rewards program or an in-house rewards system. Managers can also use the system to provide employees with constructive feedback.

Why it’s great: Kudos is inexpensive ($1/user plus a $49 monthly hosting fee), easy to use, and gives managers engagement statistics at both aggregate and departmental levels. In addition to using the analytics and reporting features to see where employees shine, administrators can measure the frequency and value of each kudo to gain a sense of how employees value each others’ work. If an administrator notices a low frequency or insincere messages from a person or group, managers can use that information to uncover a deeper issue that may be affecting performance.


Ideal for: Companies with at least 1,000 employees that need a formalized program to consolidate rewards and recognition processes into one solution.

What it does: Achievers combines rewards and social networking technologies. The peer-to-peer, points-based system encourages open recognition from company leaders, managers and individual contributors. Any employee can recognize another by posting to the news feed, or they can reward each other using their allocated points. Users also have the ability to earn more points by taking actions that have a direct impact on the company’s business objectives. For example, a user can earn points by referring a qualified candidate for an open position or by saving the company money.

Why it’s great: Achievers helps its customers set up detailed reports and analytics dashboards so leaders can measure adoption, identify patterns of recognition, and tie recognition to individual performance. Customers can make the leaderboards visible on the main Achievers page, highlighting their “top recognized” employees as well as company leaders who are dispensing the most recognition throughout the organization.


Ideal for: National or global companies that need a single solution to manage culture, recognition, engagement and performance management programs.

What it does: Globoforce ties specific manager-approved rewards to a corporate goal or value. Administrators and managers can identify top performers based on reward value and the number of awards. They can also see how their team members give recognition to each other as well as to individuals outside the team, and determine if an employee’s performance value (what he or she is contributing) is aligned with the recognition they’ve received.

Why it’s great: What sets Globoforce apart is a Talent Maps feature that visually ties employee recognition with performance. Managers can use it to map out individual and team performance to see where and how people are being recognized, find trends in recognition to determine if employees are adopting business objectives, and identify performance trends to assess career development and flight risks. Another unique tool is the Executive Insight report, a quarterly infographic-style document that gives senior leaders a high-level view of recognition program performance to help them assess the health of their company culture, retention and corporate values.

Employee recognition tools are a relatively new class of software and their return on investment is yet to be proven. Anecdotally, some businesses find value simply in that they facilitate employee engagement, while some find the reporting tools the most compelling aspect, and others argue that they boost performance by rewarding specific actions that the business values. I look forward to seeing how these products evolve to further demonstrate the business value of employee recognition.

Thumbnail image created by Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

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Jennifer King

About the Author

Jennifer joined Software Advice in 2012. While her background is in marketing, corporate communications and journalism, her interests lie in organizational management, leadership development and recruiting. Her work has been featured on sites such as and Great Place to Work.

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