Although they have been used in certain industries for some time now, lockdown saw a surge in the popularity of digital tools in the workplace. With the increase in remote working they provided a lifeline for communication and meant that the need for face to face meetings was greatly reduced. Fast forward to today’s hybrid workplaces and it has become more important than ever to facilitate collaboration and communication in a business environment. Many employees miss the social interaction they derived from coming into the office every day and for managers it has become increasingly difficult to stay abreast of the challenges their teams are facing and provide recognition and rewards.
There are a plethora of different software platforms now available which have been developed in response to these issues, and each has their own particular set of features and benefits. At the end of the day it is very much a personal preference as to what will work best for your organisation, however there are a few platforms which have risen to the top in terms of employee collaboration and engagement. Here is our pick of the 10 top platforms currently available:
Slack is a communication platform that allows teams to collaborate in real time. It can help enhance employee engagement by providing a central hub for communication, file sharing, and project updates. Conversations can be organised into channels so that it is easy to look back and find messages related to a particular topic or client. Other useful features include ‘huddles’ which allow for informal video chats and ‘Slack calls’ whereby you can call someone directly from within Slack.
Similar to Slack, Microsoft Teams offers chat, video conferencing, and collaboration features. It integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft Office tools, making it a popular choice for businesses using the Microsoft ecosystem. It is strong on document sharing and also has breakout room functionality which is similar to the huddles in Slack. Some people find the file structure of Teams overly complicated, but it is very much a case of what you are used to and it is the communication tool of choice for many organisations.
Microsoft Teams has its own video conferencing tool which is very popular for those using Microsoft systems. However, for those not on Teams, Zoom is widely used for video conferencing and can help facilitate remote communication and team meetings, fostering a sense of connection among distributed teams. The screen sharing functionality in Zoom is one of its key benefits, enabling the presenter to still view the participants whilst sharing a document.
The other popular video conferencing tool is Google Meet. It is widely used, particularly by those who use Google for their workspace organisation. Google Drive is a cloud based storage facility which has the functionality for file creation (Google Docs, Sheets and Slides) and real time editing across multiple devices. It is great for employee engagement as it allows for collaboration between colleagues working in different locations on the same document.
Trello is a visual project management tool that allows teams to organise tasks on digital boards. It can be used to keep track of projects, assign tasks, and provide transparency into team activities. To get the best use out of Trello it is a good idea to break your project down into small individual tasks. Each task can then be given its own ‘card’ which details the specifics of what needs to be done. Collaborators have the facility to comment and ask questions, as well as moving cards from start to completion.
ClickUp is one of the many productivity based tools on the market. It allows for the creation of tasks under a folder structure and the allocation of work to different team members. Cards can be created for each task with the functionality for comments, notes and file attachments. One of its best features is the ability to move tasks from To Do to In Progress and then through Review to Completion. This allows managers to track the progress of tasks in real time, even if their employees are based remotely.
Very similar to ClickUp, Monday.com is another popular tool for task management. It has an attractive user interface, which makes it easy to progress tasks and stay on top of the daily workload. Project management tools like Monday.com and ClickUp are great at reducing anxiety and stress in the workplace as they make sure that managers and employees alike can see the status of tasks at a glance.
As well as collaboration and organisational tools, there are also many digital platforms focused specifically on keeping on top of employee issues and challenges. Culture Amp is an example of an employee engagement platform which offers surveys to take ‘pulse readings’ of the business and gather employee feedback. Probably more suited to larger organisations, it also offers features such as industry benchmarking and personal development plans in order to reduce staff turnover.
Workvivo is an employee communication platform designed to enhance internal communication, recognition, and engagement within organisations. Recently purchased by Zoom, it offers features to measure feedback and morale via polls and surveys, plus the ability to deliver public shout outs for excellent performance and nominate colleagues for badges and awards.
Bonusly is an employee recognition platform that enables peer-to-peer recognition through a point-based system, which can contribute to a positive and engaged workplace culture. Managers can provide meaningful feedback and rewards such as gift cards and donations. It also provides a platform to gather useful analytics and data on staff performance and morale, making it an invaluable tool for HR managers and directors.
Remember that the effectiveness of these tools can vary based on your organisation’s specific needs and culture. If you are considering implementing a new digital tool into your workplace, it’s a good idea to explore a range of options and research recent reviews and recommendations before making a decision. Once you have decided on the best platform for your business, it is important to plan carefully for its introduction and offer training to all those who will be using it.
Finally, although digital tools can be a great asset in fostering employee engagement, they will only work as part of an overall internal communications strategy that involves leadership, company culture, meaningful work, and opportunities for growth.