Who stood out: Employee App Choices 2021
We have spent hundreds of hours creating our independent assessment report into employee app products, which we updated in June 2021. There are 30 products in V1.1 with the aim of showing you what benefits they can bring and what business challenges they can tackle. But even when people see the summary tables in our report, they still ask us “who’s best?”. There is no single ‘best’ product: there is only a product that is the best match for your needs, and that’s why we encourage potential buyers to do the groundwork on requirements and strategy first.
However, we appreciate that in a complex marketplace like this one, some signposting can be helpful. Based on our scenario scores, pricing, vendor track record and customer feedback, some products do stand out in our opinion, and deserve recognition for it. Here we present some products that we expect will often be on people’s shortlists in our Employee App Choices awards for 2021.
Employee App Choice – Europe
For this category we explored those products that are headquartered or have a solid presence in any European country. We looked at customer feedback, overall scores, as well as price to identify those we wanted to award this badge to.
Actimo has very good training and performance management facilities that not only support but could rival dedicated systems. Additionally, the control that admins have over the look and feel of the whole app make this a really compelling product.
Beekeeper has very strong chat and social tools, which will be really valuable for firstline workers, and it is growing its transactional capabilities rapidly. Communications are simple but effective, and those publishing stories will appreciate the analytics for each campaign and stream.
Employee App Choice – North America
For our ‘North America’ choices we looked for vendors with either a HQ or strong presence in the region, as well as overall high scores. North America tends to be more cost-sensitive, so price-performance is a factor too.
Dynamic Signal includes displays of shift schedules and payslips that add an appealing layer of practicality. Precise audience targeting and integrations with a variety of communication channels, such as digital signage and SharePoint, will really appeal to businesses.
SocialChorus is a great product for internal communicators, with its flexible news creation and visual approach. Its analytics are great, and communicators will particularly value their ability to track the performance of their comms as well as broader campaigns full of separate pieces of communication.
Employee App Choice – Global
The ‘Global’ choice badge reflects those products that have a strong presence in North America and Europe in particular, but also have a good spread of customers across the world. High scores, a detailed roadmap, and value for money were also factors as part of our consideration.
Staffbase is one of the top scoring products this year and has a good price-to-capability ratio. The experience for all users, including admins, is excellent. Communication is a strength, from chat to formalised news, and the analytics are some of the best we’ve seen across any platform.
Employee App Choice – Digital Workplace
Our ‘Digital Workplace’ category reflects the desire to provide firstline workers with a single pocket-sized tool that integrates a variety of other, third-party systems and has built-in practical features. We don’t expect any tool to be a full digital workplace, but we wanted to acknowledge those that come close.
Blink fulfils this criterion very well. Not only does Blink score well across a lot of our scenarios, making it a good all-rounder, but the integration options and practical tools on offer are some of the best we’ve seen. There are also good case studies of these practical tools in use by real businesses.
Employee App Choice – Value
As part of the ‘Value’ category we wanted to highlight those vendors that have some very good individual features, or a strong overall approach, while keeping licencing costs low.
Groupe.io is perhaps less well-known than other products included in our report, but we have found that it’s an unexpected gem. The end-user experience is very good, and tools for communicators are well thought through, including a nice variety of templates for message types. Overall, it’s a strong product at a compelling price-point.
We also wanted to give an honourable mention to Speakap, which has gone through some dramatic changes since our last Choice awards. We have been impressed by the quality of features that have been developed, such as updated analytics and improved search, and look forward to what the next year brings from their roadmap.
You can find out more about what impressed us with these products by reading our full report.
While the Choices offer great features, we encourage you to consider the many different products in the marketplace and factor in your own priorities too. The employee apps report is our -page detailed analysis, covering 30 employee apps in total. Our reviews are completely independent, detail the strengths and weaknesses of each product, and score them systematically, based on nine common business scenarios.
Our Vendor Neutral Policy
As a consultancy, we think it is essential that we act with our client’s interests foremost, so ClearBox has a strict vendor-neutral policy. This means that we do not enter into any agreements with vendors that would bias our recommendations to clients. No vendor has paid any money to be in our reports. We don’t take payments for referrals. We don’t sell any software or licenses. We only write the reviews we want to, and we fund them ourselves (including all the work that went into the report).
This doesn’t mean that we won’t talk to vendors though: we are keen to keep up to date with developments in the digital workplace field and enjoy a good relationship with many of the companies we talk about.