8 best Employee Experience Platforms: Which ones are transforming the modern workplace?

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More than 94% CEOs now care about employee experience. (Source: NTT Research)

Increased productivity, higher employee retention, business agility and speed are some of the many promises motivating them to invest in employee experience tools.

Almost in response, the Employee Experience marketplace is flooded with solutions, services and software.

Everything from a survey software to a rewards and recognition platform and even a payroll app - anything that impacts any aspect of the employee’s journey - is being branded an employee experience tool.

But let’s pause for a second.

Would you call a car tire, a car? Or grab a steering wheel and expect to drive off? 

 

No chance, right!

Just like a car isn’t just wheels and metal but the whole ride, a real employee experience platform isn’t just about solving one issue in the employee journey at a time. It's about taking care of the whole ecosystem that your employees live in, day in and day out.

And that’s the holistic tool for which your CEO will also gladly nod and say, “That’s the one”.

So in this blog, we’ll tell you about:

  1. The employee experience platform your CEOs & CIOs will care about
  2. Must-have features in a real employee experience platform
  3. The hurdles you'll face when you’re deciding which one to buy
  4. And best of all, a comparison of the top eight employee experience platforms in the market right now.

Let’s jump in.

What is an Employee Experience Platform (EXP)?

An Employee Experience Platform (EXP) brings the entire (currently fragmented) EX ecosystem (people, processes and systems) together to deliver seamless and personalized experiences to every individual employee.

To the three beneficiaries, an EXP will look something like this.

An employee experience platform beneficiaries

1. Employees

A single unified interface (often thought of as a Super App) for all things employee experience.  An EXP brings all the disparate systems and processes together - think of every single touchpoint between employee and employer - and delivers a personalized experience to each individual.

2. HR

The ultimate control centre for all things employee experience. The place to build workflows across departments and systems and automate and optimize people operations without having to scale the HR and People Ops team. It is also the one place to use data to deliver better communication and engagement to every single person. 

3. Company

The data-driven centre for people decisions. An EXP provides intelligence and insights to decision-makers that empower them to plan and build a strong workplace for today and for the future. One that will attract and retain the best talent, deliver the best possible experience, and show real business impact.

The above three ‘beneficiaries’ are who you need to think about while evaluating an employee experience platform.

Why your CEO will care about an EXP

An EXP gives your C-suite both, the whole and the big picture.

The whole picture by bringing together all the fragmented, disparate parts of the EX ecosystem together, making management and reporting easier.

And the big picture by giving a 30,000 foot view of how EX initiatives impact business metrics. For instance, one of the most prominent and should we say, universal, impact of an EXP is in reducing manual workload that will enable the company to grow without scaling their People Operations staff.

Features of a good employee experience solution

So what features should you look for in an EXP?

1. End-to-end EX management

If you are an enterprise or a fast growing company, you probably already have at least 5 workplace tools in place. So first and foremost, any employee experience tool you add on top must consolidate every part of the EX ecosystem in one place. It should be able to seamlessly integrate with all existing work technology and have configurable multi-level access for multiple stakeholders, internal and external.

2. Data capture

A good employee experience is built on a strong foundation of data. And as you scale your EX, you will notice that the People Operations landscape gets very complicated. Data is not easily portable, resulting in more manual work, bottlenecks and a broken narrative.

Your solution of choice must be able to capture data from multiple systems, tools, and data sources within an organization. In addition, the EXP must also be able to capture data on its own in the form of surveys, documents, etc. 

3. Data management

The ability to capture data is only the first step in this equation. A lot of tools fall short right after and that is in data management. To ensure you can derive the most value out of the data that has been captured, you have to be able to:

  1. Extract, transform and load all that data.

Let’s take a simple example.

If the date of joining of an employee is added in DD/MM/YYYY format in the Application Tracking System (ATS) and it is saved in MM/DD/YY format in the HRMS, the EXP should be able to extract, transform and load (ETL) the data making data sync across all systems seamlessly. 

 

If this capability is absent, you might capture data from multiple sources but they’ll all continue to still sit in siloes, probably in multiple Excel sheets.

  1. Create seamless data orchestration that allows data to flow between systems, considering all the associated dependencies.

A good example would be that of employee background checks. Once the employee background check is completed, data must flow to an IT system to initiate laptop allocation, to the HRMS for ID creation, to the Admin systems for welcome kit dispatch and more.

Data orchestration also ensures data changes in one system are captured across the others in real-time.

  1. Create a cohesive view of employee interactions.

Let’s understand this better with an example.

Josh’s employee ID is 312810. His email ID is josh1@abc.com, Github access is josh810 and JIRA board account is Josh Thomas. 

Josh uses multiple identifiers to interact with different tools and systems within your organization. The only way to know that all these interactions originate from the same person is through identity resolution.

Without the identity resolution capability, an EXP cannot deliver a coherent and personalized employee experience.

4. Workflow design and management

A good experience is one where you can eliminate the extra steps that lead to your desired outcome, for both employees and HR teams.

A good employee experience platform must enable HR to define and automate a series of tool-agnostic actions based on specific triggers for processes like onboarding, training enrollment, or leave request approvals. 

By visualizing and structuring these workflows that span multiple systems, the platform can ensure that tasks are standardized and optimized while doing away with bottlenecks and the need for manual intervention. 

5. Personalized, cross-functional journeys 

Personalization is the future of employee experience. To choose a tool that doesn’t enable personalization would be like choosing a car without airbags. It’s a non-negotiable.

So yes, a good employee experience platform must allow you to curate tailored experiences for employees across departments, roles, levels and lifestages within the organization. Recognizing that each employee has a unique career trajectory and set of needs, this feature in the platform should let you create a customized roadmap for every individual, encompassing diverse functions and milestones. 

6. Self-service capabilities

An employee experience platform must give you a great amount of autonomy in managing every aspect of the experience from one place. Being heavily dependant on IT, Admin, or even the marketing/design team to get things done is another bottleneck that can easily be done away with.

For instance, one task that should be fully self-serve is content management. People teams need to be able to create, modify and manage good quality content without having to run to their in-house design team every time a new policy needs to be communicated.

7. Analytics and decision-making

Decision-making is so much easier if you have good quality data that just makes sense.

An EXP will not only help you get your hands on the right data, it will empower you to act on the insights you get from that data. Whether it's in the form of better workforce planning, improved onboarding experiences, inclusive policies, or more, an EXP gets you accurate, real-time information and enables you to close the feedback loop with timely decision-making.

8. Scalability

And even if we mention this one last, it’s definitely right up there in terms of your priorities. For growing organizations, a tool that doesn’t grow with the organization is a liability. This is why ensuring scalability in an employee experience platform is a must. Without increasing headcount at the same time.

A scalable platform ensures that, regardless of the number of users or the complexity of tasks, the platform remains responsive, efficient, and consistent in its service delivery. This means not just handling increased data or user load but also integrating new functionalities or tools as the organization's requirements mature.

Top employee experience platforms in 2023

1. ServiceNow

ServiceNow customer dashboard
Photo Credit: ServiceNow website

An evolution of the employee service portal, ServiceNow centralizes multi-team services and also facilitates personalized content experiences. It helps employees raise requests to IT, HR, Legal, etc. from a single portal. And its content publishing capabilities allows HR to run targeted campaigns to prompt employees to take action, say, during tax season, for instance. 

Main features

  • Centralized employee service platform
  • Content management and publishing capabilities
  • Manager Hub with insights and resources to support employees
  • Personalized employee journeys that can be created by managers

2. Tydy

We're featuring our own tool in this list too. It's not just a product we are proud of but a genuine solution for workplace challenges. Like the other tools mentioned, it's designed to enhance employee experience. We invite you to evaluate it alongside the others and welcome any feedback or queries.

Tydy customer dashboard
Tydy platform snapshot

Tydy is an employee data platform that delivers a data-driven, personalized and consumer-grade employee experience for enterprises and fast-growing companies. With a strong emphasis on consolidating the entire EX ecosystem including data, people and systems, Tydy serves as a centralized platform for the planning, execution and management of your end-to-end employee experience strategy.

With Tydy you can capture and manage data across your entire workplace tech stack. This makes automating processes, creating unified employee profiles and building multiple persona-based employee journeys super simple and quick.

Main features

  • Data capture and management
  • Unified employee profile
  • Single-app experience for employees
  • Employee segmentation 
  • Persona-based journeys from onboarding to offboarding
  • Alerts and notifications for managers and teams
  • Workflow automation
  • Self-service content management

3. WorkDay

Workday customer dashboard
Picture Credit: WorkDay website

WorkDay, with its roots in the ERP space, brings the service, listening and journey building capabilities to the employee experience field. It allows employees to get the support they need through a centralized platform, be it from HR, IT or any other teams. Its knowledge management and listening capabilities makes information accessible to employees while also constantly capturing employee sentiments through surveys. In addition, WorkDay also added a journey-enablement functionality that lets HR create journeys for employees during onboarding, promotion, transition, etc.

Main features

  • App-first approach
  • Journey-builder for moments that matter
  • Knowledge management & case management

4. Oracle

Oracle introduced journeys as an additional capability to its HR suite. It lets HR create personalized journeys across three moments: work-related, personal and career-related. 

Main features

  • Integration with Oracle Fusion and other non-Oracle platforms
  • Customizable journey builder 

5. SuccessFactors

SuccessFactors customer dashboard
Picture Credit: SuccessFactors website

An evolution of the Human Capital Management platform, SuccessFactors surfaces experience gaps within an organization through listening tools and maps out recommendations to make improvements in a continuous and consistent manner. 

Main features

  • Extension of SuccessFactors HCM ecosystem
  • Employee feedback collection

6. Leena.ai

Leena.ai is an advanced virtual assistant platform that gives a new approach to HR service delivery. It doubles up as a knowledge management tool giving employees quick access to policies, resources, etc. Leena.ai also gathers contextual feedback through its chatbot, possible at different points in the employee journey.

Main features

  • Case and knowledge management through chatbot
  • Employee feedback and surveys

7. Microsoft Viva

Microsoft Viva promotes a collaborative approach to employee communication through its intranet facility and chat option through Teams. Employees can build communities and have conversations, set goals and align with the strategic priorities of their respective teams and the organization. Plus, Microsoft Viva has a Learning module that lets employees access valuable content in one place.

Main features

  • Employee communication and conversations
  • Knowledge management through Viva Learning
  • Insights on communication behaviors and collaboration patterns

8. Qualtrics

The Qualtrics website is showcasing key insights, engagements, and exit interview data.
Picture Credit: Qualtrics website

Qualtrics is an employee feedback + action planning platform. It lets HR capture feedback from multiple touchpoints across the employee journey and put together an action plan to improve the employee experience at each of these touchpoints. 

Main features

  • Employee listening
  • Action planning based on feedback

Comparison chart of top employee experience platforms

A chart comparing features across different Employee Experience platforms.e
EXP Feature Comparison

What does not qualify as an employee experience platform

1. Employee survey tools

If employee experience was once about capturing employee feedback, now it is about action and implementation. A lot of employee survey tools haven’t bridged the gap between the two. While surveys are an integral part of the employee experience ecosystem, do not mistake a pure play employee survey tool for an employee experience management platform.

2. Employee reward and recognition platforms

Rewards and recognition are a human need, be it at work or outside. It is one of the many factors that contribute to an employee’s experience with the organization but it is not the only thing. So while having a rewards and recognition program is integral to your culture, it is not the only thing that makes the experience work.

3. Employee communication tools

Communication or content is at the heart of employee experience. But a tool that only enables creation and distribution of content or communication, misses every other part that’s critical to deliver a remarkable employee experience including data, analytics, and employee journey management.

4. Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS)

A system of record with self-service operationalities, a Human Resource Management System is a great administrative tool for HR. But when it comes to employee experience, most HRMS options are limited in terms of their design capabilities. And by that we mean their ability to create multiple employee experience journeys and build personalization.

Benefits of an employee experience platform

1. Everything in one place

Handling multiple tools, systems and teams that make up the employee experience ecosystem is getting increasingly complex and time consuming. With an employee experience software, you can bring together everything that’s EX in one place.

And that means, your employees and your EX teams aren’t navigating through multiple, siloed systems with different learning curves.

2. A unified experience 

Not having to juggle between multiple platforms is a big relief especially for your employees. From onboarding to exit and even after, employees can experience your company in an integrated and consistent way.

3. Personalized employee experience

Delivering a personalized experience to each employee manually is challenging. An EXP facilitates customized, persona-based experiences, meeting the expectations employees now have based on their lives as consumers.

4. Better employee productivity

Good employee experience is a productivity booster. EXPs enhance productivity by streamlining processes, reducing busywork, providing timely access to knowledge and support, and fostering effective communication and engagement, tailored to individual employees.

5. Improved employee retention

Loyalty can be a subjective topic to tread. That said, an EXP's ability to create a unified employee profile can ensure timely intervention to prevent poor experiences, flag instances of disengagement, connect contextual feedback to actual actions, design ideal career growth paths - ultimately demonstrating that employees are truly seen and heard. 

How to choose the right employee experience software for an enterprise

Choosing the right employee experience software for an enterprise can be a daunting task, especially given all the choices that you have.

Here are some factors to consider when making your decision.

1. Define your needs

Software only comes second. Your needs or your problems come first. And that’s where you start. 

Let your business need/problem lead you to the right employee experience tool.

2. Check for scalability

Enterprises are growing fast. The ability of a tool to scale is of utmost importance and that can be in terms of users, features and the platform's ability to manage multiple integrations - old or new.

3. Discuss the time to value

How long before you start driving your employee experience through this platform?

Be clear on the implementation time so you can set the right expectations within your organization too.

4. Double-check for hidden costs

Subscription or licensing fees are often clear when it comes to an employee experience platform. But beyond that, check for costs around implementation, data migration, customization, training, ongoing maintenance, and support and service fees.

5. Test self-service capabilities

Get some hands-on time with the platform to validate the self-service functionalities. The lesser the dependency on IT, Admin and the vendor itself, the better.

6. Don’t ignore user-friendliness

Don’t forget to check what the employee experience platform looks like for your employees. It would be pretty ironic for your employee experience platform to have a poor user experience.

7. Ensure data security and compliance

Talk to the employee experience vendor to understand their data security measures and compliance with global or country standards. A commitment to data security is something you should get from your employee experience vendor.

Best practices for implementing an employee experience platform

Implementing any technology within an organization comes with its own set of challenges. In the case of an EXP, here are a few things you will want to consider.

Involve all stakeholders: EX is not an HR problem. For any EX initiative to be successful, buy-in and proactive participation from other stakeholders who are part of the EX ecosystem is equally important. It also makes absolute sense to push for a cross-functional EX team that includes members from IT, HR, Legal, Admin, etc.

Pilot the platform: An EXP has proven use cases across the employee lifecycle. To demonstrate the effectiveness of an EXP, pilot one use case, for example onboarding. This will also give you time to test the readiness of your organization for an EXP so you can make any necessary changes before a large-scale implementation.

Communicate with employees: Your team may be hesitant to adopt any new platform that’s introduced, given the learning curve. Plan extensive communication to introduce and educate them about the new platform. 

Continuous learning: An EXP isn’t a set-and-forget tool. Keep the tool up-to-date. Improve the experiences that you’ve created through the platform based on the feedback you receive from your employees. And keep your data clean and up-to-date too.

The future of employee experience technologies

To sum it all up, employee experience technologies will keep getting better and data will have a central role to play in any good EXP. Companies that are already adept at understanding employee data will have an upper hand in delivering personalized experiences that employees truly appreciate. At the same time, as companies gather more and more information about their employees, data security and privacy will become a much discussed topic. Also, companies with good data skills will be able to use artificial intelligence to make the workplace feel even more personal and caring for each employee, in ways that just wouldn't be possible manually.

FAQs

  1. Who is an employee experience software for?

An employee experience platform is for cross-functional teams that manage multiple moving parts of the employee experience ecosystem. That includes HR, Admin, IT, Payroll, Managers, and more.

  1. How to set up an employee experience platform at an enterprise?

Get a C-suite sponsor who understands your vision for employee experience. And take a pilot-based approach to demonstrate the impact of an EXP.

  1. How does an employee experience platform integrate with other systems?

EXPs typically offer API integrations that allow them to connect with other organizational systems such as HRMS, Payroll, ATS, etc.

  1. Which is the best employee experience platform?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. An employee experience platform is best chosen based on your needs. However, that said, any good EXP will have end-to-end employee experience management, data capture and orchestration capabilities, employee segmentation and journey management, workflow automation, and content management.

Hope this article equips you with all the information you need to make a smart and informed decision around making your EXP purchase. For more information on Tydy, schedule a demo so you can see it for yourself.

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