An Employee Experience Platform (EXP) is a comprehensive solution that combines technology, tools, and services to improve employee engagement, productivity, and retention and has the potential to significantly impact the success and productivity of an organization. This article gives details of the best employee experience platforms available to buy in 2023 to help enterprise organizations choose the right platform for their needs.
- Selection Process
- Why invest in an EXP
- How to choose the best EXP
- When is the right time to buy an EXP
- The 4 best Employee Experience Platforms of 2023:
- Microsoft Viva
Your Guide To: Employee Experience Platforms (EXP)
Read Josh Bersin's report to learn more about the EXP market and it's future, what to look for in an EXP and how companies are using them to transform their employee experience. Read Now.
Since 2019, the focus on employee experience has risen to top of the charts for many a CHRO, who have had to deal with a pace of change that we’ve never seen before, covering a pandemic, a great resignation, a cost of living crisis, and significant economic pressures.
This renewed focus on employee experience is further accelerated by a now robust foundation of evidence from multiple sources demonstrating how even a single percentage point improvement in EX generates a more productive, efficient and happy workforce that in turn increases sales and bolsters the bottom line.
That backdrop gives welcome to a relatively new market category of software called Employee Experience Platforms (EXPs).
On the surface the intent is simple: EXPs are dedicated platforms with the sole purpose of improving engagement, productivity and retention. However, when you dig a little deeper you find that each platform approaches EX in a different way and the features that each platform offer can diverge significantly and in extreme cases have no overlapping capabilities at all. This can make it difficult to understand, compare and make the right choice for your organization.
This confusion is further compounded by “employee experience” being a popular term and so many HRTech and digital vendors have appended it to their tagline, resulting in buzzword overuse and a lack of clarity about it what it really is and the benefits it can deliver. For example, we’ve seen payroll vendors make claim to the space on the basis that receiving correct pay and accessing your payslip online improves EX. Whilst this is of course true to an extent (as might the case of any software an employee might ever see and touch), its ability to actually influence engagement, productivity and retention on any broad scale is so limited in scope it’s close to negligible.
This article demystifies some of that confusion, excludes glory vendors and only lists true employee experience platforms available to buy in 2023.
Included: employee experience platforms where its principal reason for existence is to improve the employee experience
Excluded: intranet solutions, engagement/survey tools (with one exception), flow or work tools (eg, Teams, Slack), chatbots, core HRISs
Watch Josh Bersin define what an EXP is and is not in the webinar below.
Why invest in an EXP
An Employee Experience Platform (EXP) is a comprehensive solution that combines technology, tools, and services to improve employee engagement, productivity, and retention. Here are some reasons why HR should consider investing in an EXP:
- Improving employee satisfaction and engagement: An EXP provides employees with a user-friendly interface and tools that enable them to access and manage their HR-related tasks and benefits easily. This, in turn, improves their overall experience and engagement with the company.
- Enhancing employee productivity: An EXP streamlines HR processes and reduces the time and effort required for administrative tasks such as time off requests, benefits enrolment, and other HR-related activities. This allows employees to focus on their core job responsibilities, leading to increased productivity and efficiency.
- Boosting employee retention: By providing a positive and seamless employee experience, an EXP can improve employee satisfaction and reduce turnover. This is especially crucial for companies that face high employee turnover rates, as replacing employees can be costly and time-consuming.
- Supporting HR decision-making: An EXP provides HR professionals with data and analytics that can help them make informed decisions about employee engagement, retention, and productivity. This data can also be used to identify potential issues and areas for improvement.
- Simplifying compliance: An EXP can help ensure compliance with HR policies, labor laws, and regulations by automating and centralizing HR processes. This can reduce the risk of errors, penalties, and legal issues.
In summary, an Employee Experience Platform can benefit HR by improving employee satisfaction, productivity, retention, and compliance, while also providing valuable insights and support for HR decision-making.
How to choose the best EXP
Before choosing the right platform for your organization, it’s worth spending a little bit of time to consider your needs. This is a good place to start:
- Determine Your Needs: Before selecting an employee experience platform, it's important to first identify your organization's specific needs. Consider factors such as the size of your organization, the complexity of your HR processes, the types of data you need to collect and analyze, and your budget.
- Look for User-Friendly Features: The platform you choose should be easy for your employees to use. Features such as intuitive navigation, personalized dashboards, and mobile accessibility can help ensure that your employees engage with the platform.
- Consider Data Collection and Analysis: One of the key benefits of an employee experience platform is the ability to collect and analyze data to gain insights into employee behavior and engagement. Look for a platform that provides robust data collection and analysis capabilities, including the ability to customize data collection and generate reports.
- Ensure Integration Capabilities: Your employee experience platform should be able to integrate with your existing HR systems and other business applications to streamline your processes and minimize data entry errors. This will also enable you to get a more complete picture of your workforce by combining data from various sources.
- Check for Security and Compliance: Any platform you consider should be designed with security and compliance in mind. Ensure that the platform you choose includes features such as role-based access control, data encryption, and compliance with industry regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA.
- Look for Flexibility and Scalability: Your organization's needs may change over time, so it's important to choose a platform that can grow and adapt with your business. Look for a platform that offers customization options, scalability, and the ability to add or remove features as needed.
- Consider Customer Support: Finally, look for a vendor that offers strong customer support. This can include features such as online training resources, support, and a dedicated success manager to help you get the most out of your platform.
By considering these factors, you can choose an employee experience platform that will meet your organization's needs and help you create a positive employee experience.
When is the right time to buy an EXP
The purchase of an Employee Experience Platform (EXP) should be prioritized over other technology purchases because it has the potential to significantly impact the success and productivity of an organization. Here are some reasons why:
- Employee engagement: An Employee Experience Platform is designed to improve employee engagement by providing personalized experiences to employees. When employees are engaged, they are more motivated and committed to their work, resulting in higher productivity and retention rates.
- Streamlined processes: An EXP can help streamline processes such as onboarding, training, and performance management. By automating these processes, employees can focus on their core responsibilities, which can lead to better performance.
- Improved collaboration: An EXP can facilitate communication and collaboration among employees by providing tools for sharing knowledge and collaborating on projects. This can lead to better teamwork and improved outcomes.
- Data-driven insights: An EXP can provide data-driven insights into employee performance, satisfaction, and engagement. These insights can help managers make better decisions about employee development, retention, and succession planning.
- Cost savings: By investing in an EXP, organizations can reduce costs associated with employee turnover and low productivity. When employees are engaged and productive, organizations can save money on recruitment, training, and lost productivity.
Overall, an Employee Experience Platform can have a significant impact on an organization's success by improving employee engagement, streamlining processes, promoting collaboration, providing data-driven insights, and reducing costs. Therefore, it should be prioritized over other technology purchases.
The 4 best Employee Experience Platforms of 2023
Communicating employee offboarding can be delicate, and so it's helpful to have a communication plan in place, so that HR professionals, managers and executives can coordinate departures effectively.
Applaud is a cloud-native Employee Experience Platform that helps HR and business leaders from enterprise organizations measure and enhance employee experience and build digital experiences that save time, drive efficiencies, and deliver a fast ROI.
Applaud approaches employee experience as defined by Josh Bersin, Industry Analyst and founder of Bersin Academy. Learn how Josh Bersin defines an EXP here.
- Content management: build branded consumer-grade portals, digital services and journeys that save time, reduce HR caseload and improve the user experience
- Feedback: capture in-the-moment pulse feedback at critical moments and when interacting with day-to-day digital services to inform your experience roadmap so you can deliver the most impactful improvement with the fastest ROI
- Templates: marketplace of one-touch install experiences spanning the entire employee lifecycle that allow you to deploy best-practice capabilities with faster deployment
- Persona-personalization: ability to personalize content and servicesby employee persona, location, role and other customer-defined criteria so you can deliver hyper-personalized impactful experiences that create a more productive and happy workforce
- Automation: powerful form, workflow, chatbot & nudges engine that allows you to automate processes across data, app and department silos
- Integration: Over 1,000 connectors in a powerful integration layer that empowers your organization to create unified digital experiences that simplify work and improve workplace productivity
Keen to learn more? Book a demo today.
2. Microsoft Viva
Microsoft Viva empowers organizations with next-generation AI and insights—bringing together the tools and applications businesses need for communication and feedback, analytics, goals, and learning to continuously improve employee engagement and business performance.
Microsoft Viva’s approach to employee experience is through the lens of intranet, Teams and collaboration.
- Employee communications: consists of Viva Connections, where employees can explore news, join conversations, and connect with others across the organization, and Viva Engage, where employees connect through communities and conversations
- Goals: Viva Goals helps set goals and aligns teams to an organization’s strategic priorities
- Learning and knowledge: consists of Viva Learning, which helps employees grow and develop by bringing learning content into Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, and Viva Topics, which uses AI to organize content to make it easier to find
- Analytics and feedback: Viva Insights gives visibility into workplace activities, communication behaviors and collaboration patterns to help decision-making and improve business performance
Qualtrics EmployeeXM makes it easy to conduct HR surveys at every point of the employee lifecycle. And with a holistic view of employee experience, your team can pinpoint key drivers of engagement and receive targeted actions to drive meaningful improvement.
Qualtrics is an employee engagement tool rather than an experience platform. If you’re looking to conduct HR surveys without some of the other capabilities of an EXP, Qualtrics EmployeeXM is a popular option.
- Employee engagement: Collect, analyze and act on employee feedback using annual or biannual HR surveys
- Lifecycle feedback: survey internal training and development programs, discover strengths and weaknesses in your onboarding process, launch 180/360 self-assessments, or uncover key drivers of unwanted attrition during exit interviews
- Pulse surveys: stay closer to your employees with fast, frequent HR surveys
ServiceNow’s HR Service Delivery product provides an enhanced employee experience with a unified destination to manage their work needs while hiding cross-departmental complexity.
ServiceNow’s approach to employee experience is from a long heritage of ITSM and service delivery. Learn about the differences between Applaud and ServiceNow.
- Employee journey management: helps employees navigate journeys, listen to feedback and provide learning
- Employee Center: provides a single unified portal for multidepartment service delivery
- Enterprise Onboarding and Transitions: deliver great employee experiences across the moments that matter
- Now Platform: build and extend apps that power digital transformation
What do organizations who've adopted an EXP say?
Businesses deploying Employee Experience Platforms often do so to resolve a particular issue they have. This could be problems with onboarding, encouraging employees to self-enter details or lack of accessibility on mobile.
Here's how some of them benefitted:
“Applaud’s cutting edge mobile and desktop interfaces are a refreshing user-friendly change that encourage our associates to engage with their own data.”
- Robert Reiling, National Director EBS Systems and BI, Advantage Solutions. Read case study.
“Applaud have helped to transform our People Services. Since the Applaud implementation, the enhanced experience continues to prompt positive feedback from our staff and ROI has been delivered to our organization.”
- Jackie Noorden, People Operations Director, National Trust
Read case study.
Want the big picture on Digital Employee Experience?
Download the full version of The 2023 DEX Trends Report, with insights from over 200 HR leaders, plus recommendations for the future.