There is an age-old saying that is well-known in the business world. It goes: “People leave managers, not companies.” In other words, employees tend to hit the road after a bad experience with a management team that does not “play well with others.”
With the rise of remote and hybrid work, this rings truer than ever. When face-to-face interactions are given less, leaders and managers are faced with the challenge of keeping their teams motivated, engaged, and productive. But, this shift also presents an incredible opportunity to lead in a people-first way and urges you to leverage amazing technologies and tools out there.
Remote work statistics show that flexible working models are not only here to stay but also the future of employment. You can make the most of it and level up your leadership game with the right employee management software tailored to your unique needs.
In this blog, we put together a list of the best employee management software that can take mundane management tasks off your list while adding support to help you engage with your employees and boost their employee productivity.
Here is the shortlist of employee management software we've covered:
- Time Doctor
- Culture Amp
- Quantum Workplace
- WorkTango (Kazoo)
What is employee engagement software?
Employee engagement software is a digital toolset designed to bolster the relationship between an organization and its workforce. Whether you’re managing a hybrid team or a fully remote one, these software solutions provide capabilities such as performance reviews, feedback mechanisms, learning opportunities, and HR administrative functions.
The primary goal is to foster a sense of belonging, ensure alignment with company values and objectives, and, ultimately, increase productivity. Employees no longer share physical spaces, water cooler conversations, or impromptu team lunches.
This physical disconnect can sometimes lead to detachment from the company's mission and goals. Employee engagement software acts as a bridge, reinstating the 'human touch' in digital workspaces.
Especially in a remote onboarding environment, fostering “social connection” and combating “remote isolation” is paramount. As our social connection research suggests, these software solutions are pivotal in bridging the gap between geographical distances and ensuring teams feel connected, engaged, and valued. And building the employee intranet within the company.
Who benefits from employee management software?
Almost every team can extract value from employee management software. If you want to remain competitive in today’s ever-changing work environment, emphasis must be placed on the needs of employees. The more teams of all sizes grow, diversify, and embrace newer working models, there will be a pressing need for streamlined processes, improved communication, and sustained engagement.
A modern business needs to provide tailored solutions for varied organizational structures. Whether operating a new startup or an enterprise business, optimized and engaging employee environments are the key to unlocking greater performance and goal achievement. If U.S.-based employers spend close to $2.9 million per day looking for replacement employees, then finding a way to retain them is crucial to lowering expenses. That includes businesses like:
- Early-stage Startups: As startups rapidly expand, agile systems are crucial to introduce structure and digitize manual processes. Given the challenges startups face, the right software can be a game-changer. It emphasizes affordability, quick implementation, and ease of use. With the need to maximize working hours without constantly monitoring, tools that promote trust become indispensable. If a startup wants to remain agile without breaking the bank, modern digital software suits are necessary for efficiency.
- Growing Mid-market Companies: As they scale, mid-market companies demand unified platforms to harness productivity and oversee complex employee operations. The emphasis here is on data-driven insights, talent development, and consolidating various functions under one roof. Retaining talent becomes crucial with insights pointing to a whopping 73% of employees considering a job change. Unified systems offer insights that can preempt employee dissatisfaction and turnover.
- Hybrid Teams: These teams face a unique set of challenges. Bridging the gap between in-office and remote employees, fostering a sense of community at work, and ensuring that everyone feels part of the collective mission are critical. Employee management software aids in bridging these divides. It’s worth noting that good company culture, as Forbes suggests, can skyrocket revenue by as much as four times.
2023 Best Employee Management Software
Before diving into the list of the top 16 employee management software, it's vital to understand the key categories that drive their functionalities. These categories are crucial in determining which software might be best suited for a company's specific needs.
Performance management tools are designed to facilitate employees' regular evaluation and development. They allow managers to set, track, and review employee goals and achievements, ensuring alignment with the company's objectives.
- Goal Setting: These tools allow you to create specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals, ensuring everyone knows what's expected of them.
- Regular Check-ins: To promote continuous growth and prevent misalignment, these software often incorporate regular check-in features, fostering consistent communication between employees and managers.
- Performance Reviews: Periodic reviews help gauge an employee's contributions and help managers provide constructive feedback to guide future performance.
Employee Feedback and Engagement:
To truly understand your team’s pulse, hear directly from team members! This category focuses on gauging the workforce's sentiments, feedback, and overall engagement levels.
- Surveys & Polls: Tools facilitating anonymous feedback through surveys or quick polls, enabling employees to share their feelings and concerns candidly.
- Recognition & Rewards: Platforms that offer features to recognize and appreciate employees' efforts, enhancing morale and motivation.
- Engagement Analytics: This gives managers data-driven insights into engagement levels, helping them take proactive measures to increase overall workforce satisfaction.
Learning and Development:
Continuous learning is pivotal with the rapid pace of change in the modern business landscape. This category ensures employees are always equipped with the latest skills and knowledge.
- Training Modules: Offering courses, webinars, or workshops to help employees upgrade their skills and knowledge.
- Skill Tracking: Enables managers to monitor the skill development of their teams and identify any gaps that might exist.
- Personal Development Plans: A tailored growth path for each employee, ensuring their career aspirations and the company's needs align perfectly.
The administrative side of HR might not seem as glamorous, but it's a foundational aspect of effective employee management. These tools help streamline and automate various HR tasks, making the process more efficient.
- Attendance and Leave Management: Track daily attendance, manage leave requests, and ensure compliance with company policies.
- Payroll Integration: Automated tools that help calculate salaries, deductions, and other compensations, ensuring timely and accurate payments.
- Documentation & Compliance: Store essential documents, from employment contracts to compliance certifications, ensuring that the organization always stays audit ready.
With a clearer understanding of these categories, it's time to explore the top tools that excel in these functions, providing comprehensive solutions for businesses of all sizes.
#1 - 15Five
15Five is a dynamic platform geared toward revolutionizing performance management. Designed to foster communication between managers and employees, it emphasizes continuous feedback through weekly check-ins and the effective use of OKRs (Objective and Key Results) to keep teams aligned with organizational goals.
The idea is to craft online feedback that replaces in-office meetings. With strong Slack integration and engaging features that deliver reassurance to remote and hybrid workers, 15Five provides more of a comprehensive solution for giving necessary feedback to improve performance.
- Regular weekly check-ins
- OKR tracking
- Performance reports
- Feedback management
- Goal setting
Best for: Teams aiming for transparency and alignment through frequent touchpoints and structured objectives through continuous feedback online systems.
- User-friendly interface
- Comprehensive reporting capabilities with mobile devices
- Promotes transparent communication to encourage engagement
- It might be overwhelming for smaller teams
- Requires commitment to weekly check-ins for optimal results
- Not as feature-rich as you may prefer
Offers a free 14-day trial or customized pricing starting at $4 per user per month, according to team size and features needed.
G2: 4.6/5.0 from 1,758 reviews
Capterra: 4.7/5.0 from 881 reviews
#2 - Betterworks
Betterworks seamlessly blends goal setting with performance reviews. By emphasizing team alignment and individual development, it provides a holistic view of the team's and the company's objectives, promoting strategic execution.
Here the platform features emphasize the employee experience first. It outlines how any size or level of the company can help align or retain workers based on their individual needs. In addition, this is a lightweight SaaS solution for getting the proper feedback your management team needs, so engagement remains top of mind during any up or downscaling.
- Continuous performance management
- Peer feedback system
- Integrated goal setting
- Performance review cycles
- Progress tracking with user-friendly interface
Best for: Mid to large-scale businesses looking for a comprehensive tool that bridges the gap between strategy and execution.
- In-depth feedback tools
- Clear goal visualization
- Integrates seamlessly with other popular work tools
- A slight learning curve for newcomers
- UI can be overwhelming at first glance
Includes a free demo and diverse paid plans tailored to team requirements. There is no “set fee,” as everything is based on the custom needs of your business model.
#3 - Lattice
Lattice redefines performance management with a keen focus on 1-on-1s and individual reviews. Designed for genuine employee-manager relationships, it promotes continuous feedback, ensuring everyone in the team feels seen and heard by leveraging OKRs and individualized goals through pulses and surveys.
One of the more critical aspects of this platform is the 360-degree feedback that blends sources from team leaders, peers, reports, customers, and the target individuals. This cultivates a much more rounded feedback loop, so employees feel more aligned with the company's overall goals instead of comparing themselves to one another all of the time.
- Personalized one-on-one agendas
- Structured performance reviews
- Feedback management
- Goal setting and tracking
- Employee engagement surveys
Best for: Companies committed to nurturing employee-manager relationships through regular personal check-ins and evaluations from various sources.
- Highly intuitive interface
- Customizable review cycles
- Actionable feedback mechanisms
- Diverse source information for reviews.
- Limited integrations
- Lacks advanced analytics features
Custom pricing based on team size and requirements starts at $11 per employee per month as well as a free demo.
G2: 4.7/5.0 from 3,711 reviews
Capterra: 4.5/5.0 from 111 reviews
#4 - Reflektive
Reflektive’s real strength lies in its advocacy for continuous feedback. By championing real-time communication, it ensures that performance management isn’t just an annual event but an integral part of the company's culture. That is probably why this software has maintained a strong reputation for improvement in performance management, retention rates, and overall employee engagement.
Multiple Fortune 500 companies are leveraging Reflektive as their HR management suite. Even though this may not be the heaviest “feature-rich” option on our list, it provides plenty of tools that increase efficiency and give quality feedback on performance factors needed to grow company culture.
- Real-time feedback tools
- Goal management capabilities
- Performance Analytics
- Check-ins and 1-on-1s
- Employee recognition features that increase productivity
Best for: Dynamic teams that value instantaneous feedback and adaptive performance management. Does work with companies of all sizes due to scalability.
- Seamless third-party integrations
- User-friendly feedback tools
- Detailed performance analytics
- Initial setup can be time-consuming
- More suited for medium to large businesses unless a team member is already familiar with the suite
You can get the basics for $6 per month per employee, and there is a demo version to get started.
#5 - Time Doctor
More than just a time tracker, Time Doctor offers a comprehensive solution to productivity management. For teams spread across geographies, it ensures accountability, transparent task tracking, and measurable improvements in output. The focus here is on workday analytics through automated time-tracking software. That boosts your management team’s ability to make real-time data-driven decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Time Doctor brings over 12 years of experience to the software game and offers flexible and customizable solutions to your specific workforce environment. You’ll find a lot of companies providing outsourcing and enterprise solutions leveraging Time Doctor as a primary resource for employee management software.
- Accurate time tracking
- Productivity monitoring
- Detailed activity reports
- Task and project tracking
- Screenshot-based verification
Best for: Remote teams keen on boosting productivity and hybrid workforce managers aiming for accountability in team tasks.
- Precise time logging
- Integrations with leading work tools
- Detailed insights on productivity
- It might feel intrusive to some team members
- Requires consistent internet connectivity for real-time tracking
Offers a robust free trial, with subsequent pricing tiers starting at $7 per user per month.
G2: 4.4/5.0 from 364 reviews
Capterra: 4.6/5.0 from 502 reviews
#6 - Officevibe
Officevibe thrives in creating an open channel for employees, encouraging them to share their thoughts, concerns, and feelings through anonymous pulse surveys. This continuous feedback mechanism helps leaders identify potential issues and enhance overall team morale. There is robust cloud hosting for all the platform's engagement features and solutions, making it a fanatic option for hybrid work models with international employees.
You can leverage quick or pulse surveys with anonymous answers that are actively aggregated to craft a broad-stroke employee engagement dashboard. This allows the entire company to better understand how everyone is doing at the individual, group, and goal-setting levels.
- Anonymous pulse surveys
- Team engagement analytics
- Feedback and recognition tools
- Manager-to-team communication platform
- Customized survey questions
Best for: SMEs and Mid-level organizations looking to understand the heartbeat of their workforce and take timely actions based on feedback.
- Encourages open communication
- Actionable insights from survey data
- User-friendly dashboard
- Cloud-based infrastructure
- Limited customization in survey frequency
- Relies heavily on employee participation for effective results
You can use a limited free trial to get the idea of the OKRs integration and then jump to the Essential plan starting at $3.50 per person per month.
G2: 4.3/5.0 from 705 reviews
Capterra: 4.6/5.0 from 51 reviews
#7 - Culture Amp
Culture Amp stands out with its advanced feedback mechanisms and analytical depth. Tailored for larger corporations, it dives deep into the nuances of team sentiment, providing managers with tools to enhance workplace culture.
The company leans heavily into being the “all-in-one” solution for improving team performance through recognition and easy-to-follow factors that grow peer-to-peer engagement. That is probably because the platform relies heavily on the latest industry research for what key indicators are required for growth in employee engagement as a culture. This would be one of the better options if you are looking to improve leadership skills among your team.
- Deep-dive engagement surveys
- Advanced analytics and reporting with 360-degree feedback
- Performance review functionalities through an easy API
- Learning and development insights with activity tracking
- Inclusion and diversity tracking
Best for: Large companies aiming for a holistic view of their culture and desiring actionable strategies to enhance employee engagement.
- Comprehensive data insights based on anonymous feedback
- Customizable survey tools in the activity dashboard
- Focus on diversity and inclusion
- It might be complex for small teams as there is no approval process control
- Requires training for full feature utilization, and you don’t get appraisal histories
Customized pricing based on company size and specific needs starts at $5 per monthly user.
G2: 4.6/5.0 from 667 reviews
Capterra: 4.7/5.0 from 103 reviews
#8 - Quantum Workplace
Quantum Workplace champions agility in feedback and goal management. Facilitating real-time feedback loops and flexible check-ins ensures teams remain aligned and engaged irrespective of their work setting. This is one of the earliest companies on our list, with over 20 years in the business and one of the first models for practical employee engagement and performance software.
What is unique about this platform are the varying templates that you can use to make integration way easier. That allows quick employee survey launch and building company culture without reinventing the wheel every time you start a review. The nationally known “Best Places to Work” content is ingrained into this software. The software aggregates international use and then collates that info to see which companies focus more on skills, culture, and process evolution.
- Agile goal setting and API
- Real-time feedback mechanisms
- Employee recognition features
- Customizable surveys with templates
- Engagement Analytics
Best for: This is best for larger companies who don’t want to waste time trying to craft custom solutions. The templates give you more than enough to begin and streamline engagement goals.
- Fluid feedback channels
- Emphasizes employee recognition and career development
- Intuitive user interface with commenting
- Not great for receiving real-time alerts
- Initial setup may require orientation
There is a free trial you can use, but it takes contacting the company directly. Otherwise, you’ll need to try the demo and then get a custom price based on your needs.
G2: 4.5/5.0 from 407 reviews
Capterra: 4.7/5.0 from 48 reviews
# 9 - Cornerstone
Cornerstone is renowned for its learning management capabilities. By fostering skill development and growth, it ensures that employees are not only productive but also evolving in their roles. When you consider highly engaged employees help companies become 21% more profitable, it doesn’t hurt to focus on a skills-based platform for employee management software.
You’ll find many organizations in tech-heavy fields like manufacturing and healthcare using Cornerstone. It has training management features that help onboard your various employees, no matter where they are in the world.
- Comprehensive learning modules with customization
- Personalized training paths and internationalization
- Performance management features with mobile friendly interfaces
- Analytics and Reporting
- Collaborative learning tools
Best for: If your company prefers to leverage skills internally instead of focusing on goal achievement.
- A vast library of training resources
- Customizable learning paths
- Deep analytics on learning outcomes
- Strong centralized dashboard for reporting and interoperability
- It can be overwhelming for beginners
- Hard to implement without previous training
There is no free plan, but you can use a trial, and pricing starts at $6 per user per month.
G2: 4.1/5.0 from 490 reviews
Capterra: 4.3/5.0 from 216 reviews
#10 - WorkTango (Kazoo)
WorkTango, previously known as Kazoo, integrates recognition and rewards into its core, promoting motivation and deepening employee engagement. By celebrating milestones and achievements, it fosters a culture of appreciation. That kind of interaction with positive reinforcement goes a long way to breaking down barriers between different experience levels of employees.
The critical aspect you want to leverage here is motivation. Employees love to be appreciated for their hard work. This software helps you focus on those achievements and celebrate them throughout your larger, remote workspace. In essence, you put everything else aside to emphasize an employee experience first.
- Peer recognition platform
- Customizable rewards system
- Performance feedback tools
- Engagement Analytics
- Continuous check-ins
Best for: Companies keen on boosting morale by recognizing and rewarding outstanding employee contributions.
- Enhances team morale
- Customizable rewards
- Seamless integration with other HR tools
- The reward system requires periodic auditing
- Relies on active participation for effectiveness
There is a free trial, but it is based on demo versions that may not show everything you need. Your best bet is to schedule a customizable demo and then get pricing based on your size, number of employees, etc.
G2: 4.6/5.0 from 639 reviews
Capterra: 4.9/5.0 from 129 reviews
#11 - Kudos
Kudos thrives in building a positive work culture where peer recognition plays a pivotal role. Facilitating seamless appreciation exchanges ensures remote teams feel connected and valued, irrespective of their geographic location. When low employee engagement costs businesses an average of $4,700 annually, It makes sense to use employment management software designed to boost positive interactions.
- Peer-to-peer recognition platform
- Customizable badges and awards
- Analytics on recognition trends
- Integration with popular communication tools
- Mobile application for on-the-go appreciation
Best for: Remote teams seeking a boost in morale through regular peer recognition and appreciation.
- Enhances remote team cohesion
- Provides actionable recognition analytics
- Easily integrated into daily workflows
- Limited to recognition functionality
- Requires consistent usage for best results
There is a demo, but monthly pricing starts at $3.25 per user.
G2: 4.8/5.0 from 1,263 reviews
Capterra: 4.8/5.0 from 1,017 reviews
#12 - GroveHR
If you're looking for a simple platform to take the hassle of HR-related stuffs out of your employee management, GroveHR is an intuitive and cost-effective choice.
It centralizes employee records, offering a clear organizational chart with team hierarchies, roles, and reporting lines. You and your team members can update profiles, access colleagues' contact details, or manage time-off requests effortlessly on a desktop or mobile app.
Besides, the software streamlines document and template management, making them easily accessible for the whole team with just a few clicks. And the best part? Teams of up to 50 employees can enjoy the platform with almost all helpful HR-related features, including various workforce management reports, at no cost.
- Centralized employee records
- Org chart and team profiles
- Document and template management
- Automated employee life cycle workflow in paid plans
Best for: SMBs wanting an intuitive system to oversee teams and manage employees' data and payroll.
- User-friendly interface
- Mobile app for employee's self-service
- One-stop-shop for all employee information and company public documents
- Some features still require individual inputs, such as contract timeline and job timeline
- A few features are less editable
$0 (for small businesses with less than 50 employees), $3 (Essential Plan), $4 (Perform Plan) & $6 (Engage Plan)
G2: 4.5/5.0 from 69 reviews
Capterra: 4.4/5.0 from 67 reviews
#13 - BambooHR
BambooHR helps you simplifies HR tasks, making it the go-to choice for small to medium-sized businesses. Its user-friendly interface and comprehensive HR functionalities streamline many of the traditionally time-consuming HR processes.
This is a strong SaaS employment management software option that uses an easy-to-follow outgrowth spreadsheet that can be exported as needed. All the info you need is quickly accessible through a centralized dashboard, streamlining operations for your HR management or team lead.
- Centralized employee database
- Time-off tracking
- Performance management modules
- Onboarding and offboarding workflows
- Detailed reporting and analytics
Best for: SMBs looking for a holistic HR solution that combines ease of use with a wide range of capabilities.
- Intuitive user interface
- Comprehensive HR functionalities
- Robust mobile application
- Limited advanced analytics
- Customizations can be complex
Custom pricing based on the specific needs and size of the organization is available through a price quote only.
G2: 4.4/5.0 from 1,535 reviews
Capterra: 4.6/5.0 from 2,553 reviews
#14 - Namely
Namely offers a unified HR platform tailored for mid-sized companies. Integrating various HR functionalities into one platform ensures businesses can manage their workforce efficiently and precisely.
This is probably your number one employee management software solution for self-service needs. It only works for 25 to 1,000 employees, so there are limited resources based on the size of your company, but that may work to your advantage if you have a more streamlined operation.
- Payroll and benefits administration
- Performance review cycles
- POT management and HR analysis
- Compliance and reporting tools
- Cloud-based information
Best for: Mid-sized companies searching for a comprehensive, all-in-one HR platform.
- Streamlined HR processes
- Emphasis on compliance and reporting
- Engaging social functionalities
- Initial setup can be time-consuming
- Requires training for full utility
There is a great free demo you should try first. Then the three different payment plans are based on your size and need.
G2: 4.0/5.0 from 305 reviews
Capterra: 4.2/5.0 from 425 reviews
#15 - Zenefits
Zenefits is designed to make HR administration streamlined and effortless, especially for small to medium-sized businesses. With its cloud-based platform, companies can manage everything from payroll to benefits, all in one place.
The real benefit here is onboarding. When there is more than a third of workers searching actively for a job, you want a robust onboarding process to ensure they feel heard and are ready to work. This employee management software provides payroll integration through an intuitive interface as well as most HR functions.
- Simplified payroll processing
- Benefits management
- Time tracking and PTO
- Compliance and reporting
- Employee self-service portal
Best for: SMBs aiming for a hassle-free HR administration experience.
- Centralizes multiple HR tasks
- User-friendly for both managers and employees
- Mobile optimized for on-the-go access
- Limited advanced HR functionalities
- Support can sometimes be slow
Multiple pricing plans are available but a little higher at $35 per month.
G2: 4.0/5.0 from 453 reviews
Capterra: 4.2/5.0 from 811 reviews
#16 - Zoho
Zoho offers an affordable HR solution, catering mainly to solopreneurs and small businesses. While budget-friendly, it doesn't skimp on features, providing a robust set of tools to manage various HR tasks. In other words, if you are a solopreneur, this may be your best option.
With this employee management software, you gain integration access to a wealth of web-based features (through the CRM), like basic word processing, note-taking, and invoicing. Everything is cloud-based and mobile, with easy integrations from Google, Mailchimp, and Zapier. Pretty much all the beginning automation suites you’d want when growing a startup from your garage, along with solid employee management solutions for quickly expanding.
- Employee database and records
- Strong third-party integrations
- Attendance and time tracking
- Performance reviews
- HR analytics and reporting
Best for: Solopreneurs and small businesses seeking a cost-effective yet feature-rich HR platform.
- Affordable pricing structure
- Integration with other Zoho products
- Cloud-based and mobile-friendly
- Works with many automation features
- The interface can feel dated
- Limited advanced analytics
It has a free plan and trial starting at $2.97 per month per user.
G2: 4.0/5.0 from 2,475 reviews
Capterra: 4.3/5.0 from 6,317 reviews
Employee Management Software Recommendations
Choosing the right tool depends on your team's size, budget, and specific needs. There is no “one size fits all” solution for quality employee management software. The more you can get a free plan or secure a free trial, the better you’ll be able to see if the various tools on this list are right for you. In the meantime, here's a breakdown to simplify things:
- Top Tools for SMBs: For small and medium-sized businesses new to modern management software, tools like BambooHR and Zoho come highly recommended. They offer all-in-one solutions at an affordable rate, making them well worth the investment.
- Top Tools for Large Companies: Large companies demand scalability and robust integration. Tools like Culture Amp and Kudos are ahead of the curve, integrating with standard HRIS systems and offering cutting-edge engagement and recognition platforms.
- Top Tools for Managers: Managers need actionable insights and direct tools. 15Five, known for its engaging check-ins, and Time Doctor, a leader in team time management, empower managers with the information and workflows they need.
Wrapping It Up
In an era where talent is a company’s most valuable asset, ensuring your team feels valued, engaged, and productive is paramount. The right employee management software acts as the glue that holds everything together. Remember, over 63% of modern companies say retaining those crucial employees is more complicated than hiring them.
Take the time to research, test out free trials, and land on a tool that resonates with your (and your team’s) unique needs. After all, your team’s engagement will directly mirror your investment in them.
Ready for more? Explore 12 Steps to Level Up Your Hybrid and Remote Team Management.