Often referred to as the ‘Twitter for business’, Yammer is one of the better known and more popular social networking tools for the workplace.
Despite it being a pretty versatile tool, Yammer doesn’t work for everyone. Not everyone has the same UI needs or feature concerns — it’s always great to know your alternatives.
Finding a platform for your employees to share their achievements in a productive and positive way can be tricky, especially when so many social networking tools can become a distraction in the office. Yammer’s no exception, and many of the chat features and notifications options available through Yammer are the exact reason you might be looking for an alternative.
If you want a cost-effective way to keep employees engaged while still celebrating their successes, this list can help. Here, we’ll cover five alternatives to Yammer that will help create a positive working environment in your company.
As the name implies, Kudos focuses squarely on employee recognition through employees’ social engagement. It aims to “unify and align” organisations that use it. Accessible via web browsers and dedicated iOS and Android apps, Kudos also has its own API with a range of integrations.
Founded in 2013 by a trio of publishing and tech professionals, Kudos has a suite of useful features including customisable rewards, the ability to provide feedback in real-time and an employee engagement hub. On top of this, it has analytics and reporting tools to help management teams gauge how effective their employee recognition strategies are.
It’s easy to use for employees at all levels and users have some latitude to make the app their own by customising the way it looks. Because it’s easy to use on desktops or mobile devices and allows real-time feedback, managers can be active and responsive in delivering employee recognition.
While this is an excellent platform in general, there are limits. For example, the reporting features can be a little unwieldy and complex. Nonetheless, this is a good all-rounder with a variety of useful capabilities.
Has a social hub for company announcements and updates
Delivers rewards and recognition options
Management-level user interface can be clunky
When Facebook revolutionised social media, it found itself faced with a conundrum. As more employers deemed it a time-wasting website and blocked its use on their machines, it lost engagement with its users via working hours. Its response? Make its own workplace friendly social networking app. This gave rise to Workplace by Facebook, which launched in 2016.
Workplace’s focus is very much on team communication and collaboration. In that regard, it’s similar to other collaboration facilitating apps like Slack or Basecamp while looking and feeling almost exactly like Facebook. Because it has a virtually identical appearance and interface to Facebook, it’s easy to adopt with virtually no training required. If your employees can use Facebook, they can use Workplace. There used to be free ‘Essential’ version, but there is now only a paid version starting at approximately $4 per person, per month.
Workplace can be used by employees at all levels and there are discounts available for frontline employees. Its familiar look and feel will be a welcome touch for a broad spectrum of employees. Plus, its robust integrations make it easy to integrate into a range of operations. It is also a very useful repository for images and video uploads and even boasts some productivity features.
However, some businesses find the social platform just as distracting as Facebook, which can put employers off encouraging its use. Those looking for something with a stronger focus on employee recognition and rewards may feel that it falls short in this regard.
- Employees will be familiar with Facebook so easy to use
- Its wide range of features work on many devices
- Can cause distractions in the workplace
- Not focused on recognition and rewards
Any business, but especially medium to large companies, looking for a social platform to help employees interact with each other.
Achievers was founded in 2002 by Razor Suleman. Formerly known as “I Love Rewards”, Achievers offers an interface that looks and feels much like any other platform, yet also has a strong focus on employee recognition. As the name suggests, its primary goal is recognising and sharing the achievements of your workforce. It also doesn’t skimp in the rewards department, having partnered with a rewards company with a global reach. This means that Achievers goes beyond familiar favourites like gift cards to help managers to provide highly desirable and locally sourced (in 110 countries) rewards for meaningful employee engagement.
Achievers’ friendly and intuitive interface is easy for employees at all levels to adopt and contains some rudimentary reporting features for managerial teams. Its emphasis on positivity and sharing achievements can go a long way towards facilitating a positive workplace culture.
Still, some users report that the interface can be clunky while others lament the lack of more sophisticated reporting. What’s more, it can take upwards of 5 weeks for employees to receive some rewards — so some expectation management may be necessary.
- Has a focus on rewards and recognition
- Easy-to-use interface
- Lacks sophisticated reporting tools
- Rewards can take time to receive
Best-fit user: Small-medium businesses looking for a tool to reward and recognise employees.
4. Reward Gateway
Available for browser or mobile app-based use, Reward Gateway is another employee engagement platform with a strong focus on rewards in the form of employee discounts and benefits. It also provides communications and features to help teams collaborate.
Founded in London in 2006, Reward Gateway has become a market leader in employee recognition with an emphasis on tracking employees’ wellbeing and helping them to feel that their voice is heard via employee surveys.
With an intuitive and highly customisable interface and easy access for a range of employees, Reward Gateway can be a messaging platform, a suggestion box and, of course, a platform for sharing and celebrating employee achievement.
Many users report really enjoying how easy it is to integrate into their operations. Although some also lament the lack of back end support available to users, occasional UX issues and the fact that some of the discounts offered are relatively meagre.
- Helps employees feel heard
- Highly customisable
- Focuses on rewards rather than recognition, which may not be cost-effective for small businesses
- A lack of back-end support
Best-fit user: Businesses looking for a tool to reward employees.
River Software’s Rippl offers an innovative solution to increase employee engagement. Rather than trying to compete with platforms like Yammer on their terms, it is designed to fit snugly into the gaps that other rewards and communications platforms fail to reach.
A new kid on the block, developed in 2017, this incentives, recognition and reward platform offers a holistic approach to employee engagement. It encompasses a host of rewards and social features in one easy to use platform for desktop and mobile use.
As well as being able to share pictures, stories and video like any other social platform, Rippl also has a selection of recognition and reward features. Having partnered with the largest digital voucher supplier, WeGift, Rippl allows managers to send reward points to their deserving team members which can be redeemed against a wide variety of goodies in the catalogue. The app also has customisable learning decks for informal quizzes that help employees test and informally assess their own knowledge, as well as surveys and polls to give your whole community a voice.
Although Rippl provides reward options, the platform is really built around a recognition ethos. The streamlined interface empowers employees to recognise each other –and uniquely, promotes an environment where they can share their own success stories, publically interacting in a chronological feed that maximises the visibility of recognition.
One feature that sets Rippl apart is its incentives builder. As well as being able to motivate workers through seamless recognition, nomination campaigns and rewards, managers can set up customised incentives aligned with targets and objectives to keep their teams on track.
- Good reporting and customisation capabilities
- Has recognition cards to help celebrate employees’ achievements
- Reward options when needed
- Unique incentives builder
- Lacks chat features for employees
Best-fit user: Any business looking for a simple tool to recognise and reward employees and increase employee retention and productivity.
Rewards, recognition, complexity and customisation
When looking for an employee engagement tool, you need to ask yourself a few questions about priorities. The two big questions are: “how much do you want to rely on recognition vs reward?”, and “how complex does the whole system need to be?”.
Inevitably, the more features a tool has, the more flexible it can be. On the other hand, the more possibilities for the distraction it creates. Chat features are a big variable here. You might think “why not?” But if you want the platform to really be used for the right purpose — employee recognition for example — private chat functions can be counterproductive.
The importance of rewards to employee engagement is another issue. A lot of people think that rewards are critical to engagement. However, an increasing body of research indicates that people simply come to expect rewards, and that recognition can deliver a bigger boost to morale at less cost to your business.
So, if you’re thinking about using a tool to help build an employee engagement programme, you need to think about your goals and select the best tool for the job. Next, you need to train your staff to use it. That’s what creating an employee engagement blueprint is all about.