Five Apps That Increase Employee Productivity & Engagement
Is the annual performance review dead? A product of union contract negotiations, companies such as Adobe, Netflex, Microsoft, Accenture, GE, and Deloitte have recently abolished this corporate mainstay. These companies appear to be heeding critics who assert that such reviews place undue weight upon an employee’s recent performance, generate unconstructive anxiety and defensiveness among employees, and provide little to no developmental impact. Quickly taking its place are instant feedback apps that remedy those flaws by allowing for more frequent employee evaluations.
This year GE instigated greater awareness of instant feedback apps when it rolled out its PD@GE (Performance Development at GE) app. Deployed on over 30,000 GE employee’s smartphones, the app enables co-workers to rate each other and provide instant feedback on performance.
Employee feedback apps are now making their mark in the larger corporate world. Many are geared to specific industries – as diverse as hospitality, landscape management, and education. Here are a few of the more notable:
Impraise: Described as “a fitness tracker for your professional life“, Impraise’s primary goal is to facilitate employee learning and improvement. Aware that they were “missing a lot of learning opportunities”, the app’s founders sought to find a way in which to circumvent the need for face-to-face feedback. The result was an app that provides frequent and anonymous feedback from co-workers (employees may also employ push notifications in order to receive feedback). Once recorded, such feedback is used to detail what improvements have been made over time. Many users view the app less as an assessment instrument than a coaching and development tool. See review here.
Engagedly: Billing itself “the most comprehensive tool available to drive employee engagement”, Engagedly comes loaded with employee tracking features. For instance, the app tracks individual core-competencies to facilitate team development, rewards employees for meeting goals, and monitors how well employees are meeting their own objectives. Although supposedly “built for employees”, Engagedly’s marketing appears geared toward managers seeking to facilitate greater teamwork.
Reflektive: Reflektive’s founders recognized that even the best feedback tool is of limited value if rarely used. As such, they built a simple app that provides employees with instant feedback via an email pop up tab. By generating more frequent feedback, the app seeks to provide more data points with which to evaluate performance and improve productivity. Although a relatively small company, Reflektive intends to integrate its app with Salesforce, Github, and other core workflow services in the near future.
SuccessFactors 360: Recently acquired by SAP, SuccessFactors is a large and well-known HR software vendor offering a dizzying array of cloud-based products. Their 360 Review app excels at helping managers to develop and align goals for employees. For instance, the app incorporates peer reviews, self-ratings, and supervisor assessments for comprehensive feedback purposes. Other features enable employees to identify “hidden strengths” and “blind spots”. In all, SuccessFactors provides a 360 degree performance appraisal review (hence the name). Although expensive, users report much better communication throughout the organization.
TMBC StandOut Enterprise: Designed specifically for team leaders, StandOut is one of the more intriguing employee engagement apps on the market. The app gives team leaders greater insight on how to leverage the strengths of their team members. Unique features that enhance team development include “radically frequent check-ins” with regard to near-term work and the ability to create 1-on-1 meetings about work about to be done. The app thus encourages team leaders to ask “What are your priorities this week?” and “How can I help?”. Like Impraise, StandOut’s founders seek to facilitate strengths-based coaching with their app. Accordingly, the focus is less upon “where a person stands” than how to help improve an employee’s skills-set. See their Virtual Tour
Beyond helping managers fulfill their organizational goals, several of these feedback apps seek to improve individual learning and development as well. Such apps are quickly becoming popular and those that provide the most benefit in the end will obviously win out in the end.