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Guest Post by: Jennifer King

Whether you’re a global company trying to manage employee engagement or a small business looking for an employee recognition program, there are plenty of programs out there that can meet your needs.

Incorporating a formalized recognition program into your talent management initiatives could be the key to preventing good people from leaving your company. Bersin & Associates recently revealed that “organizations with recognition programs that are highly effective at improving employee engagement had 31 percent lower voluntary turnover than those with ineffective recognition programs.”

Solutions exist for companies of all sizes and with a variety of business needs and challenges. I analyzed four Web-based systems that I think provide innovative functionality for employee recognition along with robust reporting and analytics features to sell the business benefits of recognition programs.




Ideal for: Companies with as few as 50 employees. However, organizations with larger or more diverse teams will likely realize the most value.

What it does: Rypple is the social performance management platform that Salesforce acquired last year. The system goes beyond recognition functionality with tools for goal setting and project management for teams and individuals. Users can set objectives, see how projects align with the organization, and track progress. Along the way, anyone can give recognition employees for great work.

Why we like it: Users can share data and more between Rypple and other HR systems. They can also access the system from Apple or Android smartphones. Another nice integration feature: Rypple can capture employee feedback sent by email when the sender simply cc’s the system. For recognition, employees can award badges that are tied to corporate values, or custom badges that the recognizers attach with specific skills or competencies to reflect the meaning of each award.



Ideal for: Businesses with 50 to 1,500 employees that seek a stand-alone employee recognition tool.

What it does: Kudos is solely an employee engagement and recognition platform. Employees post “kudos” to the Twitter-like feed stating the reason for the award in 140 characters or less. Awards are given in point increments, which employees can then redeem through an external rewards program or an in-house rewards system.  Managers can also use the system to provide employees with constructive feedback.

Why we like it: Kudos is inexpensive, only $1/user plus a $49 monthly hosting fee. It’s also easy to use and gives managers engagement statistics at both aggregate and departmental levels. And in addition to using the analytics and reporting features to see where employees shine, administrators can measure the frequency and value of each kudo to gain a sense of how employees value each others’ work.




Ideal for:  Companies with at least 1,000 employees that need a program to consolidate rewards and recognition processes into one solution.

What it does: Achievers combines rewards and social networking technologies. The peer-to-peer, points-based system encourages open recognition from company leaders, managers and individual contributors. Any employee can recognize another by posting to the news feed, or they can reward each other using their allocated points. Users also have the ability to earn more points by taking actions that have a direct impact on the company’s business objectives. For example, a user can earn points by referring a qualified candidate for an open position or by saving the company money.

Why we like it: Achievers helps its customers set up detailed reports and analytics dashboards so leaders can measure adoption, identify patterns of recognition, and tie recognition to individual performance. Customers can make the leaderboards visible on the main Achievers page, highlighting their “top recognized” employees as well as leaders who are dispensing the most recognition throughout the company.




Ideal for: Both national and global companies that need a single solution to manage culture, recognition, engagement and performance management.

What it does: Globoforce ties specific manager-approved rewards to a corporate goal or value. Administrators and managers can identify top performers based on reward value and the number of awards. They can also see how their team members give recognition to each other as well as to individuals outside the team, and determine if an employee’s performance value (what he or she is contributing) is aligned with the recognition they’ve received.

Why we like it: The Talent Maps feature visually ties employee recognition with performance. Managers can use it to map out individual and team performance to see where and how people are being recognized, find trends in recognition to determine if employees are adopting business objectives, and identify performance trends to assess career development and flight risks.

Employee recognition tools are a relatively new class of software, and some may still question the return on investment. While some businesses find value simply in that they facilitate employee engagement, others see the reporting tools as the most compelling aspect and argue that they boost performance by rewarding specific actions that the business values. I look forward to seeing how these products and others evolve to further demonstrate the business value of employee recognition.

Jennifer King is an HR Analyst at SoftwareAdvice, a website that reviews and compares HR and workforce management software. She blogs about HR trends, technology, and best practices in human resources on her HRblog.