The Best Performance Management & Employee Engagement Vendors for 2020

The Performance Management & Employee Engagement market has skyrocketed in recent years. Who are the key players and what unique challenges does each try to solve?

Brett Ungashick
OutSail HRIS Advisor
July 4, 2023
user comparing HRIS systems

This article looks at the best modern Performance Management & Employee Engagement vendors and helps you better understand who they work best for.

The Performance & Engagement space has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years. In the middle of the decade, companies were faced with the challenge of low retention and low employee motivation. In a tight job market, losing good employees was even more costly.

What companies needed was a more modern, continuous and dynamic way to engage with their employees. Employees wanted more real-time data on where they stood in the company and how they could move forward. Employees also wanted to feel more connected to their company and wanted their voices to be heard.

This demand led to a huge influx of creative, well-funded start-ups who were ready to try and meet the market's needs.

As the Performance & Engagement market has grown, it has become challenging for buyers to know which solutions are the right fit for their needs.

So below is an overview of 7 best modern Performance Management & Employee Engagement solutions for small and medium sized businesses


For those who want high user adoption

Lattice recently raised $45M to continue building out their vision of a flexible, easy-to-use performance and engagement platform that can drive productivity and success for any organization. Lattice's user interface is exactly what the modern workforce is looking for in technology. And when employees are excited to use a tool like Lattice, companies can expect better data and better outcomes.


For those who want to create a continuous engagement model

15Five is another modern leader in the Performance & Engagement space. They pioneered the weekly pulse-check model, which asks employees to take a few minutes each week to reflect on how they're feeling at work. This simple, unobtrusive nudge helps managers to better understand their employees and helps companies to have real-time data on how their workforce is feeling.

Culture Amp

For those who want to deeply understand their workforce

Culture Amp was one of the pioneers of the modern employee engagement survey model. Their psychology-based survey tools can help companies ask the right questions, understand their employee's results and take action in a meaningful way. Although they started off focusing on employee engagement, Culture Amp acquired a performance management solution in 2019 and have begun bringing the two solutions together.


For those who want the employee experience at the center of everything

While many of their peers are actively developing new features to broaden their offering, Kazoo has already built a unified employee experience platform. Rather than just being a platform that employees visit to complete reviews or surveys, Kazoo is designed to be the cultural hub of your company. This includes not just reviews and surveys, but also rewards, recognition, goals and a newsfeed.


For those who want engagement built into their HRIS

Almost every major HRIS vendor now offers a performance management and employee engagement module. However, very few can offer the modern, dynamic functionality that companies are looking for (which is why this marketplace exists). That is except for Bob. Bob is a true HRIS with timekeeping, onboarding and benefits management capabilities. But  Bob's HRIS was built with employee engagement and performance management tools at its core, while others make those tools ancillary add-ons.


For those who are focused on business performance

Smart companies have always known that businesses perform their best when individuals are bought in and rowing in the same direction. The Objectives and Key Results (OKR) framework has been adopted at thousands of companies to help create greater alignment throughout the organization around strategic goals. The person who developed the OKR framework sits on Betterworks' board, and all of Betterworks' performance and engagement functionality cascades down from those strategic business goals.


For those who want to create a goal-centric mindset

Similar to Betterworks, 7Geese has built their platform around company goals. This enables executives and business leaders to set the company's course, it creates a greater connection to the organization among employees and increases transparency throughout the org. The 1-on-1 and performance review process becomes much more aligned when each individual knows what is expected of them and how that ties into the company's success.

1. What is Performance Management & Employee Engagement?

Performance management and employee engagement encompass the processes and initiatives designed to enhance employee performance, motivation, and satisfaction within an organization. This includes strategies for setting goals, providing feedback, measuring progress, and fostering a positive work environment.

2. Why is Performance Management & Employee Engagement important?

Effective performance management and employee engagement are crucial for organizational success. They contribute to higher employee morale, increased productivity, better retention rates, and improved overall business performance. Engaged employees are more likely to be committed to their work and aligned with the company's goals.

3. What are the key challenges addressed by these vendors?

Each vendor focuses on addressing specific challenges related to performance management and employee engagement. These challenges may include low user adoption, lack of continuous feedback mechanisms, difficulties in understanding workforce sentiments, integrating engagement into existing HR systems, and aligning individual goals with business objectives.

4. How do these vendors differentiate themselves?

Vendors differentiate themselves through unique selling points such as user-friendly interfaces, continuous engagement models, psychology-based survey tools, unified employee experience platforms, built-in engagement features within HRIS, alignment with strategic business goals, and goal-centric approaches to performance management.

5. Which vendor is suitable for my organization?

The suitability of a vendor depends on your organization's specific needs, goals, and preferences. Consider factors such as company size, desired features, budget, and cultural fit when evaluating vendors. It's essential to align the chosen vendor with your organization's values and objectives to maximize the benefits of performance management and employee engagement initiatives.

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Meet the Author

Brett Ungashick
OutSail HRIS Advisor
Brett Ungashick, the friendly face behind OutSail, started his career at LinkedIn, selling HR software. This experience sparked an idea, leading him to create OutSail in 2018. Based in Denver, OutSail simplifies the HR software selection process, and Brett's hands-on approach has already helped over 1,000 companies, including SalesLoft, Hudl and DoorDash. He's a go-to guy for all things HR Tech, supporting companies in every industry and across 20+ countries. When he's not demystifying HR tech, you'll find Brett enjoying a round of golf or skiing down Colorado's slopes, always happy to chat about work or play.

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