6 terrific—and lesser-known—tools for staff engagement

Whether you run a tight-knit startup or handle communications for a global organization with offices in a dozen time zones, motivating employees can be a challenge. Here’s help.

Especially if you have remote employees, you must cultivate a close-knit workplace community and create a digital hub for collaboration.

Digital tools that can help simplify communication and collaboration from afar have been in place for years, with big names like Slack, Skype, Basecamp and Google dominating the field.

As the digital workplace is growing and millennials and others seek to work remotely, the demand for tools to maintain employee engagement and productivity is increasing. There are several under-the-radar tools that are innovative in both their design and their efficacy.

Below are six up-and-coming internal engagement tools to foster a more productive and collaborative online work environment and increase your employees’ engagement and morale:

1. iDoneThis

iDoneThis is a small, simple tool that can do big things in terms of motivation and productivity. It works to build transparency among your employees by recording a virtual to-do list. It helps people to collaborate and solve problems, with clear knowledge of what they’re accomplishing.

Each day iDoneThis—both a website and app—notifies employees to post what they accomplished that day on a shared team page. Every post has an option to “like” or comment on co-workers’ accomplishments, making it easier to give feedback or kudos on particular tasks.

It’s also a simple way for employers to keep track of what’s going on in your company and leave feedback as needed. iDoneThis sends employers progress reports detailing your team’s work and productivity over time.

Cost: The Standard plan is $9 per annual user, or $12 per monthly user.

2. Dapulse

If you’re looking for a customizable project management tool, Dapulse makes it easy to create projects, set schedules, assign tasks and create a comprehensive work plan.

Your employees can use Dapulse’s visual project boards to create team tasks, assign tasks, create a workflow and see who is responsible for what. The accessibility that Dapulse brings to setting goals and managing projects will keep employees engaged and motivated.

With Dapulse, employees can comment on live documents, tag co-workers and create a knowledge base. Dapulse is integrated into established engagement tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Pipedrive.

Cost: The Basic plan is $25 per five monthly users.

3. Hoopla

Hoopla helps organizations build camaraderie. It’s great for giving remote employees virtual pats on the back and celebrating individual and team achievements.

It incorporates performance data from apps such as Salesforce, displaying them in real time on computer screens and mobile devices. Hoopla also displays metrics on a leaderboard, and it can be easily integrated with other tools like Slack.

Hoopla provides an excellent virtual community where your employees can share ideas, tips, feedback and advice. If you’re looking to create healthy competition and support among your employees, Hoopla is a great tool.

Cost: The Business Edition plan is $12 per monthly user.

4. Brosix

Unlike traditional chat and messenger applications, Brosix was designed with business collaboration in mind. Brosix makes it easier for your employees to communicate and share ideas with one another through group and private chat features.

This tool includes secure communication channels and strong encryption that guarantee privacy and protection for your business and employees. Other notable features of Brosix include file transfer, screen sharing, screen shots and a whiteboard.

This tool works on a variety of platforms, supports multicultural teams with multiple language options and includes voice and video chat options.

Cost: The Basic plan is 99 cents per monthly user.

5. Hivedesk

Hivedesk has created a tool that enables supervisors to manage remote teams in a sort of virtual office. You can track employees’ activity, time logged and progress on projects.

Hivedesk lets you see who is online and what projects they’re working on, while monitoring productivity by taking random screenshots of employees’ work.

With even more features like reports on activity and productivity levels, your employees’ ability to check in and out during the day and easy-to-use communication software, Hivedesk is the ultimate tool in managing productivity and keeping employees engaged.

Cost: The Basic plan is $25 per five monthly users—this includes one account administrator.

6. Beesy

With Beesy it’s incredibly simple to manage collaborative projects and streamline team communication. Beesy has five main parts: the dashboard, a notes section, actions, a people section and the projects section.

Each enables you to view your calendar of tasks, take notes and minutes during meetings, assign actions to yourself and your co-workers, view and communicate with your contacts, and plan projects and goals.

Beesy even assembles your notes into an automated to-do list, helping you prioritize your goals and assign tasks to team members. Beesy is an amazing tool for motivating and coordinating with your team in real time.

Cost: The Basic plan is $6 per monthly user.

With the above tools, you can prioritize, communicate, collaborate and manage your projects and employees with simplicity and ease.

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