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Employee Portal Software
  • Publish: April 17, 2021
  • Author: StrongerTeams Editorial
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Top Employee Portal Software for Your Business

Organizations are rapidly moving away from huddle rooms, face-to-face meetings, and office environments. A decent portion of workspaces today are fully remote, meaning that more and more organizations are looking for digital platforms that facilitate communication and collaboration and support asynchronous work.

An employee portal offers a virtual space for all an organization’s requirements—from meeting rooms to document libraries.

StrongerTeams is all-remote, so we know how important a role employee portal software plays in a remote setting. Over the last 16 months, we have grown from one employee to a team of 30 full-time employees. Our team is scattered across three continents, and we have had to develop infrastructure that allows us to collaborate effectively from all locations. We needed to choose the best software solutions to make our work viable.

This list of top employee portal software solutions is a result of our extensive tests for our own use. Use it to choose a software package that meets your requirements.

The Top Employee Portal Software Packages for Your Business

Our tests have given us this list of the top ten employee portal software solutions currently available:

  1. Bitrix24
  2. Blink
  3. Boardable
  4. Claromentis
  5. Hivebrite
  6. Jostle
  7. Samepage
  8. Glasscubes
  9. Stacker
  10. ThoughtFarmer

Bitrix24

Bitrix24 is primarily a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, but it offers a vast array of features you’d look for in a robust employee portal.

It features basic CRM functions, workgroups, file sharing, activity stream, and instant messaging, all of which are easy to use. The features array is, however, not customizable, which may render Bitrix24 slightly overwhelming for smaller organizations just beginning their employee portal journey.

Blink

Blink comes as either a downloadable program or a cloud-based solution and is a frontline employee portal for HR departments to communicate with remote workers.

It is an all-in-one collaboration platform that is aimed at organizations designing their first portal. The major advantages of Blinka are its low price point and the fact that the tool is easy to set up and learn. It offers personalized user feeds, an employee directory, a content management hub, and secure chat tools.

Although Blink offers a free version, the platform is only customizable under the pay-per-user model. Its features are basic but robust, and the Blink development team regularly adds new functionalities and options.

Boardable

Boardable is aimed at nonprofit organizations but is equally well-suited for smaller remote companies and startups. It stands out as an excellent meeting management tool with virtual meetings, agenda sharing, minute recording, and action planning all built in.

For nonprofits, Boardable offers committee management and volunteer deployment tools, but its communication and collaboration functions enable any company to improve interaction and manage work processes with remote staff.

Claromentis

Claromentis has over 20 years experience in building intranet platforms and has customized employee portals across a broad range of industries. The platform comes in either a downloadable or a cloud-based version and offers all the collaboration tools most organizations will need, such as news feeds, secure messaging, and an employee directory.

With strong customer support, Claromentis users report that the system is stable and well-rounded, if slightly bland compared to newer platforms. An important point for smaller organizations is that Claromentis requires little tech expertise for content managers to become experts in its use.

Hivebrite

Hivebrite is a community platform designed for companies, interest groups, and alumni organizations to strengthen internal collaboration.

It organizes team member data, supports event and task management, and centralizes communication. Hivebrite is also highly customizable, so you can give the tool’s UI a unique look and feel that aligns with your company’s branding.

The mobile app is undergoing constant refinement, and customer support receives positive reviews for speedy and helpful responses to queries.

Jostle

Jostle is a highly comprehensive employee portal solution that offers all the collaboration features an organization needs under one roof. Among the package’s features are mobile connectivity, integrations with common messaging platforms, and content management and curation.

It is easy to use and set up and is fully supported by mobile apps. You can also add external users to specific groups to enhance customer interaction and involvement.

A standout for the Jostle organization is its customer support and willingness to engage in solving problems, training users, and improving functionality for individual clients.

Samepage

Samepage is a robust platform designed for remote and distributed teams of any size. It’s main features are file curation, task management, social networking, meeting administration, and video conferencing.

Despite offering a wide range of collaboration tools, Samepage is easy to set up and use. The task management functions are particularly well-liked by users and offer integrations with common project management tools.

Samepage’s inbuilt video-/audio-conferencing tools are widely praised for helping improve team communication.

Glasscubes

Glasscubes started life as a CRM platform but has evolved into a powerful employee engagement portal for collaboration, task management, and team communication.

The system allows for flexibility in creating workgroups with varying levels of security access, and the Glasscubes support team has an excellent reputation for helping with onboarding and customization.

Recent enhancements from the vendor include full integration with Office 365 and improved drag-and-drop capabilities for files.

Stacker

Stacker is an employee engagement tool driven by Airtable data. It offers direct messaging, file sharing with customers, and a highly customizable UI.

Originally conceived as a simple file-sharing interface, Stacker has evolved into a more rounded collaboration platform. Stacker is a low-price alternative to a full-on intranet portal and is fully brandable, making it attractive for smaller organizations with a tight budget.

ThoughtFarmer

ThoughtFarmer provides a comprehensive intranet solution to organizations of all sizes and from all industries and is easy to set up and use.

Including all the collaboration tools a team needs, a recent upgrade means that the platform is fully integrated with Office 365. The platform’s file editing suite is fairly basic, but this integration improves shareability dramatically.

ThoughtFarmer requires little specialist IT knowledge to use, and support is reported to be quick and helpful.

Employee Portal Software Key Features

Employee portal software exists to improve communication and collaboration between team members, especially in fully remote organizations.

The key features a comprehensive employee portal software package should feature include:

  1. Customizable user interface (UI)
  2. Meeting management
  3. Message boards, chatrooms, and direct messaging
  4. CRM tools
  5. Survey engines
  6. Calendar management functions
  7. Task and project management
  8. Form, template, and document libraries
  9. Activity tracking tools

Customizable User Interface

An employee portal should be easy to navigate, but it should also reflect the look and feel of the organization. The more customizable the UI, the easier it is for designers to improve the portal’s functionality and make it more visually appealing, thus boosting the portal’s use by employees.

The top employee portal software features both template-based and ground-up UI design, enabling an organization to create a perfect portal for its team’s needs.

Meeting Management

Meetings should be short, impactful, and productive. Meeting management functions in an employee portal software package allow you to schedule meetings, set agendas, take minutes in real-time, and distribute supporting documents.

Collaborative tools allow side chats, screen sharing, and document annotation during the meetings themselves. Your choice of software should offer all these functions.

Message Boards, Chatrooms, and Direct Messaging

Whatever your team’s preferred method of communication, employee portal software should support it by offering chat facilities, message boards, and direct messaging between team members.

The most comprehensive platforms even offer video calling facilities, reducing the need for separate software for online meetings.

CRM Tools

As an aid to productivity, the employee portal software that is right for you may need to include CRM features. The top software solutions include not only traditional CRM tools such as client info, contact reporting, and customer information but also allow collaboration areas to be created, in which clients can interact with the team in real-time.

Survey Engines

In fulfilling its function as a virtual office, employee portal software offers an excellent opportunity to run employee surveys. Surveys represent a valuable tool for an HR Manager to float new ideas, gauge employee satisfaction, or solicit advice from the team.

The software you choose should allow you to create and customize various types of interactive surveys and collate and analyze the results.

Calendar Management Functions

Working with remote teams and trying to coordinate schedules across the entire organization manually can be a nightmare. Employee portal software should offer calendar management tools that coordinate diaries, facilitate work scheduling, and ensure that everybody is aware of each other’s schedules.

Task and Project Management

Face-to-face contact between team members makes managing tasks and projects easy, and employee portal software should emulate this effectively by including task and project management tools. The tools should include Gantt charts, project planning, critical path calculation, and work breakdown structure to ensure a remote team is just as effective as an office-based one.

Form, Template, and Document Libraries

Every organization creates a wealth of documents, all of which need to be accessible to all team members. Whether they are HR forms, presentation templates, or minutes from the latest meeting, employee portal software should include a document library that files and collates everything for easy accessibility.

Activity Tracking Tools

The top software solutions offer analysis tools to track who is online, who contributes, and who is a regular visitor to the portal. Using these, a team leader can monitor the team’s cohesiveness and engagement with what is happening in the organization and apply corrective action if required.

What Are the Benefits of Using Employee Portal Software?

These are the biggest benefits you will see from using an employee portal software:

  1. Improved communication
  2. Stronger collaboration
  3. Increased involvement
  4. Higher productivity

Improved Communication

Reducing the need for face-to-face interactions while improving communication channels means that your team members communicate more often and more effectively with each other.

By making tasks such as minute-taking easier, employee portal software also improves the quality of communication, reducing the chance of mixed messages or critical information not reaching its intended recipients.

Stronger Collaboration

By fostering easy team interaction, employee portal software allows remote team members to share skills, knowledge, and suggestions better. In addition to encouraging collaboration, employee portal software encourages better meeting planning and management, resulting in more focused and productive meetings with clearly defined action items and owners.

Increased Involvement

All teams have some members who are less involved than others. An employee portal gives everyone an equal opportunity to get their voice heard. Experienced team leaders also use an employee portal to share news frequently, ensuring that the team is fed continually with updates, points of interest, and new developments. This fosters a sense of belonging and involvement within the team.

Higher Productivity

An employee portal facilitates information sharing, promotes transparency, improves visibility, and allows team members to share their knowledge and collaborate asynchronously. This maximizes efficiency by ensuring every team member is up to date on relevant projects and tasks, has easy access to the knowledge and resources they need, and can unblock themselves.

What Are the Challenges of Implementing Employee Portal Software?

Implementing any new software package can be challenging—employee portal software is no exception.

You can expect the following challenges:

  1. Portal design
  2. Testing and rollout
  3. User training and subsequent uptake
  4. User skepticism

Portal Design

Bad design can kill an employee portal before it has even bedded in. To ensure maximum usage, an employee portal should be simple, attractive, and easy to navigate. Mistakes in design commonly involve an overcomplicated UI, too much information spread across the portal, or confusion around the core functions of the app.

Testing and Rollout

The natural tendency is to roll out a ready-made employee portal as quickly as possible to start benefiting from the improved communication it offers. Pressurizing the vendor to roll out without adequate testing can result in crashes, data corruption, or sluggish performance, all of which are the kiss of death for an employee portal. The system should be fully tested and all bugs ironed out before it is rolled out to the team.

User Training and Subsequent Uptake

A feature-rich employee portal requires training for team members to get the most benefit out of it. Once the team has been trained, experienced team leaders should insist on the platform becoming the primary communication medium for the team as soon as possible. Incentives may be necessary to encourage team members to abandon their previous communication habits.

User Skepticism

Team members may be initially skeptical about an employee portal, and some may even suspect that it will be used as a tool to monitor their behavior. While their usage of the system will be monitored, they must feel that the portal is a safe space, and it may be worth setting up an area of the portal that excludes management. This way, team members can feel more comfortable about discussion topics with their peers that may not be suitable for management’s ears.

Expert Tips for Deciding on the Best Software for Your Needs

With the wealth of employee portal software on the market, choosing the best system for your organization is difficult. Here are the main points you should consider before making your choice:

Expert Tips For Choosing Software
What is the real need? Before deciding on an employee portal software package, it is worthwhile to ask why your team needs a portal in the first place. The requirements of the system will vary depending on whether your team wants to collaborate better or wants to stop having to use numerous apps for different tasks. Answering this question allows you to prioritize what the employee portal should offer
Off-the-shelf or custom-built? Every organization is unique, but yours may be adequately served with an off-the-shelf portal solution that covers all your team’s basic needs. More complex and diverse organizations may determine that an employee portal must be entirely customized to their needs. This decision is crucial in determining which software solution is right for you
How much is enough? It is tempting to load every possible feature onto a new portal to ensure that employees have everything at their fingertips. A wiser course may be to start simple, only providing the functions that are essential to improving collaboration and productivity. Further enhancements can always be added later

Pricing

The pricing for employee portal software is calculated by user and is as follows:

Vendor Average Annual Pricing per Employee
Bitrix24 $99**
Blink $38
Boardable $95
Claromentis $36
Hivebrite n/s*
Jostle $48
Samepage $90
Glasscubes $300***
Stacker $468***
Thoughtfarmer $120

*Denotes pricing information not supplied by the vendor

**One-off fee with unlimited users

***Monthly fee with unlimited users

What Are the Most Important Integrations With Employee Portal Software?

The top employee portal software systems are comprehensive solutions, but the following vertical integrations are valuable:

  1. Team members can access and update their HR records through an integration with the organization’s HR software or employee record software
  2. In particular, team members may wish to log benefits claims or check the status of their benefits through an integration with the company’s employee benefits software
  3. If not already part of the portal software, integration with employee scheduling software can facilitate workflows throughout an organization
  4. Finally, team members can request leave or time off through the portal via integration with the organization’s PTO software

Similar Software Solutions for HR

If you are looking for something slightly different from employee portal software, take a look at these alternative HR-related tools:

  1. Payroll
  2. General HR

Payroll

If you’re scaling your team and want to ensure fast, accurate payments, check out our reviews of the best payroll software on the market:

General HR

Automate the bulk of your HR-related activities so you can focus on growing your business instead of wasting time on administrative tasks.

Check out our top recommendations for general HR software:

Frequently Asked Questions About Employee Portal Software

Here are the most frequently asked questions about employee portal software:

  1. Why do I need an employee portal?
  2. Can an employee portal be hacked?
  3. Which employee portal software is right for me?
  4. Will my boss use the portal to check up on me?
  5. What if I’m happy with my current apps?

Why Do I Need an Employee Portal?

An employee portal allows you to have everything you need for your business in one place and accessible to all your team members. It also offers collaboration tools to encourage team cohesiveness.

Can an Employee Portal Be Hacked?

Your IT security and your chosen systems firewalls should keep you safe from cyberattacks, but caution is always advised.

Which Employee Portal Software Is Right for Me?

This depends on your organization’s needs, structure, and industry. See the advice above to help you make an informed choice.

Will My Boss Use the Portal To Check Up on Me?

An employee portal should be a safe space for all employees, but an organization will monitor your activity on the portal, just as it monitors your web activity and email communication.

What if I’m Happy With My Current Apps?

If you are happy, then there is no need to change, but an employee portal offers much more efficient ways to collaborate and can enhance your productivity significantly.

Hiring Resources for Ambitious Companies

  1. Let artificial intelligence do the heavy lifting for you. The best AI recruiting software can find the perfect candidates for your open jobs
  2. Get fast, complete business data with the best HR analytics software. Use real-time information to make the right decisions every time
  3. Need the best professionals at the top of your organization? Check out the best executive recruiting software
  4. Want your best people to bring their top-performing contacts into the fold? Make the process easy and worth their while with the best employee referral software
  5. Looking for the best candidates for your vacancies? Get the top sourcing tools for recruiters
  6. Professional team development made easy, effective, and sustainable with employee review software
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