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The Employee Engagement Category: Risks and Opportunities

Over the past decade, employee engagement has hovered right around 30 percent. So, it’s not surprising that there’s widespread cynicism about the ability of SaaS technology to improve engagement — it hasn’t so far, so why should it now? That said, over the last few years we’ve seen many innovative companies making great strides to define and develop an employee engagement solution, and each has been approaching the problem in its own unique way.

This is the shift that we at The Starr Conspiracy Intelligence Unit (TSCIU) have been observing since 2012. We believe the time for employee engagement is now and that the employee engagement category has emerged. We see the category taking shape before us through the convergence of previously separate categories like recognition, wellness and well-being, and engagement measurement. But the most important point is that no one has cracked the nut just yet.  

We cover the emergence of this new category in The Starr Conspiracy’s 2016 Employee Engagement Vendor Brandscape Report, released last month. If you missed it, here’s a quick recap of the highlights:

  • Though we’re not explicating how to go about creating an employee engagement platform, we do outline the general orientation of solutions that fall within employee engagement compared with their legacy SaaS counterparts. These companies take a more employee-centric approach to the problems they solve and provide businesses with the tools they need to achieve strategic business outcomes (rather than simply managing or automating processes).
  • Currently, employee engagement solutions span many categories, from well-known categories such as talent management, employee recognition, learning, and benefits; to fast-growing categories like wellness (or well-being) and engagement measurement. This is one of the most important points of what will become the employee engagement platform: We don’t know what that will look like just yet, at least not fully.
  • We estimate the new Employee Engagement category to be a $74.3 billion dollar market opportunity — a place where emerging players will have the chance to grow into leaders and where even traditional players may find avenues for growth. In fact, current leaders in the areas of recognition, wellness and well-being, and engagement measurement may have an advantage as “first movers” whose products already address specific parts of employee engagement. Many of these players have already publicly stated that they’re moving toward an integrated Employee Engagement Platform.

  • There’s no opportunity without risk, and the biggest risk for many companies may come from a competitor that’s not even on their radar. Today’s leaders may also find themselves in decline as the category evolves faster than expected — and, believe us, this is all going to happen faster than any of us could have imagined.

Vendors aiming to lay claim to becoming the employee engagement leader need to consider the ultimate goal of engagement in everything they do — to create clear communication and better relationships among employees and employers. Solutions that uniquely facilitate these relationships will be the solutions that succeed.

In the meantime, enjoy all the insights the 2016 Employee Engagement Vendor Brandscape Report has to offer.