Employee Engagement

Employee engagement platform: should I build or buy?

Kristina Finn | December 7, 2022

Diminished employee morale leads to workplace detachment, boredom, and fatigue, resulting in loss of productivity and an increased likelihood of a quit event. The issue is so serious that by some estimates, it costs the world economy an estimated $7.8 trillion.

The best way to increase employee engagement is to, well, engage with them. Annual or biannual check-ins aren’t sufficient. You need ongoing, scheduled workforce engagement throughout the employment journey — and the best part is that your employees will thank you for it. In fact, 61% of WorkStep survey respondents say they want the opportunity to provide feedback to their employer at least once every month.

Once you’ve made the decision to prioritize engagement with your frontline workers, you’ll inevitably reach a point where you need to determine whether to build a solution in-house or leverage an existing service. Keep these pros and cons in mind as you weigh the benefits of building vs. buying an employee engagement platform.

Building an employee engagement tool

A bespoke solution tailored to your business and your specific wants and needs? On first pass, that seems hard to resist. But there are important caveats as well.

  • Full Customization and Flexibility — With a custom-built solution you’ll have full control of functionality and integration. You can instill your company’s growth and business goals into every aspect of the new platform, control the timeline, and schedule bug fixes per your needs.
  • Significant Time, Cost and Risk — You’ll either need an existing tech team with available bandwidth, or you’ll need to dedicate time and resources to hire a product team or outside contractor. Either way, you’re looking at significant cost, management overhead, protracted development time, risk of cost overages, and lack of effectiveness and usability.
  • Knowing What You Need — Even if you know what you need in terms of end result, the steps to get there and the specifics of exactly what to build are not always clear. Workforce retention software providers are familiar with the state of the industry and likely have ideas that you wouldn’t necessarily think of since they’ve field tested their solutions and understand what works and doesn’t.
  • Keeping Up — Even after the platform is built, you’ll have to allot time and resources for ongoing maintenance and feature iteration.

Buying a comprehensive employee engagement platform

From initial planning and project management to development, testing, and integration, building a workforce engagement platform from scratch can seem like a new line of business.

A third-party solution can save you time and money while still delivering the full suite of modern engagement tools you need.

  • Cost Savings with No Surprises — SaaS providers distribute their overheads across their customer base so you only pay a fraction of what it might cost to build from scratch. Plus you’ll enjoy easy scalability, minimal ramp-up time, and upfront pricing.
  • Customization — Today’s best technology solutions offer many of the same benefits previously associated with custom development including deep customization and HRIS integration. Unless your company has extremely specific and unique demands that differ drastically from the market as a whole, a modern SaaS engagement platform will very likely surpass your expectations, while providing significant cost, management, administrative, and operational savings.

With WorkStep at your side, you can focus on what you do best and grow your business while we deliver your workforce engagement needs in a modern, intuitive platform that offers real-time analytics with granular permissioning, agile flexibility, and remarkable customization. Request a demo to see how.

Effectively evaluate employee engagement software

Get the ultimate guide for choosing frontline employee engagement software: A comprehensive guide and RFP template to help you make a more informed decision when selecting an employee engagement solution.

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Kristina Finn

Kristina Finn, Content Marketing Manager | kristina@workstep.com