Whistleblowing, GRC or employee engagement software: What's the difference?

Choosing the right human resources software for your organisation can be challenging. With myriad platforms and tools available, each seemingly offering overlapping functionalities, it's easy to get overwhelmed. If you have been searching for new HR tools, you may have encountered terms like governance, risk and compliance (GRC) software, employee engagement software, employee feedback software, and whistleblowing software. Let’s dive deeper and untangle these terms to ensure you select the tool that perfectly meets your organisation's needs.
Whistleblowing, GRC or employee engagement software

What is employee feedback software?

Think of employee feedback software as a modern, digital suggestion box. Its primary purpose is to capture employee insights, ideas, and concerns, paving the way for actionable changes within an organisation. Such software isn't limited to collecting feedback; it can be pivotal in administering regular surveys, helping businesses understand employee sentiment on various topics and issues.

The best employee feedback software incorporates AI and machine learning to identify and analyse patterns in employee sentiment. For organisations grappling with work culture challenges, pulse surveys become indispensable, acting as barometers for employee happiness and highlighting potential problem areas.

Here's where employee feedback software can be particularly insightful:

  • Across diverse office or workplace locations.
  • Within specific departments or teams.
  • Evaluating managerial roles and leadership effectiveness.
  • Analysing overarching office culture.
  • Particular areas and topics like safety, training, or compliance.

The gathering of anonymous feedback is a feature of many HR tools. While many employee feedback tools capture anonymous employee feedback, the downside is that case management and triage can often be too simple to capture vital disclosures.

What is employee engagement software?

While there are similarities with employee feedback software, particularly in features like pulse surveys and anonymous reporting, employee engagement software offers additional tools to promote productivity, uplift company morale, celebrate accomplishments, and ensure employees feel valued.

At the heart of employee engagement software is the ability to tap into the mood and motivations of employees in real time. Pulse surveys are the backbone, providing businesses with quick, recurring insights. As feedback pours in, the software organises it, allowing for an at-a-glance understanding of team sentiment. These insights enable companies to spot trends and make proactive decisions.

Beyond surveys, another unique functionality is social recognition. Imagine a platform where an employee's hard work doesn't go unnoticed. A simple "kudos" for a well-done task can mean the world. This positive reinforcement, coupled with features that celebrate work anniversaries or milestones, fosters a culture of appreciation, ensuring that achievements, both big and small, are spotlighted.

What sets employee engagement software apart from its feedback counterpart are features like:

  • KPIs: Beyond collecting feedback, the best employee engagement tools let you manage and benchmark your key performance indicators.
  • Feedback alerts: Proactive tools alert managers and HR professionals to negative feedback, paving the way for immediate redressal. It's about identifying pain points and finding ways to evolve and improve.
  • Kudos/rewards: One of the core pillars of fostering a good work culture is recognition. Employee Engagement Software often comes with features that allow for public acknowledgment. This peer-to-peer social recognition strengthens team bonds.
  • Leaderboard: Gamifying work can be a unique motivator. Leaderboards, which display points and awards from colleagues, can spur a competitive yet collaborative spirit, inspiring employees to do their best.
  • Calendar: Integrating personal events like birthdays, public holidays, and parental days ensures the team knows about special occasions or days off. It's a tool that promotes empathy and camaraderie.
  • Milestones: Celebrating big wins is integral to maintaining morale. Milestone features allow teams to stay updated with company news, team achievements, and collective celebrations, reinforcing a sense of unity.
  • Time management tools: In a world driven by deadlines, having comprehensive time management tools is vital. Employee engagement software often incorporates solutions that help with project planning, timeline estimation, task assignments, milestone creation, and feedback mechanisms for all team members, irrespective of tenure.
  • Core values and policies: The heart and soul of any organisation are its values and policies. Engagement software serves as a continuous reminder, ensuring that while employees aim for success, they align with the company's ethos and principles.

While employee feedback software allows employees to voice their sentiments, employee engagement software integrates many unique features, creating a holistic employee tool for fostering a positive work culture. Given that these added functionalities may come with a higher price tag, companies should evaluate if they require these features before making a more significant investment.

What is whistleblowing software?

While employee feedback and engagement tools might offer channels for workplace reporting, they don't quite succeed when handling critical disclosures. These platforms might capture general feedback and ideas but often lack the robust privacy and security measures, as well as the comprehensive reporting pathways that whistleblowing software provides. 

Developed explicitly for complex cases, whistleblowing software (sometimes called an “ethics hotline” or a “speak up hotline”) is a reporting channel that allows employees, members or students within an organisation to report instances of wrongdoing. While traditional whistleblowing systems once took the form of telephone hotlines or physical trust boxes, contemporary solutions have evolved into sophisticated software platforms, often standing alone or integrated into HR tools.

Benefits of whistleblowing software

There are many advantages of whistleblowing software that we have discussed on this blog. Some of these include:

  • Employee safety: By providing an avenue for employees to anonymously report unsafe practices or concerns, whistleblowing software ensures a safer work environment, where potential hazards are addressed before they escalate, safeguarding the well-being of all staff members.
  • Promote openness and transparency: Offering an anonymous reporting channel sends a clear message to employees: their voices matter, and they can speak up without fear. 
  • Financial savings: On average, internal fraud deducts about 5% from a company's revenue. Whistleblowing platforms can identify and reduce these internal losses. 
  • Reputation management: In the absence of a structured whistleblowing platform, aggrieved parties might turn to external avenues, inviting unwanted media attention. A dedicated whistleblowing channel helps resolve issues internally, safeguarding the organisation's reputation.
  • Uncover opportunities: Beyond misconduct reporting, whistleblowing software can serve as a channel for employees to share feedback anonymously. This feedback can pinpoint operational inefficiencies or even highlight potential revenue avenues.
  • Regulatory compliance: From 31 December 2023, Australian businesses and organisations must comply with their positive duty under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984. It’s now written into law: organisations must take proactive measures to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace.

What is governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) Software?

Governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) is a unified strategy employed by organisations to manage their corporate governance, risk management procedures, and adherence to industry and government regulations. Integrating these three pillars is fundamental to achieving business goals while ensuring that a company operates within the bounds of safety and legality.

Governance: Pertains to the structures and policies formed by an organisation to achieve its objectives. It highlights the roles of key players, such as the board of directors and top management, emphasising ethical operations, accountability, and efficient resource management.

Risk: Companies face a multitude of risks daily. Effective risk management involves identifying these challenges and implementing strategies to minimise potential damages. Such methods include identifying vulnerabilities in IT systems or foreseeing market shifts.

Compliance: This is about ensuring that a company's operations align with external regulations set by governments and the industry, as well as internal policies. With an extensive array of laws and regulations to follow, maintaining compliance is vital to avoid legal penalties and preserve the organisation's reputation.

GRC software provides a centralised platform to handle these three components. Governance, risk, and compliance software provides the tools to assist companies in monitoring and managing their compliance activities.

Features of GRC Software

  • Digital management tools for content and documents, facilitating efficient storage and tracking.
  • Risk analytics tools for measuring and strategising around potential risks.
  • Workflow management features to oversee GRC-specific processes.
  • Simplified audit management functionalities.
  • Mechanisms to link organisational policies with relevant regulatory mandates.
  • Governance, risk, and compliance software is essential for mid-to-large organisations with complex regulatory demands. It helps manage operations, ensures that companies remain resilient to risks and reduces costs of unifying and managing compliance.

What  is the best HR software?

Determining the appropriate HR software for your organisation requires careful consideration. Numerous tools are available, from employee feedback and engagement platforms to whistleblowing systems and GRC tools. Each has its strengths and is designed to address specific challenges or operational needs. The suitability of a tool often depends on factors such as the size of your organisation, costs associated with implementing the software, the nature of your operations, industry-specific risks, and regulatory obligations.

For small businesses aiming to efficiently capture employee sentiments and insights, employee feedback software might be the best fit. Growing organisations may benefit more from a holistic employee management system like employee engagement software. Those prioritising a safe and anonymous reporting channel will find whistleblowing tools relevant. But remember, while it's tempting to dream of a custom software solution tailored to our unique requirements, practicalities often dictate choosing from available software, even if they don’t tick every box.

Introducing Elker

Elker is a full-featured anonymous reporting tool, offering an array of features that make it both a secure whistleblowing tool and incorporating many features of employee engagement software. 

Elker began two years ago in response to growing concerns about sexual harassment and sex-based discrimination in Australian workplaces. It was built from the ground up by legal professionals and experts in dispute system design. With Sex Discrimination Act positive duty compliance around the corner, it's important to choose a reporting tool built by those who understand the laws and regulations for Australian entities.

What differentiates Elker is that professional legal support is available and seamlessly incorporated into its case management functionalities. This integration resulted from listening to the community and business needs, especially businesses without dedicated legal officers or organisations encountering complex whistleblowing cases.

Here's a snapshot of what Elker provides:

  • Pulse and cultural surveys to gauge organisational health.
  • Advanced triage options ensure the security and privacy of whistleblowers.
  • Real-time analytics for an in-depth understanding of employee sentiment.

You can view the complete set of features here and decide if we are the right fit for your organisation.

Elker aims to provide as much personalisation for your organisation as possible. We’re constantly working on new features, and if there is a missing feature you would like to see, we will find a solution or build an integration to accommodate your needs. Our agility and commitment to client satisfaction is our most important asset. Book a demo today and see how Elker can transform your business.

Want expert insights into workplace reporting?

Sign up for our newsletter.

We care about your data. Read our privacy policy.