Understanding the Vendor Landscape Report

Our Methodology

The Starr Conspiracy Intelligence Unit (TSCIU) developed its Vendor Brandscape Report™ methodology as a multidimensional model with the purpose of understanding the market attributes of HR technology categories and vendor attributes to characterize how companies within a specific category interact with the market.

Market and vendor attributes

This brandscape will focus on market attributes that include such characteristics as market stage, size, and growth, as well as the following vendor attributes for employee engagement providers:

  1. Brand power — based on brand-awareness research when available and our own assessment when it’s not
  2. Message focus/market position — based on our analysis of how well the vendor understands the market and is delivering and communicating a compelling value proposition
  3. Competitive strength — based on the vendor’s brand strength, financial strength, strategic alliances, and how defensible its position is
  4. Competitive potential — based on the company’s business trajectory. For example, is it a rollup player, a target for acquisition, an IPO candidate, or a persistent niche player?

Brandscape key

Who are the key audiences?

This report serves the needs of three primary audiences:

  • Senior executives and sales and marketing leaders at HR technology vendors, who will gain a better understanding of the market and insight into how to improve from a brand and message perspective in order to attain a better competitive position.

  • HR technology buyers, who will gain a better understanding of market trends that are affecting employee engagement technology across the recognition, wellness and well-being, and engagement measurement categories; the technology vendors and specific technologies to explore; and the brands worth investing in.

  • Venture capital/private equity investors, who will gain a better understanding of the market and how marketing, message, and brand all play a role in the success or struggles of specific companies.

Why are we doing it?

In the HR technology industry, marketers were early adopters of a number of innovations that have become mainstream, such as marketing automation and content marketing. However, as an industry, marketers have been consistently behind in the use of brand. There’s a whole generation of HR marketing professionals who have never even done true brand marketing.

That’s a missed opportunity, because buyers often rely on brand power as a substitute for due diligence. The strongest brands gain market share faster, see better demand-generation results, book more revenue, and become early favorite vendors — sometimes the only vendor considered. Remember, “nobody gets fired for buying IBM.” That’s the power of a salient and powerful brand message, executed over the long term.

As the employee engagement category emerges and expands, this tendency of buyers to play favorites within a limited evaluation process remains true. Brand plays an incredibly critical role in emerging categories — and employee engagement will be no exception.

As the combination of recognition, wellness and well-being, and engagement measurement — and the host of other technologies — coalesces into its own discrete category, we expect the growth cycle of this category over the next few years to look like this:

  • Category average for revenue growth is approximately 40 percent
  • Category leaders average 60 percent growth
  • Industry breakouts show 200 percent growth

In short, a combination of brand and innovative products is paving the way for incredible growth in the emergent employee engagement category. We did the research and created this brandscape to help define and prove out our understanding of this new category, which will be in place for years to come.

What is this work based on?

The Starr Conspiracy does more quantitative research on brand and message in HR technology than anyone — dozens of surveys every year. However, all findings and inputs in our Brandscape™ report come solely via briefings and TSC primary and secondary research outside the purview of paid client work. Our goal is to help companies understand their brand power, message focus, competitive performance, competitive potential, and how they fare in relation to their competitors.

How is this different?

Traditional analyst firms focus on technology and process. They are also lagging indicators of the direction of a market. We take a forward-looking approach that focuses on the needs of companies and marketers — what the future holds, how to prepare for it, how you can grow as a company, and how to improve your brand to increase your competitive position.

How We See the Market

Currently, employee engagement solutions span many categories. Primarily, most employee engagement technology solutions fit within well-known categories, like talent management and employee recognition. However, we are seeing employee engagement as a significant focus in many other categories, including wellness, engagement measurement, learning, and benefits.

For inclusion in the category and for purposes of this report, we believe employee engagement software must address at least one of three areas:

  • Recognition — solutions that reinforce positive behaviors and promote positive employee experiences through various forms of formal and peer recognition — and that have a cumulative impact on employee engagement

  • Wellness and Well-being — solutions that approach employee physical, mental, and financial well-being, both as ends in and of themselves and as drivers of employee engagement

  • Engagement Measurement — solutions that facilitate the frequent — even continuous — measurement of employee engagement, in contrast to the annual employee engagement survey

We focus on those three categories in this report because we believe all three are essential components of an employee engagement platform. During the course of this report, we will mention and discuss other categories that can address employee engagement, including talent management, learning, and benefits. However, we will provide in-depth looks at these categories in subsequent brandscapes. The intent of this brandscape is to define how the employee engagement category differs from others solutions, including some of the technologies that may ultimately transform, adapt, or contribute to an engagement platform. We examine the current state of the market and seek to understand how future trends are aligning to this vision.

Engagement Vendors

The vendor landscape report is not meant to be all-inclusive, but a measure of select vendors that have significant brand presence or potential.

Inclusion criteria

Employee engagement vendors are included based on any of the following criteria:

  • The vendor’s presence and brand position in the North American market
  • TSCIU’s ability to measure the vendor’s brand awareness independently via our ongoing research
  • The vendor’s participation in TSCIU’s briefing and research process


  • Achievers
  • Engage2Excel (formerly TharpeRobbins)
  • Globoforce
  • HighGround
  • Inspirus
  • ITA Group
  • Kudos
  • Madison Performance Group
  • Maritz
  • Michael C. Fina Recognition
  • MTM Recognition
  • O.C. Tanner
  • PlayVox
  • Reward Gateway
  • Rideau
  • Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services
  • Terryberry
  • WorkStride (formerly CorporateRewards)

Others to Consider: Motivosity, Nudge Rewards, Point Recognition, Redii, Teamphoria, TemboSocial/TemboStatus, USMotivation, WorkAngel, YouEarnedIt

Wellness and Well-being

  • Fitbit
  • Healthways
  • Healthyroads
  • Jiff
  • Keas
  • LifeDojo
  • Limeade
  • Optum
  • Rally Health
  • RedBrick Health
  • ShapeUp
  • StayWell
  • Virgin Pulse
  • The Vitality Group
  • Viverae
  • WebMD
  • Welltok

Others to Consider: CrossKnowledge, FitLinxx, Shine by JouleBug, Sonic Boom Wellness, Sprout At Work, Welbe, WellRight, Wellsource, Whil, WORKTERRA

Engagement Measurement

  • Aon Hewitt
  • Culture Amp
  • CultureIQ
  • Gallup
  • Glint
  • Inquisium by Cvent
  • Qualtrics
  • Quantum Workplace
  • Questback
  • RoundPegg
  • SoapBox Innovations
  • TalentMap
  • TINYpulse/TINYhr
  • Voxco
  • Willis Towers Watson

Others to Consider: 15Five, BlackbookHR, Confirmit, Engagement Multiplier, Happiness Works, Herd Wisdom, Hyphen, Kanjoya, OfficeVibe, Peakon, Perceptyx, Plasticity Labs, Reflektive, Responster, Waggl, WorkplaceDynamics