Managers and workers have different perception of the future ‘employee experience’

employee experienceA gap is emerging between executive and employee perceptions on the future of the ’employee experience’, according to a report from Gartner. The 2021 Gartner Hybrid Work Employee Survey of 4,000 employees in January 2021 claims that there are six perception gaps that employers must resolve. The Gartner survey claims that 75 percent of executive leaders believe they are already offering a flexible employee experience, yet only 57 percent of employees indicate that their organisational culture embraces flexible working. Further, nearly three-quarters of executives believe the business understands how flexible work patterns support employees, but only half of employees share this view.

“We examined the key areas crucial to planning for the future employee experience and discovered significant dissonance between employee and executive sentiment across all,” said Alexia Cambon, director in the Gartner HR practice. “If left unaddressed, this division may lead to a critical failure to build trust and employee buy-in for future of work plans. Employees do not feel that their need for flexibility is seen as a driver of performance. More concerning is the clear gap when it comes to autonomy over the decision to work flexibly — 72 percent of executives agree they can work out their own flexible work arrangement with their manager, whereas only half of employees feel they have that same privilege.”

Only 66 percent of employees agree they have the technology they need to effectively work remotely, compared to 80 percent of executives. In fact, only 59 percent of employees agree their organisation has invested in providing them with resources that allow them to work the way they would onsite in a virtual environment — compared to 76 percent of executives. The gap between executives and employees in their ability to work from home is likely to further disadvantage employees if it makes them less likely to take advantage of flexibility.

Only 41 percent of employees agree that senior leadership acts in their best interest, compared to 69 percent of executives. Executives are also more likely to feel trusted when it comes to working from home, with 70 percent agreeing that their organisation trusts employees not to abuse work flexibility, compared to 58 percent of employees.

Only 47 percent of employees believe leadership takes their perspective into consideration when making decisions, whereas 75 percent of senior leaders feel they do. This divide extends to whether employees believe their work environment is inclusive of a diverse set of employee needs and preferences; while 72 percent of executives believe this is the case, only 59 percent of employees feel the same.

There is a clear disconnect between how executives and employees perceive the content and effectiveness of their organisation’s communication. For example, 71 percent of executives agree leadership at their organisation has expressed a preference for work conditions to return to their pre-pandemic model, whereas only 50 percent of employees have that same impression.

Organisations are striving more than ever to create a shared purpose, yet Gartner research reveals that while 77 percent of executives agree they feel like they are a part of something important at their organisation, only 59 percent of employees feel similarly. The increasing focus on diversity, equity and inclusion over the last 18 months has shone a light on how different employee segments feel about their organisation’s diversity. Seventy percent of executives believe that managers at their organisation are as diverse as the broader workforce at their organisation, compared to only 52 percent of employees.