Organisations and staff disagree over employee experience, report reveals

Half of executives report being happy at work, according to research, compared to just one in five more junior staff

There are large disparities between what organisations and employees think equates to good wellbeing, a report has found, especially over issues of remote and hybrid working.

The 2021 Global Workplace Experience Report, by NTT, found that while 79 per cent of organisations believed employees wanted to work in the office full time, just 40 per cent of surveyed employees agreed.

Similarly, the research found large discrepancies in job satisfaction between senior and lower-level staff. While nearly half (47 per cent) of C-suite executives said they were happy with their employer, just 13 per cent of non-managerial staff reported the same.

CEOs were also nearly three times as likely to be satisfied with their current employee experience as operations staff (64 per cent and 23 per cent respectively).

And while 90 per cent of organisations answered that they recognised the value of employee experience to their business strategy, just 38 per cent of employees said that their organisation fully values their wellbeing, and only 35 per cent of employees agreed that employee experience improved over the last year.

The report looked at data from 1,200 organisations across 23 countries.

Get more HR and employment law news like this delivered straight to your inbox every day – sign up to People Management’s PM Daily newsletter

Alex Bennett, global senior vice president for global trade management solutions at NTT, said the findings showed employers were still under-utilising ways to gather and measure employee data. “If you don't have that real-time sentiment [analysis], no wonder there is a massive gap between what the executive thinks is happening, and the employees,” he said.

The report found less than half (45 per cent) of organisations self-reported having strong capabilities in using analytics to measure employee experience, while employee surveys were the most common tool used to measure employee voice, used by 53 per cent of organisations.

Bennett added that many employers made the mistake of making decisions on employee experience based on single pieces of data, arguing that a more nuanced insight could help improve engagement and productivity.

“What’s important is not what we do to improve the workplace, but how it actually benefits the workforce – and an organisation cannot know that without a mature approach to measuring employees’ sentiment,” he said.

Dr Zofia Bajorek, senior research fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), agreed that employers are not effectively making use of employee experience data.

“Organisations [need] to undertake further consultations with their staff about what preferred working patterns would be [to] avoid potential productivity, engagement and retention issues,” he said.

Rachel Suff, senior policy adviser for employment relations at the CIPD, said that employers needed to take a “strategic and preventative approach” to wellbeing. “This could be through the use of employee assistance programmes or flexible working options which promote better work-life balance, for example,” she said.