As employers forge ahead with future-of-work strategies, they may think they’re addressing employees’ growing demands for hybrid working models and increased flexibility, but Gartner data shows a chasm exists between executives and employees over what is actually being delivered. Failing to acknowledge these sentiment gaps could fatally damage employee experience.
The 2021 Gartner Hybrid Work Employee Survey of 4,000 employees globally reveals six key areas where there is a significant divide between how employees and executives feel.
If left unaddressed, these gaps may lead to a critical failure to build trust and employee buy-in for future-of-work plans — and make it hard to attract and retain critical talent.
No. 1: Executives think they have a culture of flexibility; employees don’t
While 72% of executives agree they can work out their own flexible work arrangement with their manager, only half of the employees feel they have that same privilege. Establishing a culture of flexibility — where flexible work is the norm, not the exception — is crucial to the success of hybrid work.
No. 2: Executives are better equipped to work remotely than employees
This gap between executives and employees could further disadvantage employees if decision-makers have a fundamentally different experience of remote work than the majority of the workforce. Designing the hybrid work experience will require leaders to adopt the vantage point of all populations of the workforce, particularly those which do not have a productive home environment to work from.
No. 3: Rank-and-file employees have lower levels of trust than executives
This distrust extends to rewards and recognition — just 47% of employees believe that employees who help the organization achieve its strategic objectives are fairly rewarded and recognized, compared to 73% of executives.
Without trust, employees may feel wary of sharing their honest opinions about how, where and when they want to work. According to our most recent survey on hybrid work, only 56% of employees agree they feel welcome to express their true feelings at work, compared to 74% of executives.
No. 4: Executives think they listen, but employees disagree
After more than a year of increased autonomy, employees are demanding increased flexibility, but this gap suggests that employees do not feel their desire to influence how, where and when they work is always being heard.
No. 5: Executives hear one thing; the rank and file another
This data shows a clear disconnect between how executives and employees perceive their organization’s messaging and intent around future-of-work decisions. It’s a disconnect that could further exacerbate employee distrust in leadership decision-making.
No. 6: Executives feel a greater sense of purpose than employees
Equity, diversity, fairness, and a shared sense of purpose are becoming increasingly key to employee experience, and this data highlights an important gap in perceptions — despite growing demands for organizational diversity. Decision-makers must take this disconnect into account if they are to design an inclusive hybrid work strategy that prioritizes diversity and equity.
The original article by Alexia Cambon, director of research at Gartner, is here.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of DigitalWorkforceTrends. Image credit: iStockphoto/Mike_Kiev