HR Management & Compliance

Employers Are Failing at the Employee Experience

While there is a lot on everyone’s mind these days due to COVID-19, new survey findings reveal that the employee experience is the farthest thing from employers’ minds, as only 17% of respondents say their employers offer an “exceptional” experience.

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According to data released by HR tech company Topia, many organizations are coming up short on delivering the culture, engagement, and experience modern employees expect, putting those companies at risk of losing out on the best talent. The deficit means employers must focus on delivering a better employee experience, which must go beyond office perks.

According to “Adapt or Lose the War for Talent: Why Your Employee Experience Needs an Upgrade,” conducted by Method Research on behalf of Topia, only 17% of employees give their company an exceptional rating for employee experience. And, non-HR employees are twice as likely to rate their company poorly compared with those on the HR team, suggesting a considerable disconnect in perceived employee experience versus reality.

That disconnect means employers aren’t delivering an experience that aligns with employees’ priorities and motivations as well as they think they are.

Diversity and Inclusion: A Mismatch Between Expectation and Reality

Virtually everyone agrees that diversity and inclusion are an important part of company culture when it comes to driving innovation and creativity. Yet employees still report feeling uncomfortable bringing their authentic selves to work, fearing that if managers and colleagues knew the truth about them, it could hinder their career growth.

Topia survey findings reveal that one in four employees feel that if their manager or colleagues knew their political beliefs, it would limit their career potential. The concern is even greater among HR, with 44% saying they feel the need to keep their personal beliefs private.

Over 40% of employees aged 18–38 say companies should actually prioritize diversity over experience and capabilities when it comes to making hiring decisions. And one in four employees also say they have to hide parts of who they are in order to fit in at work.

Employee Experience: What Matters Most?

The survey found that amazing office space and perks actually rank last among employees’ priorities. Instead:

  • 58% of employees define a great employee experience as being empowered and trusted; 48% say it’s about training, job rotation, or international assignments; 38% mentioned the right technology; and office space and perks are at the bottom of the list (19%).
  • Only 16% of non-HR employees say a cool space, food, and games matter, while 25% of HR professionals think these are a priority.
  • By contrast, bad managers are the bane of a good experience, with more than half of respondents citing a bad manager as the top contributor to a toxic culture, with one interesting exception: Those in the 18-to-38 age bracket say a lack of career growth and development is even worse.

“These results demonstrate there’s so much that goes into a great experience—like opportunity, diversity, global experiences and trust—and many employees just aren’t getting that from their employers,” says Meghan M. Biro, CEO and Founder of TalentCulture, in a press release. “HR teams must recognize and adapt to the reality that free lunches and foosball tables aren’t enough anymore, especially in a challenging year like 2020. Employees want genuine opportunities, authenticity and empathy from their employers.”

Tyranny of Tasks: Simplifying Processes Is #1 Priority for Tech Solutions

The inefficiencies of performing even the simplest HR tasks make getting things done feel like pulling teeth—literally. About one in three employees say they’d rather go to the dentist, do the dishes, wait on hold, or sit in traffic than complete HR tasks like submitting and approving paid-time-off (PTO) requests, reading through HR benefits, or compiling and submitting expense reports. The problem: subpar technologies that get in the way of getting work done.

The time employees waste on completing HR-related tasks adds up to a whopping 40 million hours wasted each month and about $8.15 billion in lost productivity across large companies in the United States and the United Kingdom.

  • Nearly 60% say their HR tools are disjointed, difficult, outdated, and glitchy or provide a poor user experience.
  • 70% of HR employees use 3 to 6 apps to complete a single task.
  • Only 8% of HR professionals are able to get the right data and insights from their tools to make smart decisions.
  • 37% find approving or submitting PTO requests more annoying than doing the dishes.

The Future of Work Is Agile and Global

As many experts have predicted, the distributed and flexible work environments seen during the pandemic are just a preview of what’s to come. Employees overwhelmingly agree that 5 years from now, teams will be increasingly spread across multiple locations and many different time zones, as well as made up of people with a wide range of backgrounds and expertise. In fact:

  • 76% agree teams in the future will be more agile and location will become irrelevant.
  • 57% agree that the notion of 9-to-5 office hours will be a thing of the past.
  • Nearly 60% say international experiences are critical to career growth and mobility.
  • 36% say they’d consider moving abroad, including 1 in 4 who would do so for a long-term assignment.

“The results of this survey prove that while companies might think they’re doing a great job with employee experience, there are still a lot of unmet expectations, particularly when it comes to ‘ease of use’ of the tools required to do one’s job,” says Topia CEO Shawn Farshchi. “To attract and retain top talent, organizations will need integrated technology solutions that automate mundane tasks and connect disjointed systems that allow them to operate with the efficiency, global mindset and broader perspective today’s employees expect.”

To learn more about the survey results, click here.