What you need to know about our exclusive new future of work research
- Posted on May 11, 2022
- Estimated reading time 5 minutes
Emerging out of the warp speed transformation triggered by the pandemic, the world of work has changed. And, among the many profound outcomes of this period of intense disruption, a core revelation has emerged: The employee/employer dynamic has fundamentally shifted – and businesses depend on their people more than they ever realized. Whether it’s for day-to-day continuity or longer-term growth, people are the engine that drives the organization forward.
But what does it mean to be truly people first in the future of work? We know it’s more than a flexible working veneer. So, how far does this commitment reach? Is it an obligation to rethink employee experience (EX) – or is it broader, extending across the full workplace vista, also embracing work platforms, spaces and processes?
That’s what our global workplace study set out to investigate. Our research surveyed 2,100 senior business, IT and HR decision-makers during late 2021 into early 2022. Conducted by Vanson Bourne, the study assessed the key workplace challenges organizations face currently and focus areas for the future of work – specifically when it came to building a workplace that enabled both business and people growth.
Below I’ve recapped some of the key insights that stood out. You can download and read the full research report by heading here.
The people-first prerogative
Our research found that, on the surface at least, employee experience and people figure prominently as a priority for every organization, in every industry, in every country.
Virtually every respondent said they were taking steps to transform their employee experience now (98%) and in the future of work, across the next three years (99%). An employee focus is also driving specific aspects of many organizations’ workplace strategies. 63% reported that their workplace approach is defined by their EX strategy and/or is tailored to acknowledge the unique challenges that different employee groups face, depending on their role and where they work.
What’s more, people-centric flexible models appear to be flourishing. The vast majority (85%) of respondents stated that their organization is currently either committed to or testing out a fully remote (24%) or a hybrid (61%) working model. And confidence levels are high when it comes to hybrid work success. Over eight in ten (83%) are either very or totally confident that they have already found the right balance in terms of their hybrid work approach. These confidence levels rise to 88% for respondents working in line of business functions (compared to 79% in IT and 81% in HR/training).
So, we can safely assume organizations are duly committing to their people-first obligations… right? Maybe not…
How people first became people false
Organizations might be talking a good game. But the reality is different. Our study highlighted a stark contradiction between what firms are saying and what they’re doing when it comes to building a truly people-first world of work.
Nearly two thirds (62%) of respondents’ organizations haven’t taken steps to streamline their employee experience and application ecosystem to help their people to access what they need more easily. A further (60%) still haven’t enabled truly flexible ways of working to give all employees freedom of choice around how, when or where they work. And over half (55%) haven’t adopted workplace analytics solutions, which would provide the insights to enable the continual evolution of their EX.
That was just the beginning. Looking deeper into the data – we found that the majority of respondents were consistently failing to address the core drivers of a holistic Workplace Experience: including a modernized technology ecosystem, employee experience and culture, and transformed work processes.
But there was good news: A remedy to the people-first fallacy
Our survey revealed that organizations are increasingly embracing a Workplace Experience (WX) approach – where IT, HR and line of business leaders come together to drive a holistic workplace transformation. And that WX model is generating significant growth potential: For the business and the employee.
WX is enabling businesses to be people first and people powered. As a result of their investment in Workplace Experience programs, in the last 12 months organizations have improved productivity by an average of 6.83% and employee retention by 6.70%. In fact, financial services firms have seen the highest average improvement in productivity (7.87%) while the oil and gas industry witnessed the greatest average improvement in employee retention (7.63%).
Similarly, our survey revealed big business impact too, including:
- Average stock market valuation improvement of 6.48%
- Average of 6.92% improvement in their customer satisfaction
- Average cost reduction of 6.34%
- Average revenue growth of 6.72% – which equates to an average revenue increase of $919M USD. Across industries, those in financial services ($1,164M) experienced the greatest revenue growth
That’s probably why we also found that organizations are waking up to the powerful potential of WX. Four in five (80%) of respondents said their organization had increased spend in a holistic workplace program (spanning workplace platforms, places, processes and people) over the last 12 months. And workplace leaders – those who have seen the greatest improvement across the key metrics referenced above – recognize this. They increased their spend around four times more than those who’ve seen the least improvement.
I’m truly excited about the trends we’ve uncovered in our research, and I encourage you to read the full report to learn more about the insights we’ve generated.