Organisations worldwide have been declaring employee experience a huge priority since the pandemic, and over the last two years, a spectrum of employee experience strategies have sprung up around specific areas such as flexibility, well-being, access to technological tools, and others.
But under all the hype, there may not have been as much concrete action as people hope. A new study by digital and cloud services company Avanade shows that while almost all companies worldwide say they are taking steps to improve employee experience, most have not actually implemented the tools and policies that would have the greatest impact.
The study, which covers 2,100 senior business leaders from 15 countries (mainly in Europe and North America, but also including Australia, Brazil, and Japan), found that only 40% of the surveyed companies actually offer their employees flexibility in terms of a genuine choice about when or where they work. The other 60% have various restrictions in place or simply don't offer flexibility at all - this despite a general acknowledgement that work-from-anywhere is actually more beneficial than traditional arrangements in terms of productivity and employee retention.
More than 60% have not set up a way for employees to access work-critical tools and applications from locations other than the office. While this can be understandable for industries that need to prioritise confidentiality, such as finance, law, or many professional services sectors, it indicates that for many companies, the digital acceleration of the last two years may not at all have been geared toward enabling flexibility. Possibly related to the above, 55% do not have a security model that enables work-from-anywhere.
The gap between intention and execution is glaring given that the Avanade study also found a strong correlation between the progressiveness of companies' workplace strategies and how prepared these companies are for the future of work. Those organisations that invested in genuinely enabling flexible work also saw measurable improvements (6% and above) in productivity, employee retention, customer satisfaction, and even stock market valuation.