A new study finds an emerging gap between employee and executive perceptions on the future of the employee experience. 

New research carried out by Gartner shows a sizeable division between the views of employers and their staff when it comes to what the future of employee experience should look like.

Around three-quarters (75 per cent) of executive leaders believe they are already operating within a culture of flexibility.

However, just over half (57 per cent) of staff agree with this statement, showing that organisations may not be doing all they can to embrace a flexible work culture.

Similarly, nearly three-quarters of executives believe the business understands how flexible work patterns support employees, but only half of employees share this view.

The research also shows that executives may have more access to technology which would allow them to work more flexibly.

Only two-thirds (66 per cent) of employees agree they have the technology they need to effectively work remotely, compared to four in five (80 per cent) executives.

Furthermore, under three-fifths of employees (59 per cent) feel their organisation has invested in providing them with the correct resources to work remotely whilst over three-quarters (76 per cent) executives believe they have been equipped in this way.

There were also key problems linked to trust and effective communication from leaders.

Seven in 10 executives (70 per cent) agreed that their organisation trusts employees not to abuse work flexibility, compared to 58 per cent of employees.

A large gap was also seen between the amount of executives who believe leadership takes employees’ views into account when making decisions (75 per cent) and the number of staff who felt the same way (just 47 per cent).

Alexia Cambon, Director in the Gartner HR Pratice, stated:

Employees do not feel that their need for flexibility is seen as a driver of performance.

More concerning is the clear gap when it comes to autonomy over the decision to work flexibly — 72 per cent of executives agree they can work out their own flexible work arrangement with their manager, whereas only half of employees feel they have that same privilege.

If left unaddressed, this division may lead to a critical failure to build trust and employee buy-in for future of work plans.


*To obtain these results, Gartner surveyed 4,000 employees in January 2021 in its Gartner Hybrid Work Employee Survey.