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U.S. Business Leaders and Employees Clash on Ideal Hybrid Workplace Experience - Unisys Survey

U.S. business leaders are out of touch with what employees want from a hybrid workplace experience, with 70% of U.S. employees ranking recognition as their most important priority as compared to only 50% of business leaders, according to a new survey from Unisys Corporation. Flexible schedules and work locations were cited by U.S. business leaders as most important (65%) to an ideal employee experience, as compared to only 55% of U.S. employee respondents. The findings are included in a new IDC white paper, sponsored by Unisys, titled "Digital Workplace Insights: Seeking Digital and Experience Parity to Support the Hybrid Workforce."

Further key U.S. highlights from the survey include:

  • Nearly 40% of business leaders cited difficulty effectively communicating with team members as the greatest challenge impacting employee productivity, while only 19% of employees thought this was problematic. One-third (33%) of employees indicated "no or few noticeable challenges."
  • More than 35% of employees said fewer in-person meetings are important to the employee experience; only 25% of business leaders agree.
  • Employees value frequent and open communication from managers 30% more than business leaders realize.
  • Employees noted a three-way tie on the technology that would improve their working environment overall: collaboration tools, digital technology to work faster and technical support when needed.

"One of the outcomes of 2020 has been the rapid technology, process and policy adjustments that most organizations have made to support hybrid ways of working," said Holly Muscolino, research vice president, content strategies and the future of work at IDC.

"Across the globe, almost 40% of the workforce was forced to shift to remote ways of working almost overnight, while the remaining 60% continued to adapt and find new, safer ways to do their jobs. Now we know that, for most, there will be no return to the business models of 2019. Remote employees will continue to comprise almost one-quarter of the global workforce, albeit with some variability across industries. The hybrid workforce - remote, on-site, in the field and transitioning between locations - is here to stay, and the temporary changes organizations put into place throughout 2020 must become permanent going forward," said Muscolino.

The Unisys-sponsored research surveyed more than 1,100 respondents, including business leaders and employees, across 15 countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK and the U.S. Results are detailed in the IDC White Paper.

Digital and Experience Parity

To optimize the employee experience of their hybrid workforce, employers should focus on "digital parity" as well as employee "experience parity," according to IDC. Digital parity is the requirement that all workers have secure access to the resources required to do their jobs, no matter their preferred device or location (office/remote/in the field). Successful organizations will go one step further and ensure experience parity - offering an excellent employee experience for all - while further enabling agile ways of working that drive innovation anytime, anywhere and on any device.

The survey also revealed that 64% of business leaders indicated they plan to adopt a different operating model than they had before the COVID-19 pandemic. The shift, they said, was not only to ensure employee safety, but also to offer a better employee experience and increased employee productivity.

"Businesses everywhere must place a greater priority on enhancing employee experiences, which in turn will drive higher productivity, collaboration and better customer outcomes," said Leon Gilbert, senior vice president and general manager, Digital Workplace Services, Unisys. "Organizations that adapt to provide digital and experience parity will not only retain employees in a competitive marketplace but will also empower those employees to provide the best service possible to their organization's customers. Do it well and you drive engagement, productivity and adaptability as new workforce demands emerge."

Unisys Digital Workplace Services help clients energize and increase the productivity of their employees with workplace technologies that minimize frustration with IT support. Along with offering change management services and user-centric design to improve productivity and employee collaboration by anticipating their needs, Unisys InteliServe delivers an extensive workplace automation platform, integrating artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, analytics and machine learning for a frictionless employee experience that easily plugs into human resources, finance, and business applications. For the third consecutive year, Gartner has positioned the company in the Leaders quadrant of its February 2021 Magic Quadrant for Managed Workplace Services, North America.

Published Tuesday, April 20, 2021 8:48 AM by David Marshall
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