Expectation gap between leaders and teams is a 'wakeup call'

Closing the employee experience gap can boost retention and engagement, research says

Expectation gap between leaders and teams is a 'wakeup call'

Expectations at work are being perceived differently by employees and their leaders, according to a new report, prompting a "wakeup call" for employers to close the disconnect.

The Qualtrics 2023 Employee Experience Trends Report surveyed 1,000 people in Singapore. It found that 41% of senior and executive leaders have their expectations at work satisfied.

However only 26% of middle managers and junior employees said their work expectations are being met.

"Against the backdrop of increasing rates of burnout, financial stresses caused by the rising cost of living, and evolving employee needs, the Qualtrics findings must serve as a wakeup call for business and HR leaders in Singapore," said Lauren Huntington, employee experience solution strategist, Southeast Asia, at Qualtrics.

The Qualtrics 2023 Employee Experience Trends Report’s findings support recent studies which also found a glaring disconnect between employees and their leaders. Early this year, research from Tableau found that 78% of decision-makers in Singapore believe they are successfully providing employees with their needed data skills. On the contrary, only 37% of employees feel the same.

Lower-level employees lag in engagement, well-being

The Qualtrics report also showed that middle managers and junior employees feel lower levels of engagement (62%), intent to stay (50%), well-being (60%), and inclusion (59%) in their workplace, compared to their senior and executive leaders.

Middle managers and junior employees were also less likely to say that they are paid fairly: 59% compared to 76% of senior and executive leaders.

Employers are warned that these gaps in employee experience can yield negative results in the workplace.

"There is a clear gap in the experience organisations think they're delivering to their teams and what's actually being provided, and failure to address it can have serious implications – from struggling to retain top talent, cultivating employee well-being, and maintaining productivity and performance," Huntington said.

How to close the expectation gap

The findings revealed that employee expectations are evolving at a "rapid rate," according to Georgie McIntyre, lead author of the report and employee experience scientist at Qualtrics.

"As employers work to address the employee experience gaps that remain and emerge in their organisations, it is critical they are focused on understanding what obstacles and friction points their teams are running into so that they can be removed for the entire workforce," McIntyre said.

There are four key trends that employers could focus on in the upcoming year if they want to close the experience gap within their workforce, according to the Qualtrics report:

  • Improving onboarding and enablement for new employees
  • Prioritising employee growth and development
  • Having company values employees believe in and regularly see demonstrated
  • Evolving workplace technologies, processes, and resources to improve employee well-being and productivity

According to the report, workers whose expectations are met are 4.1 times more likely to stay longer with their employer and are four times more likely to go above and beyond at work. 

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