A worrisome workplace experience gap between leaders and teams

Survey shows middle and junior employees significantly trail leaders on key engagement measures

A worrisome workplace experience gap between leaders and teams

Leaders and their teams are having different experiences at work, a new report has found, revealing a worrisome gap in workplace engagement.

A study of 2,400 people in New Zealand and Australia by Qualtrics found that 55% of senior and executive leaders say work experience matches their expectations.

Among middle managers and junior-level employees, only one in three said their expectations were met, according to a report by the New Zealand Herald, citing data from Qualtrics.

The survey also found that middle managers and junior-level employees had lower levels of wellbeing, engagement, and inclusion when compared against their senior and executive leaders.

Managers and junior-level employees also are less likely to say that they are getting paid fairly at work, according to the report, and are less likely to say they plan to stay in their current jobs.

Georgie McIntyre, lead author of the report and employee experience scientist at Qualtrics, said their findings reveal how employee expectations evolve at a "rapid rate."

"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.

The 2023 Qualtrics Employee Experience Trends Report surveyed 30,000 people in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

The findings support recent research that charted a disconnect between managers and employees. Skills Consulting Group research found that only 60% of employees believe that their employer genuinely cares about them, compared to 80% of HR managers who think the same.

A 2021 report from Achievers, the employee rewards software company, also revealed that only 14% of employees feel engaged in their overall work experience, compared to 26% of managers who think the same. The same study also found that 22% of managers believe that their employees are appropriately recognised, despite only 12% of employees saying this.

Matt Seadon, Managing Director APAC at Achievers, previously told HRD that employers should reconsider ways to recognised staff through internal communications.

The Qualtrics report outlined various tips to cut down the employee experience gap at work, including improving onboarding and enablement, prioritising employee growth, and honing workplace technologies and process to improve employee wellbeing.

"For organisations that do this well, the rewards will be significant," McIntyre said.

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