Study: COVID-19 offers us the chance to improve employee experience and create the ‘new better.’ Here’s how.
Employees across all industries are facing experience gaps at work. And during the pandemic, issues that used to just bother people became serious impediments to work.
At Qualtrics, we conducted a global study of 6,000 employees across eight industries to identify employee experience gaps and recommend actions that organizations can take to move past the “new normal” and create the “new better.”
Travel & Hospitality
Closed borders and canceled conferences meant that many in the Travel & Hospitality industry faced furloughs and layoffs — more than any other industry. And only 42% of industry employees still working full-time say they feel valued by their company — the lowest of any industry.
Of all industries studied, automotive workers were the least likely to say their company’s response to COVID-19 was above average. But 42% of industry employees say communication between employees and company leadership has improved since the pandemic, and 64% say employee health is now more important to their organization.
Leaders who want to continue improving the automotive industry after the pandemic should maintain better communication patterns with their employees, act on improvements they’ve seen as employees work from home, and practice “always-on” listening.
In contrast to the automotive industry, healthcare professionals were the most likely to say their organizations’ reaction to COVID-19 was above average. Nearly three-quarters of healthcare workers (72%) say employee health has become more important to their organization since the pandemic began, and 58% say they feel pride working for their organization.
Healthcare workers’ single largest complaint before the pandemic, however, was that management didn’t listen well enough. Leaders in the industry can build the “new better” by asking for and acting on feedback, then showing and communicating to their employees exactly what they’ve done with that feedback.
Much like the Travel & Hospitality industry, fewer retail workers (44%) feel valued at their company, and only about half (47%) say they feel pride working for their company. The majority (62%), however, say their company has reacted well to COVID-19-related industry shifts. In fact, 59% expect even more delivery vs. in-store shopping in the near future.
But retail leaders who want to build the “new better” will have to focus on more than just customer-related innovations. They also need to listen continuously to their employees and act on the feedback they receive. Retail faces particular challenges helping employees feel valued and supported. If employees became “essential workers” during the pandemic, they should feel essential afterward, too.
Government workers are less likely to say employee health is important to their organization than most other industries, and one of the most likely to say they don’t feel valued by their organization. Only 27% have said their employee experience has gotten better since the pandemic. They do, however, expect their organizations will be more open to remote work in the future.
Government leaders looking to close their employees’ experience gaps should embrace new communication tools — including those that allow employees to work from home — and digitize more services, like many other industries have done during the pandemic.
Educators have been forced to quickly adjust to new ways of teaching and administrating. And 56% say they expect more investment in digital and remote learning tech in the future. But only 28% of educators say their employee experience has gotten better since the pandemic, and 42% feel valued by their employers.
Industry leaders who want to create a better educational environment for both students and teachers should ask both what type of tools they need to continue learning and teaching efficiently in the current circumstances — and make sure they get them. They should also increase the frequency with which they listen to and solicit feedback and show educators how they’re turning that feedback into action.
Though all industries have been affected by the virus, the Technology industry may be in the best position to cope. More tech workers say they feel pride working for their company than in any other industry, and more than half say remote work has helped them be more productive (53%) and more creative (51%) now than before the pandemic.
Tech leaders who want to continue this upward trend should latch onto this new workplace flexibility and determine how to continue offering that flexibility in a way that both inspires employees and drives the business forward.
Like tech workers, financial services employees have enjoyed certain changes made because of the pandemic. In fact, financial services workers were 4X more likely to say that their employee experience got better than to say it got worse. And 73% of finance workers — more than any other industry — say employee health is more important to their company since the pandemic began.
Leaders in the finance industry can create the “new better” by latching onto new workplace flexibility, making employee experience and wellbeing a priority, and acting more quickly on feedback.
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