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Qualtrics’ Annual Employee Experience Trends Report Finds That ‘Belonging’ Will Drive Engagement in 2021

Last updated:  December 10, 2020

Top engagement drivers have statistically shifted during the global pandemic from ‘confidence in leadership’ and ‘growth & development’ in 2019, to ‘belonging’ and ‘company purpose’ in 2020 

SALT LAKE CITY and SEATTLE, December 10, 2020 / PRNewswire/ — Qualtrics, the leader in employee experience and creator of the experience management (XM) category, today released the 2021 Global Employee Experience Trends Report. Learnings from the report include emerging drivers of employee engagement, the importance of taking action on feedback, and key actions HR leaders can take to improve the experience for their people going into 2021.  

The study examined more than 11,800 full-time employees across 20 different countries around the world to find out what’s changed in employee experience, and what is driving employee engagement in a post-COVID world. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Top engagement drivers have shifted during the global pandemic: In 2019 the leading drivers were—confidence in leadership and opportunities for growth and development. In 2020, a sense of belonging and a sense of pride in the company’s purpose were statistically correlated as the highest engagement driver for employees with 73% of respondents saying they feel like they belong at their organization. 
  • Creating a sense of belonging for employees: Employees who feel like they belong are 3.5x more likely to be engaged at work than those who feel like they don’t belong. 
  • Engagement and intent to stay are up: The level of employee engagement increased by 13% in 2020 (66% vs. 53%), and intent to stay increased 17% in 2020 (70% vs. 53%). 
  • Importance of taking action on feedback: While 92% of respondents stated that employee feedback is important, only 7% say their organizations take action on feedback well. 

“2020 will be remembered as a time when the expectations of the employee experience and the role of employers have irreversibly changed. Top engagement drivers have statistically shifted more this year than the past several years combined—surprising organizations with an increase in engagement and intent to stay during these challenging times. The organizations that are shifting to prioritize efforts in belonging, resilience, and well-being are seeing the biggest gains and are poised to thrive in 2021,” said Jay Choi, EVP and GM of EmployeeXM, Qualtrics. “The entire workforce was tested in ways they’ve never faced and as we look to a new year of challenges and opportunity, leaders need to understand how emerging trends will reshape the workplace.”

Qualtrics EmployeeXM™ is used by organizations around the world to identify what their people need, and what actions they can take to improve the everyday experience to improve the bottom line. In 2020, Qualtrics EmployeeXM was recognized in “The Forrester New Wave™: EX Management Platforms for Large Enterprises” report as a leader in Employee Experience Management. Qualtrics is the only Leader who received a Differentiated rating in seven of ten criteria, including vision, market approach, customization, and others. 

To download the full 2021 Global Employee Experience Trends Report, please click here

About Qualtrics

Qualtrics, the leader in employee experience and creator of the Experience Management (XM) category, is changing the way organizations manage and improve the four core experiences of business––customer, employee, product, and brand. Over 12,000 organizations around the world are using Qualtrics to listen, understand, and take action on experience data (X-data™)––the beliefs, emotions, and intentions that tell you why things are happening, and what to do about it. The Qualtrics XM Platform™ is a system of action that helps businesses attract customers who stay longer and buy more, engage employees who build a positive culture, develop breakthrough products people love, and build a brand people are passionate about. To learn more, please visit