Willis Towers Watson survey finds employers taking steps to meet the challenges and work models of the “new reality”
ARLINGTON, Va., June 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As companies transition to new ways of work, the number of U.S. organizations making improvement of the employee experience a top priority has surged, according to a new survey by Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company. However, while employers recognize adapting to the new reality will take time and require a hybrid work model, many are not ready to meet the challenges.
The 2021 Employee Experience Survey found more than nine in 10 employers (94%) said enhancing the employee experience will be an important priority at their organization over the next three years compared with just 54% that indicated it was important to their organization prior to the pandemic. And with good reason. Most respondents believe a positive employee experience is a key driver of engagement (82%), employee wellbeing (79%), productivity (79%), and ability to attract and retain talent (80%).
Many respondents believe it will take time to adapt fully to a post-pandemic world. Less than one in seven (13%) say the pandemic has receded enough to end temporary pandemic-related policies and programs. The rest indicate they will be ready to do so during the second half of this year (59%) or in 2022 or beyond (28%). Additionally, while employers expect the proportion of their employees working primarily remotely will drop from 53% now to 20% in three years, they expect one in four workers (25%) will be working in a mix between onsite and remotely in three years, triple the current number (8%).
“Whether due to employer actions such as pay reductions and layoffs or because of virtual work and personal hardships for some workers, the pandemic exposed shortfalls in the employee experience at many organizations,” said Andy Walker, managing director, Willis Towers Watson. “Enhancing the employee experience has therefore become an imperative for employers, and it’s one that will take time and present challenges many are not currently prepared to meet.”
Indeed, nearly eight in 10 employers (78%) recognize that the new realities of the labor markets will require a hybrid model for many roles; however, many employers aren’t ready to realize that ambition. Only 52% of respondents are flexible about where or when work gets done; half (49%) are in the process of reimagining careers in response to changes in the way work is accomplished, and only 31% are segmenting Total Rewards to account for a different workforce profile. Overall, only 16% are doing all three of these.
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of organizations intend to focus on digitalization to transform the employee experience fundamentally over the next three years. When asked to identify the areas needed to improve the employee experience, respondents said they are looking to improve their offering or change aspects of their programs to address the needs in inclusion and diversity (82%), manager training (61%), learning and development (59%), and leadership competencies (54%). Further, over three-fifths of employers (63%) identified flexible work arrangement as a priority to boost the employee experience.
“As organizations look ahead to a post-pandemic era, their ability to move the needle on the employee experience will be critical. To succeed, they must start with a bold employee experience strategy that supports their business strategy and is based on a consistent model. Then, they can turn to execution — adapting programs and policies reflective of flexible work, paying employees fairly, enhancing benefit delivery and wellbeing programs, supporting workers in a more agile and flexible workspace, and aligning Total Rewards programs to meet the needs of a diverse workforce,” said Suzanne McAndrew, global head of Talent Advisory, Data and Software, Willis Towers Watson.
About the survey
A total of 1,550 employers around the world, including 258 from the U.S., participated in the 2021 Employee Experience Survey. The survey was conducted between March 29 and April 23, 2021. U.S. respondents employ more than 3.6 million workers.
About Willis Towers Watson
Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential. Learn more at willistowerswatson.com.
Ed Emerman: +1 609 240 2766