What your team wants

How companies can close the yawning gap between employee expectations and work experiences

what employees want
  • More than half of employees want a better on-the-job experience, but feel their employers aren’t listening.
  • Access to mobile and digital tools to better serve day-to-day needs can have a major impact on employee productivity and business results.
  • Improving employee experience ultimately improves customer experience.

When companies are growing and fighting on many different battlefronts, they sometimes forget how hard it can be for their employees to get work done every day.

All too often, discussion about how to improve the employee experience happens among the HR and IT leaders who are typically tasked with creating that experience. But what about the employee perspective? What do they say about what’s blocking their productivity or holding them back? What do they want more of? What do they want changed?

When companies lose focus on those questions or lack the means to solve them, they’re missing out on a string of linked opportunities—not just to make workers happier, but ultimately to make customers happier and grow the business.

A new ServiceNow survey of more than 1,400 employees around the globe sheds light on what employees want from their employers that they’re not getting. Between the lines, it offers clues for how smart companies can close the gaps, with digital and mobile tools playing a leading role.

When employees feel cared for, they are more likely to pass it on in the work they do with customers. A great employee experience leads to a great customer service experience.

A few eye-opening employee experience statistics: Just half (48%) of employees think their employers are invested in improving the employee experience. Slightly more than half (55%) feel their opinions don’t matter to their employers. An even larger group (60%) don’t believe their feedback will be acted upon.

Opportunity knocks

When I look at employee experience stats like those, I see a host of missed opportunities.

Consider an employee waiting to hear back from HR on an important benefits request while they have a loved one in the hospital. As a result, they can’t focus on work, which hurts their productivity and may even impact business results.

If business leaders could measure the productivity lost when employees feel the pain of bureaucratic delays, they would prioritize it higher. But they don’t. Companies tend to know how much time and money it costs to hire a new employee, but few think to measure the loss of productivity when they aren’t servicing their employees well with day-to-day issues that matter to them. That needs to change.

Here’s another opportunity many companies miss out on: Nearly all our survey respondents say that having access to consumer-like mobile apps and tools boosts their productivity. Roughly half report that their employers don’t provide these tools.

Nearly three-fourths of employees also expect companies to offer a help desk or some other help channel besides email. These results suggest that an omnichannel approach for employee services is no longer an option—it’s a requirement.

Mobile is clearly a preferred choice, whether it’s a tablet or smartphone, so employees can access information in an easy and intuitive way—wherever, whenever. If companies simply go for a halfway strategy and try to take the desktop experience and put it on a phone, workers won’t go for it. It’s too hard to navigate. They lose their audience.


of employees feel their opinions don’t matter to their employers

Change starts on Day One

One of the biggest opportunities to close the experience gap happens on Day One of a new job. Surveyed workers, for example, cited the onboarding experience as a major frustration. Just 58% said they had the right guidance, systems, or tools to get what they needed when they started a new position.

Companies are losing out here by not delivering the basics so that new hires can hit the ground running. When employees feel welcomed and involved from the start, they’re far more likely to get engaged and stick around. When you onboard, it should feel like someone is waiting for you and welcoming you. But that’s still the exception, not the rule. Smart companies should strive to create a seamless, digitally managed onboarding process that workers manage themselves, largely through mobile apps.

Multiple payoffs

Ultimately, the benefits of delivering smooth, mobile-first employee experiences go beyond happier, more productive employees. When employees feel cared for, they are more likely to pass it on in the work they do with customers. A great employee experience leads to a great customer service experience.

Employees are clear about the main solutions they say would improve their own experience. They want better support staff, better access to information, and better communication from their employers.

Your employees demand and deserve streamlined, unified service experiences. They don’t care which department is providing the information or service they need. They just want to do their best work and easily find help when needed.

If companies want to be successful, they need to start listening to their employees and delivering the experiences they want.