The 2021 Gartner Hybrid Work Employee Survey of 4,000 employees in January 2021 reveals the six perception gaps that employers must resolve.
Executives think they have a culture of flexibility – employees don’t
The Gartner survey shows that 75 percent of executive leaders believe they are already operating within a culture of flexibility, yet only 57 percent of employees indicate that their organizational culture embraces flexible work. Further, nearly three-quarters of executives believe the business understands how flexible work patterns support employees, but only half of employees share this view.
Executives are better equipped to work remotely
Only 66 percent of employees agree they have the technology they need to effectively work remotely, compared to 80 percent of executives. In fact, only 59 percent of employees agree their organization has invested in providing them with resources that allow them to work the way they would onsite in a virtual environment, compared to 76 percent of executives. The gap between executives and employees in their ability to work from home is likely to further disadvantage employees if it makes them less likely to take advantage of flexibility.
Employees have lower levels of trust than executive leaders
Only 41 percent of employees agree that senior leadership acts in their best interest, compared to 69 percent of executives. Executives are also more likely to feel trusted when it comes to working from home, with 70 percent agreeing that their organization trusts employees not to abuse work flexibility, compared to 58 percent of employees.
Executives think they listen but employees disagree
Only 47 percent of employees believe leadership takes their perspective into consideration when making decisions, whereas 75 percent of senior leaders feel they do. This divide extends to whether employees believe their work environment is inclusive of a diverse set of employee needs and preferences; while 72 percent of executives believe this is the case, only 59 percent of employees feel the same.
Executives hear one thing and employees another
There is a clear disconnect between how executives and employees perceive the content and effectiveness of their organization’s communication. For example, 71 percent of executives agree leadership at their organization has expressed a preference for work conditions to return to their pre-pandemic model, whereas only 50 percent of employees have that same impression.
Executives feel greater purpose than employees
Organizations are striving more than ever to create a shared purpose, yet Gartner research reveals that while 77 percent of executives agree they feel like they are a part of something important at their organization, only 59 percent of employees feel similarly. The increasing focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion over the last 18 months has shone a light on how different employee segments feel about their organization’s diversity. 70 percent of executives believe that managers at their organization are as diverse as the broader workforce at their organization, compared to only 52 percent of employees.