XM Institute is often asked to provide data about the impact of different areas of Experience Management. So we decided to dig into our recent global consumer study, which included more than 22,000 employees, and look at how employee experience (EX) impacts their work behavior. It turns out (no surprise) that EX matters a lot. We found that poor EX results in:

  • Low productivity. More than 2.4 billion employees would work harder if their employer treated them better.
  • High turnover. When employees feel like they aren’t being listened to, they are 25 percentage-points more likely to look for a new job.

Employees Aren’t Working As Hard As They Can

The goal for any organization isn’t just to hire a workforce, it also needs to ensure that employees are engaged and productive. However, too many employees feel as if they’re not getting the experience that they want or deserve. As a result, we found that 62% of employees around the world would work harder if their employer treated them better. As you can see in the chart below:

  • 2.48 billion workers would try harder. Across the countries we studied directly, we estimated that there are over 1.7 billion workers who agree with the statement, “I would work harder if my employer treated me better.” Those countries represent about two-thirds of the world’s working population. We extrapolated the findings and estimated that 2.478 billion workers aren’t working their hardest.
  • Chinese and Indian employees would be the most influenced. More than three-quarters of employees in eight countries agree that they would work harder if the company treated them better: China (93%), India (90%), Indonesia (84%), Thailand (80%), UAE (79%), South Korea (79%), Taiwan (77%), and the Philippines (77%).
  • German and Dutch employees would be the least influenced. One-third or fewer of employees in the Netherlands and Germany agree that they would work harder if their company treated them better. Two other countries were under 45%: New Zealand and the US.


Companies Need To Listen Better To Employees

If companies want to treat their employees better, a good place to start is by listening to their feedback. And as it turns out, this is an area that needs a lot of improvement. We found that 63% of employees agree with the statement, “My primary employer needs to do a better job of listening to my feedback.” As you can see in the graphic below, this discontent ranges from a high of more than 80% in China and India, down to a low of 39% in Japan.


Employees Who Aren’t Being Listened To Are More Likely To Leave

To understand the impact of not listening to employees, we also examined the likelihood that employees would look for a new job over the next six months. When we cross-tabbed responses from the two questions, we found:

  • A 25-point gap in likelihood to leave. On average, 49% of employees who agree that their employer needs to do a better job of listening to them were likely to look for a new job over the next six months, compared with 24% for those who did not agree.
  • The UK and Australia have the largest gaps. The difference in intent to leave based on their feelings about employer listening hits nearly 37 percentage-points in Australia and the UK. Four other countries have at least a 30-point difference: the U.S., Singapore, Thailand, and New Zealand.
  • Taiwan and South Korea have the smallest gaps. The difference in intent to leave is less than 7 percentage-points in Taiwan and South Korea, well below any other countries. Seven other countries have gaps below 20 percentage-points: Japan, France, Mexico, the Philippines, Belgium, Italy, and Colombia.


Employee Experience Is More Important Than Ever

It’s no surprise that we’re finding this level of employee unrest, given how the world has been disrupted over the past few years. However, engaged employees continue to represent the front-end to a virtuous cycle that fuels stronger business results, and the system breaks down if employees aren’t committed to their work.

During the pandemic, organizations adjusted their operating norms in response to unprecedented events. Just about everyone was willing to work together to navigate the shifting environment. But many of the changes made during that period were either unsustainable or are just no longer applicable. As the pandemic has lifted, employers and employees are now faced with the challenge of finding a new “normal.” This realignment won’t be easy as it must balance an organization’s operational and economic needs with the shifting desires and preferences of employees.

That’s why employee experience management is so important right now. During this adjustment period, organizations need to actively listen to and act on their employees’ feedback. That doesn’t mean companies should give employees everything that they ask for—leaders will inevitably have to make some unpopular decisions, especially during difficult economic times. By building an ongoing practice of soliciting candid feedback and then acknowledging what it showed, taking action where appropriate, and explaining why decisions are being made, leaders will build trust with their workforce, even if employees don’t get everything that they want along the way.

The bottom line: Better EX can increase productivity and reduce turnover.