Bridging the gap between employee expectations and workplace realities

Industry research analyzes broader trends by vertical markets and other demographics. How does this help in meeting employee expectations?

Industry research

Most HR leaders and company executives have been poring over industry-wide research about new work models for nearly three years now. Many of the employee-based surveys share similar findings to a recent Gallup survey of more than 8,000 remote-capable employees. In this survey, 71 percent responded that hybrid work improved their work-life balance, with 58 percent responding they experienced less burnout and fatigue. The Gallup research also pointed to some of the challenges of hybrid work, including impaired collaboration and relationships.

Industry research is a great tool in analyzing broader trends by vertical markets and other key demographics – especially when combined with feedback from our own team members. While research shows the “future” of work is here, our teams have shared how their workplace expectations are changing too. To keep up with employee expectations is a strategic business imperative and, for many organizations, starts with creating open door environments in which all team members can freely voice their ideas, regardless of where their workplaces may be.

Organizations have various options and paths forward in creating environments where employees feel free to share their expectations, ideas, and concerns without real or perceived barriers. Oftentimes, small policy and communications updates can positively impact employee perception and morale. Here are three additional steps companies may consider to create more meaningful conversations and generate continuous and actionable feedback for HR teams.

It’s about time and technology 

According to the Appspace 2022 Digital Workplace Trends and Insights Report, employee expectations are outpacing organizational standards. With this in mind, employers must be strategic in how they communicate with employees, realizing that company transparency is key to employee engagement

While providing less information isn’t always necessarily a better approach, employees usually appreciate conciseness and clarity when it comes to receiving company information. Many large and burgeoning companies outgrow the traditional approaches of connecting and informing teams. Digital tools help in these scenarios, delivering the right information in the most appropriate way. 

Companies can choose and apply what technology works best.

For instance, digital signage may be the best channel to inform employees of upcoming activities, while an employee app may be a better option to communicate policy changes.

Going beyond formal town halls

While formal gatherings like town halls bring teams and leadership together to collaborate on important issues, the conventionality might hold back employees from being candid. Less formal settings may open the door to more honest interactions, while removing unnecessary hierarchy. 

At Appspace, for example, we complement town halls with all-hands meetings. These less formal meetings focus on a specific area, like company strategy or product roadmap. We encourage team members to submit questions in advance, during, and immediately following these meetings – always giving them the opportunity to submit questions anonymously. We also take pulse surveys following both our all-hands and town hall meetings for insights into what employees like and, as important, what we can do better.   

One Act at a Time

Small acts matter, so rewards and recognition can go a long way in creating environments where employees feel heard. Thanks to technology, there are feedback tools like the pulse surveys, polls, and forms that seamlessly capture the ins-and-outs of the everyday employee experience and how these intricacies impact employee expectations. 

Long periods of working away from offices may cause some employees to feel disconnected and, as such, less likely to share their ideas and opinions. Ideal hybrid work environments should strive to fill the voids left by in-person interaction and provide employees with the workplace experience they need to perform their best. This also means organizations need to be more mindful and proactive in listening to employees’ suggestions and concerns to arrive at timely, actionable solutions that keep ideas flowing and engagement high.

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Holly Grogan

Chief People Officer, Appspace

Holly Grogan is Chief People Officer at Appspace. In this role, Holly is responsible for driving the company’s growth and profitability through human resources & talent strategies. She has spent most of her career building People & Culture strategies for high-growth companies while creating great places to work environments. Holly is on the Board of Directors of Think Big for Kids, a non-profit helping break the cycle of poverty by providing middle and high school students with career opportunities, mentorship, and job readiness.


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