2017’s Biggest Trends in Employee Experience, Part 1

Over the past year, we’ve used our newsletter as an outlet to conduct short, 5-question surveys to find out more about what our clients care about and are doing when it comes to creating a powerful employee experience. We’ve called these our “Take 5” surveys, and through feedback from companies like yours, we’ve learned some incredibly interesting things about your approach and thoughts on topics like engagement, generations, emotional intelligence, and mindfulness. So, as 2017 comes to a close, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on what we’ve learned this year and share with you our biggest takeaways.

This is a two-part series, during which I’ll be sharing 6 key takeaways from 2017. In this first edition, I’ll talk about what we’ve learned from the research so far. Next week, I’ll talk more about the bigger picture and where we’re going from here.


  1. Our industries are complex and competitive. We must take action to keep the best people, our success depends on it.

Earlier this year, ADVISA sought to understand more about the business environment in which our clients operate. From your responses, we learned that among both small and large business across tens of industries, everyone agreed on two points: the business environment is becoming increasingly challenging, and shifting workforce demographics make it more critical than ever before to focus on retaining and developing our best and brightest people.  In fact, 83% of folks responded with an emphatic “Yes!” when asked whether the environment in which their company does business has become more competitive, along with 70% who reported that attracting the talent necessary for success is becoming more difficult. Together, this resulted in 69% of people reporting that engaging their people has become a critical issue for their companies. The findings from this survey are summarized in the Competition for Talent graphic.


  1. Generational differences impact both talent and business strategy.

We all know that generational differences, particularly between the retiring Baby Boomer generation and the massive Millennial generation, pose challenges for our workplaces. Mostly this is discussed in the context of conflict between generations, with more traditional Boomers looking down on the Millennial lifestyle demands for like flexibility and casual dress, and the Millennials thinking the Boomers are out of touch. While these surface level stereotypes can pose challenges, the real impact of generational differences goes a level deeper. When we asked you to tell us whether your leaders understand what millennials are looking for in a workplace, over half said, “Not so much” and another third responded with “Sort of.” This lack of understanding between generations, and even more important, older leaders’ lack of ability to understand the needs of their younger direct reports, has real impact on the ability of leadership to create a motivating work environment and keep key young talent. Equally significant, two thirds of you said you only “sort of” have succession plans for each of your senior leaders, leaving key institutional knowledge and processes vulnerable to brain drain.


  1. A little emotional intelligence goes a long way.

In more optimistic news, the rise of measuring and coaching emotional intelligence using tools like the MHS’s EQ-i 2.0® – see their model for emotional intelligence in the graphic below – is having a positive impact on workers and the work environment. In fact, we found that 79% of folks reported feeling always or frequently hopeful about the future, 64% reported looking for ways to improve themselves, and 63% report that negative emotions don’t get in the way of people making decisions together. There is still room to grow here, however, with only about ½ of folks reporting that people at work understand and appreciate the way other people feel. We anticipate this trend of emotionally intelligent leaders and workforces will continue to thrive as the link between emotional intelligence and outcomes like performance, productivity, and company performance continues to strengthen.


So, to recap, the changing business and demographic landscape is making it more challenging than ever to accomplish work, stay competitive, and keep the right people in the right roles. Our most senior leaders are retiring, and we’re not doing enough to prepare the younger generations to pick up the slack in their wake. However, tools like emotional intelligence can help us take the first step toward breaking down barriers between generation and working better together to accomplish our goals.

Make sure you return next week for takeaways 4 – 6 in part two in this series, where I’ll be sharing more about how we can continue to thrive and compete, and make our lives a little better while we’re at it. Until next time.

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