Gartner Says Only 13% of Employees Are Largely Satisfied With Their Work Experiences

HR Leaders Gather to Discuss the Most Timely Talent Topics of Today and Tomorrow at Gartner ReimagineHR in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla.--()--Employee experience remains a top talent concern for HR leaders, yet 46% of surveyed employees report they are largely dissatisfied with their overall experience at their organization, according to Gartner, Inc.

Gartner analysts are discussing the importance of the modern employee experience and how it affects an organization’s overall success in front of more than 1,700 chief human resource officers (CHROs) and senior HR executives at the Gartner ReimagineHR conference, which is taking place here through Wednesday.

Investing in the Experience Itself

“Today’s organizations are making significant investments in things like onboarding and development programs to create an experience that satisfies employees’ expectations,” said Leah Johnson, vice president in the Gartner HR practice. “While these investments can improve employee experience, the cost required over time to achieve these improvements makes this approach unsustainable.”

Gartner research finds that over a span of two years, organizations will have to spend 82% more to achieve the same level of improvement in employee experience satisfaction they currently achieve today.

Rather than using an investment-focused approach, organizations should focus on shaping how the employee experience feels. This approach to improving employee experience satisfaction focuses on influencing and improving employees’ feelings about their overall experience using psychological, motivational and social principles.

According to Gartner research, only 24% of organizations today are incorporating shaping into their overall employee experience approach, yet organizations that effectively apply shaping the employee experience can achieve employees who are:

  • 38% more likely to report high intent to stay
  • 33% more likely to report high discretionary effort
  • 44% more likely to be high performers

Organizations should focus on three elements that shape and improve employees’ perceptions of their overall experience more effectively:

Shaping Employee Expectations: While most organizations focus on understanding employees’ most important expectations around their experience, this approach is not enough. These expectations are typically relative and incomplete, and employees’ needs do not align with what the organization offers.

To succeed today, organizations should not only collect information on employees’ experiences, but collaborate with employees to create a framework that allows employees to determine the expectations that are most relevant and important to them individually.

Once HR leaders understand the most relevant employee expectations, they should work to create a vision for the organization. The vision should include employees’ top priorities such as growth opportunities, work-life balance and stability. The vision should also include specific examples of how the intended experience will make them feel in their day-to-day job.

Shaping the Day-to-Day Experience: Managers are losing confidence in their ability to guide their teams and are ill-equipped to take the lead on personalizing the day-to-day experience on behalf of their employees. Only 24% of employees agree they fully trust their leaders and managers to make recommendations about how to adapt their day-to-day experience.

Instead of engaging managers, HR leaders should motivate employees to take a more active role in tailoring their day-to-day experience, based on their preferences, by doing the following:

  1. Minimize downsides to employees: Ensure employees feel comfortable using available information to personalize their experience without the concern of any risk or downside.
  2. Nudge employees: Provide employees with clear guidelines that direct them toward the appropriate next steps required to use information to personalize their day-to-day experience.
  3. Offer connections to others: Help employees seek out proper support from their networks, often from their peers, that will help them clarify how others have used information to better personalize their experiences.

Shaping the Memory: Gartner analysis shows that 83% of HR leaders believe that responding quickly to negative experiences will have a significant impact on an employee’s overall experience. However, responding quickly to an employee’s experience does not always guarantee a positive impact. Additionally, only 32% of HR leaders agree they help employees themselves address problems within their work experience.

Successfully managing the memory of the experience requires HR leaders to reinforce employees’ memories of positive experiences and reframe their memories of negative experiences.

“Providing an organization wide progress report is a great way to remind employees of the investments the organization has made to improve their experiences and how these improvements have impacted them personally,” added Ms. Johnson. “Our research shows that incorporating a ‘manage the memory’ approach yields a 14% improvement in how satisfied employees are with their experience.”

About the Gartner HR Practice

The Gartner HR practice brings together the best, relevant content approaches across Gartner to offer individual decision makers strategic business advice on the mission-critical priorities that cut across the HR function. Additional information is available at

About Gartner ReimagineHR

Gartner experts will provide additional insight into the labor and talent issues at the Gartner ReimagineHR Conference, taking place October 28-30 in Florida. Gartner ReimagineHR is the premier event for HR leaders around the world. Join Gartner and senior HR executives to hear key insights and learn actionable strategies necessary to support organizational performance. Follow news and updates from these events on Twitter using #GartnerHR.

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT), is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities today and build the successful organizations of tomorrow.

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Mary Baker



Mary Baker