The global pandemic has accelerated existing trends, urging firms to improve the employee experience (EX) and anticipate the future of work. However, many leaders at European firms still underestimate the importance of culturally transforming their organization and embracing a new management approach to deepen employee engagement. The firms that will succeed out of the crisis will be those that prioritize EX while embracing technology to enable anywhere-work.

European Recovery Depends On Employee Experience

A convergence of forces is accelerating the urgency for European leaders to invest in EX:

  • EX is an untapped competitive advantage. Our data clearly shows that EX leaders deliver better customer experience (CX), acquire and retain talent, and drive growth.
  • The crisis is forcing firms to transform. To thrive post-crisis, firms must reinvent themselves with employees. The crisis is also an opportunity to explore new business models, transform your culture, and redefine your vision and purpose.
  • Tech acceleration is catalyzing a pivot to a new corporate culture. The drastic acceleration of remote work in 2020 forced employees to adopt new behaviors, tools, and technologies in the space of months or weeks. But it takes years to adapt processes, organizations, and corporate cultures.
  • Values, ways of life, and social protections can attract global talent. The stakeholder economy is perceived differently across Europe. However, expectations to work for purpose-driven companies is an opportunity for European firms to reinvent themselves and to attract global digital nomads with in-demand skills.

Unfortunately, European Leaders Lack A Coherent EX Strategy

The perception of employee experiences across Europe as relatively good is misleading. Overall, European employees rate their EX as good, but not excellent. If social and economic upheaval comes to Europe, seemingly happy workers will fear for their jobs and may leave your company the day the economy recovers.

  • European leaders still don’t think of EX as a top investment priority. In the US, 42% of executives we interviewed in our 2021 Forrester Business Technographics® Priorities And Journey Survey told us they consider EX to be a high or critical priority (ranking number four out of 19 other business priorities). In Germany and France, the same percentage drops down to respectively 28% and 23% (ranking number 10 out of 19).
  • Old-style management structures hinder cultural transformation. Many European firms, especially small and medium-size businesses, still have a traditional command-and-control approach, maintain a hierarchical and pyramidal organizational structure, and have been slow to promote values like trust, benevolence, and delegation that are required in a post-crisis world, where flexible anywhere-work strategies are the norm.
  • Most European HR leaders are immature at truly listening to their employees. Most chief people officers in Europe do not have a strong data and technology background and focus more on compensation, compliance, and administration. Understanding customer data and collecting customer feedback is obvious and core to CX business transformation; using employee data for EX business transformation is not.

For clients who want to know more, this new report helps business, technology, and EX leaders in Europe prioritize and accelerate their cultural transformation to get ready for the future of work.