Gartner: EX is a Top Priority in 2019

March 31, 2019


Coming into the year, Gartner identified ​"improving the ​employee experience​"​ as one of the top three priorities for HR leaders in 2019. Out of the 843 global HR leaders surveyed, more than half said that improving EX is a priority for their organization. Here are the trends that got us to the point of making EX a top priority, and why they matter to leaders this year (and beyond).


1. Sustained Employee Disengagement

It’s been widely reported that only 34% of U.S. employees are engaged at their organizations. What’s less known is that engagement has also been stuck at roughly that same level for the past two decades, despite the enormous amounts of money spent each year to improve it. Leaders have finally accepted that engagement is a result, not a means to an end, and have realized a different focus is needed to impact engagement: employee experience.


Why it matters: Leaders who continue to invest in old, engagement-focused solutions will see little change, while those who divert their focus to improving employee experience will develop a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace.


2. War for Talent

Unemployment rates have been, and still are declining across the globe, leading 80% of HR leaders to believe their organizations will be affected by scarcity of talent. This “war for talent” has placed employees in the driver’s seat as market makers. As a result, organizations have found themselves competing for top talent, which is fundamental for success in today’s economy. The most effective way to attract and retain top talent is to offer a positive employee experience.


Why it matters: Organizations that lag in improving their employee experience will lose out on attracting and retaining top talent, while those that do will develop a more competitive workforce.


3. The New Social Contract

The war for talent has intensified as a new social contract has emerged between employers and employees due to platforms such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor. These platforms have made it extremely easy for employees to explore new opportunities and experiences at other organizations. Because of this, 70% of employees are actively searching for or considering new jobs.


Why it matters: Organizations must provide an employee experience that engages employees and compels them to stay. Organizations that fail to provide a compelling experience risk employees immediately browsing and pursuing better employment opportunities the moment they feel they could find a better EX.

4. Millennials Coming of Age

While the new social contract belongs to all generations, millennials are its champions, and are beginning to legitimize it as they move into more senior positions within organizations. Millennials are already the largest generation in the workforce, and will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030. They’re not just requesting, but are now determining how to handle this new social contract, as 28% percent hold manager-level roles, and just about half of those millennial managers are already director-level or higher. This creates a workplace where employees are not just demanding a better employee experience, but one where those with decision-making power are motivated to deliver that improved experience.


Why it matters: Leaders will continue to face increased pressure for EX strategies from larger and more influential segments of their workforce. Organizations that fail to focus on EX will risk some employees taking employee experience into their own hands or losing senior talent.

What’s Next

Even though EX is now broadly accepted as an organizational priority, leaders still are not sure how to approach it. Gartner reports that only 29% of employees believe that leaders “really understand what people like me need and want,” while 40% of leaders admit that their organization struggles to bring the employee value proposition to life in employees’ day-to-day work.


Small and medium sized business are under additional pressure to prioritize employee experience, as it provides a huge opportunity to outcompete larger organizations in a competitive talent market. SMB’s can leverage EX to offer a better experience in areas outside of total compensation, which have an increased importance to today's workforce compared to past generations.


Regardless of organizational size, these trends have firmly established EX as a top three priority in 2019. It’s now time for leaders to educate themselves on how they should approach managing their organization’s EX, and to implement effective solutions or risk becoming obsolete in their efforts to attract, retain, and motivate employees.


To learn more about employee experience, check out our blog, or reach out to learn more about improving EX within your organization.

About Holistic

The Holistic Employee Experience Platform is designed to make work meaningful within organizations. Holistic connects and improves employee experience by focusing on four areas proven to drive an increase in employee engagement and organizational performance. To learn more about the Holistic Employee Experience Platform, visit our website, or reach out for a demo.

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