NTT CEO study: Hybrid work underpinning employee experience

NTT’s 2023 Global Employee Experience Trends Report explores how workplace trends, such as hybrid work and AI, are influencing EX strategies

Almost all businesses see hybrid and remote work as having a positive impact on bottom line, but less than half of organisations are providing employees with the technology they need, according to an employee experience (EX) survey by NTT Ltd.

NTT’s 2023 Global Employee Experience Trends Report explores how workplace trends, such as hybrid work and AI, are influencing EX strategies and the correlation between EX and business performance. 

The report found that, while 90% of businesses see the enablement of hybrid and remote work as having a positive impact on their bottom line, less than half (48%) of organisations strongly agree that employees have access to the technology they need to work well both at home, and in the office.

The debate over hybrid working and the return-to-office continues

A report earlier this year by KPMG found that CEOs are increasingly steadfast in their support of pre-pandemic ways of working, with 64% predicting a full return to in-office work within the next three years. And 87% of CEOs surveyed express a likelihood of linking financial reward and promotion opportunities to a return to in-office working practices.

Technology companies have previously showed the largest shift in returning to the office, following changes in policies at a number of tech giants including AmazonAlphabet and Meta.

Average attendance increased from 15% to 32% compared to the same time in 2022, according to a study of 119 workplaces in 22 countries by AWA, a global workplace consultancy. The responses, collated in between April and May 2023 and representing organisations employing close to 155,000 people, also saw the technology industry report an average of 46% of desks being used, increasing from 21% last year.

Organisations implementing more structured approaches to work

According to NTT, many organisations are now implementing more structured approaches to work, with the report finding that approximately 56% of hybrid workers spend half the work week at the office. However, with hybrid models still favourable and recognised by the majority of business leaders as fundamental to positive EX, organisations need to ensure they are providing employees with the technologies they need to work effectively, regardless of location. This shows how the EX-narrative has evolved over the last several years. Today, it is a business-wide priority to proactively ensure employees are empowered and have the right technologies in place to feel connected and drive efficiency. 

Top-performing companies that increased their IT spend and invested in EX technology were 56% more likely than underperformers to report improved business growth due to improvements to EX, and 89% more likely than all others to have significantly increased employee satisfaction.

“The disconnect between what employees need and what businesses provide them with is still too large,” Amit Dhingra, Executive Vice President of Network Services at NTT Ltt said. “Too often we see hybrid working strategies focusing on one type of working style, despite employees wanting the flexibility to work in a way that suits them.

“It was positive to see that 73% of organisations agree that hybrid and remote working has led to their investment in mobility over the last two years to promote flexibility, but more still needs to be done to reduce the disconnect and improve EX. This is especially true given that satisfied and engaged employees are 66% more likely to deliver exceptional customer service.” 

In addition to hybrid work, EX is also being impacted by the rise in AI, with the emerging technology voted as the main enabler of future customer experience (CX) and EX strategies, and AI interfaces rising to become the norm for four out of five organisations within the next 12 months. Despite this, 87% of organisations agree that human-led support remains a critical element in their customer engagement.

“NTT's report findings are reflective of today's dynamic work landscape, including a more permanent era of hybrid work and focus on employee engagement” said Sheila McGee-Smith, President & Principal Analyst, McGee-Smith Analytics.“The adoption of AI is growing, driven by the real business outcomes revolutionary AI technologies are bringing. Organisations are seeking guidance on how to harness all that AI has to offer to succeed in dominating their markets while supporting employee fulfilment and well-being.”

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