Copenhagen, Denmark, London, England, New York and Auckland, NZ (March 9, 2020) — Peakon, an employee success platform, released its inaugural 2020 Employee Expectations report. With 59% of the global workforce being disengaged as of January 2020, the report reveals what employees expect from their employers in 2020.
By analysing more than 14 million employee survey comments, we found that the topics of the environment, flexible working, wellbeing, and diversity and inclusion are rising sharply in importance among employees all over the world.
Climate action — Globally, comments about environmental issues increased by 52% in 2019 (year-on-year). Plastic, single-use and carbon footprint were among the most prevalent topics employees discussed. 2019 also marked the first time that Greta Thunberg was mentioned in employee survey responses.
- Employees in the manufacturing sector were among the most vocal on climate change in the past year, with a huge increase of 595% in environment-related terms year-on-year, followed by the Consumer industry (up 106%) and Professional Services (up 79%). The spike in environment-related comments among manufacturing employees meant it went from being one of the least vocal sectors on the topic in 2018 to one of the most in 2019.
- Employee discussion on the environment grew 128% among Generation Z, followed by Millennials and Baby Boomers with 62% and 59% increases, respectively.
- Australia and New Zealand both saw nearly 220% increases in discussion about climate action between 2018 and 2019. This spike was more than double the growth seen in the UK (85% increase), and almost five times that in Germany. However, employees in Germany still commented the most on climate change overall.
Flexible working — Over the past year, employee comments featuring flexible working-related terms have increased by 18% (YoY), with terms such as ‘WFH’ and ‘flexible work hours’ rising in prevalence.
- Generation Z employees saw a 36% increase in discussion on flexible working. Millennials weren’t far behind them with 34% growth.
- Employee discussion on flexible working grew 52% in the Transportation sector.
- Employees in the UK and Germany are the most vocal about flexible working.
Wellbeing — Over the past year, employee mentions of wellbeing-related topics in survey comments increased by 17% (YoY).
- Generation Z employee comments on wellbeing grew by 28%.
- Discussion on wellbeing increased by 51% in the Finance sector.
- Employee comments on wellbeing jumped by 37% in New Zealand.
Diversity and Inclusion — Peakon found a 19% increase in diversity and inclusion-related terms in employee comments. This included terms such as ‘POC’ (stands for people of colour), ‘race’ and ‘minority’ rising in prevalence.
- Mentions of Diversity and Inclusion increased by 31% among Silent Generation employees. Age, bullied and discrimination were some of the highest-ranking terms they mentioned.
- Mentions of Diversity and Inclusion grew by 43% in the Education sector.
- Employees in Denmark are the most vocal about Diversity and Inclusion overall; this topic rose in prevalence in New Zealand over the past year, with a 44% increase in mentions.
These shifts in employee expectations are being felt across all generations, industries and regions, with employees no longer feeling that they have to leave their personal lives at the office door. Businesses that don’t keep pace with these evolving trends will fail to connect with their most critical audience – their current and future employees. Eventually, they will risk losing the people that define their culture, build their product, and ultimately drive their business success.
Peakon CEO and co-founder Phil Chambers commented: “As employees, we often think about what companies expect from us. But we also need to be clear about what we expect from our employers. Amid spiralling employee expectations, it is vital that organisations listen to employee feedback on a regular basis. Only then can they understand and meet their teams’ expectations, before employees look for new opportunities elsewhere.”
The Employee Expectations report is based on global employee survey data from Peakon, spanning 80 million survey responses and 14 million survey comments from across 160 countries.
The report looks at four emerging employee expectation trends, and examines the year-on-year growth between 2018 and 2019.
Note on generations
To define each generation, Peakon used the guidelines defined by the Pew Research Center. The Silent Generation: born 1928–1945. Baby Boomers: born 1946–1964. Generation X: born 1965–1980. Millennials: born 1981–1996. Generation Z: born in 1997 or later.
Peakon is an employee success platform that converts feedback into insights. It makes the employee conversation quantifiable and actionable to increase employee engagement – not simply measure it. Peakon’s core belief is that work should work for people, and with the largest data set of employee feedback in the world, Peakon provides customised benchmarks and personalised insights to support our mission of helping every employee drive the change they want to see. To date, Peakon has helped organisations like Capgemini, Verizon, Pret, Trustpilot, and easyJet make fundamental changes in how they operate to improve employee experience, driving greater business results.
1. Source: Peakon January 2020 – 80 million employee survey responses and 14 million survey comments across 160 countries.
2. Source: Peakon database – the UK has the highest proportion of comments on flexible work out of six countries analysed, the UK, the U.S., Australia, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand; Germany follows as the second highest.