Employee Burnout vs. Shrinking Budgets: Qualtrics Announces Top Workplace Trends for 2023

Employees are looking for stability and security in their jobs, but deteriorating work-life balance and inefficient processes are pushing them to the brink

  • The share of employees who feel they are paid fairly for the work they do fell to 61%

  • 63% of workers with good work-life balance are willing to go above and beyond, compared with 29% of workers with poor work-life balance

  • 38% of employees feel burned out as inefficient processes exacerbated by the pandemic hampers their productivity

  • The top reason employees want to stay at a company is having shared values

PROVO, Utah & SEATTLE, November 15, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Employees are exhausted by inefficient work processes, and they’re looking for stability amid concerns about rocky economic trends, according to the 2023 Employee Experience Report from Qualtrics (Nasdaq: XM).

Qualtrics XM Institute surveyed nearly 29,000 working individuals across 27 countries in Q3 2022 to understand how employees feel about the state of the workplace and how their changing relationship with it will define the future of work.

On the heels of the Great Resignation and return-to-office plans, a fresh collision is brewing between burned out employees looking for more support and organizations searching for ways to streamline budgets without sacrificing productivity. The pandemic disrupted entrenched organizational practices, opening the door for a new employee experience that meets the needs of today’s workers.

Qualtrics’ leading workplace trends for 2023 are:

  • Employees are looking for assurance that both their job and their employer are on solid footing.

  • Organizations that support work-life balance will be rewarded with employees more willing to go above and beyond.

  • Companies will have to address friction from inefficient processes and technology to improve productivity and relieve symptoms of employee burnout.

  • Highlighting shared values between employees and organizations will be the top way to retain workers.

"Employee expectations have fundamentally changed, and the progress we’ve made cannot be undone," said Qualtrics Chief Workplace Psychologist Dr. Benjamin Granger. "But as the economic picture shifts and people focus on their basic needs, clear and open communication are essential. Employees want reassurance that their jobs are secure, and that they’ll get some relief from burnout after the disruption brought on by the confluence of COVID, an economic downturn and geopolitical events."

Employees are looking for assurance that both their job and their employer are on solid footing.

Companies will be squeezed by budget cuts at a time when employee satisfaction with their pay is dropping - 61% of employees are satisfied, a drop from 67% a year ago. And only half of all employees believe their pay is based on their actual performance.

At the same time, companies are looking for ways to trim their budgets, including reducing their overall headcount while keeping top performers. Employees who are satisfied with their pay are 13% more likely to stay at a company for three or more years, so the decline in satisfaction could push some of these top performers to look for other opportunities.

"Pay is understandably top of mind for employees, but organizations should also understand what tradeoffs they may be willing to make when it comes to pay to retain top talent," said Granger. "Additionally, companies should conduct regular analyses to make sure employees are paid fairly with their industry peers."

Organizations that support work-life balance will be rewarded with employees more willing to go above and beyond.

When employees believe they have a good work-life balance, 63% are willing to go above and beyond for their company. Conversely, only 29% of employees with a poor work-life balance would do the same. And when employees can effectively manage their job responsibilities with their personal lives, they are 18% more likely to say they will stay at their company for three or more years.

However, employees say it’s getting harder to balance their work and personal lives - satisfaction with work-life balance fell from 73% to 71%. Smaller budgets mean employees will be tasked with doing more with fewer resources.

According to Granger, "work-life balance is essential to sustainable business performance. It’s in the best interest of the entire organization for employees to take time off seriously and recharge."

Companies will have to address friction from inefficient processes and technology to improve productivity and relieve symptoms of employee burnout.

The pandemic exposed and elevated broken processes that impede worker productivity, and introduced new challenges at the same time. Less than two-thirds (65%) of workers say work processes enable them to be productive, down from 68% a year ago.

Beyond inefficient processes, fewer employees say their technology helps them be productive compared to last year, falling from 68% to 63%. For example, the rapid shift to new technologies during the pandemic made it difficult to introduce cohesive tech strategies, leading to teams using different apps to perform the same tasks or requiring multiple apps to complete a single process.

The combined effect of these challenges is 38% of employees feeling burned out, and 34% say they are emotionally drained from their work.

"While we often think of heavy workloads, inefficient and bureaucratic processes are also big problems when it comes to employee burnout. We must listen to employees to understand what obstacles they’re running into, and then remove them," said Granger.

Highlighting shared values will be the top way for companies to retain workers, but only if they can also grow their careers there.

Sharing a company’s values is the top driver of employee retention as workers place more importance on belonging to organizations that reflect their beliefs. When employees believe their organization is living their values, they are 23% more likely to stay for three or more years and 17% less likely to be at risk of burnout.

But people also want to be able to advance their career to stay at a company - and less than two-thirds (64%) of employees believe their career goals can be met at their current company. Without the availability of ways to learn new skills or develop existing ones, talented employees may look elsewhere for professional growth.

Read the full Employee Experience Trends report here.

About Qualtrics

Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the experience management category, is changing the way organizations manage and improve the four core experiences of business—customer, employee, product and brand. Over 16,750 organizations around the world use Qualtrics to listen, understand and take action on experience data (X-data™)—the beliefs, emotions and intentions that tell you why things are happening, and what to do about it. The Qualtrics XM Platform™ is a system of action that helps businesses attract customers who stay longer and buy more, engage employees who build a positive culture, develop breakthrough products people love and build a brand people are passionate about. To learn more, please visit qualtrics.com.

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Lauren Braun, Qualtrics