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Future of Work

New Salesforce Data Reveals Top Drivers of Exceptional Employee Experience. Spoiler Alert: It’s Not Free Snacks

New Salesforce research uncovers what 1,105 U.S.-based, full-time workers said they need to feel motivated and happy at work: flexibility, collaboration, and purpose. 


As many companies focus on finding ways to get their employees back to pre-pandemic operations, new Salesforce research reveals that nearly 7 in 10 U.S. workers believe the office should not look the same as it did before. What’s more, 66% say it will take more than great perks (read: free snacks) to lure them back into the office. 

Flexibility, on the other hand, continues to be the leading contributor to an exceptional employee experience. The data also reveals that deeper elements — like collaboration and purpose — are growing markers of what keeps employees motivated and happy.

Flexibility is the cost of entry in today’s workplace — and managers must take note

Employees crave the freedom of flexibility, and it’s no longer a nice-to-have. In fact, flexibility is so critical that new roles like ‘VP of Flexible Work’ are cropping up in some businesses. Salesforce believes office mandates don’t work.

If flexibility is critical to employees –  how can businesses do it right? Part of it lies with managers. According to the research, the connections employees have with one another (and in particular, between managers and direct reports) is what fosters a culture of flexibility:

Managers must listen to their teams regarding what works for them. The majority of the U.S. workforce polled say they value managers who listen and act on feedback. Nearly 9 in 10 say it motivates them to do their best work. However, few see it come to fruition in their own job, as only 39% of survey participants report their manager acting on feedback given.

The research also showed that the longer an employee stays with a company, the more important it is for them to feel heard. Ninety-two percent of employees who have been with their company more than five years value their manager listening and acting on feedback. Retaining top talent means ensuring their input is valued.

The death of ‘Hero’ culture at work

Connected teams that collaborate well are linchpins in keeping employees motivated. According to the latest findings, nearly 9 in 10 employees feel motivated to do their best work when they have clear goals and expectations, and when they have a team that works well together.

The research also noted that teams are more important now than ever before. Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) of U.S. knowledge workers say feeling valued by their team impacts their happiness at work. They also look to their team to step up when times are tough, support them, and show recognition. The good news is, teammates are meeting the moment.

Today’s employees crave purpose and connection

Earlier this year, Salesforce published The Experience Advantage report, which outlined that a company that provides a safe, diverse, and inclusive culture can drive better customer experiences and increase revenue.

Employees’ happiness at work hinges on elements like purpose, belonging, and authenticity. More than 8 in 10 U.S. workers claim their happiness at work is impacted if they feel a sense of purpose and belonging. A similar number (80%) say the same about being able to bring their authentic self to work. 

Return to Office mandates don’t work — it’s about creating incredible employee experiences and driving connections, no matter where we’re working. Feeling connected leads to higher engagement and productivity. In fact, over 7 in 10 of the U.S. workforce feel motivated to do their best work when they feel connected to their company culture and values

Brent Hyder, Salesforce Chief People Officer

Why employee experience is more than just perks

As businesses build new working structures for their company, the research shows that it’s time to focus less on office mandates or superficial perks and more on rising drivers of meaningful employee experience. While these drivers might seem less tangible, they ultimately hold the key to employee motivation and happiness.

It all comes down to people. With the right managers, teams, and clearly communicated goals, the people and purpose behind the work can live far beyond the four walls of any office.

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Methodology

Salesforce conducted a double-blind survey among 1,105 US FT Employees* in July 2022. Responses were representative of the working location of employees in 2022, based on Slack Future Forum data. 

*Members of the workforce/employees in this case are defined as knowledge workers. Knowledge workers are defined as employed full-time (30 or more hours per week) and either having one of the roles listed below or saying they “work with data, analyze information or think creatively”: Executive Management (e.g., President/Partner, CEO, CFO, C-suite), Senior Management (e.g., Executive VP, Senior VP), Middle Management (e.g., Department/Group Manager, VP), Junior Management (e.g., Manager, Team Leader), Senior Staff (i.e., Non-Management), Skilled Office Worker (e.g., Analyst, Graphic Designer).

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