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5 secrets to engage Gen Z as an employee

15th October 2019

Gen Z represents an untapped goldmine of talent and innovation, but challengingly, they bring the job market a set of values and desires entirely unlike any previous generation. Here Melanie Buckley, Head of People Corporate Services, Webhelp UK, India and South Africa, looks at the top 5 secrets employers can use to capture and motivate this unique audience.

Preface: 29/04/20

Since publishing this blog, the world has changed dramatically, with entire countries entering strict lockdown periods and many regions operating under shelter in place instructions. The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to have an unprecedented impact on business and society across the globe, we are now living even more of our lives online and as a result engaging Gen Z on this platform has never been more important. Click here to find out more on our people first response to this crisis.

1Take the conversation to them!

However, a generation juggling and combining information from TVs, laptops, desktops, phones and tablets can present a massive communications challenge to firms. Especially those who stick to a single approach for all age-groups. For example, our recent Whitepaper found that the Baby Boomers prefer the phone for customer communication, while Gen Z generally wants to type and often at all hours of the day and night!

A good reach is vital, as is keeping their attention!

At Webhelp, company messages are available on multiple platforms, on-demand – and often with opportunities for engagement – we want our people to share in our story, so we reach out across the channels we know they use.

We have moved from being reliant on our people reading key business messaging in work hours on the company intranet to posting on closed Facebook groups that they can access any time of the day or night from the comfort of their own home and interact with. After all good communication between the company and your people works both ways.

Being highly visible ‘where they live’ online (like social networks) also helps us to bond with Gen Z and our young Millennials as a brand, by sharing their successes and recognising their hard work and allowing them to post about how they have brought the fun to work that day.

2. The virtual office!

Telecommuting is a considerable driver for Gen Z. As avid travellers (especially in India and China) they are often on the move themselves and value time as much as cash!

It should be no surprise that they actively seek flexible and tech-savvy employers for their career opportunities and that all-important work-life balance. In fact, our survey shows this is true of both Gen Z and young Millennials (under 35s) – with 91% of them in support of flexible working and 83% valuing working from home.

Click here to view our infographic on Spotlight on Gen Z behaviour & preferences.

I do much of my best work, free from office distractions, in my comfies and at home and this new wave doesn’t care much for being suited and booted either – with 82% preferring to ditch formal work attire.

We have just refreshed our Personal Appearance Policy to better reflect the desire from our people to blend modern business dress and what we refer to as more relaxed business casual. And how better to launch it than via videos featuring some of our people. Gone are the days when policies were lengthy documents only stored in HR departments.

As a company, we believe that flexible working, done well, can give access to a better pool of talent and create less exclusion in the workforce. As Gillian Campbell, Chief People Officer UK Region & Director Global Engagement, explains:

“Resource planning in the customer experience industry is incredibly complex, but we are firmly committed to introducing strategies and options outside the typical office-based 9-5. Some of the benefits of working with the needs of our people are higher energy levels and staff satisfaction, plus increased access to talent.”

3. Shared Integrity and Values

Interestingly, in our study, Gen Z and the young Millennials (-35s) placed the highest importance (at 62%) on sharing aligned values with a brand as consumers. Something that will likely affect their attitudes toward employers.

We base our employee value proposition on direct feedback from our front-line people and whilst using structured feedback from our annual Your Call survey we also encourage our people to engage with their peer representative groups and via Engagement Ambassadors, Mental Health Ambassadors and WebHEALTH Wellbeing Warriors tell us what is important to focus on. As a result, we have a very clear idea of their values, goals and expectations.

Our aim is for continuous improvement, so we are always looking at new ways we can bring these factors into play to grow the existing employee experience.

We recommend ‘listening at every level’ to our clients, and this is reflected in our own processes when we facilitate Leadership Listening sessions with our front line people across our sites to continually gain valuable insight and feedback.

Likewise, community involvement and awareness rate highly with this group as consumers, something that is very close to our hearts at Webhelp, and again our employees drive this forward. They play a pivotal part in both choosing our annual charity and in fundraising for many other charities across the UK and beyond. One of our most coveted awards in our Annual Star Awards is our Making a Difference award where we recognise a colleague who takes our values externally and makes a difference to a charity or cause close to their heart.

4. Fair pay and good prospects

Gen Z are an ambitious group of go-getters – they have high expectations when it comes to earnings and expect to climb the career ladder quickly, 75% of them think that just a year in a role is time enough to have received their first promotion!

Growing up in a global recession has given them a focus on security and progression, and while they may not respond well to imposing leadership, they place considerable value on managers and employers that will add value to their experience. Interestingly, they are prepared to take a lower salary for emotionally fulfilling or satisfying work; additionally, 67% would accept a lower-paid position at companies with positive online reputations.

This is where initiatives like WebPATHS, our career progression framework really comes to the fore, by providing opportunity for career progression and a transparent and structured pay progression process ensures our people can visualise how they can have a career at Webhelp that meets their development and financial aspirations.

5. Honesty

Born on the superhighway of information, and surrounded by ‘fake news’ and paid-influencers, Gen Z places a high value on sincerity, transparency and honesty – much more so than previous generations.

They are also the wariest; our survey (link) showed they had the highest level of distrust across generations as consumers, with 17% lacking trust in any methods of communication from brands!

Companies should bear this in mind, as, according to Forbes, a whopping 73% of Gen Z employees have left jobs that did not meet their expectations.

Honesty is built into our corporate culture – Integrity is one of our core company values, reinforced by the belief that we should treat others the way we want to be treated. That means leading by example and placing emphasis on honesty, positivity and fair play.

In case you haven’t registered yet, Sign up to receive fresh insights and invitations to exec events with our Webhelp Disruptor Series campaign, and download our latest Whitepaper on ‘Emotion’ hereContact Ewan McKay ( for more details on our corporate events and check out Webhelp jobs for information on our current opportunities.

Article by: Webhelp

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