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How communicating with and engaging employees will change in the next five years





Posted by Mark Macoun on 03 December 2020

How communicating with and engaging employees will change in the next five years

Employee engagement | Employee communications | Engagement | Communications | HR Technology | Employee Experience | Diversity

Today’s HR managers face the unprecedented challenge of working alongside four different generations in one business environment. Engaging simultaneously with baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, and Generation Z is no mean feat.

As baby boomers bow out while Gen Z become a bigger proportion of the workforce, it’s important to rethink your organisation’s engagement strategy. With only 1 in 3 employees on average engaged globally, there has never been more reason to refresh existing tactics.

Today’s work environment reflects a dynamic shift towards flexible, collaborative working structures in order to keep up with the expectations of the incoming workforce. Employers will have to consider what strategies to use to engage employees now and into the future:

Recognising work-life balance
Research has shown that the new generation of employees rank their leisure time or work-life balance as a top priority when choosing a workplace . We’ve seen the rise of flexible working over the last few years, which the COVID-19 crisis has massively accelerated. Working from home, flexible hours, job-sharing, and compressed hours have all become much more common and allow employees to combine work with other demands on their time like childcare, exercise, chores etc. 

Therefore, making it easier for employees to maintain work to home balance will be crucial. Benefits which enhance employees’ wellbeing will be well received and could include: support with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, a sabbatical awarded after a milestone anniversary, or charity volunteer days.

With the emergence of smart phones and having accessible technology in the palm of our hands, employers and employees alike are now understanding the power which can be tapped into via these methods. Utilising apps which offer everything from discount platforms and employee benefits, to pay slips and EAP, has made it easier for employees to utilise the benefits available and for organisations to deliver better and quicker results due to the responsiveness of these delivery methods. Investing in the right tools will become crucial for companies. 

Humanising Communications
Millennial employees seek a greater sense of belonging to their organisation – they want to feel valued and recognised. Remembering to keep the human aspect in an ever-evolving digital world will be more important than ever. Recognition goes a long way, from a simple ‘thank you’ to more formal appreciation like peer-to-peer recognition via company intranet/app and team building events. 

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to small ways to make employees feel appreciated. For example, Timpson makes an event out of employees’ birthdays, offering them a day off, a card, and a bottle of champagne to mark their milestone dates. These perks cost hardly anything to the organisation, but communicates a message that employees are appreciated outside the work environment.

Equality & Diversity within the workplace 
Companies with a diverse workforce by either gender or ethnicity are more likely to achieve a higher financial performance to the national median, but diversity not only valuable from a financial point of view. Research has also shown that a diverse and inclusive workplace is an important element of attracting and retaining talent, especially for Gen Z where 83% said that a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is important when choosing an employer.

Young or old, everyone wants to feel that their employer respects them. Your engagement strategy needs to reflect the changing world we live in and how employees’ priorities may change as they age. Ploughing on doing things as they’ve always been done risks disengaging your workforce, who are left feeling patronized or ignored. If you need support with any of the areas mentioned in this article, we can help. Our team are on hand to support you - just call us on +44 (0)20 3457 0894 or email

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