Nowadays, company culture speaks louder than money. Workers may easily switch to lower paying jobs if the company culture aligns with their beliefs. Companies may think they need to reach out to the millennials, but there is a new generation now, Gen Z. What Gen Z wants is way different from what millennials wanted. Managers and HR leaders are now sitting up to take notice of this generation. The need to shape things in HRM has already emerged.
Internal marketing is one great way to get a head start on connecting with this generation. HR managers and leaders have to assume the role of internal brand managers. Let us look at five ways in which HR can handle internal marketing.
Branding starts when the employee first joins the company or maybe even before that! One way is to make sure that the process of onboarding is smooth and quick. Employees usually spend a significant amount of time and effort in getting benefits-related administrative work in order. An application form asking for all relevant documents can be sent to the employees before joining the organisation.
“HR needs to understand that this generation is quite comfortable with technology, and the main challenge before HR will be to put human into technology and technology into human. The integration of technology and human experience must be made seamless.”
It is important to meet or exceed the employees’ expectations of the organisation in the first month. The younger generation will appreciate a quick and hassle-free enrolment process. Companies may benefit from investing in HR-enrolment technologies, which can streamline the process. Complicated enrolment processes can challenge the employees’ beliefs about the company. Like they say, the first impression is the last impression.
Saba Adil, former chief people and operating officer, Aegon Religare, feels that the important thing will be to take and incorporate feedback from this generation.
“There might come a change along the lines of personalisation of communications between HR and employees and flexibility of work,’’ she says.
Optimisation of benefits
The benefits and care packages can be optimised for the employees. The kind of benefits Gen Z will want from the company will differ from an older employees’ expectations. The employees should truly value the company benefits. This is where internal communication is important.
The messages to employees should be creative, intuitive and engaging. Moreover, the messages should carry the look and feel of the company’s public image.
It is better if the employees are contacted on their preferred choice of communication, be it e-mail, messaging, face-to-face meetings or online video guides. Flexible working hours, tuition sponsorship, and work-from-home options are some of the things that will be more valued by the younger generation rather than post-retirement benefits, which an older employee will want. If the employee has a good impression of the company, the opinion will be shared among others, and that will mean more branding for the company.
Connectedness with the corporate culture
Company culture is the third factor to keep in mind and this applies especially to today’s generation. They want to feel connected to the organisation and its culture. Therefore, the company values have to be clearly communicated to them. Everyone should be made aware of the expectations from the employees and the core commitments of the organisation. And these should be uniform across the organisation, so that whenever employees receive any communication about policy changes and company news, they can identify with the company’s values and message.
“There might come a change along the lines of personalisation of communications between HR and employees and flexibility of work.”
As soon as this generation hits the workforce around 2022, the world is going to see a paradigm shift, reflects Praveer Piyardarshi, former CPO, Jindal Stainless.
“The HR managers and leaders of that time will need to be prepared for this generation. This generation will not just tolerate any business. They are well researched and aware of their rights and responsibilities. Transparency on the part of the HR will be vital in dealing with Gen Z,” opines Priyadarshi.
The fourth factor is technology, which is vital. Considering the rate of technological advancement that is currently underway, companies have to keep up. HR can invest laptops, tablets, office phones and other equipment, such as printers and coffee machines. Young worker wish to see a company keeping up with the times. Cutting-edge tech will create an impression of a company that invests in its resources as well.
“HR needs to understand that this generation is quite comfortable with technology, and the main challenge before HR will be to put human into technology and technology into human. The integration of technology and human experience must be made seamless,” advises Gajendra Chandel, former CHRO, Tata Motors.
“The HR managers and leaders of that time will need to be prepared for this generation. This generation will not just tolerate any business. They are well researched and aware of their rights and responsibilities. Transparency on the part of the HR will be vital in dealing with Gen Z”
HR tech can also be used to keep updates and tabs on employees. Personal events of the employees, such as promotions or birthdays can be addressed via the company’s message along with a personal touch.
Alignment of image and values
Today’s generation cares about the public image of the company and will look out for the social and environmental causes it supports. They want to associate with a company which stands for a cause, even if they are doing it for the money. The values shown to the public should also be reflected in the corporate culture. For instance, if the company supports sustainability, HR can make sure the office uses paper cups or goes completely digital. Again, if the organisation stands with the #MeToo movement, the behaviour and values of the employees should reflect that. The public image of the company and its internal work culture cannot be different. Gen Z is concerned about authenticity and transparency. An alignment of the company’s image and company values will ensure better scores for the company in every which way.