With a robust economy and record-low unemployment at 3.8-percent nationally, most businesses list their # 1 challenge as attracting and retaining a qualified workforce. Not only is it difficult to find candidates to fill open positions, but it’s a cut-throat competition to attract the very best and brightest talent.

Contrary to what we learned in Econ 101 about supply and demand, the reality is wages are relatively stagnant. It’s a head-scratcher, but there are many reasons for this, including increased use of part-time employees, contractors, freelancers, and more adults choosing self-employment than ever before.

Even though wages are the fundamental reason employees go to work, base pay no longer ranks as the #1 criteria for where employees choose to work. Unlike previous generations, so-called Gen Z – those born after 1995 and entering the workforce in mass  – values workplace culture and personal engagement more than compensation in their choice of employer.

By 2021, Gen Z will represent the largest segment of our workforce, surpassing Baby Boomers in size and influence. Unlike the conspicuous consumption of their parents, Gen Z came of age during the Great Recession of 2008. They are frugal with their money and choose to spend it on “experiences” versus “things.”

The single biggest “experience” we have as adults is time spent at work. With that in mind, fostering employee engagement through workplace experience is the secret to success in attracting, engaging and retaining a highly motivated, productive and talent-rich workforce.

JourneyTellr is designed as an enterprise application to ensure employee engagement and, more directly, inspire loyalty through a better workplace experience. The centerpiece of activating today’s employees is the use of storytelling to achieve a balance of emotional and rational understanding of and support for an organization’s vision, mission, goals and strategies.

What the corporate communications and public relations industry used to refer to as “citizen journalism” is now called user-generated content. After all, there’s no more reliable and timelier source of news and information than a peer-to-peer relationship with a friend, neighbor or trusted colleague at work.

JourneyTellr delivers on four keys to creating an inspiring workplace experience:

  1. A shared sense of purpose between employer and employee that is clearly communicated, continually reinforced and frequently assessed for its engagement. Beyond your mission, vision and values, employees want to understand their role in creating a better world around them versus simply being a cog in the process of producing a product or delivering a service.
  2. Bottom-up versus top-down management. Gen Z, in particular, is less hierarchical than previous generations, and they view their ideas as mission-critical to creating a better workplace experience for everyone. Remember that Gen Z was born with a mobile device in their hands, and they strongly influence corporate reputation through use of online apps and social networks like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Facebook.
  3. View work as something you do, not just a place to do it. No doubt that Gen Z values the professional comradery and friendships made in the workplace. However, younger employees highly value the flexibility of where, when and how their work gets done. The best employers not only consider work from home and flexible work hours, but they encourage employees to immerse themselves in their professional industries and geographic communities.
  4. Invest in both personal and professional growth and development. The quickest way to lose a valuable employee is when they perceive their skills development and growth in responsibilities have stalled. The healthiest workplaces have a relentless commitment to employee communications, engagement and activation through better orientation, training, professional development, continuing education and mentorship opportunities.

There is no enterprise application on the market quite like JourneyTellr. It has the potential to more effectively and efficiently sparks user-generated content to create inspiring storytelling by sharing emotionally and rationally motivating content in real-time and accessible anywhere across small- and large-screen devices.


Douglas K. Spong, APR, Fellow PRSA
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
The Doug Spong Co. LLC

Copyright 2019 The Doug Spong Co. LLC


Doug Spong is the founder and CEO of The Doug Spong Co. LLC, one of the leading consulting firms for some of the most envied advertising, public relations, design and digital agencies in the creative economy. This is the second consultancy Doug has founded. Previously he was co-founder, president and managing partner of Carmichael Lynch and Spong from 1990 through 2015, which is now owned by Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG), one of the top 5 global holding companies of creative agencies with revenue of $9 billion. He started his 38-year career at MDC Partners-owned agency Colle McVoy in Minneapolis.