Bosses have resorted to sending their staff messages on Instagram because an increasing number of young employees ignore work emails altogether, according to one of the world’s biggest IT companies.
Thierry Delaporte, chief executive of Wipro, which employs 4,500 people in the UK and 260,000 globally, said around 10pc of his staff “don’t even check one email per month”.
Mr Delaporte said as more people work from home and seek empowerment in the workplace, employers had to adapt to “destabilising” differences between how corporations and their staff want to communicate.
“A simple example which is quite basic and yet always destabilising for some leaders is that younger [staff] don’t read emails,” he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Mr Delaporte said he no longer used email to deliver important messages to staff because he knew a significant proportion would not read the message.
Mr Delaporte added: “To speak to my employees I go on Instagram or Linkedin. It works better. They don’t even check emails sometimes. We have about 20,000 who we know don’t check even one email per month. They’re 25, they don’t care. They don’t go on their emails, they go on Snapchat, they go on all these things.”
The 55 year-old chief executive agreed that it was a “wake up call” for employers struggling to recruit as he addressed the phenomenon of quiet quitting, where fed up workers do the bare minimum required of them.
He said increased remote work and a greater desire for a work-life balance had forced executives to become creative.
Mr Delaporte added: “I often think about the 31 year-old average employee of Wipro, who’s 20-plus years younger than me and how we make sure that we really understand how they see the world versus how we see the world.”
Speaking on a panel about quiet quitting at Davos, Anjali Sud, the chief executive of video platform Vimeo, likened emails to “instruction manuals” that were “outdated” in today’s world.
She agreed that young people did not check or read their emails.
Ms Sud said: “I think we’re in a unique world right now where what the next generation expects and needs to be engaged in their personal lives has not translated to work.
“The idea that we’re going to train and inform and enable our workforces with documentation and manuals seems quite outdated.”
Ms Sud said bosses were finding it increasingly difficult to communicate with staff in a digital world, which was a crisis that she likened to a “house on fire”. She said: “I don’t think most leaders feel equipped to do that. It’s not a skill set that most of us moved up the ranks being great at.”
She said Vimeo had changed its business model in terms of how it communicates with staff, adding that messaging from management had to become more about “emotion and nuance instead of an email which by the way, young people don’t read anymore.”
Tech companies like Google and Apple are ordering staff back to the office because they see it as key to maximising revenue.
Data last month from LinkedIn showed British bosses are increasingly turning their backs on home working as companies abandon remote roles.
Job adverts for fully remote roles declined for the seventh straight month in November. This represents the lowest share of remote work ads posted since the company began compiling data in January 2021.
Martine Ferland, president and chief executive of Mercer, the global jobs consultancy, said attitudes towards work were also shaped by a modern culture that encouraged people to voice their concerns.
“People who are 22 years old today are raised in a less rigid environment. So they speak their mind more. They’re also doing it [in an environment] of labour shortages. So they may have a little bit more power to speak up than I might have had.”
Ms Sud added that she expected some of the employee demands to work from home that she received to be tempered amid the economic downturn. Vimeo recently announced it was cutting about 10pc of its 1,200 employees.