Diversity, Equality & Inclusion

Zendesk – top-class employee experience through development, learning and creativity

By Business & Finance
06 July 2018
creativity, teamwork, development
(Photo: mohamed_hassan on Pixabay)

In the Employee Experience series, sponsored by Irish Life, we ask leading companies’ HR departments about their employee engagement initiatives and how they have created the most optimal workplace for their staff.


What is Zendesk?

Zendesk offers a suite of products that focus on improving customer relationships.

The company has 125,000 paid customer accounts in 160 countries/territories and over 2,000 employees across the globe.

As well as improving customer relationships, Zendesk offers initiatives that improve communities: “As employees, we encourage each other to grow and innovate. As a company, we roll up our sleeves to plant roots in the communities we call home”, says the organisation’s website.

These initiatives include The Zendesk Neighbor Foundation, which gives back to communities and engages with people to help further their local areas.

Zendesk Support is one of the main products that the company offers, an intuitive system for “tracking, prioritizing, and solving customer support tickets”.

Zendesk’s Employee Experience – a holistic approach

Sarah Manning is the HR Director, EMEA at Zendesk and specifically references the holistic approach that the company takes in its employee experience.

We regularly engage with our employees to understand what it is that’s important to them and we adapt our benefits offerings and wellness plans based on their feedback. We also regularly benchmark our offerings against the external market to ensure that our benefits are really competitive.

This approach is a key component in employee retention as the firm’s employee benefits match the current market and are constantly evolving to current demands.

Another approach that aligns perfectly with the modern work environment is pinpointing and honing in on values and culture rather than on stringent policies. Manning says, “Everything evolves from there”.

So, what are the cultural elements at Zendesk?

Work spaces, projects and development

It probably starts with our workspaces. They are beautifully and thoughtfully designed and encourage creativity and collaboration. Our new Dublin office is the perfect example of this.

Employees don’t want a cold and clinical workspace that discourages innovation, collaboration and creativity.

thought, learning

(Image: Tero Vesalainen on Pixabay)

From this, passionate projects are generated and people are trusted and empowered to take these on knowing their work is integral to the company.

Learning is also fundamental. We provide multiple opportunities for employees to continually develop their skills. And what employees sign up for doesn’t always need to be related to their job. Employees have undertaken courses from learning to build their own apps to learning how to knit!

Again, this development process encourages diversity of expression and a means of keeping the mind active away from your everyday tasks at work.

As previously mentioned, Zendesk’s community involvement enriches the employee experience. A host of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities gets staff involved in volunteering and charity work.

CSR and maintaining a very close connection to our communities is really important for us. We encourage all of our staff to undertake volunteering. We have key charity partnerships that staff get involved with as well as being able to pursue their own personal volunteering pursuits.

The recruitment challenge – a positive complaint

With the growth profile of Zendesk, recruiting can be a challenge but one that is relished due to Ireland’s attractive environment for top talent.

Yes, it’s competitive but we believe that what we can offer is compelling and with planning and creativity we’re really successful in our hiring.

This leads to reaching further afield and touching base with what the wider world has to offer.

There are some skills that are in shorter supply here, so we sometimes do need to look abroad, but the great thing about that is the diversity of culture and thought that we gain from relocating people from around the globe and bringing their skills and experience to Ireland.

Diversity, inclusion, community spirit and creativity

With these main focal points in place, Zendesk is proving it is worth its salt in the employee experience field while making staff an integral and vital part of the team.

An inclusive environment that fosters creativity, community and diversity is a perfect example of a workspace staff will feel glad to be apart of, and one, importantly, they will value going forward.


The Employee Experience Award will be held in October and nominations are open now. If you wish to nominate your company please fill in a very short questionnaire here.