Our highlights from Engage By Design: the 2016 Engage for Success conference


On Monday 17th October we attended Engage By Design, hosted by our friends at Engage For Success. It was a day jam packed with exciting debates, presentations and interesting insight into the world of employee engagement.


We’ve summarised the key takeaways from the event which offer some really interesting food for thought.


“Business is about people”


The day kicked off with an interesting talk by Paul Drechsler, President of the CBI. Paul led with a reminder that “Business is about people”, he highlighted the importance of true visible leadership – focussing on what it really means to be a great manager, inspiring your team and getting the best out of people. Put simply, human interaction. 


In order to “Hire, develop and lead great people”, we all need to recognise that the engagement process starts with potential customers and brand observers – sometimes at a very young age. Paul cited Innocent drinks and Higgedy pies as great examples of companies who engage customers right through to their employees.


Paul cited CBI’s case study ‘Time for Action’ and reiterated that we can’t afford to ignore employee engagement as “Engagement drives productivity [whilst] inclusive workplaces and diversity drives innovation” in the workplace.



Flexible working is key to retaining  younger talent


Millennials demand flexible working. In order to attract and retain new talent, flexible working needs to be a key design of job roles going forwards. We fully supported Paul's idea to bring 18-25 year olds into the boardroom for reverse mentoring from the native digital generations (Millennial and the upcoming  gen. Z.)


Engage people in “their stuff” first


Mike Greatwood took to the stand to chat  about the Dream Manager Programme and introduced the concept of “dream storming”. The key takeaway was to get your people to engage people in “their stuff” first. Mike explained that identifying one’s dreams, making progress towards them and having the opportunity to express these in the workplace  will “enrich and inspire you”. Start off by identifying dreams under the following headings; adventure, character, financial, legacy, physical, material, spiritual, professional, intellectual, psychological, creative, emotional, in order to start bringing more of yourself to work.


Getting to know your values


We enjoyed the post-lunch energiser which got us choosing a value that resonated with us personally, from a list of values on screen – with World Values Day on the 20th October, this was a really cleverly timed activity and was really relevant to the core message of getting to know your employees more personally.


The afternoon comprised of more engaging presentations. Rupert McNeil, Chief People Officer for the Civil Service presented his theory on three things to consider for an engaged workforce; place, inclusion and technology.


On the move – freedom of the  working environment


This nicely led onto his focus on the Hogan motives, values and preferences inventory and a conversation on how work is increasingly being driven by technology. Collaboration spaces, hot-desking and remote working are all a result of technological advances within the workplace, and virtual technology is set to develop rapidly in the coming years.


Cutting through the noise in a technological world

Lynn Abhulimen, Chief Communicator at Inspire Me, swept in with a bold statement – most of us are “sleepwalking through life”. Mindfulness was the focus of her discussion and she reminded us to consider the following five things to consider, if we want to be more mindful:

  •  Presence and awareness
  •  Choice – we all choose how we show up  day to day
  •  Connection – creating space and time to  connect on a deeper level, opportunities for shared experiences and friendships
  •  Achievement – within the team
  •  Authenticity – leading by example, being the best you can be


Culture is made up of purpose, vision and values


David Littlechild, Head of Culture and Engagement at Lloyds Banking Group  rounded off the day’s presentations with a pertinent quote – “Culture is made up of  purpose, vision and values.” To get the most out of your company culture, and to up engagement significantly – he outlined a need to build leaders and line management capabilities, before going on to discuss how human, scientific and technological factors will be key to shaping the future of the workplace.


I am not a robot – engage me.


The day wrapped up on an interesting  point. Having been made aware of our reliance on technology within the  workplace, which is only set to increase in  the future, we need to ensure that new technologies are developed with the  human factor in mind. We should look to develop “cobots” not “robots”, in order to  prevent eroding the human element completely. If we want to retain human engagement in the digital age, we need to clearly voice its importance and what we, as employees want, if we are to influence people behind the creation of future technology.