What does the future of employee engagement look like?

What does the future of engagement look like? What is purpose, why does it matter and how do you find it? How do you create the big picture story? When is employee voice not employee voice? How can listening to it bring a business back from the brink?

These questions and more were answered by Emma Bridger of People Lab and her special guests at ‘An Evening of Engagement’ on 3 October to mark the launch of the second edition of Emma’s book Employee Engagement: A Practical Introduction. Hosted at wallacespace in London’s Covent Garden, Emma’s guests shared their experiences and answered questions from the floor.

I held my first How to be a Comms Consultant – Exploration Masterclass on the same day and popped up to see Emma ahead of the launch, which unfortunately I was unable to stay for. She kindly gave me a copy of her book, which I’m looking forward to reading.

You can find it on Amazon or All Things IC’s readers can save 20% off Kogan Page books at www.koganpage.com using my discount code: ALLTHINGSIC20.

However, I have a guest post for you thanks to Jo Moffatt, who attended the launch and has written for the All Things IC blog to share what we missed.

Jo (pictured) is MD and founder of Woodreed, a specialist ad agency who use the tools, techniques, creativity and insight of the advertising world to engage employees inside organisations.

She’s a volunteer for the Engage for Success movement, sitting on the Core Team, and hosts the weekly Engage for Success radio show. The Engage for Success agenda is absolutely aligned with Jo’s vision ‘to make workplaces better places to be’.

Thanks Jo, I’ll hand you over to her…

What are the key trends which will shape the employee engagement debate in the years ahead?

Certainly, there’s an ambition that we’ll move towards a more transformational approach, rather than the dry, transactional or tick box. The Engage for Success movement’s Four Enablers being a great framework to deliver transformation.

Helped by a greater focus on taking a strengths-based approach.  This means focussing on people, teams and businesses when they are ‘at their best’, setting positive ambitions grounded in truths rather than dwelling on the negatives.

There will be a growing recognition of the importance and value of making emotional connections inside businesses.  Something we’re already seeing and which Chris Crofts, Global Employee Engagement Director at Diageo focused on in ‘Why we need a ‘purpose’ uprising’. In her view making an emotional connection is key to creating a great purpose, along with being able to articulate how you are improving your customers’ lives and the wider world.

Chris revealed her own personal ambition to make people cry when they view her corporate films! Yes, even when sharing the financial results.

The bigger picture

Craig Smith at BigPicture Learning picked up the emotional theme. He described how to help organisations tell their stories, and quite literally, share the bigger picture with their people. Craig stressed the importance of employee involvement in dialogue and debate around this process, a theme picked up by Michael Silverman of Crowdoscope.

No surprise that tech will be at the heart of all our futures and Michael’s overview of employee voice stressed how new technologies can help us draw better insight from networks of people interacting. This is radically changing the concept of employee voice.

I loved Michael’s early images of fabulously long-haired and hippyish Berkeley students experimenting with early ways to capture, share and debate feedback – prototype Facebooks created out of brown cardboard boxes years before Zuckerberg was even a glint in his father’s eye.  Michael argues traditional surveys are not really ‘employee voice’ at all and that it’s only true ‘voice’ when it’s in an open forum able to be discussed, shared, debated and expanded upon.

I’m sure he’s right and his concept of ‘social collective intelligence’ tools will be key in the future.  Having used tools like waggl with my own clients I’m convinced of the value and insight they can bring.

Finally, the big debate – the constant search for the shiny new toy, the latest big thing.

Will the concept of employee experience win over employee engagement?  Why does it have to be one or the other?

I’m with Emma. A great employee experience helps build employee engagement; an engaged workplace creates a great employee experience. 

Let’s stop arguing about semantics and focus instead on creating workplaces where the experience of employees is great, where engagement levels are high and where success comes as a result.

The kind of organisation that Kate Griffiths-Lambeth, Director of Human Resources at Charles Stanley described. An employee focussed transformation, grounded in a real sense of ‘what good looked like’ and which brought the business, not only back from the brink, but to a position where their net promoter score soared, business returned to profit and a clutch of awards won.

An evening of big questions, big pictures and a thought-provoking weave of the key themes we’ll need to be thinking about for the future.  If you want more of the answers you’ll need to read Emma’s book!

Author: Jo Moffatt.

Thank you Jo, you can find her online via LinkedIn and Twitter @TunWellsWoodies.

You can find Emma’s book on Amazon or All Things IC’s readers can save 20% off Kogan Page books at www.koganpage.com using my discount code: ALLTHINGSIC20.

Learn more about employee engagement

Do you want to learn more about employee engagement? I’ve published numerous articles on my blog over the past nine years.

Here’s a selection:

Learn about internal communication with All Things IC

My 2019 monthly Masterclass dates are now live.

The first one is on Monday 28 January 2019 I will be running my How to be a Comms Consultant – Exploration Masterclass. It will be at wallacespace in St Pancras. Please note this is a change of venue from the Covent Garden site I’ve been using for the past two years.

Bookings are now open for 1-2-1 VIP Days and team days for January 2019 onwards, so if you’re thinking of investing in your personal development, do get in touch and let me know how I can help.

Thank you to the professional communicators and HR pros who came to my Internal Communication Masterclass on 27 September (pictured below).

My Masterclasses all take place face-to-face in London, UK. CIPR and IoIC members can save 20% and earn CPD points/hours off the monthly (not Comms Consultant) courses.

Choose from:

2019 Masterclasses:

Thank you for stopping by,


First published on the All Things IC blog 6 October 2018.


Disclosure: The Amazon link is to my affiliate account. 

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