What was clear to me, as we wrapped up our inaugural Engaging Employee Conference, was that the conversation on engagement has evolved and is more important than ever in a COVID, remote-workforce world. I wanted to take the time to share my personal highlights.


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We started the day talking about PURPOSE with Ayelet Baron, former executive and author of the soon-to-be-launched F*CK THE BUCKET LIST trilogy.

The truth is that, in today's world, everyone - organizations, governments and individuals - are questioning their purpose and their values. In a world that feels so divisive, we play an important role in encouraging unity, focusing on service and creating a sense of community. This theme came up again and again throughout our two-day conference.



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Next, Sheri Morgan, Head of Communications at Pepsico Foods Canada, shared her case study on building a transformation-ready workforce culture. She showcased what was possible when expertise in both internal communication and marketing combine into programs that drive change. A traditional PR and Marketing leader, Sheri has learned to truly appreciate the role on Internal Communication to drive business results. We talked about the importance of the conversation that supports the campaign and how the communication programs built to support their transformation journey have really helped their organization during COVID.



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Shawna Boyko, Director of People Services at the Calgary Zoo shared the Engagement Model she has used to support her through several organizations. She talked about the fact that Employee Engagement has changed from a top-down exercise led by leaders and organizations, to a bottom-up set of expectations and experiences driven by employees and their needs. She focused on both operational Hygiene Factors that included compensation, benefits and relationships with colleagues and managers....


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...and Motivators that focused on culture, brand, and community.

She introduced us to the WeatherVANE system that she used to identify areas of strength and weaknesses to help her organization focus in on opportunities to help drive engagement score improvements.






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We loved hearing from Sanita Alias, Human Resources Director, and Erica Howes, Communication and Content specialist at CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority) about the importance of the HR and Comms partnership and how they used their skills to create engaged ambassadors. The bottom line for them was the realization that when you lead your communication with purpose, you attract and retain the right people.




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I appreciated Brian Harker, Program Manager of Performance and Innovation (I love that title by he way), at the City of Edmonton, sharing his Engagement model with our attendees. In explaining his focus on communicating and surveying employees regularly through their lifecycle from orientation to exit. When asked about survey fatigue, he told us he preferred to look at 'lack-of-action fatigue' and truly believed that employees will take the time to provide feedback regularly as long as what they shared was acted on or responded to.



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Jefferson Darrell, Founder of Breakfast Culture, shared his Diversity Continuum. Five levels of Diversity that measured organizations from 0 (they did not believe there was a diversity issue and did nothing) to a score of 5 describing the ideal organization that lived and breathed diversity, equity and inclusion, where everyone truly belonged. What I loved about his model was that we could all intuitively see where our organizations fell and realized that change had to happen one step at a time. If you know where you are on the continuum, you could work proactively to move up to the next level and take a measured approach to change. He also mentioned that the majority of Canadian organizations fell between levels 1 and 2.


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We finished the day with Angee Linsey, Executive Recruiter, Career Coach and Author about truly thinking about your own needs and engagement at work and how to navigate your own career in a COVID world.

As a coach, she's noticed the link between culture, communication and the requests she is receiving for individuals thinking of moving organization due to a disconnect with the organizations and how they have handled the COVID crisis.

All in all, it was a great few days to focus on professional development. Thanks to Summers Direct for helping us pivot online. Thanks to the wonderful speakers for sticking with us through changes and thank you to all of the attendees who put trust in our programs and attended the inaugural conference. All sessions were recorded so if you still want to learn on your own time, sessions will be made available through Summers Direct.

If you have a Engagement inspiration you would like to share at our 2021 conference, DM me or stay tuned for our call for speakers that will take place later this year.

In the mean time, keep doing the great work you do to Engage Employees!