Employee Engagement Summit Download

27 April 2023

As spring is slowly making itself known, an appropriate feeling of renewed energy and an outpouring of fresh ideas set the tone for the Engage Employee Summit at The Brewery. This is the Coachella of conferences – complete with a winding queue for entry and live music! – and it might just be one of the best free events you could attend. Quality speakers? Check. Brilliant networking? Check. A conference lunch that makes you go ‘yummmm’? Check.

The day kicked off with a keynote from Nikki Humphrey, Chief People Office for Virgin Group. Their people-centric brand traits, supporting their purpose ‘Changing business for good’, demonstrate how strong values can drive behaviour and policy and tangibly improve the lives of colleagues. If you need proof, remember that  iconic campaign launching their new gender-neutral uniform?

Speaking of inclusion and belonging, Danny Stacy from Indeed landed some cold hard truths from Indeed’s incredible 2022 report about how much further we have to go for an equitable future. Unless it’s in defence of women, most people do not feel safe standing up for underrepresented groups; 56% of LGBTQ+ respondents said they have experienced discrimination in the form of a ‘harmless’ joke; and worryingly despite the many examples of continued discrimination overall people feel satisfied with their employer’s DEI efforts – where is the disconnect!?

Jill Scott MBE, of Lioness fame, then took the field with her talk ‘It’s Not the Splash You Remember, It’s Definitely the Dive’. In such an extreme environment of performance culture, competition, and high intensity team activity, having a strong and positive mindset is crucial. There are many lessons we can take from her experience that are applicable to the employee experience:

  • Everyone on the team has their role. Be clear with your teammates on what their role is, and what your expectations of them are.
  • “You never lose, you learn.”
  • Lead by example. Even if you’re not team captain, take responsibility to lead a positive culture and support your colleagues.
  • Be the best that you can. Don’t take shortcuts, push yourself to improve on yesterday and find key influencers who will support you and encourage you to keep going.
  • Ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that could happen today? Get perspective and take fear out of the equation.

After a networking break with a red velvet cookie, some split off for the highly coveted focus groups, and for 106 it was back into the main hall for more heavy hitters.  Forty1 shared their insights into the intersection of heart and science in employee engagement. Did you know high ceilings foster increased collaboration and socialisation? (Good thing The Brewery had lovely, vaulted ceilings).  And if you even just show people a picture of Monopoly money, they become less collaborative and more antisocial. Behavioural science has such a huge impact on culture and can be harnessed to drive it. This science-based approach to engagement, employing occupational psychology to define the daily manifestation of organisational values, is how we at 106 approach our client work, and it was so great to hear what others are up to in this space.


Cue fish tacos, poke bowls and a coffee for good measure…


The afternoon was veritable info overload with four concurrent streams each jampacked with mega case studies and brilliant insights. Simon Bailey kicked off the Communication and Collaboration stream with his BT case study, demonstrating how their massive working environment change project was communicated, and how they maintained cultural buy-in to a transformation that greatly affected many people’s day-to-day.

106 Founder Henry Davies was then joined by Hayley Brooksbank, CMO at TTP, to present ‘Culture as a Brand Differentiator’.  Brands that reflect and amplify their culture in their external narrative bring a competitive edge to their brand perception. It “takes you out of the price discussion, and builds emotion into your offer”. If an organisation has a powerful internal campaign that goes external (for the right reasons!), it can be an incredibly strong brand advantage – Frankie Freeman-Day of YouTube corroborated this in her discussion around internal engagement with the streaming giant in the fireside prior.

The Engage Employee Summit was so jampacked with information and people. There was so much more wisdom shared than we could fit here, but to round us off here are some key themes that continued to surface throughout the day:


  • Learning and development is key to engagement and retention, and it means more than cob-webbed learning hub in the corner of the intranet
  • ‘Diversity fatigue’ kept coming up, we need to maintain the momentum and keep communicating the ongoing challenge and why it is important
  • The physical environment has a massive impact on employees, and now hybrid is here it’s the perfect time to rethink the workplace
  • The business case for culture has well and truly been made; from improving individual performance to enabling true inclusion, from creating a market advantage to enabling innovation


Keep your eyes peeled over the next few months, as 106 will be…

  • Talking post-merge culture change at Simply IC with Tina from Bally’s, 22-23 May 2023
  • Hosting our first Bright IC meet-up for those new to the industry and young at heart, 17 May 2023
  • At the IOIC Festival, Lauren and Millie will be representing 106; so make sure to come and say hi, 14-15 June 2023
  • Showcasing our approach to Employer Branding at the Employer Branding Conference, 13 July 2023
  • Presenting at the Future of Work Conference, Henry will be on stage again with one of our great clients, 11 October 2023
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