Engage for Success Conference – People at the Heart of Business. Thursday 22 March 2018

I was just in my first week at BMG Research when I attended the Engage for Success Conference at the QEII Centre in London on the 22nd March. Having just arrived from a 5 year stint as Colleague Insight Manager for Sainsbury’s it was the first time I’d attended the annual conference although I’d  heard David McLeod, Nita Clarke and Cathy Brown speak at other events and had always been impressed, so on that basis I was really looking forward to the Conference.

I wasn’t disappointed as the guest speakers on the day were all really great. Here are some of my key takeaways from the day.

  • Though not specifically talked about, Brexit and its potential impact was clearly on peoples’ minds and a couple of times speakers referred to not mentioning the ‘B Word!’
  • Sir Eric Peacock (Chairman, Buckle) spoke about Engage for Success being a great source of ‘interventions that don’t cost anything’. And while that is undoubtedly true in financial terms (and one thing I’ve learned in business is that only money is money. Time isn’t money, despite what some might say, and this is particularly true in challenging financial times) interventions do take time and effort which we need to be aware of if we want to implement them successfully.
  • A thought I had throughout the day was about the increasing demands being placed on managers in the workplace to engage their people. I was really pleased when Peter Cheese (FCEO, CIPD) in his closing remarks recognised the pressures that managers are under and spoke about the need to support and engage managers if they are to be able to engage others.
  • Francis Goss (CCO, AHC) spoke about employee engagement and financial wellbeing referencing a statistic 6/10 employees are affected by financial worry and the CIPDs January 2017 report on the subject. Katie McSweeney (Head of Mumsnet Work, Mumsnet) also mentioned that in the UK we work the longest hours and gave the most expensive childcare.
  • Being new to a role that’s taking me out of my comfort zone myself I took some of the messages from Paula Vennells (Chief Executive Post Office) to heart. She said that coping isn’t good enough and that we need to be on the front foot, aspirational ands confident and that while we are often tempted to shirk the difficult messages we need to face them head on. Thanks Paula!
  • In the expert panel discussion on what creates a successful working environment we heard that in the UK that although we already work really hard we are less productive. The solution is not to get people to work harder but smarter. However, the risk is that we are ‘facing a moment of jeopardy’ and it’s ‘going to get tougher’ which is a risk we all need to be aware of. It feels like there is a real challenge here when organisations increasingly need to do more with less how do we achieve greater productivity without reverting to the old unsuccessful ways of the managerialism of the past?
  • Also from the panel discussion and music to my ears was the statement that ‘if you measure the wrong things then performance will get worse’. Here at BMG Research we firmly believe this too. We are a specialist research agency in employee engagement which takes pride in delivering tailored and bespoke solutions that provide clear insight into the factors and issues driving employment engagement across organisations. When you work with us you won’t get an ‘off the peg’ solution that might not meet your needs. Our approach to survey design is to use a ‘golden thread’ approach to test the appropriateness of every question.




Claire Gevaux


Tel: 07950 878 796

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