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8 Things we learned at the Employee Engagement Awards conference

2 Mar 2018 - Blog, Case Studies

8 Things we learned at the Employee Engagement Awards conference


1. EE professionals are tough.


Over 100 of us made it through the snow and tales of #snowmageddon. That’s dedication to the cause!


2. It was worthwhile – so say Linkedin and Twitter:


“A thoroughly inspiring and enjoyable day!”
“Really good to meet so many like-minded people”
“Loving your work Elliott!”
“My brain is full and my energy recharged by this great community!”
“So inspired and proud to be part of it”



3. Southampton FC gave a masterclass in building a company culture


No wonder our client Southampton FC are joint winners of the Employee Engagement Awards Company of the Year. Their rise in achievement on the pitch since 2014 is mirrored in their development of a winning people culture off it.

Key learn: It’s all very well developing a mission, vision, and values…but the most important part is embedding them in everything, living them daily and continuing to improve.

At Southampton, every aspect of the employee lifecycle is driven by the values to achieve the mission – from recruitment, through induction, development and growth. The CEO talks the language of the values, they are communicated in every way – video, spoken word, every written policy & process.


Elliott Bryant-Jeffries, HR Manager, on The Southampton Way


Their latest initiative is the Staff Academy (a reflection of their globally recognised player teaching academy) that invests heavily in knowledge and behaviour training calendar. It includes people management, equality and diversity, communication and mental health workshops – all developed & delivered with the values in mind.

It works: As measured using the People Insight model, PEARL, not only is Southampton FC’s engagement score a top scoring 90%, but scores for wellbeing, career development, and values are all way, way above average. Employee turnover has gone from 16% to 9%, and sickness absence is 35% below the UK average.

Download the case study here



4. How to make perks meaningful


Andrea Kilgour, from the BT Group talked about how Plusnet, the quirkily branded 5th biggest UK internet provider developed a brilliant rewards package tied to their values to help the fierce local competition for talent.
Called Plusnet Perks – from the start it was developed around ‘employee choice and voice’. A package was put together that is sensitive and relevant to employees’ needs, whilst core to Plusnet’s values such as ‘money-savvy’. Benefits include salary sacrifice for e.g. holiday vouchers, iPhones or fridges.

It’s worked: uptake is high, employee advocacy is strong, vacancies are now filled rapidly and attrition has slowed by 50%.


  • Ask ALL employees what they’d want from a scheme, not just a committee. This shows you care about each individual and is the true meaning of employee voice
  • Seek to understand the real situation of your employees – if they want the latest iPhone then critical illness insurance isn’t exactly motivating
  • Build a relevant, clear values and story – led campaign about benefits to bring them to life and encourage uptake.
  • Make the most of the goodwill created –advocacy means your employees will help you fill vacancies
  • Monitor year 1, listen again, improve for year 2 to demonstrate continued listening and care

5. Customer experience is everyone’s business


Aimee Lucas from the Temkin Group reminded us, through an inspiring analogy the important role of HR in improving the employee experience and therefore the customer experience.

“When HR is significantly involved in creating a customer-centric culture, the company is 50% more likely to be a customer experience leader.”

She quoted a story where a customer couldn’t buy the shoes they wanted because the store assistant couldn’t find the left shoe in the back room. Only the right shoes were on display to prevent theft. The best business intention from someone ‘high up’ to look after stock made it really difficult for employees (can’t find the other shoe, irate customer) and the customer could get what they wanted.

Learn: Involve those close to the employee & customer in decisions that affect the front line. Sacrifice a few pairs of shoes to serve a much more enjoyable customer and employee experience the majority of the time.


6. HomeServe demonstrated the link between employee engagement and share price


HomeServe have come a long way since 2013, improving employee engagement by 30 percentage points, their Trustpilot score up by 6.1 points and Glassdoor score from 2.8/5 to 4.4/5. Their dashboard is a story of incredible, tangible improvements with an ROI the board could be nothing but proud of. Cue them joint winning the Employee Engagement Awards Company of the year with Southampton FC.

They completely proved Aimee Lucas’ point about involving people to radically improve the customer experience.



The dramatic improvements were thanks to their programme, “Building the brand from the inside out” lead by HomeServe’s PR guru and Brand Director, John Greaves working with the CEO.

Just one of the key aspects to the programme was ‘Customer First’. This programme empowers employees to bring any customer issue that they can’t immediately solve to the Customer First team. It’s no mean feat: every employee can bring an issue and they are looked at every single day at 8:30am without fail, across 6 sites. This has required a fundamental reorganisation, and commitment from the top to consistently prioritise this activity.

It’s massively empowering to employees who feel they make a difference, and have a true sense of purpose.It shows them that they are listened to, that the organisation cares.
Financial analysts have tracked HomeServe’s improvements, and where the Glassdoor score was the key piece of data mentioned in a report, the HomeServe share price increased immediately.


7. 1% Improvement is an accessible aim for employees that adds up


Involvement packaging group’s cultural change programme has led to improvements in both the employee experience and the customer experience.

One ask of the cultural change programme was to encourage employees to innovate, to continually improve. Lindsey saw that asking a team of drivers and packers to innovate was quite a daunting ask. So by encouraging customer visits – to ask questions of customers and feed these back in, they’ve been able to create a programme of ‘hundreds of 1% improvements’. Each one may be small, but they all add up to real shifts in customer experience, such as deploying the highest hygiene standards for food customers to reflect their own standards. Employees have a clear sense of purpose and feeling of importance – knowing they make a difference.



8. What is Employee Engagement? (yes, that old chestnut)


It wouldn’t be an employee engagement conference without this question arising and a number of panelists gave their definitions. For us at People Insight, it boils down to a couple of simple statements – an engaged employee feels great about their work, and they feel great about the organisation asking them to do that work.

In more detail, engagement as measured by our PEARL(TM) model is:

  1. Pride in the organisation you work for
  2. Willingness to go the extra mile
  3. Commitment to stay working there for at least 2 years
  4. Willingness to tell others it’s a great place to work
  5. Care about the future of the organisation

Led by Dr George Margrove, we’ve developed our model of employee engagement combining occupational psychology & business experience, extensive literature review and statistical analysis of over 20 million data points. We’re pretty proud of it, as it does such a great job at ensuring we measure the full employee experience, and helps to provide real actionable recommendations.

Find out more about our PEARL model here.

The PEARL (TM) Model


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