Nuggets of wisdom from the speakers at our first EnExLive in 2021

There’s something really amazing about the way HR leaders connect after a HR event. The flurry of posts, tags and emails we received after last week’s EnExLive: The New Way Forward in Employee Engagement had our team riding the post-event adrenaline for days. Now that we’ve had a week to settle back into a routine, I can share some of my favourite takeaways from the sessions we had that day. 

Did you have a favourite speaker or a favourite lesson learned from our half-day event? I’d love to hear about them, so that we can continue planning events that support you as you support your people. 

If you missed it, don’t worry! You can relive the event with a look at our presentations throughout the day: 


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1. Hybrid work is here to stay (there’s no going back, and that’s OK)

I love digging into the data after our events because it paints such an interesting picture about what HR leaders are most interested in. And the numbers tell me that connecting remote workers is still high on the agenda for many organisations. The relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and the end of Job Keeper last weekend means many Australians are returning to their pre-pandemic freedom, but we know that work-life has forever changed. 

In the ‘new way forward,’ employers have the challenge of keeping their people connected, informed and engaged as thousands choose to work flexibly and/or remotely for at least part of the work week.

work-from-home-13Having powerful communication and collaboration tools in place is going to be the key to success, which is why we were so excited to have Kylie Green, SVP of Consulting, announce the Reward Gateway integration with Microsoft Teams, the most popular collaboration tool in the market.

As we look for ways to connect people on the go, platforms that create in-the-moment opportunities to recognise, support and communicate will power organisations now and into the future. 

Download our eBook to learn more about communicating with and engaging your  employees in today's world »

2. How to get your HR project off the ‘wish list’ and on the ‘to-do’ list

to-do-list-1Paul Shaw, Executive Manager of Reward and Performance at Suncorp, was the star of our first live Q&A of the day. He gave us an insight into the evolution of reward and recognition at Suncorp, including some of the ways his team is using ongoing employee feedback to guide – and update – their reward and recognition experience.

Like every organisation, there were competing projects that could have gotten the attention and investment of Suncorp’s HR team. Paul shared that R&R made it on the list because it allowed the organisation to make a positive impact on not one, but multiple strategic objectives. 

In addition to helping Suncorp embed its company values, the addition of social recognition means employees build connection and equity by having better visibility of achievements across the business, and the introduction of a more transparent and personalised redemption experience means Suncorp continues to build its EVP by providing more relevant and impactful rewards that fuel motivation and growth. 

Transform the reward redemption experience with Reward Marketplace »

3. The (not-so-)secret ingredient for nurturing a strong company culture and employee wellbeing

Matthew Cook, the Managing Director at North Construction, provided refreshing insight into how values have driven the company’s success. North Construction was ranked in the top 50 Great Places to Work in Australia in 2020, which is an amazing achievement for this 100% employee-owned regional construction company. 

Over the last 15 years, reward and recognition has played a big role in building and reinforcing North’s culture, where the pursuit of excellence is the norm. For Matthew, the key was ensuring “North’s values drive the systems, as opposed to having systems that drive the values.” 

North’s peer-to-peer recognition program ‘Cheers Peers’ is hosted on an employee engagement hub called ‘The Box,’ and has given North employees a framework for recognising progress as it happens. 


North put the program in place to encourage a specific behaviour: pausing to say thanks (or ‘cheers’), despite the busy-ness that comes with working on a construction site. 

The Box also contains the ‘Boom Box’ (employee communications), the ‘Toolbox’ (policies and other important information) and the ‘Health Box’ (wellbeing resources, tools and videos) to help improve how North provides employee connection and support on a regular basis. 

“A lot of the things we evolve aren’t particularly ground-breaking innovations,” Matthew shared. “We just see the need and then make something available online so our people know that it’s there, that it’s easy to use, on a platform that’s existed and is part of how they work.” 

Uncover more tips to build a strong company culture in this eBook »

4. Your company’s strongest muscle might be dormant

Patty McCord, the former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix and author of Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility, joined RG’s resident content journalist, Joy Adan, for an informal fireside chat. One of my highlights was having her emphatically tell the EnExLive audience not to go back to the way things were before COVID-19 forced us all to adopt new ways of working (because that would be a waste!).

communications-ideasInstead, she reminded us COVID-19 proved that employees have always had the ability to be productive, work collaboratively and innovate using different or unfamiliar channels… many leaders just didn’t give them the opportunity to use those muscles until the pandemic forced them to.

It’s pretty exciting to think that the crisis unearthed super-powers that our HR Heroes and company ambassadors may not have realised they already had. The challenge now is to make sure there are opportunities to keep using those powers and maintain the momentum of change! 

5. The more you exercise that culture muscle, the more powerful your organisation will become

Josh Bersin concluded our day by sharing some really interesting maturity models to illustrate how the employee experience has and will continue to evolve. It was a great way to close the loop after Kylie’s opening remarks, where she talked about how HR’s role is changing to meet the changing needs of our workforce: 


Employers now need to evolve their wellbeing, communications and recognition and reward strategies to create a more integrated employee experience to engage employees that supports life both inside and outside work through multiple phases of the employee journey. Of course, this is music to our ears.

We know that strengthening all elements of the Engagement Bridge™ doesn’t just strengthen your Employee Value Proposition, it strengthens your teams and fuels their engagement and ultimately, their performance! 

If you’re keen to share some of these ideas with the rest of your team, or relive the day, make sure you check out the recordings and some of our supporting resources below: 

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Gemma Matthewman

A Brit living down under who is passionate about travel, food and all things Marketing. What really makes Gemma tick is experimenting with new ways to connect the community of HR Changemakers and educate people about our mission to make the world a better place to work.

Head of Australia Growth Marketing

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