<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=416020905483495&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

It’s been a week since the momentous day that was the Reward Gateway | Edenred Summit, when more than 1,000 HR heroes came together, but we’re still flying high. Our seventh Summit, this year’s edition was all the more special due to its core message of The Power of Appreciation and the release of our groundbreaking report, Employee Engagement: An Economic Value Study.

With that in mind, let’s take a look back at what Summit had in store and appreciate all the moments, both large and small, that made the day what it was.

And if you missed out on the day itself, or want to relive some of the highlights, we’ve compiled all of the recordings, slides and resources from the day for you to view at your own leisure.


The day was colourfully kicked off (literally) by our very own Mid-Market Account Manager, Hannah Power, and Lead Enterprise Consultant, Ollie Munday, who took the stage by storm in their coordinated suits and matching light-up trainers. Their energy and enthusiasm set the tone for the event as they introduced the Reward Gateway | Edenred CEO, Nick Burns.


Nick took us through the big picture of appreciation, and the importance of appreciating people for who they are, rather than just what they do. He challenged all business leaders present to reflect on a question: “Is the brand that you send out externally, mirrored internally at your workplace?”

This big question gave the room a moment of self-reflection, but our brains would be truly worked to their limit by the next speaker.

The science of appreciation

Mark South, Chief Marketing Officer at Reward Gateway | Edenred, interviewed neuroscientist and author Amy Brann about the science of appreciation, and between them they didn’t shy away from a tough subject that looked at business success through an intellectual lens.


Amy pointed out how workers must be looked at as humans first, and that to consider them different people depending on whether they are at work or at home isn’t a route to success.

“We only have one brain,” she said. “That brain goes with us everywhere. The idea that it ends when we get to work and we become ‘workers’ is nuts! This is why appreciation is as important at work as it is, for example, with your family.”

Put effort into your gratitude

In my role as Head of Community Connections, I've been fortunate enough to work on the In Conversation With series and at Summit has the amazing experience of interviewing Lydia Hatley, the Engagement and Culture Development Director at Holland & Barrett. 


In our fascinating conversation, Lydia expressed why it’s important to look deeply into the methods of appreciation, exemplified by this simple idea of making your words of thanks more genuine.

She said, “Put effort into ‘thank yous’. Don’t just say the words, be specific and tell someone what difference their work has made and how much everyone appreciates them.”

She also reminded us to not just recognise good work, but to also recognise people for who they are. Using recent examples from her own business, she showed us how something as simple as recognising a national holiday for a colleague can work towards making them feel appreciated.

Holland & Barrett’s journey with Reward Gateway | Edenred is truly inspirational, so why not also watch our In Conversation With Holland & Barrett from earlier this year?

The true economic value of HR - unveiling our latest research

One of the most anticipated speakers of the Summit was Nebel Crowhurst, our very own Chief People Officer and the world’s first Chief Appreciation Officer!


Nebel was the perfect guide to take us through our most insightful report yet, The Economic Value Study. A study of over 300 of the world’s leading businesses that draws a clear line between employee engagement and business success, the report  highlights the HR solutions and levers that drive this growth and can provide the ROI necessary to gain the buy-in from leadership that can so often be a struggle to secure. 

Nebel expertly highlighted the connection between a happy workforce and a high-performing organisation, proving that a company that invests in its people will soon reap the rewards.

She said: “You need to make the correlation between the people initiative and business performance clear for all to see.”

"Hug the person next to you"

Following a well-earned lunch break, we were treated to a fascinating panel discussion between Chris Britton (People Experience Director at Reward Gateway | Edenred), Rashree Chhatrisha (Reward Director, Pensions and Benefits at SAGA), Ralph Tribe (Chief People Officer and Managing Director at B-People), Greg Phillips (CEO at Dee Set Group) and Nick Rumble (Head of Pay and Reward at HC-One).

The panel kicked things off in a slightly different way – Chris Britton asked everyone in the audience to turn to the person next to them and tell them how much they appreciate them. He then dared us to go one step further and even hug the person next to us. Many of the audience rose to the challenge and for a moment the conference was filled with friends, colleagues and even strangers embracing.

Moving on from human contact, the discussion focused on ‘the future of the people leader’ with each participant offering some great insights into what drives success in this area.

The panel agreed that using a trusted HR platform can benefit an organisation hugely, but that innovation was also required in HR teams to make sure they are constantly learning about their staff and the changing world of human resources.

The power of happiness

The day was rounded off by our incredible keynote speaker, Silvia Garcia. The former Global Director of Happiness, Marketing and Communication at Coca-Cola, Silvia shared with us her nerve-wracking meeting with the Coca-Cola president that led to the launch of their happiness programme. 


It’s safe to say that in her speech, Silva quickly showed us why she was the perfect person for the job. She took us through the difference between internal competition and collaboration (no prizes for guessing which one is better for the business). Silvia also pointed out that while bonuses may seem like a fantastic employee benefit, in certain cases they can actually have a damaging impact on the workplace. Why? Because they can build a sense of competition between colleagues.

This competition can reduce collaboration, meaning employees are only focused on out-performing their colleagues, not collaborating and reaching a shared goal together.

This Summit, we also saw Reward Gateway's Chief Product & Strategy Officer, Rob Boland, shed light on the upcoming product roadmap, including the new Connect+ App, the revamped Wellbeing Centre and advancements in AI, while we witnessed a masterclass by our hosts Hannah and Ollie in how to communicate your Employee Value Proposition to drive higher usage of your employee engagement platform. We were also joined by Edenred's Sales Director, Colin Hodgson, to share the company's journey in supporting public social programmes through the extension of solutions to solve challenges and support those in need.

In addition to a fantastic selection of speakers, the Summit also wowed attendees with some incredible LED-dancing for lunch time entertainment. In each break and at the drinks reception following the event there was ample opportunity for networking, allowing everyone present to make new connections and put appreciation into practice. It truly was a day that contained everything, and we already can’t wait until next year’s event!

Keep an eye out for our upcoming events and access all of the recordings and videos from our Summit sessions in our On-Demand Hub. 

Charlotte Neal

Charlotte Neal is the Head of Community Connections at Reward Gateway and loves connecting reward and HR professionals to new ways to engage their teams. As a former journalist, she's most proud of her award from the RSPCA on a story about foster dogs finding their new homes, especially because it meant she got to spend her weeks following puppies!

Head of Community Connections

Subscribe here!

Subscribe to our Blog Updates!

Receive our most popular articles in your inbox every other week for employee engagement best practice and inspiration