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Hacking HR 2020 Summit: Employee Experience and The Human Workplace

I feel so honored to be moderating this important session about Employee Experience and The Human Workplace with the world’s top experts Ben Whitter, Founder and Chief Experience Officer of the World Employee Experience Institute in the UK, and Employee Experience Expert, Conny Kunert, of Switzerland.

When: July 17, 2019, Time: 10 a.m. EST.

Registration for online event.

Ben Whitter, whose book, Employee Experience, is being released in the coming weeks, was recently featured in The Economist, with his insightful post about finding the right balance between people and machines: Balancing humanity and technology in the employee experience:

“Balancing technology imperatives with human needs to create a unified employee experience is tricky to get right. It is essential, at all times, to consider humans and technology together as a reflection of each other. There may be a significant tool or solution available, but is it right to deploy it? Does it deepen the connection between people? Does it improve and enhance relationships? Does it positively affect the employee and customer experience?”

So much is being said these days about enhancing relationships. Everyone in this field knows what type of issues we’re dealing with, which mainly comes down to keeping employees highly motivated and connected.

There have been many findings during the last few years of Positive Psychology on what makes us happy, things like hope and vision, meaning, gratitude, connection in a relationship, self-realization, determination, activism, gamified attitude, vitality, and much more. From the last 20 years researching what makes people happy, this is how Dr. Martin Seligmansummarized his study:

“There is only one characteristic that distinguished the happiest 10% from everybody else: The strength of their social relationships.”

In another study conducted for over 60 years by Dr. George Vaillant, (a professor of psychiatry in the Harvard medical school) found that the most successful people (earning more than double $123K vs $50K) are the ones that have positive social relationships after spending years studying human relationships.

From all this it’s easy to see a bigger picture where maintaining a happy society allows us to be happier in every part of our lives. As Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya wrote when he posted the transcript of his anti-CEO Playbook here on Linkedin:

“If you’re right with your community & your people & your product, you will be more profitable & you will be more innovative. you will have passionate people working for you & a community that supports you.”


As our host Hacking HR founder Enrique Rubio sees it, no one was even talking about EX last year and now, it’s more important than ever. How can we lead organizations successfully into this new world of work?

The Challenges

We are all aware of the current issues — employees feeling disengaged and/or that their work has no meaning. Some new insights about the latest problems have come out in the last few days:

#1 — Sesil Pir who I know from our HumansFirst meetings talks about how we’ve unconsciously shifted the cultural responsibility away from us, while creating mental spheres of separation, otherness and isolation, in her Forbes feature: Structural Change Is An Easy Way Out: Why We Need To Own Our Corporate Cultures. Her solution?

“Building a human-centric culture, where you care equally about all the parts of the organization. She recommends, “… valuing your collective capability just as much as your individual capacity. Imagine designing a context that involves everyone in their own journey of growth; that offers everyone equal opportunity to embrace their humanity. Imagine structuring the organization, not around a core theory, but, instead of around its people.”

To conclude, Sesil lists attributes scientifically validated to expand our capacities and to motivate positive patterns: purpose, courage, foresight, emotional insight, wonder, wisdom, compassion, mastery.

#2 — The Great Burnout Debate by Markham Heid on Elemental (Medium).

#3 — And all eyes are on the millennials — probably because they represent the future workforce, and their behavior isn’t so predictable. Korn Ferry Institute’s 4 Trends to Watch for the Rest of This Year:

Employee Activism

“Walkouts. Unions. Social media callouts. Employees, more empowered than ever, are speaking out more than ever. A recent survey found that nearly 50% of millennials recently spoke out either in support or in criticism of their employer’s actions on a controversial issue.

This trend isn’t going away anytime soon and will likely increase in both frequency and effectiveness in the future, says Alina Polonskaia, a global leader of diversity and inclusion solutions with Korn Ferry. The activism is being driven in part by the purpose movement; consumers and employees want to back organizations that make a positive social contribution. But Polonskaia says that the need for talent with extremely specialized skills is also a driving force. “Employees that have the in-demand skills are realizing they have the power to speak up and voice an opinion,” she says, adding that leaders need to develop listening channels to connect with and understand what’s on the minds of employees.”

The Next Stage

We don’t want our session or any of these discussions about the future to be gloomy. Over the last few months I’ve experienced firsthand how discussing our better future together — even with total strangers — actually generates a new kind of fuel that makes you feel very optimistic about the future. So we are all eternally grateful to Enrique for bringing people together from all over the world to have these very important discussions. We are all equal partners in the next stage of our better future, so we better start figuring it out together.

In the words of Michael Laitman:

“We need to learn how to create a new prosocial, pro-connective culture, that has the power to make a significant shift of energy in our environment. In order for that to happen, human relations, usually viewed as a byproduct of people’s professions and education, now need to be placed at the center of our attention. Once we understand the benefits, the motivation will shift from monetary motivation to a purely prosocial, pro-connective motivation: one where we would regularly vitalize each other with examples of how we rise above our egoistic tendencies, thinking about, connecting to and benefiting other members of “our family”. This new fuel we would generate would serve as a source of constant motivation, encouragement and ultimately, pave the way to a society of united, happy and confident individuals.” 

At the end of the day, we need to focus on nurturing positive human connection by strengthening our natural capacity to connect. Apparently we are wired specifically for this.


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