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Pre-Conference Workshop Day

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM What makes work meaningful – or meaningless – and why it matters for the employee experience

As human beings, we all have an innate drive to find meaning in our life and, of course, in the place where many of us spend most of our waking hours - at work. Research has shown that people who find their work meaningful are more engaged, satisfied and committed, they enjoy higher levels of wellbeing and they are less likely to quit. Meaningful work is a topic that is new to many business leaders, and is one that is currently attracting significant interest as employers look beyond the short-term with a view to creating genuinely sustainable, long-term business models.
But meaningfulness is fragile, and far more easily destroyed than created. It is highly personal, and something that people have to find for themselves, rather than something that can be imposed on them. Employees also have a very sensitive antenna that can easily spot ‘fake meaningfulness’ initiatives! For these reasons, employers often struggle to find ways of helping their employees experience their work as authentically meaningful.
There is much that employers can do to create an ecosystem that enables employees to find the meaning in their work, and to avoid the ‘7 deadly sins’ that spark a sense of meaninglessness.

What will you learn in this workshop?
This workshop draws on ground-breaking research recently published in the Sloan Management Review and takes an interactive approach to cover the essentials of meaningful work, starting with encouraging delegates to consider how meaningful their own work is:
• What is meaningful work and why does it matter to me and my employees?
• What are the five surprising features of meaningful work?
• How meaningful is my own work?
• What are the ‘7 deadly sins’ that employers often commit that erode meaningfulness, and how can they be avoided?
• How can we create an ecosystem to enable employees to find authentic meaning in their work?

Speaker Biography
Katie Bailey (née Truss) is Professor of Management at the University of Sussex. She has published her research on meaningful work and employee engagement in journals such as the Sloan Management Review and Harvard Business Review. She is often invited to be a keynote speaker at international conferences and workshops, and works extensively with organisations on their engagement and meaningfulness initiatives. Katie has previously been co-chair of the Steering Committee of the Engage for Success ‘Guru Group’ and a Non-Executive Director of the IPA. Her current research on purposeful leadership is sponsored by the CIPD. She is co-editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Meaningful Work, and is part of an international team organizing a series of workshops around the world on meaningful work. She is Associate Editor of Human Resource Management Journal and she runs the website www.meaningful-work.co.uk. Katie is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and an Academic Fellow of the CIPD.


1:30 PM - 3:00 PM How to engage employees from a psychological point of view

Many companies try to figure out why their workforce is not fully motivated and not engaging with their work as much as they could and as a consequence, why company productivity is not reaching its full potential.

Often companies look at the wrong employee engagement factors; they introduce a new ping pong table to the office space or come up with all kinds of special benefit schemes and believe that this will lift employees’ spirits and ultimately engagement.

However, from a psychological point of view, employees increase their engagement with their work if they’re working in areas and on subjects that are aligned with their deeply rooted values/needs. Many companies are often unaware or not paying enough attention to the underlying and unconscious values of their employees. And even if companies are aware of these areas that contribute to employee engagement and have designed a survey to identify them, they still gather employees’ thoughts rather than how employees really feel about. Employees themselves are often unaware of what they truly value and any approach that gathers rational responses will only scratch on the surface of reality.


What will you learn in this workshop?

In this interactive workshop we will make you aware of the universal human values/needs that you need to watch out for in your employees and address the following points:
  • How values feed into staff development and recruitment
  • How to communicate more effectively with your staff
  • How to motivate your staff
  • How to minimise employee turnover and increase retention
  • How to identify employee values from a nonconscious point of view

About your workshop leaders

Dr Simon Moore, Charters Psychologist, Innovationbubble
Simon is a chartered psychologist who specialises in engagement, emotion, employee experience, and decision making. He started in animal behaviour (dolphins and Apes) and now consults around human behaviour. Simon has over 20 years of commercial experience optimising organisations. Simon has also worked with the UK and USA Governments. He has led global projects in relation to employee engagement in a variety of sectors. He regularly speaks at international conferences on this subject.


Katharina Wittgens, Insights Director at Innovationbubble
Katharina is a Business Psychologist and Insights Director at Innovationbubble, specialising in identifying the emotional, non-conscious, and motivational drivers of individual and group behaviour. She has extensive experience in the healthcare and consumer sector including having designed and managed various research and consultancy projects dealing with patients’, physicians’, consumers’, and employees’ decision-making in a physical and digital context. She has a great understanding of the strategies that can be applied to change organisations’ cultures and people’s behaviours as well as the importance of uncovering people’s conscious vs non-conscious behaviour.
Katharina is also a REBT practitioner and uses the REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy) approach to design and conduct behavioural change interventions and communication strategies.