Wales Conference 2019: Engaging and Inspiring in Uncertain Times 

Engage for Success Wales has compiled “golden nuggets of learning” relating to the engagement enablers at our 3rd annual conference entitled “Engaging and Inspiring in Uncertain Times”.

Our conference was held on 21st November 2019 at the Celtic Manor Golf Centre in Newport.

The event was designed as a facilitated conversation involving inspiring speakers and every attendee on the day. We were very clear in our aims:

  • To highlight that engagement is about people and leadership; it is not a management process
  • To hear real life inspiring workplace stories of positively engaging staff in these uncertain times.
  • To discuss and consider as participants what are the “golden nuggets” of learning that we personally take from each speaker
  • To connect those “golden nuggets” to one or more of the four enablers of engagement
  • To develop a template to share across the network of “top tips” (our golden nuggets) about how to deliver on each of the enablers.

The carefully designed and orchestrated conversation chaired by Derek Walker (CEO of the Wales Cooperative Centre) took place in November. The conversation was punctuated with inspiring personal narrative from Public and Private Sector senior leaders and tabletop discussions to help attendees articulate their own learning.

We used the structure of the four enablers to engagement to focus our inputs and discussions, and within the context of each one we gathered our “golden nuggets” of learning.

In his introduction, Derek set the context of our current national challenging and complex scenario as well as outlining what good employee engagement is and its impact.

Keith Joughin, MD of Accenture, picked up on the themes of trust, reminding us all that engagement is all about the people and that it is essential to treat them well.

Matt Jukes, Chief Constable of South Wales Police was open and refreshing in his input. Amidst many other very helpful points he referred to the Chinese proverb: “Listen to all, pluck a feather from every passing goose, but follow no one absolutely.”

One attendee said: “All the speakers were awesome! It was great to hear diverse stories of how engagement matters at every opportunity. Matt Jukes (Chief Constable South Wales Police) stood out and a lot could be learnt if other leaders were as open and honest as him.”

Our third contributor was Auriol Miller, Chief Executive of the Institute of Welsh Affairs (a leading all Wales think tank). She referred to her time in Dafur as the lead for Oxfam and the personal and professional leadership challenges she faced at that time. Auriol drew out many points relating to engagement but placed a sharp focus on authenticity.

Asked what had been the most successful learning elements of the conference one attendee said “Hard to say in few words, fantastic speakers with a lot (a lot!) of very good learning points, their experiences and stories, the quality of the MC Derek [Walker], overall a brilliant conference.”

Another attendee fed back that “It focussed the mind on the benefits of employee engagement, and some ways in which it can be implemented, with some excellent ‘real world’ examples.”

Others said they enjoyed “Having the opportunity to reflect as a group on the talks and pick out the golden nuggets.” And “I liked the structure, pace, input from very good speakers.”

As you can see, we have a visual set of minutes, compiled on the day by Scarlet Design. Very many thanks to them too for all their help and support.

The full set of visual minutes are at the end of this article.

We have also collated our “Golden Nuggets from Wales” on which we intend to build as the Engage for Success Wales Team move forward into 2020 planning. Coming soon…

Our 4th annual conference will be on Thursday October 22nd 2020 in Cardiff; through the year we will also continue to host a small number of early evening themed workshops and to reach out across Wales, in all sectors, so that we drive forward the movement that is about employee engagement.

May I offer a huge thanks to all those involved in the EFS Wales Team, for their enthusiastic contribution and also for the contribution of the growing band of organisations and individuals who give their time and experience willingly to support, sponsor and participate in our learning and networking events.

I wish everyone a happy and engaging 2020!

Barbara Chidgey, Chair, Engage for Success Wales

Barbara can be contacted on 07989 385114 or barbarachidgey@learningpathways.info by anyone keen to be involved, to host or sponsor an event, to assist Sian our PR and marketing or to help in anyway. Do please get in touch.

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