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2017 Employee Engagement Conference

Creating an Engaged Culture through Purpose, Connection, and Neuroscience

July 24-26, 2017 | San Francisco, CA

Please note that the times reflected in this agenda are listed in the time-zone where the event takes place.
For this event, the time-zone is Pacific Time Zone.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

7:30-4:30 PM


7:30-8:30 AM


8:30-8:50 AM

Chairman's Welcome Remarks

Conference Chairperson:
Bill Craib, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Learning, Human Capital Institute (HCI)
8:50-9:00 AM

Opening Remarks

Greg Graham, Vice President, O.C. Tanner
9:00-9:45 AM
Lindsay McGregor, Co-author of NYTimes bestseller, “Primed to Perform: How to Build the Highest Performing Cultures Through the Science of Total Motivation”
Neel Doshi, Co-author of NYTimes bestselling book, “Primed to Perform: How to Build the Highest Performing Cultures Through the Science of Total Motivation”
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Too often, great cultures feel like magic. What if you knew the science behind the magic—a science so predictive and powerful that you could use it to unlock people’s innate desire to innovate, experiment, and adapt?

Lindsay McGregor and Neel Doshi, authors of the New York Times bestselling book Primed to Perform, will share how you can do just that. They explain the counterintuitive science behind legendary cultures, building on over a century of academic thinking.  While most organizations build cultures based on emotional pressure, economic pressure and inertia, they unlock higher performance when they enable play, purpose, and potential. The authors share how you can measure the strength of a culture, and track its improvement over time. Most importantly, Primed to Perform teaches you how to build great cultures using a purposeful and sustainable approach—whether you’re a five-person team or a startup, a school, a nonprofit or a mega-institution.

You’ll learn:

  • How great cultures unlock performance – and how that performance is more nuanced than we think
  • How neuroscience teaches us to build a culture that unlocks each person’s play, purpose and potential
  • How you can make an immediate difference with your team on Monday, and across an entire organization soon after
  • How you can apply the science of total motivation to improve the culture and performance of a team, and create a strategic culture plan for your organization, touching the major systems - from role design to personal development to decision rights - that have a far deeper impact on culture than we realize


9:45-10:25 AM

Morning Networking Break and HCI Genius Bar with Lindsay and Neel

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HCI Genius Bar allows attendees personal access to speakers after their presentations in the exhibit area.

Guests at this Genius Bar are:


Lindsay McGregor and Neel Doshi, NY Times Bestselling Authors, “How to Build the

Highest Performing Cultures Through the Science of Total Motivation”

10:25-11:00 AM
Sean Kelly, CEO, SnackNation
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Self-Determination Theory (SDT), a commonly subscribed to model of human motivation, suggests that human connection is one of the three most important psychological drivers behind people's actions. In the New York Times best-seller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, author Yuval Noah Harari suggests that our survival and success as a species has been based on our ability to socialize, relate, and gossip (or talk about the relationships we have). Empirical evidence suggests Millennials care more about community and having friends at work than they do about compensation or job title. It seems that connection is at the core of our needs, our desires, our sociology, and even our biology.

But if human connection is so important and essential to our existence as human beings, why does it feel like we’re further apart than we’ve ever been? Thanks to technology, we’re all very connected, but many of us feel that we’re not really connecting. How can we change this and leverage connection to help us build stronger communities, especially during the age of the Millennial?

This conversation dives into the paramount importance of human connection, personal relationships, and authentic collaboration in the world of tomorrow and provides insights into how anyone can create a more connected and effective environment with the Millennial generation at its core. We’ll explore the topics of empathy, vulnerability and compassion amongst other often neglected, yet essential, characteristics of the future’s strongest & most fulfilling workplaces. 

The talk will include tangible take-aways and easy-to-implement tips for how you and your organization can immediately create more fulfilling and powerful bonds inside the office that will yield greater organizational performance and happier, healthier employees.

You will learn:

  • Why creating deeper connection is essential to your organization’s success & especially with the Millennial generation
  • How to develop and promote a mindset of healthy connection in a workplace
  • What language to use and promote to create greater cohesiveness and deeper bonds amongst your workforce
  • What activities you can integrate (at no cost) to create a stronger and more collaborative culture
  • How today’s best leaders employ radical vulnerability, compassion and empathy to win people’s hearts before their minds
11:00-11:35 AM
David Rock, Ph.D., CEO and Founder, NeuroLeadership Institute
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When we are truly engaged at work, we operate on another level of commitment, emotionally invested in our organization and fulfilled by what we accomplish. Research on engagement routinely focuses on its correlation with high performance and business results. But in terms of understanding how to truly lift and sustain engagement across an organization, we also need to be mindful of the neuro and biological drivers of engagement.

Join Dr. David Rock of the NeuroLeadership Institute as he digs into the latest research and discover brain-based ways to lift engagement at scale. Participants will gain fresh insights into managing workplace interactions and framing learning experience so they minimize the threat, maximize reward, and measurably drive engagement.

You will learn:

  • The latest neuroscience and industry research on employee engagement
  • Learn about The SCARF Model ™ and how to leverage it to boost engagement at scale
  • How neuro-research is transforming the way large organizations approach learning and change
11:35-12:10 PM
Andy Lee, Chief Mindfulness Officer at Aetna
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Workplace stress is taking a significant toll on the well-being and effectiveness of employees, through its direct impact on physical and emotional wellness, as well as its effects on focus, innovation and collaboration. Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce stress, as well as having additional salutary effects. But beyond individual well-being, mindfulness also has the potential to shift organizational culture in a positive direction. Aetna has been a pioneer in bringing the benefits of mindfulness to its employees. We are currently engaging in a process of embedding mindfulness in our culture.

In this session, you will learn what mindfulness is and how it reduces stress and enhances well-being and performance. We will also discuss how Aetna is approaching bringing mindfulness into its culture. Finally, a model will be presented for bringing mindfulness into organizations in order to drive engagement.

You will learn:

  • The definition, practice and benefits of mindfulness
  • Best practices in mindfulness training
  • A three-phase model for bringing mindfulness into organizations
  • Aetna’s strategy for leveraging mindfulness for culture change
12:10-1:15 PM


1:15-1:50 PM

Concurrent Presentation

Anna Merritt, People Analytics Lead, Square
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At Square, we believe everyone should be able to participate and thrive in the economy, so we build accessible tools that shorten the distance between having an idea and making a living from it. Every day, our employees engage in meaningful, impactful work that empowers small business owners; it’s what draws prospective Squares in the door, as well as what keeps them here year after year. This connection to purpose also means we serve our customers better - from engineers building the next iteration of our products to customer support teams interacting with Square sellers, our purpose fuels empathy and innovation.

You will learn:

  • How to weave purpose into the employee experience, from People programs to office design
  • How to encourage open, transparent dialog about what purpose means
  • How a sense of purpose can impact hiring, retention, and engagement
Teryluz Andreu, North America Culture & Engagement Leader at Aon
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The rise of populist governments, rapid technology advances, and mergers and acquisitions all have the potential of creating havoc at work. Volatility and uncertainty can lead to fear at the individual level as well as throughout the organization. That leads to errors, disengagement, and faltering performance. In the face of these disruptive forces, leaders still need to lead. They need to engage and energize their people while navigating through complexity and ambiguity.

Using a blend of neuroscience and social science research, Teryluz Andreu, North America Culture & Engagement Leader at Aon will discuss how the typical employee reacts to threatening change and what leaders need to do to engage employees as they combat their fears and the adversity in front of them.

Attendees will learn:

  • How to use a blend of neuroscience and social science to combat employee fears and adversities to change
  • Specific steps leaders need to take to counter disengagement in the face of a stressful and changeable environment
  • Why external threats like populism, rapid technology advancement, and M&A activity will threaten employee engagement
1:50-2:30 PM

Afternoon Networking Break and Genius Bar with: David Rock, Sean Kelly and Andy Lee

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Ask questions and get answers from top thought leaders in the exhibit area

2:30-3:05 PM

Concurrent Presentation:

Everything You Have Heard is Wrong

Sarah Johnson, Ph.D., Vice President, Enterprise Surveys and Analytics, Perceptyx Inc.
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The survey landscape has become a cluttered place.  Continuous listening?  The annual employee survey is dead?  Fewer questions?  More questions?  Employee surveys are essential to fueling data-based decisions about people, but what’s the best approach for your company?

You’ll learn:

  • How to make sense of all the conflicting information about employee surveys and choose the design and process that matches your organization’s strategy
  • The difference between “engagement” and an “engaging workplace”, and the most important topics to include in the survey
  • Why a well executed survey strategy builds organizational trust
3:05-3:15 PM

Room Change

3:15-3:50 PM
Brittany Aguilar, Ph.D., Senior Methodology Consultant, Kantar TNS Employee Insights
Krystal Taylor, Human Resource Development Manager, Hearthside Food Solutions
Moon Passino, Vice President Human Resources, North Central Region, Enterprise Rent-A-Car | National Car Rental | Alamo Rent A Car
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Building an employee measurement strategy with greater depth and flexibility means you need to play a more strategic role for your employees and the organization. Emerging techniques like continuous listening and targeted pulsing are moving closer to a conversation than a survey; just imagine what you would ask if it was just you and the employee meeting to discuss a specific concern- as it happened.

This level of connection and understanding isn’t just what you need to make critical people strategies; it is increasingly essential as a competitive employer of generations who are used to a crafted, customized experience. In this session, you will hear leaders of large to small organizations reflect on their experiences using insights from employee feedback to deal with internal crises, connect across diverse organizations and double their investment toward their purpose.

Our key takeaways will be:

  • Specific ways organizations of all sizes foster connection and leverage an engaged culture to promote company values and future growth
  • How to design a census and pulse strategy that makes your engagement program stronger, yet stays true to your purpose and still feels like “you”
  • Concrete steps to connect how customers and employees understand, embrace, and help grow your brand ideals.
  • How using science in your design will keep your values in the survey, plus reduce the length of your survey and increase leader buy-in and interest
3:50-4:00 PM

Room Change

4:00-4:35 PM
Danna Szwed, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, Ashley Furniture Industries
Mark Royal, Senior Principal, Korn Ferry Hay Group
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Increasingly, employee engagement is a moving target.  Today’s leaders are challenged to motivate their people and position them for success while responding to disruptive shifts in how they work and what they value.  And that means that monitoring and managing workplace dynamics will be more important than ever.

Ashley Furniture Industries is the #1 furniture manufacturer in the world.  Since 1970, the family-owned business has grown to employ more than 26,000 people and generates over $4.8 billion in annual revenues, making it one of America’s 100 largest private companies. There are now over 700 Ashley Furniture HomeStore retail furniture stores operating worldwide.  But the company’s products aren't its only heroes. The people of Ashley Furniture Industries help the company truly define itself.  Total company investments have exceeded $500M in the past five years.  At Ashley, it’s not just a philosophy, it’s a practice.  Not only do they invest in the latest design tools, systems, and equipment, they also invest in their people. Ashley Furniture’s focus on employee engagement supports a philosophy of people-driven success as the company responds to the new and different challenges associated with a digital economy.

In this session, you will learn:

  • How the World’s Most Admired Companies and other leading organizations are preparing for the future of work and responding to digital opportunities and challenges
  • Key focus areas for successfully implementing and managing a modern and truly global employee engagement strategy
  • Practical actions you can take today to engage your people in dynamic environments
4:35-5:10 PM

Closing Keynote Presentation:

Developing an Authentic Culture

Keynote Presenter:
Konval Matin, Director of Culture and Talent Development, Shopify
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Let’s face it, there is a cultural shift in the workforce. Now more than ever, organizations are competing internationally for the best talent at home and abroad. What this means is talented individuals are able to choose the environment they want to work in, the company they want to help build and the people they want to spend their time with - Talent is choosing employment based on company culture. This is why developing an authentic and impactful culture is paramount to the long term success of your company.

In this session you will learn the importance of an authentic culture and the power of an intentional mindset. Hear unique insights into Shopify’s culture and sustainability during the company’s immense growth and learn pivoting techniques for underperforming implementations. The session will also feature a range of culture implementations for any budget and the top performing implementations at Shopify.

You will learn:

  • Why duplicating aspirational cultures will fail
  • How to develop a successful culture
  • How to measure qualitative success
5:00-6:30 PM

Networking Cocktail Party/Business Card Exchange

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

7:30-8:30 AM


8:30-8:50 AM

Chairman's Welcome Remarks

8:50-9:00 AM

Opening Remarks

Glenn Elliott, Founder, RewardGateway
9:00-9:35 AM
Amy Thompson, Chief People Officer at TOMS Shoes
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Social entrepreneurs. Purpose-driven companies. Mission forward thinking. Throughout the last 10 years, business has evolved. It’s no longer an option for any business to integrate philanthropy, giving or a social component into the way it operates. Customers expect it and want their purchase to help more broadly; and employees want to work for companies that have a clear, strong purpose. Every company has a purpose - the secret is getting your employees to know and engage with it.

In this session you will learn how more than 10 years of impact in the lives of beneficiaries continues to drive and make an impact for TOMS employees. Because coming to work is much more fun when you know you’re part of something bigger.

You will learn:

  • What it means to TOMS to make our work meaningful by connecting to our purpose
  • How to align purpose with meaningful causes: Finding the cause within your purpose
  • Tips for integrating purpose for your employees


9:35-10:10 AM
Keynote Presenter:
Bonnie Endicott , Director, People at Southwest Airlines
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Southwest keeps things simple.  Simple business model.  Simple, straightforward mission statement.  Simple organizational values that are clear, relevant and reflective of the mission to provide top-notch Customer Service.  Southwest uses their organizational values to hire great talent, set performance expectations, develop leaders and measure employee engagement.

Join Bonnie Endicott to learn about how clarifying your organizational values into employee expectations keeps employees focused, builds transparency and drives performance.  You’ll also take-away several suggestions on how to highlight and leverage your organizational values.

You will learn:

  • How an investment in clarifying organizational values simplifies hiring, talent management, and development
  • How to define employee expectations
  • How to create a link between organizational values and employee engagement
10:10-10:50 AM

Morning Networking Break and HCI Genius Bar with Amy Thompson and Bonnie Endicott

11:25-11:35 AM

Room Changeover/Break

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Mindful organizations promote awareness and responsiveness to employee stressors as part of their approach to talent management. By staying mindful of employee work-life experiences, these organizations are better able to craft cost-sensitive, yet robust benefits and solutions that enhance employee engagement, productivity, satisfaction, and retention. In this keynote presentation, recent survey data provides insight into the strategies deployed by mindful organizations, and offers guidance on how to focus talent management efforts to improve business outcomes and the employee experience.

In this original HCI and KinderCare Education Signature Series presentation, you will learn:

  • What tools and approaches mindful organizations use to better understand employee stressors.
  • How strengthening and diversifying employee benefits assists in efforts to recruit, retain and engage employees.
  • How costs and benefits of increased responsiveness to the employee experience are measured and monitored by mindful organizations.
  • The collateral benefits associated with mindful strategies in terms of productivity, innovation, and growth.
12:40-1:40 PM


1:40-2:15 PM
Dr. Rob Bogosian, Author of “Breaking Corporate Silence: How High-Influence Leaders Create Cultures of Voice” and Expert in Executive Leadership Development for Multi-National Organizations
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What do GM and the Titanic have in common? Both organizations were deeply impacted by a Culture of Silence. This type of culture exists when the willful withholding of important work related information becomes the norm resulting in substantial loss of productivity, revenue and increased operational and reputation risk. The lack of upward communication in these organizations is apparent in hindsight, but according to Dr. Rob Bogosian, author of Breaking Corporate Silence, it’s often difficult for leaders to recognize the causes and symptoms of employee silence up close until it’s too late.

Dr. Bogosian discusses specific “Signs of Silence” and offers proven methods to measure high-risk Cultures of Silence and how to shape and sustain more productive, low-risk Cultures of Voice.

Using his Silence Voice Index™ (SVI) diagnostic, Rob discusses the risks of silent cultures in organizations and specific recommendations to help leaders determine if they are inadvertently creating this type of culture. Rob will discuss specific, proven leadership practices that shape and sustain Cultures of Voice.

You will learn:

  • How to recognize behaviors known to contribute to a Culture of Silence
  • The damaging culture of silence effects on companies and employees, such as medical and performance costs (i.e. $44 billion annually).
  • How to distinguish between corporate Culture of Silence (e.g., GM, BP, Volkswagen) and Cultures of Voice (Microsoft, Google)
  • The benefits associated with Cultures of Voice: Reduced operational and reputation risk, Rapid knowledge transfer, Efficient, root cause problem solving, Innovation
  • The risks associated with Cultures of Silence: Reduced operational performance, Increased voluntary turnover, Operational, fiduciary and reputational risk
2:15-2:20 PM

Quick Stretch

2:55-3:55 PM
Dr. John Crawford, Clinic Director, Arbour Health Group
Diane Crawford, Director, Underwriting Operations, Co-operators General Insurance Company
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Leading edge neuroscience has provided new insight into the biological principles that drive human behaviour.  There are many misconceptions about the brain.  Ongoing scientific discoveries continue to aid in our understanding of how our brain affects us as individuals and teams.  To understand how we can leverage this knowledge in the realm of both the individual and the organization we delve into a number of areas that help people maximize their potential. The idea of the ever-changing brain is reviewed and the impact that has on well-being along with tactics to influence the changes.   We explore concepts relating to the life of brain cells, the idea of transitory brain connections, the ageing brain and the idea of brain re-programming.

Dr. John Crawford explains in real world language the neuroscientific principles that can be used to increase personal effectiveness, team strength and cohesiveness by maximizing brain health.  A unique team building activity will demonstrate the principles in real time.  This workshop style demonstration will appeal to both the analytical and creative natures of all.

You will learn how to:

  • Recognize how creativity and cognitive change relates to improved brain function and impacts your teams and their engagement.
  • Understand “brain plasticity” – specifically neuroplasticity
  • Identify factors which may contribute to increased brain productivity
  • Takeaway practical ideas to apply personally and professionally

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

7:30-10:00 AM


7:45-8:45 AM


8:20-8:30 AM

Welcome Remarks

8:30-10:00 AM
Workshop Facilitator:
Justin Black, Senior Director, Organizational Development Science, Glint Inc.
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In the past several years, design thinking has become the gold standard by which we create products, ideas, and programs that have unexpected and lasting effects on people and organizations. Design thinking is a creative solution-finding method made famous by organizations like Google and Apple. This framework for innovation helps practitioners and strategists ask the right questions and implement simple, effective solutions to everlasting challenges. HR practitioners can utilize the creative strategies promoted by design thinking to overhaul their employee engagement and culture programs, or simply make small changes that help people be happier and more successful.

In this interactive workshop, led by organizational development expert Justin Black, you’ll learn the foundations of design thinking and come away with a framework to apply to your employee engagement program, no matter how large the goal. Justin will share data and case studies that will help you and your teams be more successful by applying innovative and simple solutions to the most common challenges in employee engagement, such as gaining executive buy-in, motivating employees to participate, and driving manager empowerment.  This workshop will help you and your team learn to ask the right questions that lead to real solutions.

You will learn:

  • How to improve employee engagement through design thinking
  • Ways to drive purpose and meaningful connections across the organization
  • How to create better leaders through empowerment
  • To create more productive environments where people can thrive
10:00-10:30 AM

Networking Break

10:30-12:00 PM
Workshop Facilitators:
Shebani Patel, Principal with PwC in the Saratoga People Analytics practice
Jeffrey Jolton, Director, People Analytics, PwC
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Every organization has an engagement journey. Some have forged a clear path that has allowed them to create a powerful and strong engaged work experience that drives business performance. Others started off on the right path but have perhaps gotten lost along the way, trying to figure out how (or whether) to get back on track. Still others meander, wandering about, without a clear end in mind, and some just stay in one place not even knowing where to begin.

What is your journey, and how do you know if you have the clear path or are getting lost in the weeds?

This workshop is about understanding that journey, and reframing engagement from being a number, or survey, or series of activities, into really being about creating the kind of work experience that will result in successfully reaching your organization and business goals.

We'll walk through the concept of work experience progression - focusing on three key stages of this progression: Foundational, Developing, and Distinctive. Working through this progression helps organizations make sure they have the right elements in place to go from being a good place to work to one that is truly distinctive and unique. From having satisfactory engagement, to having the kind of engagement that moves the bottom line.

This workshop will include a variety of interactive activities that will facilitate your learning how to:

  • Assess what stage your organization is at on the employee experience progression
  • Reflect on what obstacles may be impeding performance within your organization
  • Determine what your end goals should be and how to determine when you have "arrived"
  • Ensure that your engagement and work experience efforts translates into improved business outcomes