• Jane Fordham

It Takes A Fool to Change The World – Fools, Raise Your Hands!

Updated: Jun 15, 2018

#ExChangeLDN #EmployeeExperience

I was fortunate enough to go to 2/3 of a brilliant conference a few weeks back on 'Employee Experience'. Que?! What is this latest HR buzzword I hear you cry? Put simply this is the very best of HR/talent management, building your entire organisation around its people with the belief that off-the-chart engagement, productivity, commitment and therefore business impact will follow. There’s a swathe of data to back this premise up too. As one speaker, Andy Swann puts it, “When people thrive, organisations thrive.” Simple.

Anyhoo, I had a breakfast meeting and so missed a chunk of the morning session but those speakers I did see, blew my proverbial socks off, enlightened me and had me dancing out The Brewery chocca full of ideas and passion.

Here follows a very topline round-up of the event, my ‘best bits’ if you will. This covers examples of best practice, latest theory, data points and some erudite soundbites. Jump on Twitter and checkout #ExChangeLDN for May 24th. And any minor inaccuracies are down to my note-taking!

Pete Trainor, Co-Founder Us Ai, Author, Technologist & Designer

· “This is a moment of huge cultural change driven by AI. It doesn’t have to be scary. It’s exciting.”

· Don’t do things better, do better things

· Pete's business is based around conscious capitalism; giving as much back as possible, specifically in terms of how AI can support mental health

· His book (Hippo – The Human Focussed Digital Book) takes a philosophical look at technology; technology & screens should essentially get out of our faces. AI will help the tech pipeline ‘pipe down’, take a physically less intrusive role in our lives, allow our lives to be more human again

· There is no such things as ‘an AI,’ its simply a collaboration of code

· Digital addiction is very real and very destructive

· 2.5 quintillion of data generated every day!!!

· Netflix is great example of an organisation which runs almost entirely on AI, very small employee-base

· Re mental health, emotional support can play a key role in helping someone in crisis. Pete has looked at what constitutes emotional support. Someone being there for you but it doesn’t necessarily always need to be a person

· AI could play a role here, learning with you re your daily routines, tells, good habits and warnings signs. Gender neutral, trained to ask more questions than it answers, pilot phase. BUT, this represents an ethical schism!

· “The world needs crazy people who believe they can do good. It takes a fool to change the world.” Amen (says the atheist author).

Andy Swann, author of The Human Workplace, Founder My Amazing Team

· 3 simple things organisations should focus on (wrapped up in the right comms & information flow); 1) people 2) right place 3) right action

· 1) get outta the g*ddam way, do as little as possible in terms of interfering, squashing your people. Let them lead, empower & trust them

· 2) ‘Users’ of organisational systems (employees) always know best – don’t dictate to them, ASK them

· 3) Create communities not companies

· Approach your organisational design with a ‘design thinking’ mindset. Understand your business, design your organisation, observe it in action, tweak it, tweak it again

Andrea Pattico, Chief People Officer, MVF

· Talked enormous sense, debunking many of the myths and misnomers surrounding ‘millennials’ largely founded on a global game of Chinese whispers which came from a small, localised US data set

· Some excellent examples of how to build engagement and an optimum employee experience

· Collaborate; e.g. running lab sessions, to tackle a particular organisational challenge. Advertise & invite anyone interested, use 4 or 5 problem solving techniques to get things moving. Conclude with ideas re how to turn ideas into actions and communicate the output internally

· Authentic leadership HAS to be based on 3 principles; believe, say, do. Must do all 3!

· 5 tips for employee engagement; listen (feedback is a gift), collaborate, execute, connect & be authentic

Ben Whitter, World Employee Experience Institute

· Pillars of employee experience; 1) community experience, learning experience, design experience

· Employees will be asking themselves; does my employer CARE about me? Is my employer committed to me? Do I trust them?

· Do your systems, processes, leaders deliver the right answers to these questions? Your organisational experience has to be 100% consistent and authentic

· Spotify campaign – no matter what you believe in, we believe in you

o Massive policy campaign globally.

o This was to communicate a leave policy (yawn yawn) and they turned it into a massive, positive cultural slam dunk.

o They empowered their staff to take off whatever public holidays, religious and cultural holidays that were significant to them. Check it out!

Ok so this is just a taster of the stellar content on the day. My written word won’t do justice to the vim, vigour and all round clout of the amazing speakers. However, my humble hope is that I’ve managed to ignite just a little spark in you to do things differently, better in your own organisations. Thanks for your time.

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Jane Fordham Consulting

Stanyards Cottage, Chertsey Road



GU24 8JE​

Tel: 07500 725102


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