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We at the Engagement Zone sat down with #Engagement101 fellow, Breckon Jones – Director of Total Reward & Global Strategic Health at American Express. Breckon will be also be one of the judges reviewing all our ANZ EE Award entries when the deadline passes on September 16, 2017. Enter now. 


EZ: What does employee engagement mean to you?

BRECKON: For me, employee engagement is all about people connecting their personal purpose with the purpose of their employer in a way that the individual can thrive through peak performance and the company can flourish economically and societally.

EZ: What are your three tips for companies looking to drive engagement in their organisations?

BRECKON: Know what your measures of employee engagement are, know what your employee engagement aspirations are, and consult your employees about how to drive engagement and performance.

EZ: What do you feel are the biggest pitfalls that companies should look to avoid when executing their engagement strategy?

BRECKON: You can’t buy employee engagement so don’t try; it’s an outcome of a great employee experience that is earned and grown over time, and that needs to be co-created by the organization and its people.

EZ: Why do employees fail to buy in when companies try to ramp up engagement?

BRECKON: You can ramp up Talent Acquisition if you need to hire candidates fast, you can ramp up quality controls if you need to ensure compliance, but ramping up engagement is something employees see through pretty quickly unless the population is driving the change in partnership with HR and Leadership.

EZ: What skills are most useful for everyone to have when trying to move towards a culture of engagement?

BRECKON: Courage, Creativity, Consultation

EZ: You’re a judge for the Employee Engagement awards. What will you be looking for in the entries?

BRECKON: Innovation, holistic, interconnectivity, evidence of outcomes.

EZ: How important do you think it is to connect Employee Engagement to Customer Engagement and why?

BRECKON: High Engagement and wellbeing are key drivers of performance and productivity, of which customer service is a clear indicator. In a recent study published in American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine titled The Association of Employee Engagement at Work With Health Risks and Presenteeism (2017, Burton et al) the researchers examined the relationship between employee engagement and health risks and productivity. It concluded that work engagement appears to be good for both the organization and the individual, especially when it comes to customer service.

EZ: What’s the best EE idea you’ve seen a company roll out/attempt and wish you’d had that idea yourself?

BRECKON: A program where employees volunteer to help enhance healthcare in Indigenous Australian communities and at the same time learn about Indigenous Australian concepts of personal and community wellbeing and how to better connect to Time and Place.

EZ: Since you entered the world of work, what’s the best experience you’ve had?

BRECKON: Working with so many talented and purpose driven professionals in multiple countries has given me the exposure to a variety of cultures and ways of doing business. Sometimes the same concept is experienced in a vastly different way depending on the country it’s in and even the location within countries. This exposure to cultural nuance has been the best experience and kept me on my toes for 20 years. It forced me to be agile and adaptive when designing employee engagement experiences.

EZ: What’s the worst?

BRECKON: The worst was probably when I pitched to a Nordic C-Suite Board what I thought was a brilliant workplace culture-enhancement program to engage employees during a period of significant change. The group heard me out and then promptly shot me down by collectively saying, “It’s nearly Christmas in Sweden and you didn’t start the meeting with coffee and ginger snaps, so come back to us when you know more about Scandinavian culture.” I learned a lot that day about egalitarianism and consulting with locals in advance…!

EZ: Best place in the world you have visited?

BRECKON: Mauritius

EZ: The place you’d most like to visit?


NOTE: Entries for the UK & European and ANZ  Employee Engagement Awards are now open. For your chance to be recognised as a great place to work, click the link here.

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