Employee engagement seminars – further reading

Employee engagement seminars – further reading

I’m always kicking about doing presentations at employee engagement conferences and events and for a while I’ve been meaning to post some further reading and references online for anyone interested in some of the sources that have really helped to inform my thinking over the last 10 years. So here you go – I’ll keep this post up to date as my thinking evolves.

Arianna Huffington’s “Thrive” The Third Metric to Redefining Success.

Arianna Huffington, Thrive
Arianna Huffington, Thrive

In one sentence – it’s the talk that probably saved my life, certainly my health. If that sounds too dramatic, how about this one: “Wellbeing is not an option any more – it’s not about you, it’s about your business.” The internet is making business move so fast that if you’re exhausted you won’t be able sense the changes that are coming, you won’t be able to sense the icebergs before they hit you. Essentially, you can’t be a good leader in the fast paced world that we’re all working in if you’re exhausted and making bad decisions.

It’s 47 minutes – in my view this video, recorded at Hubspot’s Inbound 2013 conference, is much better than the book that accompanies it but if you like a good read, you can get the book here on Amazon. Watch the full video here on Youtube.

The Netflix Culture & Values deck “Freedom & Responsibility”

Netflix Freedom & Responsibility
Netflix Freedom & Responsibility

Published by Netflix founder & CEO Reed Hastings but written by Patti McCord, Netflix’s ex Chief Talent Officer, the Netflix Culture & Values deck, called “Freedom & Responsibility” has been hosted publicly on Slideshare since 2009 where it’s had over 13 million views. Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg went on record saying the slide deck was the reason that she asked him to join the Facebook board where Reed has been a non-exec since 2011, going on to say “It may well be the most important document ever to come out of the Valley.”

This slide deck delivers much more than the normal set of values or words that companies tend to write – it’s been called the company’s constitution. Above anything it demonstrates that culture can be deliberate, certain and high-performance, it’s the antidote to anyone who thinks talking about culture is fluffy and unimportant. Amongst much more, it outlines the Netflix approach towards hiring (no “brilliant jerks,” please) and also firing (only keep the people that you’d fight for if they wanted to leave). My personal favorite line is the standard it sets “Average performance will receive a generous severance package.”

At Reward Gateway we’ve worked hard to document our culture and values and we still haven’t got anywhere near the clarity or integrity that this 7 year old document has -it very much has my intense respect.

Full Disclosure : I’m an investor in Netflix – I think they’re a great business with really good leadership and thats why I invested.

“Care Immensely or Die” – from Gary Vayerchuck

Gary Vaynerchuck in Care Immensely or Die
Gary Vaynerchuck in Care Immensely or Die

This was  fantastic keynote presented at Hubspot’s 2012 “Inbound” conference. He’s a pretty special guy, Gary – he made his first real money with an online wine company, Wine Library,  built right at the start of the first .com boom but he’s been a serial entrepreneur since he was 13. It was at Wine Library that he really pioneered the use of email marketing and its at his social media-focussed digital agency

This is a great inspirational romp through Gary’s career. It runs to just over an hour and is well worth it – settle down, keep a pen and paper handy for notes and quotes and get ready. Oh and send the kids to bed – Gary has some of the most colourful language that I know.

Gary is one of our best experts on the fundamental shift in our culture that is driven by technology and the internet. Gary talks about social, communications, marketing and selling against a strong mantra of hyper-commercial business. Cue a classic Gary quote :

“The only reason that I love and adore social media is because it sells shit”


“Marketers ruin everything – it’s our job. We see something shiny and then we squeeze the fucking shit out of it until we can get as much cash into our predicts… I just want you to understand that everything I’m going to be talking about for the next 45 minutes has a shelf life of about 36 to 48 months until we ruin it.”

Whether you are in sales or marketing or you’re an HR person struggling with employee communications, you really need to watch this talk. Gary talks more sense with more passion and more urgency than almost anyone I know.

You can watch the full keynote here over on Youtube. Don’t miss it – It has a wonderful last 15 minutes were the talk pivots into a beautiful piece revealing Gary’s deeply entrenched belief that authenticity in customer service is key.


Written by 

Glenn is an employee engagement and tech entrepreneur. He founded Reward Gateway, the HR technology company in 2006 and continues to lead it as CEO today.

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