The reviews are in: Why attendees are raving about Unily’s new Masterclass “The future of employee engagement”

Unily Masterclasses are renowned for bringing together the greatest minds in Internal Communications, Human Resources, and Digital Transformation to discuss big themes shaping the future of work. This year, we tackle the huge topic of ‘The Future of Employee Engagement’, considering what it will take to align and activate the next generation of employees. With one Masterclass now under our belt, and so many more in store throughout the rest of 2024, here’s what to expect and why it should be on every EX leader's calendar.

Nick Daggett presenting at the Unily Masterclass in Paris

The future of employee engagement: Then, now & next

For the past 8 years, Unily Masterclasses have brought emerging employee experience trends and insights to thousands of employee experience leaders from some of the biggest organizations around the world.

Every year, we select a new topic to zoom in on, and this year our community told us they wanted to hear our stance on the evolution of employee engagement.

It’s a much-discussed topic and one which deserves the attention of our experts. The data shows that, despite record investment, employee engagement levels remain stagnant, with 6 in 10 employees sitting in the ‘quiet quitter’ category. Naturally, those involved in architecting a bright future of work are searching for clues on how to move the needle for the next cohort.

"This topic won by a landslide, which says to me people are fed up with the current blueprint for employee engagement, and want something more inspirational and future-thinking to unlock the employee engagement deadlock. Incremental changes no longer cut it."

Kaz Hassan - Community & Industry Insights Lead at Unily

Always game for a challenge, we embraced this broad and multi-faceted topic to bring attendees a mixture of trend analysis, success stories from enterprises leading the way, and predictions for the future.

Masterclasses are held in major cities throughout EMEA, APAC, and NAM, and are led by the experts - digital experience specialists from Unily whose roles involve creating our product, understanding our market, or supporting our customers. Keep your eyes peeled on our socials and events page or sign up to our mailing list to find out when we’re coming to a city near you!

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What will I learn? 3 takeaways from the first attendees

Every year our Masterclass roadshow kicks off in London before heading on its global tour. This year, we were joined by 94 EX trailblazers from enterprises spanning the verticals. Here’s what got attendees’ cogs whirring:

1. The Internal Communications (IC) inflection point

Internal communicators have long been at the forefront of the employee engagement revolution, working tirelessly to bridge the gap between employer and employee. With such a deep connection to employee sentiment, and in absence of established Employee Experience teams, ICs oftentimes find themselves leading the EX charge.

With such a crucial role to play in defining employee engagement, we kicked off discussions with a review of the evolving IC profession. We challenged attendees to think about the changing scope of the Internal Communications function and where it fits within the emerging employee experience landscape. We asked big questions like:

  • Is IC still solely about IC, or do our teams now have such a broad scope that it’s better to be thought of as owners of the Employee Experience (EX)?
  • Where does that leave HR?
  • How do we need to adapt our measures of success to reflect the changing nature of Internal Comms?
  • What does a mature IC team look like?

"Every year we pinpoint something we want to change in the state of EX. This year we consciously decided that if orgs weren’t shaping themselves around EX we had to inspire the most qualified to step up to the place. This is what we do here."

Kaz Hassan - Community & Industry Insights Lead at Unily

The content sparked lively debate among attendees, some of whom took to social to share their perspectives.

"Great discussion today with Unily. Lots to consider, and some deep reflection."

Joanna Vinci - Partner Communications and Engagement Manager at John Lewis Partnership

2. What to do with advanced personas?

Next on the agenda we turned our attention to the diverse workforce and how we can design experiences that engage employees with a spectrum of unique needs and perspectives. Last year we focused on building deeper, more layered employee personas to help us gain a more nuanced understanding of who we’re trying to engage. This year, we switched focus to how we can use those more advanced personas to create experiences that make everyone feel seen, heard, and celebrated.

"I saw the impact that using marketing level personas had on attendees last year. We wanted to keep up this progress, so we decided to keep our two favorite personas and bring them back for their own journey in this section. We focused on how we support culture in a workforce of individuals with diverse needs, while also recognizing the need for connection to the broader workforce."

Kaz Hassan - Community & Industry Insights Lead at Unily

This section got attendees thinking about the importance of belonging and how we prioritize and measure that important metric:

3. It’s time to simplify the workday

Finally, we turned our attention to the digital workplace and how we can use technology to underpin engagement strategies.

"Employees have incredibly high digital expectations set by Instagram and TikTok. And they bring them into the workplace. They want hyper-personalization mirroring Netflix, memes and emojis in their comms, as well as cutting edge mobile apps where they can do most of their work."

Kaz Hassan - Community & Industry Insights Lead at Unily

Here we discussed the importance of delivering a cohesive EX technology strategy, considering how contemporary approaches may be hampering employee engagement more than helping it. We talked about the growth in the number of applications employees rely on to get work done, the increasing volume of comms and notification coming from different channels, and the impact of these combined forces on employee satisfaction and productivity.

The conversation resonated with attendees and provoked discussion around strategies for simplifying the digital landscape through integrated experiences delivered through a powerful experience layer - the modern intranet.

Discover the future of employee engagement

If this blog has ignited your FOMO, fear not. Our Masterclass tour has only just kicked off and we’re on our way to a city near you. New Masterclass dates and locations are uploaded monthly. If you want to be the first to know, sign up to our mailing list, or follow us on social. We can’t wait to see you there!

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