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“You earn trust” We call bullsh*t on that. It’s time to get back to simple life principles.

On the 23rd January 2020, The Employee Engagement Awards & Conference hosted its London Gala Award Dinner. Each year, in front of hundreds of my peers I attempt to make a speech to set the tone for the year. This time, I tried to set the tone for the decade. Here are my thoughts on driving the world of work forward. Do you agree?


Matt Manners, CEO & Founder, EE Awards & Conference
As we’ve just entered a new decade I wanted to try and look ahead.

The Awards, along with the Alliance, will be going through some exciting changes in 2020. Watch this space over the coming months.

In a world with lots of buzzwords, lots of choice, lots of distractions, what can we do to Engage? To Improve the experience? To create awesome places to work. Where should we invest our time and money?

I think the answer to that question lies in simple but profound life principles. Principles that create a culture of empowerment and trust that is founded in a shared commitment to a common purpose that inspires – every day.

Trust is the foundation for everything. Trust that the person you work with will perform to the best of their ability because they are empowered to do so. Trust that you will be there when they need you and that you’ll get out of their way when they don’t.

Whilst writing this speech, Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer came out.  It highlights that trust in all sectors is at an all-time low. Maybe one of the reasons for this, is that we don’t place our trust in each enough anymore. A culture of trust is nurtured by each one of us – through our daily behaviour.

Some say trust has to be earned. I call bullshit on that.

I think we all start from a position of trust. When someone decides to join your company, they trust what you told them in the interview process. If the experience doesn’t match up, you’ve just weakened, or broken, the bonds of trust.

Too often we dehumanise the workplace. We treat people differently just because it’s work. Why?

We need a shift in mindset. We don’t need to be running after the latest buzzword or technology. There are no easy fixes. Buttons we can press. We need to build a culture that embodies what we believe in. We need to strengthen that with daily reinforcement of our shared values.

We should aim to inspire, to empower, to listen. We should continuously challenge ourselves and our colleagues to improve – both inside and outside of work.

Equally, as employees, if we don’t like where we are, we should leave. We should find a company that does inspire us, that we believe in, that we will give our all to.

To you in this room (and reading this blog outside of London)…

I believe, by your actions, you are inspirational. You challenge yourselves, your leadership, your business – and by being here tonight – all of us to do more to create great places to work.

We are all on personal journeys that don’t stop between the hours of 9-5. But work can shape them, derail them or make them more fulfilling.

What kinds of workplaces do we want to create? Ones that are psychologically safe, where we bring our true selves to work? Ones that inspire us to perform, build and innovate?

We promise to keep recognizing your hard work, your innovation.

We will share your stories, to help drive change and hopefully, ultimately, change the world a little bit too.

That’s it from me.

Have a great night and good luck to all! Thank you.

Entries to the North American Employee Engagement Awards are now open. Click here to enter. Deadline March 25th, 2020

Tickets for our London & New York conferences are now available. Buy your Early Bird tickets now.

London Conference – 1st April

New York Conference – 11th June

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