Human connection and the new world of work

This webinar will highlight the latest industry research including: How organisations can help employees feel connected to their work; How that benefits the bottom line.

Hybrid work, more flexible work schedules and the Great Resignation have left employees feeling isolated and often disengaged. This crisis of connection is threatening our people’s sense of belonging, retention, engagement and well-being. And yet, In the midst of a tight labour market and shift in employee demographics, better opportunities for connection is exactly what organisations need to thrive. But how can you facilitate these connections across the employee lifecycle? Connection is good for employees and organisations alike. Reset research found that workplaces that foster connection are 5.4x more likely to be agile, 3.2x more likely to have satisfied customers, and 2.3x more likely to have engaged employees

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Kylie: Hello and welcome to today's webinar. We're going to give it just 60 more seconds for everyone to join and then we'll officially kick it off. Hello, everyone. Welcome to today's webinar, Human Connection and the New World of Work brought to you by enboarder and HRD. My name is Kylie Speer and I'm so happy to be your host over the next hour that we have together. Thank you all so much for joining us today. Our intention for today's webinar is for it to be as beneficial and interactive as possible. So just a couple of housekeeping items to begin with. You will notice there are a number of polls incorporated in today's presentation as well as an interactive Q&A session at the very end. I'd like to encourage you all to please participate in the polls and to submit as many questions as you'd like via the Q&A function. Your questions can be anonymous, or if you'd like a shout out, feel free to include your name and organization too. And lastly, just a reminder that today's webinar is being recorded and it will be emailed to you all after its conclusion. Hybrid work. More flexible work schedules and the great resignation have left employees feeling isolated and often disengaged. As a result, better connection has never been more valuable or important. To take us through how organizations can help employees feel more connected and how that benefits the bottom line is Brent Pearson, founder and CEO at enboarder. Enboarder, is an employee communication and workflow platform that helps organizations create better human connections across the entire employee journey. And Brent's credentials in the HR tech and startup space spanned more than 20 years, including senior executive roles at Monster and Live Career. Brent has experience co-founding successful tech start ups, including recruitment process, outsourcing company, HRX, now part of People Scouts. Thank you so much, Brent, for being here. I'll now hand over to you to begin today's presentation.

Brent: Thank you, Kylie, and welcome, everybody. So I've spent most of my career thinking about either talent acquisition, talent sourcing, or how to create just amazing experiences for employees. And now more and more really focusing on the topic of human connection. So I'm going to take you through a fairly interactive presentation today, and I'm going to share with you some resources that hopefully you can take back to your workplace, either to sort of help make the case for why this is absolutely critical right now and even some ideas on things that you can perhaps do. So I thought we'd start off just with a couple of quick polls. And I just want to understand a little bit more about the audience just so I can sort of tweak and customize my message. So if we could launch the first poll, I'd love you all to sort of just tell me a little bit about your role. Okay. How are we going there? Let's see. Okay. So it looks like most most of you are here with fairly broad remits. Thank you for that. And then the second one, I just like to ask you just a quick question. What's your major challenge? What do you, what what keeps you awake at night? What are you looking at? We do the second poll. Please, just. And you can choose as many here as you want. I just like to get a sense for really the context that you're interested in to human connections around. Just wait a second for that. Okay, can we share the results of that poll? Okay. Talent scarcity, disengaged workforce, talent retention and all of the above. And, you know, that is not a surprise. You know, usually that's that's one of the big drivers of what's bring people in. I've got a couple more polls, but one right now. I want to just ask you about how you are finding the sort of the talent marketplace right now. So can we just bring up poll number three? Just. So on a scale of 1 to 5, how challenging are you finding it to source quality talent right now? Okay. And if we can just share the results of that third poll. So it's pretty you know, no one no one said it's very easy. Most of you are finding it either somewhat difficult or very difficult. Okay, perfect. Thank you. So let me jump in. I'm going to start the presentation. So as you are all aware, we are in an incredibly tight labor market. Now. I have found this slide is the best way for me to communicate this to stakeholders. And let me just explain what you're looking at. So this is us data, but it's actually the data tracks across most of the developed world. So what you're looking at here in red is a chart of the unemployment rate in the US. And so you can see after the financial crisis of 2008, unemployment went up to about looks like about nine and a half, 10%. And then it has been coming down pretty pretty consistently until COVID. You can see it went kind of nuts during COVID, the huge spike. Then it came down and it rebounded pretty quickly. And what's kind of interesting now is if you look at it, even though we're in the middle of this pending economic recession and doom and gloom and there's a lot of pretty tough stuff out there in the market, the unemployment rate is sitting at 50 year lows. In the US, it's 3.5% in Australia. It's also at record lows. The blue line is the help once it's online index and it's a measure of demand. So what it does essentially it looks at the the vacancies out there online. So who's looking for talent? So think of the blue line as demand. Think of the red line as a pretty good proxy for supply. And you know what you can see pretty clearly is this this split between supply and demand. It's never been like this. And even though we've got a lot of tech companies are laying off, it just sort of shows pretty graphically how tight the market is right now. One more poll before we jump into the meat of it. So I want to ask you, we just bring up the fourth poll. How do you think this is likely to change? So on a scale of 1 to 5? Do you think it's going to be more or less difficult to source quality talent in the future? I'm really trying to get it. Do you think we're in an aberration right now that's going to get easier, or do you think it's going to stay the same or do you think it's going to get even harder? Okay, perfect. Let's show those results. Okay, So let's do a little bit. Okay. So most of you are thinking it's going to be about the same or actually get trend a little bit harder. Some of you think it might become a little less difficult. So I if I were answering this, I think it's actually going to get either a little bit or a lot more difficult than it is today. Okay. And I'm going to kind of show you why. Let's yeah, so this I've taken you this is a website you can all go to and and I think this website does an amazing job of explaining the demographic shifts that are happening today and how they're impacting the workforce. So the site is our world in data. Okay. And you can find this now, if you look at the heading here, this is the site showing you the size of the of the young, the working age and the elderly population in the United States from 1950 to 2100. Now, the nice thing is this is interactive, right? So I can come down here and I can change. I can put in any country that I want to see these stats for my country. But let's just have a look at the US for a moment and I'll explain this chart. So so this top sort of black line here, this is the working age population. So this is what what part of the population is aged between 15 and 65. They can actually go to work. And if you just look, it goes back to 1950 and it goes out to 2100. But I want you to just look at the shape of this for a moment. So you can see back in 1950, the US had about 100 million workers and and that's grown pretty steadily up until have a look at the dates here, 2019, 20, 20, 2021, and look how flat that gets from here. Now, the red line is those that are aged 15 and under and you can see it's actually going down. And then the teal line is the elderly population, those 65, these are all the baby boomers that are basically now retiring out of the workforce. Now, what's interesting about this, about this graph is you can kind of play with it and you can explore it a little bit. So let's not look back at 1950. Let's actually bring this up to say let's put it from 2022 and let's not look out 80 years. Let's just look at the next eight years. Right? So. From 2022 to 2030. And this little box at the top here, I want to have a look at the relative change to today. Okay. Now, when I click this, this kind of tells, I think, the story that we should all be really interested in right now. So if we just interpret this chart, it says that the elderly population in the next eight years is going to grow by 25%, which is up now. Just think about the impact on on jobs, right? The elderly, population, health care, aged care, occupational therapists. There's going to be a huge demand for labor to support this growing elderly population. But down here, this middle line, the working age population, is only going to grow in the US by 1% over the next eight years. And just think about that. It's essentially it's flat, so the supply is flat, but the demand just to support the elderly is going to increase, much less companies that are wanting to grow and things like that. And then the young people is actually decreasing. And you know, what's interesting is if you have a look at companies, they've got countries like, for example, I've noticed. Have a look at Japan. The working age population is decreasing by 5%. Same in the Netherlands. Same in China. There's a whole bunch of countries where we're actually seeing a decline in workers in our countries. Over the next eight years. And when you see this and when you play with this data for your own country, this kind of like I found this the most compelling way of helping, especially senior executives, just understand what's happening to the demographics. And I think we've always sort of gone through this time where we kind of think, yeah, we'll just keep growing, let's keep hiring workers. But I think what's happening now is we're starting to see the rubber hit the road where there just are not enough workers out there for us to hire. So, so. We're in an unusual time, too, right now where we're seeing a lot of businesses kind of tapping the brakes because we're heading into this sort of economic storm and, you know, doesn't matter what metric you look at. CEO confidence, this is a conference board data, you know, the general consensus coming through in the last few quarters is that, you know, especially in the US, we believe, you know, they believe that we're going to go into some form of of recession. So companies everywhere are tapping the brakes, they're putting hiring freezes on, they're doing layoffs, especially in the tech center sector, etc., etc.. But the question I want you to all think about is what's going to happen when the worst of this is over? And I kind of use this analogy of like a cyclone coming in to hit a city, right when the weather forecasts say, right, we've got a cyclone or a hurricane coming in. Everyone kind of panics, right? People start boarding up, preparing for the storm. Everyone goes into sort of lockdown mode. Now, you don't need the storm to be over before you change your mindset. You just need to understand what that storm is going to look like. So once the storm hits. Usually it's a case of actually, it's not as bad as I thought. So even while the storm is here, people start swapping changing gear and they start thinking about, okay, as we come out of the storm, what are we going to do? And I think that once businesses feel like we're in the sort of the bottom of the economic downturn, I think you're going to see a shift and businesses will start immediately changing gear to how do I come out of the downturn and accelerate quickly. And I think what's going to happen is they're going to be taking the brakes off hiring. And I think that also think about the talent. Talent is going to be, you know, people are probably going to hunker down through the storm once they feel like the storm is over, once they feel like people are hiring again, those employees are disengaged. They're going to be hopping in. So I would expect to see that supply and demand just go even crazier. I think there's going to be we're going to start seeing spikes in turnover. And I think then there's going to be demand because the hiring freezes will get lifted. And I think it's actually going to get harder over. That's my my personal view and just someone that's been starting this space for quite some time. I saw if you haven't seen this, this is a really interesting report that came out. So this is a Gallup report that was published. A Gallup report that came out. This is just last week. So it's published January 25th, 2023. And it says US employee engagement needs a rebound in 2023. And I'm just going to sort of zoom in to one bit that I want to highlight here, which kind of gives you the essence of this report. So the story highlights young workers, women and remote ready on site. Workers dropped in engagement, fully remote employees increased in, quite quitting, and the clarity of expectations fell across demographic categories and job types. And then if you read the next bit after trending up in recent years, employee engagement in the US saw its first annual decline in a decade, dropping from 36% engaged employees 2020 to 34% in 2021. This pattern continued into 2022 as 32% of employees are now engaged. So we're seeing engagement rates dropping. Active disengagement has increased, which is the inverse of that. So we have a real issue where for quite a long time employee engagement was actually on the upswing. COVID has started now a downswing. So we've got this this really tight labor market and we've got decreasing employee engagement. So that kind of brings on to what can we do about this. And there are a bunch of things that we can do about it. Human connections is just is one. So I think about what are the what are the strategies that that we can implement? And building better human connections is one strategy that you can use to increase engagement and to reduce turnover. Why or what's behind the claim? There has been multiple research in this in this area. Gallup published their research and I quite liked this one because they actually published the data behind it. So in August the 17th last year, Gallup published this article, The Increasing Importance of a Best Friend at Work. And in the article, they sort of talk about all the benefits of having having good friends and good connections at work. But they actually published the data and sort of sort of break it down. So here the impact of a best friend of work on the likelihood to recommend your company is a great place to work. It increased amid the pandemic. So across the top you've got pre-pandemic through to 2022. And basically they're saying they ask the question, would you recommend your organization as a great place to work? Now, those that said, I also have got a friend at work and strongly agreed with that statement. They are way more likely and not only are they way more likely, but it's growing even more likely now. So they sort of showed that there's a trend here in you're more likely to be engaged and recommend your company if you have friends at work, and that's increasing that trend. The second question here is the is whether or not you're likely to leave your company. And same exactly the same trend they saw. If you have if you have a friend at work, you are less likely to leave your company than those that had agreed with the statement. I've got a good friend at work. They were less likely to leave the company than those that didn't have friends at work. And so I think this data is pretty compelling and I think it's just it's the numbers behind, I think what we all inherently know. If you're, if you feel connected at work, you're more likely to stay. You're more likely to be engaged and recommend your company. So. It's sort of brings us on to, okay, what does connection mean and what does human connection mean? We were pretty lucky last week. We had our company conference, all hands conference, and it's the first time for three years that as a CEO, I've been able to bring all my employees from around the world together to actually reconnect. And and it's it was pretty profound what happened at the conference. And I'm going to show you a video in a moment, but I actually brought in a keynote speaker and it's a lady that I have known and worked with professionally for quite some time who I believe is one of I believe she's actually one of the world's experts in not from an academic perspective, but she works with companies on their human connection strategies on how to actually help them build human connection. So her name is Alana Bennett, and Alana was a keynote at our conference. Now, I asked Alana if I could just lift a couple of her slides to share on this webinar today, and she said, Yes, that's absolutely fine. But so these are a couple of her slides. One of the first ones is this definition of connection. What do we mean by human connection? So Alana defines it as the experience of feeling a sense of closeness to someone or something, which I think is a really. Great way of thinking about it, because I may be connected to a whole bunch of people and LinkedIn or Facebook or platforms like that. But I don't believe that's real connection. It's that sense of closeness, which I think is important. She then went on to she shared a whole bunch of research that she had done, and she talked about these four different archetypes of the different types of connectivity people that people fall into. But she also talked about what drives connection and what sort of derails connection and in terms of what drives connection. There are two slides that I wanted to just sort of pull out and share with you. So play storytelling and conversations are driving connection, you know, which is which is really interesting. And it sort of raises the challenge, especially in a in a remote or hybrid work environment. How can we create more play or how do we actually encourage storytelling or just conversations? And it is a real challenge. The second the second slide that I've pulled out of her deck was this one commonality and shared experiences are also drives of connection. And I think this is a, for me, when I start thinking about like, what can what can enboarder do in terms of its platform to help companies do this? This is one area that I'm really zeroing in on. How do we help find commonality between our staff? And there's kind of I had this aha moment probably about probably about 12 months ago now. And I started thinking about this and I thought, you know what? We don't have anywhere a place where our staff can actually learn about each other. Okay, okay. I can I can see a photo, a headshot. I can see maybe a mobile phone number, maybe an email address, etc.. But that's that's about it. It's not there's nowhere I can go to actually learn about the essence of who our employees are. And so and I think even you now kind of have to overlay just the whole hybrid remote. So even in a physical office where we are together, a lot of people still don't know who their coworkers are and what do they have in common. And, you know, even how do you start the conversations between them? Now overlay just the extra challenge that you get from hybrid and remote. And again, I think Gallup are just doing some really, really great research in this area. And so here they they really had a look at the research around the mix. So pre-pandemic. Exclusively remote was about 8% hybrid or 32% fully onsite with 60%. So that was our pre-pandemic world. And then they did some some surveys afterwards. But it's this it's this column here that I think is the interesting one. So based on their research, what do they anticipate the location mix is going to look like beyond COVID exclusively remote, 24%. So almost a quarter of our working population will be will not normally be sitting in an office. 53% will be hybrid and 23% will be fully onsite. So so some really interesting challenges now here about how do you how do you actually find those points of commonality? How do you actually encourage the conversations and things like that? In their report, they also stated this, which I think we all inherently know. Since before the COVID pandemic, the decline in the percentage of engaged employees was evident across all three groups exclusively remote, hybrid and exclusively on site. But it was highest for employees that are exclusively remote. So, you know, we're now going to have a quarter of our staff probably working exclusively Remote and engagement is going to be tougher here. How do we engage them and how to include them in conversations and build connections with their workers? That that really is the challenge. So my last poll for today, I'd like to ask the audience, can you just bring up poll five? Yes. Yeah. In your organizations, do you have profiles for your employees that are designed to create better human connections? So is there some way that that your staff can actually learn about other staff members? So if you just take a second to answer that. Okay. And if we could see the results of that, just. So 19%? Yes, 56% no. And then 26% sort of. This is like for me. As CEO of a company of employees, this is another half of me. And then the second is, as our company is about building better connections, this is kind of like an aha moment where I thought, you know, it's pretty amazing that most companies, I believe, and this is just validated, there's nowhere we can go to actually learn about your employees. Now there are profiles that exist in HR systems of record, or maybe they exist in Slack or things like that, but nobody's filling them out, right? They're just not being completed. And the reason why they're not being completed is there is no value exchange, right? Why should I complete my profile? What's in it for me? And I don't think people have worked out how to actually create that value exchange where all of a sudden it makes sense or creates value for you to do that. So what we've been I've been focusing on this. It's kind of interesting. I kind of wear two hats in this conversation. One is as a CEO of a company where I am absolutely critically focused about connection within my own company. And the second is as a CEO of a company where we're building products to help our customers connect. So I started sort of really thinking about about what can we do to change this and what would what would a profile like this look like? So we have redesigned in our product a profile that looks like something like this, and we actually designed it. We use the inspiration. We used baseball cards because I actually think baseball cards or sporting cards are pretty cool for understanding. So this is my my profile within enboarder now, the front of the card, when people complete this, we ask them one question. We say upload a photograph of you doing something that you love and that becomes the front of your profile and then on the back. It's configurable so every customer can ask whatever questions they want. But the intent here is how do you ask a set of questions that really gets to the essence of that employee? So this is what we've set up right now. This is the back of my card and we ask a couple of questions. And if I just zoom in, oops. Let me get back to that. So if I just zoom in to that, what are you passionate about when you're not working? So for me, riding my adventure bike in the wilderness and exploring amazing places, that's my passion. Other hobbies and interests. Traveling with family, photography, video production, snow skiing. And I'm now just getting into FPP drones. My first concert, we asked that because our conference last week was all themed around a rock concert. So that was actually an interesting tie in and it was also a really good conversation starter. And then we asked, How do you get the best of me? How do you get the worst out of me? And there was one more question we asked, which was, give us a little known or unusual fact about you. Now I'm going to show you what we did. And we created something pretty amazing at our conference last week. But this now creates a really interesting way for you to actually understand people. Now, I'm going to show you one way that we're that we're implementing that internally. So. We've created a way for us to deal out cards in a workflow to connect people together. So in the case of onboarding, imagine people are coming through a workflow, let's say in this case, Hey Brent, we know you're starting in your job. It can be daunting, which is why we want you to pick a buddy to guide you along the journey. So I'm now going to let the individual choose a buddy who's going to help me as I join the company. So now what we do is we deal out a set of cards that are basically from that particular office or location, and I can now start having a look at those cards and I can click on them, I can browse through them, I can actually flip them over and learn a bit about someone. And by by flipping them over, I'm now starting to see, you know, find people that actually I have commonalities with. And this is what I think will allow people to actually make connections with with people that that, you know, they've got something of interest with. You know, if I'm in a board games or ping pong or like traveling, then I might choose Divya as my as my partner. And this sort of goes for when you start thinking about mentorship, how do I choose a mentor or just browsing the deck? You know, how can I find out who people are that I'm working with? When we when we got ready for this conference, you'll see I'm going to show you a video on a moment when people could actually just start seeing these cards. We laid out all of the cards down on our ground floor. It was incredible, the buzz that people got in and they just started turning over the cards and having a look at them. And that was in a physical sense. But the question for all of you is how do you do this for remote workers? How can you create a way that remote workers can actually reach out and connect with people that they have something in common with? And, you know, it's interesting, the spark that sort of ignited this simple idea for us was I was talking to one of my London based sales reps and he said, Hey, Brent, I reached out to that new guy that just started in New York and we're chatting away just by chance. I happened to mention that I was heading off on holiday and he said, Where are you going? And he said, I'm going scuba diving in off the coast, etc.. And the guy goes, Oh, you're into scuba diving. So am I. And they made an accidental connection around areas of common interest. And they just went into then, you know, what's interesting is if you find this area of commonality, often you don't need to do a lot to nurture it. It will just naturally take off. If I know that you share the same passion hobby as I am or the same community of interest. I think about this from a diversity and inclusion perspective. If I can help find more people like me, then it becomes just a natural way for connection to occur and for those connections to flourish. So I want to sort of just finish up the formal part of my presentation by showing you something that happened at our conference last week. And it was it's going to self explanatory. This is and this is not a sales. This is not a sales pitch. It's not a product. It's actually a hack that we created to sort of leverage to sort of try and foster connection. And I'm going to play the video and then I'll sort of have a bit of a discussion about it. So we're getting ready to launch some pretty exciting new products that will help our customers create better human connections. And rather than just demonstrate these products at a conference, I wanted our staff to actually experience how these products enabled better human connections. So we designed a networking competition with some really nice cash prizes. And this is how it works. Every staff member built their own people card using our wizard, and this people card contains a lot of really fascinating information about that individual, including a little known or unusual fact about them. We printed those people cards and they became our conference badges. And here's how the competition worked. The front of each badge has a QR code so you can walk up to somebody and scan their badge with the phone, and their people card will now appear on your phone. You can flip it over and now you can read all of this quite fascinating information about the person that you're chatting to, but it does not contain the little known or unusual fact. So the only way to get that fact is to actually ask the person that you're chatting to. Once you've network with someone, you press the button to say that you've made a connection. Our system will then generate five random or unusual facts. Only one of them will be the correct facts for the individual. And if you register the correct facts, you get points. If that person is from outside of your office or region, you get double points. And if you get the answer wrong, you lose points. And that was it. When we launched this at the conference. I was blown away by what happened next. Every break, every meal, every opportunity. Whenever I looked around, people were just talking, They were networking, they were scanning. They were laughing. And we were building human connections. And it's really hard to describe how the atmosphere changed, but it was quite a profound change and it just created such an incredible atmosphere of connectivity at the conference. We ended up building almost 6000 connections in a 24 hour period. But it actually wasn't about the number. It was about the mood that we had created. It was about the sense of connection that we had created using our own products and using this fun networking game. On the last night, I was sitting next to an engineer from India and I turned to him and said, You know how he found the conference? And he sort of beamed in a big smile and he said, Brent, the conference has been incredible. And he said, What's made it a real game changer is these cars and the networking. He said, Normally when I come to a conference like this, I'm pretty shy and I'm not comfortable going out and talking to strangers because I don't think they necessarily want to talk to me. But with this competition, everybody wants to talk to me and I've got to know so many wonderful people. And that's really the power of human connection. So. When we came up the idea for this hack, we kind of thought, you know, let's be fun. Be a fun way for us to experience the products. But when I saw how well this worked, it was it was quite amazing. And it's kind of what It's what it's. Help me to understand is that if you can if we can find a way of reducing the friction between people, if we can kind of like yet just enable it so either through discovery or through incentives or through games or playfulness, I think that's a way of really sort of like just turbocharging and starting these human connections. So one of the things that I'm now really quite sort of fascinated with is how can we take what happened in, in a physical conference environment and how can I create some some type of dynamic like that for remote, remote employees, Right. If we can create some form of game or way of people discovering and networking and enabling that, I think that we can actually do a lot to to really start accelerating the human connections across the company. And, you know, it's interesting. I don't think anyone's got this nailed yet. I think that this is a this is an area that's really quite embryonic. And I think that a lot of companies are now having to work out how to adapt and change. And I think people are trying different things. But I think every company, it's unique in terms of its size and scale, its geography, how its people are distributed. And I think this is going to be an area where we're going to have a lot of people trying different things and really learning as they go. And the work that Alana is doing with connected experience, I think is at the forefront of that because she's actually doing some pretty interesting grassroots research just to understand what makes a good connection. How do you accelerate it? So I'm going to pause there and I'd like to ask to make this a little bit more interactive now. And so I haven't looked at the chat, but Kylie, I don't know if there's any questions that have come in, but I'd love to understand what others are doing.

Kylie: There has been. Firstly, thank you very much, Brent. That was such a fabulous presentation and also thank you to our audience for your participation in the polls and for your beautiful comments that have been coming through, particularly about the buddy card system and the Human Connection hack. We do have a couple of questions that have come through so far, which I can share with everybody if you'd like. Brent. The first one, and apologies if it's Anaya and I pronounce your name incorrectly, but the question has come through commonality with a strong focus on inclusion, which naturally builds a diverse workforce. How do you build this in a remote environment? It was hard enough when we were in the office.

Brent: Yeah, well, I think so with. So there's sort of two parts to that question. Commonality and diversity, right? So when I started sharing this with our customers, it's really interesting to see where their head goes, right. Some of it. And one of the areas that's really been bubbling up is around diversity and it's around how do you help people find others like them or share interests like them. And we don't have to explicitly publish like areas of interest, but we can use that for a matching algorithm to join up. So one of the ideas that we've got in the future is to actually have an ongoing sort of matching algorithm that each month might say to you, like, Hey, Kylie, I found six new people that I want to connect you with right now. I can deal out those cards. And some of the matching may be done on communities of interest or things like that which don't have to be shared publicly, but they're actually used to sort of connect you with with others like that. And I think that I think that for the second part of the question, which is how do you actually capture the commonality for people that are remote? I think you can. And I think that what those cards so imagine, we've actually got another sort of prototype that we're building now which shows while you're building your card, we can do the matching. So imagine imagine I'm building my people card, right? And it says to me, Hey, Brent, what are your hobbies or interests? And as I'm indicating my hobby, I might say, yeah, I like kayaking. And when I say kayaking, it can actually say, Oh, you like kayaking? His eight others in the company that also like kayaking. Are you into photography? We've got 23 people that like photography. And when I look at those cards, I can see the cards of the people that share my areas of interest, even though there may be different offices around the world. And then I can say hi or introduce myself and I might say hi and that might connect people up via Slack. And now we can pick up the conversation with Slack or with email or whatever you want. So I believe it can be done. I think we're just going to get smarter about about optimizing the technology to do that.

Kylie: Thank you, Brent. The next question, we're still talking about the baseball card system. It's from Casey Fraco, who I think is in the Philippines. Hi, Casey. And Casey asked, in encouraging employees to take accountability and responsibility in reaching out to other employees. How has that worked for you at the enboarder and with your clients? Country culture is key to drive implementation of initiatives for human connection. What was your first step and determining that the baseball card designed profile works? What are the key discussion questions that you answered to develop this product? A lot in there.

Brent: So yeah, so there's a lot in there. So first of all, when we have a product idea, we have we have a global customer base. So I ask these questions of our customers around the world to see is it going to resonate in some cultures versus other cultures. That's number one. Second, the way we've designed the cards is we haven't hardwired the questions. So the questions that are asked, they may differ by culture. So the actual cards can adapt and might be that in the US, back at the back of it looks like this or is in the Philippines that may look like that. So we can actually adapt the cards for culture. And I do think that in terms of the incentives, you're right. You have to culturally adapt the incentives. But I remember a comment that Alana made at the opening of her presentation. She said, All humans are actually wired for connection, right? We want to be part or connected to others. It's kind of imperative. So I think that is an inherent driver that crosses all cultures.

Kylie: Another question has just come through from Sharon Windle. How big is your workforce? I work for a company that employs 95,000 people with 850 in Australia.

Brent: Yeah, so our workforce is a little bit smaller than that I'll give you. But, you know, so we have some of our customers have hundreds of thousands, but I don't think this has to be a big bang. Let's go. Go hard. If you've got 850 in Australia in your office, I'd be saying to you, Hey, why don't you do this office wide first? Why don't you at least see? I guarantee you, with 850 staff, there's a lot of opportunities to connect your staff into office. And then and then I think that that would probably then people would look at that from other offices and go, That's cool. I want I want to do that as well. And then all of a sudden you actually start creating a global deck. Now we integrate with systems of record like Workday, for example, so that the cards automatically stay up to date and they get Fed information. So we're designing this to work globally for some of our largest global customers.

Kylie: Just also, another couple of comments have come through from someone who's joined who is sorry, he's just from Jamaica just talking about the adaption thing and how good and important it is. And as well, another comment in our Asian context, we may need to find a way to draw our staff out to participate. The competition will help kind of thing. So that element of the of the concept seems to be quite appealing.

Brent: I'll just tell you one really funny question about about the competition. So the guy that won the competition, we gave out a cash prize, right? But the funny thing was we launched it and we put the leaderboard up between every session at the conference, and I was talking to the guy at the end who won it, who was actually one of our US business development reps. And he goes, You know the funny thing, Brent, he said, When I saw that you were getting ready to launch the competition, he said, he said I'd left my, my badge up in my room. So I ran out to my room to get the badge and he said, I didn't even know there was a cash prize associated with it. I just wanted to play the competition. And it's only about like 3 hours later that someone said, Oh, you're in the running to win the first prize dollar payout. And then he. So I think competition, it doesn't have to be big prizes. It's kind of like the playfulness and a bit of competition can actually be a pretty powerful driver.

Kylie: Another quick question is what about the use of social media type applications like Facebook or Slack? Do they help build connections?

Brent: Yes. Just quickly, just quickly, while I answer that question, Jess, could you put the last question up, because I know that we are at a time and if anyone wants to find out more, we don't want to hassle people. But if you'd like to find out more about that, just answer this poll question. We'll follow up. But to answer your question, Kylie, some people think that implementing things like Slack and Facebook at work is a way to build connection, but I actually don't think so. I think that some of the groups they create may help you build connection, like, Hey, who's into pets in the office? But I would just say have a look at sites like LinkedIn or have a look at Facebook or things like that. You can have a lot of, quote, friends or quote, connections, but are they really connections in the way that Alana defines it? And they may encourage competition, but sort of just discussion and discourse. But I don't think they're built necessarily building connections because you don't know about the people. You just see their name, their avatar, whatever it is. So there's not enough for you to build a genuine connection.

Kylie: Brent, going forward is this focus on human connection just a flash in the pan and a new emerging trend in response to COVID? Or is this here to stay?

Brent: I think it's here to. I think when I started this company about seven years ago, employee experience was kind of like just just evolving as the sort of term employee experience is now woven into the fabric of how we do almost all of our processes. And I think working out how to create a more connected company is going to be critical for the survival of companies as they're competing to retain their talent and also to attract talent.

Kylie: We have no further questions unless anyone else who still tuned in to the webinar would like to capitalize on the wonderful expertise of Brent, who's sitting here. Please send through a question quickly. I think we've put the poll up, haven't we, about contacting you going forward?

Brent: Yes, we have. Thank you.

Kylie: Great. Thank you very much. Once again to our audience for your wonderful questions. One question. This is currently from Julianne McKnight. You spoken about large organizations. What about smaller organizations?

Brent: Yeah. So, look, I think I think even if you're like even if you're a really small organization, you can, like, think about from a new employee perspective, it's easier to join a small organization but not actually know who you're working with or not actually connecting. I think it's easier to actually facilitate the connections, but you still got to do it. So I think that small organizations might just take it for granted. But I do think you can. There are steps you can do around introducing people and having people kind of just tell a little bit about who they are that will actually help help make those connections, even in small companies.

Kylie: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Brent. Yes, Sharon, the session has been it's being recorded right now and it will be shared with you all. We have not always got. Hang on. These questions keep coming through. From Christine Jones. Most of our workforce is workshop based. This may bring extra challenges. Any suggestions to overcome this?

Brent: So I'm assuming by workshop based you mean like sort of like a mechanical workshop or something like that? Well, you know, what's interesting is I think that even people in a workshop, they they. They may feel like. I think back to that comment that the engineer made, he said, you know, he said, when I go to these conferences, you know, I'm not comfortable going out to people because I don't think they necessarily want to do that. So I think in a workshop, if you can come up with a fun way, like I would say that a little competition or something, especially if it's a workshop, it might be a case of beer or something like that. How do you how do you actually just create a bit of fun and make connecting fun? How do you take down any barriers to resistance? I reckon could work in a workshop environment just as well as it would in a office environment.

Kylie: We have another great question from an anonymous attendee. Great ideas, Brent. How would you suggest to build those connections within companies where the majority of their workforce are casual employees?

Brent: Yeah, it's interesting. So actually it's interesting. I'm about to head off to talk to one customer about this right now. I think it's even more important. Often casual employees that they're, they can be young people that are coming in, retail, hospitality, etc.. You still want them engaged, Right. And I think that, again, connection is an underlying thing that that people want. So if you've got a casual employee that's joining a team or a group working in a shop or an environment, helping them to get to know who they're working with, we'll just make that that, that environment really good. One of our customers is BJ's Warehouse in the US, like Costco and I know the head of talent there, she said. She said, Look, I believe I want my when I hire new people and they come into their clubs, they call them like their big stores. She goes, I want them to actually meet their best friends for life as they join the team. And even if they're a casual worker, you know, why can't you make connections and why can't they make friends with the people that they're working with? You don't have to be permanent to want to make friends. That's what I say to that.

Kylie: Fabulous. Are there any further questions? Just lots of additional lovely comments. Thank you. Once again to all of our audience. Your comments have been so lovely and encouraging and everyone's just commenting about how inspired they are with your presentation, Brent. So unless there's any further questions, we might close out our webinar today. Thank you very much once again and everybody who is still here, Brent is infinitely contactable via email and his email address is very simple. It's just [email protected]. But as we've mentioned, you're very welcome everyone who's saying thank you. As we've mentioned, this has been recorded. It will be emailed to you all afterwards. And in the meantime, on behalf of enboarder and HRD, I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the day, make some great connections and we hope to see you again soon.

Brent: Thank you, everybody. Thanks, Kylie.

Kylie: Thank you.