March 27.2018, 11.05am

Employee Engagement: 3 Ted Talks That’ll Teach You Valuable Lessons

Employee experience and engagement is at the forefront of every leaders mind. An inspired, motivated workforce is the Golden Goose for HRD’s and their subsequent statistics. It’s important to learn about engagement so that you can identify it in your workplace as an action, not a function. What better way to learn about this than from experts who are determined to create a healthier and happier workplace for employees. 

Regardless of level and roles, WE are the employees. Besides for the promise of a pay check at the end of the month, what is it that actually provides you with cognitive stimulation and makes you tick on a daily basis? A Gallup study claimed that only one third of employees are actually engaged by their work and environment. So….are you engaged? 

Rather than looking at “employee experience” as a cultural or HR function – today we’re going to look at it on a practical level. The following TED talks were chosen for both their motivational nature, as well as their view on organizational value.  They’ll re-energize and inspire you, and provide practical top tips to increase your personal and business productivity. 

Sit back, grab some popcorn and prepare to be awed. 


Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

“My little sister scrambled back onto the bunk bed with all the grace of a baby unicorn with one broken leg. We had stumbled across something called positive psychology, which is the reason I’m here today and the reason that I wake up every morning. 

We’re finding it’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.” 

This feel good, laugh-out-loud talk by Shawn Achor challenges the belief that we should work hard and become more successful in order to mould a future of happiness – and that this premise is scientifically broken and backwards. Rather, happiness now inspires us to be productive, raises intelligence, energy and creativity. He discusses mindset, and that a positive brain is 31% more productive than outlooks that are negative, neutral or stressed.  

One of the main points and takeaways from Shawn’s speech was that our happiness cannot be tied to a goal, and instead, we must create happiness first. 

As a company, we cannot tie happiness to success and hard work because in that model there is always something new to achieve. Once you hit one sales target, you have another sales target, the cycle continues, and you never reach a peak happiness. 

So, Shawn states that we must find ways for our brains to be happy and positive in the present, and in turn, we will have a “happiness advantage” which makes our brain work better than we could ever work with neutral or negative emotions. 

This frank, uplifting and positively hilarious talk examines personal energy, science, data and more in a relatable way. Well worth a watch! 



Diana Dosik: Why we need to treat our employees as thoughtfully as our customers

In marketing, how much time is spent on mapping out customer journeys, creating personas and content to appease these demographics? Let me tell you, it’s a lot. Some management would go as far as to claim it’s the foundation on which marketing and sales are built.  

Yet what percentage of organisational leaders spend time understanding what their employees do and why?  

Less than 5%.

Today’s companies know everything there is to know about their customers and will stop at nothing to ensure that their experience is pleasant and meaningful. But what if they directed some of that same energy at understanding and engaging their employees? What are the potential payoffs for a better motivated, more loyal and imaginatively innovative workforce? 

During this insightful talk, Diana Dosik discusses turning the tables of customer research, and highlights the benefits of borrowing customer journey mapping from your marketing team to map out an employee’s journey throughout your company, analysing their pain points and concerns.

Using Diana’s methodology will give you the answers to the more abstract questions that HR managers often face like “How do we improve engagement?” or “Why are we seeing higher turnovers of female engineers?”. Being equipped to answer these questions will create smarter, better companies and combined with innovative HR technology, this methodology is a winner.

Dan Ariely: What makes us feel good about our work

“There’s good news and bad news here. The bad news is that ignoring the performance of people is almost as bad as shredding their effort in front of their eyes. Ignoring gets you a whole way out there. The good news is that by simply looking at something that somebody has done, scanning it positively and saying “Yes!” – that seems to be quite sufficient to dramatically improve people’s motivations. The good news is that adding motivation doesn’t seem to be so difficult! The very bad news is that eliminating motivations seems to be incredibly easy, and if we don’t think about it carefully, we might overdo it. So this is all in terms of negative motivation, or eliminating negative motivation.”

In this TED talk, behavioral psychologist Dan Ariely uses experiences to understand what motivates humans to act in a certain way, and scrutinises whether in the workplace, individuals are more motivated by recognition than money. This talk both exposes and highlights the point where lack of recognition makes even the promise of financial rewards no longer worth it – amongst many other interesting insights. 

Attention employers and leaders! It’s proven that your employees are not only motivated to work by a nice paycheck at the end of each month. Most important is the sense of purpose and value amongst a team that keeps a workforce in their seats. 

Ariely describes two experiments, “The Meaningful Condition” and the “Sisyphic Condition”. They reveal some very unexpected, nuanced attitudes towards work and our disposition, in addition to highlighting how his experiments on performance recognition help demonstrate that as humans beings, we want and need to be valued, not just paid. 

Even a little recognition can be motivational, but its absence can be paralyzing for a business.  

Employees thrive on feedback and acknowledgement, no matter how small it may seem. So leaders, if you’re too busy to notice or care – you may be investing more in to recruitment rather than your people, because your employees’ sense of purpose is being chipped away daily. 

In an increasingly pressurized and digitised environment, there is no longer a clear separation between work and life. This lack of boundaries makes it more important than ever for people to find meaning in what they do. That’s why money isn’t enough to motivate individuals anymore. While adequate pay is crucial, it doesn’t replace the feeling of being challenged, rewarded and proud. Watch Ariely for more details and learn how to create meaning in your workplace today.


Feel like taking the next step to positive engagement within your workforce? Help your employees manage their journey while fostering internal engagement across all departments. Book a personalised live preview today  or download our Building A Business Case Whitepaper, written by industry leader and Head Of Engagement at CIPD London, David D’Souza.



Deirdre PluckBy Deirdre Pluck

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