A new type of event was born at the Doral Arrowwood in Rye Brook, NY, June 3-4, 2010. The first annual Enterprise Engagement Alliance Networking Expo & Conference, a synergistic blend of Education, Exhibits and Events, was roundly praised by attendees and participants alike as an unqualified, first-of-its-kind success. "Our goals were to create a valuable experience for all concerned by defining the emerging field of Enterprise Engagement, provide education sessions that addressed its key components, lay the groundwork for a formal curriculum and certification, and test a new type of show concept that consists of conversation centers and networking opportunities instead of booths," notes Bruce Bolger, President of Selling Communications, Inc., one of the event's main sponsors. "We hoped to create a model for a new type of event."
Dates for 2011 have just been announced. The 2nd Annual EEA Networking Expo & Conference will take place June 15-16, and is slated for the Doral Arrowwood. Program content from this year's event will be used to develop a formal Engagement Curriculum for Certification and Continuous Learning that will be released at the 2011 event. The program will be directed by an advisory board composed of management in all areas of the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Claire Howells, Vice President of Engagement for Zions Bancorporation, and Don Peppers, Partner, Peppers & Rogers Group, will serve as co-chairs of the Executive Advisory Board.
What made the EEA Networking Expo so unique among conferences and trade shows? It signaled the coming together of numerous cutting-edge concepts in seminar content, exhibit design, scheduling and environment that reflected the same holistic, "enterprise-wide" approach the EEA takes to engagement – a broad-based, comprehensive view of people, performance and profitability and how they work together to affect corporations in a positive way. The venue for the EEA Networking Expo, the Doral Arrowwood in Westchester County, NY, was chosen specifically for its proximity to major East Coast markets, and also because it's relatively secluded and offers a resort-style experience that maximizes networking opportunities and relaxed interaction. The property is a favorite for corporate events run by nearby Pepsico, and the Arrowwood is also home to the Pfizer Learning Center.
Content for the EEA Networking Expo was custom-tailored to attendees because they had direct input into the program via social networking and surveys run by the EEA's Web portal at @@http://www.enterpriseengagement.org/. As with attendees and exhibitors, the education program reflected a multi-disciplinary approach, covering the broad range of strategies and tactics that fall under the Engagement umbrella. The Expo also featured a unique exhibitor set-up developed by the Hughes Group as part of its Future Show concept. Instead of traditional booths where exhibitors stand behind counters stacked with literature, "Conversation Centers" featured group seating, Internet access and signage, separated from other exhibitors by a unique translucent barrier.
"It was one of the best shows I have attended in a long, long time," says Joe Hafenscher, VP Sales, Special Markets, at Fuji Film N.A. "You guys got it right having qualified buyers, and I think the buyers also enjoyed the event from all the feedback I got. The quality of attendees stopping by our booth was the best part of the show. We had consistent traffic for a full two days, and every single conversation was with a legitimate buyer within our industry." "Overall, I think it was very good," says Mike Murphy, Director – Supply Chain at Incentium. "When you compare it to other trade shows – where you go and stand around and meet someone for maybe 30 seconds to a minute versus this one where you can sit down and actually talk about business – it's a very nice change."
At least two major U.S. companies offer proof that a focus on engagement can provide dramatic results. The CEOs of major companies in two very different industries – Schering-Plough and Campbell's Soup – changed the culture of their organizations over the last several years by implementing a management strategy that engaged employees to concentrate on customer-focused innovations. And the results were demonstrated in improved profitability and shareholder returns. In each case, the CEO replaced nearly the entire top executive team for his organization and created a strategy to make sure that top talent was engaged in their work and focused on developing innovative customer solutions. For a look at their respective stories, as told by ChiefExecutive.net, click here.
Incentive industry professionals think we're out of the woods as far as the economy's negative impact on program planning, but that doesn't necessarily mean more corporate dollars will be freed up this year for rewards & recognition. The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) surveyed industry professionals during the month of April, asking them about incentive travel programs, merchandise/non-cash programs and ROI/budget considerations. The most promising data from the IRF's most recent Pulse Survey show that respondents appear to be more optimistic about the current economic climate than they were in either the Summer or Fall of last year.
When asked, "In your opinion, what impact will the economy have on your ability to plan and implement incentive travel programs?" 69% say it will have a positive impact vs. only 33% in the Fall of 2009 and just 24% in the Summer of 2009. Similarly, those who say the economy will have a positive impact on merchandise/non-cash incentive programs increased from 20% (Summer '09) and 26% (Fall '09) to 41% currently. Still, one-third of those surveyed predict that budgets for incentive travel will decrease this year, while 37% say they'll remain unchanged. Things were a little better on the merchandise/non-cash side, where only 22% expect a decline (down from 51%), while 40% predict an increase and 37% say they see no change in budgets. This indicates that although there's an uptick in optimism about the economy in general, it may not translate into more money for programs – at least not yet.
Other key issues and trends from the most recent IRF Pulse Survey include:
The Recognition Council of the Incentive Marketing Association is offering a new white paper on employee engagement. Titled "2010 Recognition Rx: Engaging Employees for Economic Recovery." It argues that a recognition and rewards program directly addresses the urgent need to drive performance and ensure that everyone is working to meet the right goals. Budgets have been reduced, plans have changed, and compensation and reward programs are being re-examined. In light of these changes, evolving recognition and reward budgets raise major questions:
The white paper provides direction on how to put together a business-focused reward and recognition strategy that ties directly into a corporation's business objectives, mission, and values, and can be seen as an investment rather than as an expense. It also looks at low-cost engagement strategies that will keep budget costs down. For more information on the IMA's Recognition Council, visit its website at @@http://www.recognitioncouncil.org/. To download a copy of the "Engaging Employees" white paper, click here.
The Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA) recently announced that research measuring the return on investment (ROI) of an annual meeting of healthcare insurance brokers that stressed training, relationship-building and networking opportunities found the sponsoring company enjoyed a return of almost $2 for every $1 invested in the program. Initial results reported in March revealed that the program had a profound impact on the way brokers thought and felt about the company, its products and its people. Part 1 of the report, The 'ROI in Channel Partner' Conferences – A Case Study, noted that the annual gathering translated into higher sales, performance and engagement among those who attended. Part 2 of the report examines the actual change in sales of Allsante, Inc.* products among program participants, summarizing the ROI the company achieved from the event. EEA analysis of the methodologies and findings reveals that Allsante earned significant ROI from its annual event. "After all variables were accounted for, a highly credible and conservative estimate of 190% ROI was arrived at," says Allan Schweyer, Chairman of the EEA. "In other words, the company enjoyed a return of almost $2 for every $1 it invested in the first six months following the event, and our researchers say it's likely that the returns, if calculated after another six months have passed, will be even greater." Parts 1 and 2 of the study, The 'ROI in Channel Partner' Conferences – A Case Study, can be downloaded at @@http://www.enterpriseengagement.org/
* The company in this report is referred to as "Allsante, Inc." at the firm's request, due to competitive reasons.
The June/July issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine is out! Here's a look at what you'll find inside:
A pair of articles examines this critical building block of engagement from two different perspectives. The first, Internal Collaboration: Why Partnering Works, by Rodd Wagner and Gale Muller, Ph.D., notes that great partnerships don't just happen. Whether your joint mission is to build a great company, coach a team, improve the government, do something spectacular for a charity, or any other worthy goal, all successful partnerships share the same crucial ingredients. The second article, External Collaboration: When You Can't Do It All, looks at some of the companies in the engagement marketplace that have successfully used collaboration to expand their reach through alliances and partnerships. To make sure you get your copy of Engagement Strategies Magazine, go to @@http://www.enterpriseengagement.org/account/login/ and update your subscription today!
Sue Gordon has been with American Airlines for over 20 years. As a result of her vast and varied experience, she not only knows American Airlines and the American Way very well, she also understands very clearly how the company's internal communications and branding efforts work to promote employee engagement and employee retention, while at the same time contributing to a more positive customer experience. In other words, she's seen it all – what works and what doesn't. "From 2001 to today, our industry has essentially been in turmoil," she says. "But we found the most traction by involving employees in the business. This is where we've seen the greatest process improvements and the greatest cost savings. It's where we get our best ideas and the greatest amount of buy-in, by involving our employees from soup to nuts in the process." Read more in the next issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine – coming soon.
One of the greatest opportunities to increase corporate profits – and subsequently boost the economy – lies in motivating workforces to improve performance, drive greater customer engagement and ultimately increase revenue, according to a new report from the Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA) and the Human Capital Institute (HCI). The Enterprise Engagement Alliance is a coalition of companies and associations dedicated to promoting the importance of engagement, founded last year by the Human Capital Institute, Peppers & Rogers Group, 1to1® Media and Selling Communications, Inc. Entitled The Economics of Engagement, the report provides a comprehensive analysis of research in the field of Enterprise Engagement and offers how-to information on benchmarking tools that can quantitatively measure the benefits of employee and customer engagement. These measurement tools are critical to demonstrate the bottom-line impact of enterprise engagement, both to corporations and to the economy as a whole, using financial language that senior executives, investors and economists are accustomed to. "One of the most encouraging findings of this report is the revelation that vast reserves of overall performance potential are essentially hiding in plain sight," says Bruce Bolger of the Enterprise Engagement Alliance. "Engaging the people that companies deal with on a day-to-day basis – both internally and externally – in a comprehensive, compelling and connected way will create a result that is more than just the sum of its parts. Naturally, as with any such investment, the return needs to be demonstrated to decision makers, and there's a growing body of evidence in the engagement arena that does just that." For a copy of the report, go to: Get your copy of the report >>
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