Employee Voice from Coast to Coast


Emails, text messages, video calls. They serve a purpose, but there is no substitute for being face-to-face with people listening and learning together at events. These opportunities allow us to share a meal, laugh at a presenter’s jokes, take pictures of slides on the jumbo screen and come out of the event with meaningful takeaways and an expanded network. 

Waggl is committed to helping leaders listen to their employees, and we’re most effective at that goal when we listen to leaders in person. What key issues are they trying to fix today and in the future? We learn so much from leaders at the events we attend, and we wanted to share some key takeaways from what has been a fantastic year, so far.

2019 launched with the January CHRO Exchange in Orlando, Florida. The theme was “Thriving in an Era of Change – Innovating through Engagement, Performance & Culture.”  Standout presentations came from Amy Cappellanti-Wolf, from Symantec, Tracy Keogh & Luciana Duarte from HP, Dennis Armstrong from Blain’s Farm and Fleet, Luana Matos from Nextel Brazil and Waggl’s own Adam Tanner and Tony Mitchell

What was buzzing through the halls? 

  • Conversations around organic growth and scaling organizations
  • How to get clear about the real problem you’re solving
  • Quick integrations, business transformations
  • Inclusion, diversity, and belonging
  • Transparency: because “employees aren’t dumb” 
  • Creating a culture of learning vs. training
  • Reducing regrettable turnover

My biggest takeaway from this event: Many companies want to be agile, transparent, and inclusive, and struggle with these questions:

  • What organizational improvements do we want to be known for? 
  • What organizational improvements are we really committed to making? (Reality check!)
  • Go ahead and ask your people, and then actually listen to them.

The power of being in a community of forward-thinking leaders is to learn from each other. You can be exposed to a new approach, make it your own, and (key point) resolve that there is no ‘one size fits all’ perfect path…but you gotta start somewhere. Being in a community of HR Leaders who are taking action, albeit not always perfect, is in itself. inspiring.

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” -Will Rogers

February and March were a flurry of HR events in Florida ranging from HR Management Institute, EX Impact-Transforming the Employee Experience and TMA’s People in Healthcare.

Waggl’s own “A-Team” team carried these events, with Alex Kinnebrew speaking to her unique perspective on scaling an organization through design thinking, and Alex McMullin sharing stories with progressive healthcare leaders looking for a dream-solution to turbo-boost their organizations.   

We traveled to Austin in April for WBR’s HR Retail event that included speakers from Starbucks, Whole Foods, YETI, Sephora, TOMS and The Home Depot. The discussion was vibrant and fascinating, shedding light for our team on how many leaders across industries are sharing common challenges. My key takeaways: 

  • By 2020, 7.6M Americans will be involved with the gig economy. How can leaders be inclusive considering this?
  • Change starts with people – not technology, and the strongest leaders know to lead with people-first. 
  • How to develop listening skills at scale is a challenge where tech can be the missing link. 

The Waggl crew headed back to Austin in May for another CHRO Exchange. We were honored to have Cat Kennedy, Head of Org. Dev. at Heineken USA, share how they are using Waggl to support their Inclusion & Diversity Journey.  Cat and her team understand that change begins with conversations and it is “shaped by our people, for our people.” The crowd was floored with what Heineken was able to accomplish in just 91 days, using Waggl. Cat’s pro tip?  “Don’t set an expectation of perfection.”

Cat will be a featured speaker, along with Josh Bersin, at Waggl Harvest this September in Napa Valley.  The theme is ‘Voices at Work’. This unique Leader Retreat is held in an intimate, experiential setting, where you will engage with a cross-section of HR peers who are transforming their organizations.  Join us! Tickets are still available. Early bird rates end July 31st.  

Leaders often head to events with a pocket full of business cards and a new notebook. If all goes well, they’ll come away with 2-3 really great ideas to try and a renewed belief that change is not only possible, it’s already happening at organizations that look just like theirs. 

The common thread that links all these events is not the buffet lines, ice-breaker activities, or even the familiar groups of over-caffeinated, semi sleep-deprived, swag gathering, branded lanyard wearing folks. It’s the commitment that the leaders who attend them share: a desire to listen to employee voice. 

Waggl helps leaders committed to listening with Employee Voice. Ready to get started?