Smileexpo 2019: Review of the day 

smileexpo Jenni Field

smileexpo2019, held in London last week, brought together more than 170 internal communicators, digital workplace gurus and employee culture and engagement professionals to enjoy a day of workshops and discussion across three distinct streams focusing on Yammer, engagement and digital workplace technologies.  

The headline act was the keynote from Microsoft announcing some game-changing features (link to other article) on Yammer. This was backed up with a series of inspiring case studies from Virgin Trains, Syngenta and Siemens Gamesa proving the case that Yammer, used well, can transform workplace culture proving to be an effective enabler of engagement, collaboration and communication.  

Murali Sitaram at smileexpo
Murali Sitaram at smileexpo


Digital Culture at smileexpo with Thecla Schreuders

There were some interesting workshops on intranets and digital workplaces too – showcasing some of the excellent customisable solutions available from the likes of Fresh (SGN), Beezy (Schroders), Speakap (Vacherin) and Lumapps. Just a year or two ago these were the stars of the day: everyone wanted a new ‘digital workplace’! But this year, there was also a growing interest in our Engagement stream – by the human side of communications and the things we can do to support a vibrant, open and collaborative culture. Indeed, a culture that helps drive high employee engagement.  The delegates now are looking beyond the choice of platforms to also developing the right behaviours to make them work successfully.  

There were two sessions of particular note. Steve Garvey’s Moving Minds with Video was very well received (with a satisfaction score of 4.23/5) and described as “knowledgeable, authoritative and well presented.” With no doubt at all that video is a ‘must have’ in the communicators’ tool box, we will be running a dedicated learning day in the autumn for members of the simplynetwork.

Liam Fitzpatrick’s Is your Comms Operation on Song was also a crowd-pleaser (4.29/5) and attendees benefited from great insights from a veteran of the IC world with the clear message that “great comms fundamentals can often get missed in the high tech world.”  If you would like a deep dive into whether you are doing the right things, and doing them the right way,  there are a few places remaining on The IC Healthcheck  on 6th June. 

Liam Fitzpatrick at smileexpo

Adoption Game at smileexpo
The Adoption Game at smileexpo

The most fun I had in the afternoon was joining in the Adoption Game. And I wasn’t alone. This session garnered our highest satisfaction ratings (4.42/5) in the post event survey. To be fair, at the end of a busy day it was good to be on our feet and actively participating and everyone likes a bit of healthy competition. The magic here was that in order to get a good outcome you had to have discussions with your team mates to reach consensus on how best to deploy your money and time in delivering a change programme, fraught with resistant stakeholders and a few unforeseen events along the way. This would be a great exercise for anyone looking at rolling out O365, or a new digital workplace for example.   

We are grateful to Kinura again for the live streaming of the event and the videos of individual sessions. Over the coming weeks we will continue to bring you full case study stories on several of the organisations who presented at smileexpo2019 as well as looking more closely at the increasing importance of employee engagement in the new economy.