The story of purpose

Another great Engage International event attended by HR and Internal Communications professionals; hosted by employee engagement agency NKD.


Virgin Atlantic and Christies

Paul Dickinson, former Director at Virgin Atlantic and Client Services Director at Christie’s, discussed how through his experiences, he’s learnt how people are more engaged with a product or service when they really believe in it, and this is reflected in their behaviour.

Paul’s insightful anecdotes described employees exceeding customer service expectations as they were proud of the company and brand, and bought into Virgin Atlantic’s mission. He discussed the importance of aligning your internal and external stories. Paul reiterated how it is crucial for senior leaders to champion initiatives and lead from the front.

You have GOT to have support and involvement from the top.

Paul stressed importance of aligning everything around your objective. He said if you involve people, pay them fairly, listen to them, and treat them with compassion – you’re already over half-way there.


Virgin Atlantic and the London 2012 Olympics

Linda Moir, formerly Head of HR at BA, Director of Customer Services at Virgin Atlantic, and Head of Event Services at London Olympics 2012, talked about her experiences and lessons learned throughout her career. She cautioned that you don’t want a brand that appears better than the reality, otherwise you’re going to disappoint customers. This reiterates Paul’s message about the importance of aligning your internal and external messages.

Linda discussed how, despite the fact they were not being paid, the volunteers at the Games were engaged and put effort into their work. A key lesson that Linda learnt during her role at the London Olympics is that people don’t like being bored – they like to feel that they are making a contribution, as well as having variety in their role.


The Big Issue Foundation

Stephen Robertson, CEO of the Big Issue, discussed the origins of the company in New York and spoke about its ethos. Circulation of the Big Issue is currently around 83,000, with just 1,600 active vendors. To start off, a Big Issue vendor gets five free copies, and then they must reinvest their profit to buy more. They buy copies for £1.25, and sell at £2.50.

Stephen discussed that vendors need a hand up not a hand out and spoke about the social and business skills that homeless people learn by selling the newspaper.

If you want to help, companies can get involved with ‘Vendor Days’ – an experiential learning and development experience that also gives back to the community. If you want any more details in this, please contact James Murphy:

If you’re a marketer – please get in touch as well as there are always things to do.

Would you like to advance your career or appoint someone?