#019 Employee Engagement in a Hybrid Working World, with Robert Hicks & Lou Kwakye


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Do you have a team whose hearts and minds are 100% invested in your business goals?

What are the levels of motivation across your account managers and sales team?

How ENGAGED are they?

For many businesses, the working world has changed and for most - it’s still changing. The concept of remote and Hybrid working is no longer uncommon, and sales leaders are battling the ongoing challenge of managing performance and inspiring excellence in teams that are no longer sat every day in the office, feeding off of each other’s energy and learning from their peers in the room.

Employee engagement is not a new thing. It’s long been acknowledged that happy and engaged teams lead to happy and engaged customers which ultimately create happy and engaged shareholders.

And…in today’s world, as we edge closer to our own new format and structure of work, engagement has never been so important.

Perhaps you are a business leader asking yourself “how do I engage a remote or hybrid team to maximise performance?”

Or perhaps you are an account manager who is questioning your own level of engagement and feeling a little disconnected from the business that pays for your peak performance.

Whichever camp you are in, there is no escaping the importance of employee engagement and how it really does affect your business’ ability to maximise the success of KAM performance.

In this episode we tackle a fundamental mission to MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE TO WORK. Knowing that if we do that, EVERYONE benefits.

To dive into the topic, I invited two guests from the company Reward Gateway - the employee engagement people. More than 2,000 organisations worldwide use the Reward Gateway platform to connect, support and recognise their employees, whenever and wherever they work.

Let’s dive straight in! You will hear from Robert Hicks, the Group Human Resources Director, and Lou Kwakye the Sales Director. Between them, they live and breathe the company’s mission (‘make the world a better place to work’), both internally and externally, whilst continuing to push for profitable performance.


This is a big discussion about the variations of working as we emerge from restrictive living, and sharing ideas for the best ways to engage sales teams who are working remotely.

We explore side topics like:

  • how tech can support sales leaders to engage, excite and empower their teams and
  • what do we think the future looks like?

This is one of those episodes where we intentionally blur the line between new business and existing customer management to look at the fundamental building blocks for keeping people engaged.

The thing about Hybrid working is that it comes with a whole load of choices. Choice for an employee and choice for employers.

What choices have you made in the way you and your teams engage on your key account management mission?

Have you considered what tasks are best performed from which locations and environments and are you organising you and your team’s diaries to be most effective?

How are you and the team achieving the 4 C’s of:

  • Cooperation
  • Collaboration
  • Coordination and
  • Communication

Perhaps a truly engaged team is where a Quality of Life meets Quality of Work.

Robert and Lou are a great example of where Sales and HR are working together, not just on the People Strategy for maximising performance but the rich learning that can be accessed when senior leaders share experience across departments.

Senior leaders are buyers in their own rights, so how often to you share your own experiences, of being a buyer, with your sales and account managers to support the learning internally?


Are your new business teams ALIGNED with your Account Managers? Do they share in the one mission?

In my experience, there are many organisations where New Business and Existing Business become disparate and, in a world where resource is finite, friendly fire within the business can be a massive blocker to KAM progress.

Motivations will vary across hunters and farmers - whether it be the dopamine hit from the ‘win’ or the kinship of long-term relationships. How well do you understand the motivational drivers of your team and how best to cultivate a team sport mentality across the different disciplines in your sales organisation?

For me, there was a big message here about the shared mission that underpins everything the team at Reward Gateway do and I wonder what reflections YOU have on what mission or causes your business and team genuinely care about that help you increase the heart count in your business, where team members hearts and minds are genuinely invested in what you do and how you do it.

When it comes to the KAM Culture mission we are on here on KAMCast: how we engage with the people in our teams is a guiding principle. Profit centres are fuelled by passion centres and the people in your business and on your KAM team hold the keys to success with your most important customers.

I’d love to hear from more organisations who are leading the charge in creating a KAM Culture in the business, so get in touch and tell us what you are doing to drive engagement and maximise performance with your clients. Maybe you could come along on the show and talk about it.


Both my guests work for Reward Gateway, the “employee engagement people” which was founded in 2006. They are a multi-award winning employee engagement platform accessed by more than 2000 organisations around the world.

“The world’s most successful companies treat their people differently. They generate stock market returns of twice their peers and they have half the employee turnover. 76% of CEOs recognise that employee engagement is vital to their success but only 24% say they have a highly engaged company. Bridging that engagement gap is what drives us."

Check out their website, their self-service platform for small businesses, or follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.


Lou comes from a strong background working with sales people and, after years of working in the fitness industry for brands like Virgin Active and Pure Gym, he joined Reward Gateway as an engagement specialist in 2014. Today, he is their Sales Director and looks after a group of UK-based Account Executives, Sales Managers, SDRs, Researchers and the global Bid Team.

He also works as a coach with Sales Psyche, which positions itself as a “gym for your team's mental health, wellbeing and personal development.” They are a training and development resource community to support and develop sales and commercial teams’ mental wellbeing, alongside performance.

You can find out more and connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.


With three degrees under his belt, including an MBA from Imperial College, Robert is an accomplished leader in the HR space. His experience spans across sectors like software, property, cloud solutions and information technology. He has worked in and advised on Human Resources globally for 20+ years, for companies ranging from tech start-ups to SMEs, fast growth PE-owned mid-market businesses, FTSE250 and complex matrix global organisations with over 200,000 staff.

In 2015 he joined Reward Gateway as an interim Head of HR, but soon rose to accept a position as Group Human Resources Director in 2016 and become overall custodian of the people and experience teams for the organisation. His responsibilities extend over numerous departments like: Employee Engagement; Learning & Development; Reward & Benefits; Diversity & Inclusion; Office Experience; People Ops; Internal Communications and Talent Acquisition. Basically, anything and everything people related.

You can find out more and connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

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