From farming to employee engagement, Michael Dean, our very own Director of Employee Experience, talks about the world of work with us ahead of his panel on creating great employee experiences at Belong.
Describe your job in 10 words or less…
I use experience data to increase employee engagement.
What was your first job? What was one thing you learned from that and took forward with you in your career?
My first job was on a farm when I was 13 years old. I worked from 7 o’clock in the morning until 4pm collecting eggs and cleaning using a dangerously powerful pressure washer. It taught me the simple joy of finishing something you set out to do.
One of our tracks for this event is Inspiration. Where do you look for inspiration in your work, and how do you seek to inspire others with what you do?
I tend to look at the absolute best of what I’m trying to do, and the aim to get close to that somehow. To inspire others, I think enthusiasm is infectious, so by showing your passion for something and setting a high bar for the quality you want, you can often get people onboard with achieving that.
At Belong, we’ll also be looking at the theme of Insight. What’s the most surprising skill or aspect you’ve learned about yourself or the way you work?
From working in a very feedback-rich environment, I’ve learned that people perceive me to have a perpetual optimism and the ability to see a learning opportunity from challenging situations.
We’re also going to explore the subject of Inclusion. How do you build a sense of belonging within your team?
I am a big believer in the need to foster psychological safety, which in practice means ensuring that all voices can be heard, being approachable, having a bit of a laugh to show you are human, and being vulnerable – admitting when you think you’re wrong or don’t know something.
What can people expect to learn from you at Belong?
Hopefully they’ll be learning a little bit about how to approach the practice of employee experience, and the kind of tool kit that’s required to use design thinking in HR.