Huw chats to workplace culture expert and former Twitter VP Bruce Daisley
The author, podcaster and technology leader on purpose, resilience, the role of humour in engagement and the key to communications success
Bruce Daisley, pictured right, led Twitter in Europe for 12 years and is also a bestselling author, podcaster and a leading expert on the subject of workplace culture and the future of work.
I interviewed Bruce for my new Delete, Delete, Engage podcast and found him to be frank, insightful and very entertaining. Here’s a headline summary of his thoughts on how employee engagement needs to adapt to thrive in the future workplace.
On humour in engagement…
Bruce thinks that humour has an important part to play in employee engagement and references a book by two Stanford professors called Humour Seriously, which argues that humour is as essential at work as it is anywhere else in life.
He has always tried to inject humour into his own presentations and believes that the ability to energise and connect people through warmth and humour is one of the often underrated talents of great leaders and managers.
On preparation over charisma….
Bruce is of the view that when it comes to engaging a live audience with impact, it's all about preparation and practice and he rejects the idea of natural charisma. He cites his own introverted nature and the example of the tech company engineers who hone their brilliant and absorbing product presentations with countless rehearsals.
Bruce even shares that he secured his VP Europe role at Twitter thanks to a well polished presentation that he’d steadily perfected over months of preparation.
On communications success….
On the subject of why such a large volume of communications in the workplace is ignored, Bruce's view is that there's often a disconnection between message sent and message received and believes internal communications would benefit if we took more time to see things from the perspective of the audience.
He believes that good communication starts with empathy for the audience and the best communicators are focused on getting messages across in a way that people enjoy consuming.
Bruce believes comms should be short, simple and punchy and thinks that short videos and clever visual content are great ways to convey important messages that people will remember and act on.
On workplace culture…..
Workplace culture is a big area of interest for Bruce. He points out that tech companies like Google, Netflix and Twitter are often lauded as great places to work, but argues that actually their workplace cultures are no more effective than anywhere else and are often mired in the bureaucracy that affects all large organisations.
He believes that really good cultures have a sense of connection between people despite their differences and thinks that once a business unit grows larger than 100 people it struggles to maintain a cohesive culture.
On the Netflix culture document….
His damning view on the infamous Netflix culture document after speaking to employees and one of the document’s authors is that it’s less about creating a culture of trust and wellbeing and it’s more a blueprint for burnout; getting people to work as hard as they can for as long as they can, without distraction or interruption.
On hybrid working and connectedness……
A major area of interest for Bruce is the hot topic of hybrid working and his view is that the discussion about working from home should be less about productivity and more about job satisfaction.
He shares why one company's Wednesday plus one approach is the best example of hybrid in action that he’s heard. He also thinks that, while getting together face to face has proven benefits, we might be expecting too much of it right now.
Bruce thinks that creating connections is everything in a hybrid workplace and more companies should consider recruiting community managers to help colleagues forge and strengthen personal connections.
On purpose and resilience…..
Bruce’s views on purpose and resilience at work are particularly disruptive.
He argues that corporate purpose is often packaged as a means to motivate staff who may not feel committed to the cause and feels that identity - helping people to find passion in their work - is more important to an organisation’s success.
His new book, Fortitude, which comes out in August, suggests that resilience is a toxic myth and another construct created by organisations to shift the responsibility for a person’s well being from the company to the individual.
He suggests that resilience is less about the responsibility of the individual and more about connectedness and taking a shared responsibility during good and bad times.