San Francisco, Aug. 07, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

[August 7, 2019 - San Francisco, CA]  Last week’s Culture First 2019 was the preeminent gathering place for world leaders who care about building a better workplace. Culture Amp, the leading People & Culture platform, brought together 1,100 business and HR leaders to discuss how to collaborate and take action against some of the world’s thorniest workplace issues.

The three-day experience was held across Piers 27 and 29 on The Embarcadero, overlooking the San Francisco Bay. In between a full roster of thought-provoking sessions, the attendees enjoyed games, activities, music and camaraderie that filled “Culture First Park” in the center of the two piers. A wall of “Belonging Badges” — which were brightly colored lapel pins with one or two-word descriptors on them — was positioned in the center of the park, allowing attendees to summon “the courage to be vulnerable” by sharing insights into their personalities and lives with the other participants that they encountered throughout the day.

Nina Cioni, Culture Amp’s Global Experience Lead, said “With the overwhelmingly positive feedback from 2018's Culture First experience, we were able to grow our audience by 40% for 2019. We expanded our 'experience campus' to 169,500 square feet, and provided our signature soft seating, natural light, fresh air, and activities like the Belonging Badges and Wellbeing Lounge to create a one-of-a-kind environment for our community."

Cioni continued, “In addition to the environment, we were very intentional about all session types, content topics, and presenters that we brought along to this year’s experience. We pulled from our existing content partners, new relationships built from the over 250 submissions received in our Call for Speakers, and outreach to today’s most thought-provoking leaders. From fishbowls and interactive workshops, to poetry, music, and storytelling, we were able to create an experience unlike any other. According to post-event feedback we’ve received, attendees overwhelmingly agree that we succeeded in this goal.

Building Culture through learning from others

The Culture First 2019 team took great strides to curate a diverse and expert group of speakers who would both inspire and help guide the attendees for years to come. 

Key themes included:

  • Diversity, inclusion and  belonging
  • Employee experience trends
  • Performance management
  • Engagement 

Throughout the multi-day experience, dozens of presenters and practitioners shared experiences and examples of how they approached complex workplace challenges. Breakout session topics included intersectional diversity hiring, unlocking powerful insights from your data, and remote workforces, to name a few.

I am super impressed by everything at #CultureFirst19 - the content, theming, branding, space design, food, timing, swag,” attendee Pamela O’Leary tweeted. “All details are deliberately conscious. I’m learning tons and am feeling inspired and empowered!” 

Culture First 2019’s main stage speaking program included renowned authors, artists, thinkers, activists, podcast hosts and social media influencers who represent diverse areas of expertise. Presenters included self-described optimist and author Simon Sinek, psychotherapist and author Esther Perel, activist and educator DeRay Mckesson, poet and artist Cleo Wade, author and entrepreneur Chip Conley and industry analyst Josh Bersin. In their own ways, each speaker effectively challenged the attendees to take more decisive action toward building a more inclusive, open and productive workplace, beginning with themselves. At one point Simon Sinek, who was the conference’s closing keynote speaker, shared that improving work-life culture and leadership skills was his life’s vocation, and shouted, “This is the army! Right here in the room!

It all begins with Customers

Culture First 2019 kicked off last week with Culture Amp CEO and co-founder Didier Elzinga welcoming more than 500 customers to Customer Connection Day. For Customer Day, Elzinga and Chief Product Officer and co-founder Rod Hamilton announced the unveiling of Foresight Engine(TM), a new set of capabilities that exists within the Culture Amp platform. The evolving algorithms that make up the engine help decision-makers with critical issues like predicting turnover, retaining high-performing employees and learning from organizational network analysis patterns. With input from 165 million data points, the engine has been designed for decision-makers at all levels of the organization through personalized dashboards with clear actions for change.

On being Culture First

Early in the conference, Elzinga also announced the reimagining of the Culture First community with a framework to help define what “being Culture First” might mean to other organizations. The framework is structured around the idea that being Culture First is not a scientific concept. It is a philosophy and means different things to different organizations. It is foundational, relational and alive -- as, ultimately, any culture’s core foundation comes down to how people relate to each other within a group, year after year. Elzinga shared that Culture Amp will continue to invest in their community and in helping companies put Culture First, by explaining that investing in the betterment of people is ultimately the only way to deliver on promises to customers and to improve the work environment overall. 

D&I Starter Kit Launch

Culture Amp leaders acknowledged at Culture First 2019 that building inclusive workplaces is key to being a Culture First organization, and too many companies are not putting in the effort or resources to do it well. To underscore how much Culture Amp believes in helping companies tackle this complex issue, the company announced the rollout of its new Diversity & Inclusion Starter Kit, which is being made available at no cost to all organizations, regardless of if they are a customer. The Culture Amp Diversity & Inclusion Starter Kit gives companies a research-backed survey, powerful analytics, and inspirations to take action. Attendees at Culture First were encouraged to sign up for early access during the conference. To find out more about Culture Amp’s Diversity & Inclusion Starter Kit, visit here.


Michele Gallagher
Culture Amp