Ideas in Practice breakfast seminar

07:30 - 09:30
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Leeds
Who can attend:
This event is relevant for business leaders and owners, entrepreneurs, line managers, HR specialists, employee engagement specialists and advisors.
Business meeting

Register for this event

In today’s competitive and complex world, businesses are continually trying to find ways to improve their employee engagement, motivate their employees and thus benefit from productivity gains.  This Ideas in Practice breakfast seminar focuses on two key questions:

  • How can business leaders and managers motivate their employees to improve their business’s productivity?
  • How can businesses engage in a meaningful way with their employees that takes account of both their needs and the business's needs?

These issues will be addressed by speakers from business and the public sector together with three members of the Workplace Behaviour Research Group at Leeds University Business School.  They will draw on evidence of what works in terms of employee engagement and productivity, drawing on insights from their leadership experience and from research.

Productivity is about achieving more with the same, thus the same workforce produces more goods or services. But this is not about being more efficient or improving skills; even in organisations where emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence are predicted to result in productivity gains, the benefit of these innovations is reliant on the people that work in the business or public sector organisation. Employees’ attitudes and behaviours are fundamental to organisational success. 

Join us at this breakfast seminar to consider these challenges and potential ways to overcome them. Breakfast will be provided and there is no charge for this event.

Event format

07:30 Registration and networking breakfast
08:00 Welcome from Professor Kerrie Unsworth, Leeds University Business School
08:15 Panel discussion
Mark Robinson – How psychology can help employee engagement
Kerrie Unsworth – Matching employees and organisational needs
Rebecca Pieniazek – The role of personal resilience
Mandy Sawyer - Engaging staff in the Housing Leeds Service, Leeds City Council via our '4 People Plans'
Matthew Lewis (topic TBC)
09:00 Q&A and audience discussion
09:30 Event close

For further information, please contact Naomi Colhoun at

About the speaker

Event host and panel chair

Professor Kerrie Unsworth - Chair in Organisational Behaviour and Head of Management Division, Leeds University Business School

Kerrie leads the Management Division at Leeds University Business School.  Her research focuses on motivation, creativity, pro-environmental behaviours and well-being. She is interested in understanding how we juggle the different priorities we have at work and at home, and how we can make our working lives more fulfilling and productive.  Kerrie obtained an Honours degree in Psychology from the University of Queensland in 1994 and a PhD from the Institute of Work Psychology at the University of Sheffield in 2001. Her work has appeared in prestigious journals across a number of disciplines.


Mandy Sawyer – Head of Neighbourhood Services, Leeds City Council

Mandy is Head of Service at Housing Leeds.  Housing Leeds is responsible for managing 56,000 Council homes and tenancies across Leeds, housing options for Leeds residents threatened with homelessness, and housing quality in the private rented sector.  With very large staff teams carrying out what can sometimes be highly stressful roles, it is critical that staff feel supported and engaged in the organisation. Mandy has taken the lead in developing and delivering the service’s ‘4 People Plans’ - a commitment to staff around workforce development, staff engagement, health and wellbeing and equality diversity and inclusion.

Matthew Lewis – Partner and Head of Employment Practice, Squire Patton Boggs

Matthew trained and qualified as a trade union lawyer and has the unusual experience of undertaking both claimant and respondent work. He is experienced in all areas of employment law. He previously worked in the Squire Patton Boggs London office, moving to the Leeds office in 2004. Matthew has appeared on BBC Radio programmes and his articles have appeared in the Yorkshire BusinessInsider Magazine. He has also conducted webinars and seminars on topics such as: “Managing performance of older employees” and “Can you be fired for Facebook?”.

Dr Rebecca Pieniazek - Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour, Leeds University Business School

Rebecca is a post-doctoral research fellow in Leeds University Business School’s Management Division and a member of the Workplace Behaviour Research Centre. She is a business psychologist and has a background in experimental psychology from the University of Oxford. She is fascinated by a wide range of topics relating to the behaviour of organisations as a whole and of employees within organisations. Rebecca’s current projects focus on organisational resilience, personal resilience, employee engagement and wellbeing, and how social entrepreneurs juggle multiple goals.

Dr Mark Robinson - Associate Professor, Head of Organisational Behaviour and Deputy Director of the Socio-Technical Centre, Leeds University Business School

Mark is an organisational psychologist with inter-disciplinary research interests in human performance (including job analysis, personnel selection, and training), group behaviour (including teams and social networks), cognition (including information behaviours and decision making) and complex systems. His research has been widely published in peer-reviewed academic journals and books, and presented at numerous conferences nationally and internationally.

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