In 2021, Accenture Song, needed a creative way to recognize top performers with the goal was to give these team members the opportunity to experience a new culture abroad, focus on personal development, and gain inspiration by exploring retail trends and innovation in Europe. They announced their partnership with Workbreaker as a way to recognize talent, create a new program for learning and development, and inspire curiosity, collaboration, and innovation.
In a business landscape, where adaptability and innovation reign supreme, organizations are realizing the role of employee engagement and well-being. Companies are ramping up investments in programs to help their employees develop resilience, hoping to mitigate burnout and improve employee retention. Among the pioneers spearheading this paradigm shift is Accenture Song, a global juggernaut in commerce consulting and professional services. Recognizing the need to redefine resilience and amplify creativity within its workforce, Accenture Song started their partnership with the Workbreaker program.
Set in Lisbon, Portugal, the Workbreaker program sets itself apart from standard learning and development programs of innovative thinking and collaboration. This eight-day immersion experience was designed to break down the boundaries of conventional learning, plunging participants into diverse cultures, novel experiences, and uncharted territories. For Accenture Song, this was more than just a recognition or training program; it was a paradigm shift that aimed to foster trust, nurture collaboration, and cultivate resilience in an unconventional yet impactful way.
According to the July 2023 report, “Rethinking Resilience at Work Report” from Zeus Jones, respondents displayed an eagerness for innovative solutions that cater to both solo and shared novel experiences. What they are calling for is a revolution in work design that carves out space for exploration, learning and play— a structural shift that might, as one respondent put it, “prioritize play/being offline and reporting back what we learn.”
“People want opportunities for both solo and shared experiences that expose them to new ideas, perspectives and ways of thinking.” – Zeus Jones Rethinking Resilience at Work Report
The reality is that employee engagement in the U.S. is at its lowest point in a decade, according to a January 2023 Gallup report, with only 32% of workers feeling engaged at work. Immersive training will soon act as another proof point. Replacing static management conference and training sessions with immersive learning experiences that inspire new thinking will set apart companies who can keep their employees engaged.
The Resilience Revolution: Reclaiming Well-being in the Workplace
The notion of resilience, once confined to the ability to endure stress and persevere, is undergoing a profound transformation. It's no longer about "just dealing with it" and soldiering on. Instead, Accenture Song, in partnership with Workbreaker, championed a reimagined perspective—one that places well-being & recognition at the forefront.
Steph Propp, Chief People & Culture Officer, shared her insights on the approach: "Our partnership Workbreaker allowed us to reward outstanding performers with a week-long trip to Portugal. It exceeded all expectations. The friendships formed, the discussions on courage and risk-taking and getting to experience another beautiful and unique culture together was a one in a lifetime experience. It’s definitely worth checking out if you are trying to find ways to motivate an organization or if you’re an individual looking for a different way to learn and push yourselves."
"This experience was exactly what I needed to help me feel recharged about work and excited about the possibilities moving forward!" - Participant
Customized Learning Experiences
One of the advantages of organizations creating a customized Workbreaker experience is that they are able to be designed specifically for the business' needs. This group is a part of the US retail & commerce pyramid of Accenture Song so Workbreaker was able to design an experiential learning program tailored to their business needs.
Retail Technology Field Trip: The team took a journey to visit multiple retail stores with a focus on emerging retail technology, in-store marketing trends, and consumer behavior in Europe
Retail Trends in Europe Presentation: We returned to the workspace to hear a presentation from a retail trend leader about new types of stores and retail concepts across Europe. We followed it up with a discussion on how each concept or trend could or could not work in the United States.
Innovation Workshop: To cap off the business learning day, we participated in a rapid innovation exercise while our brains were still hot with ideas. This lesson on collaboration and innovation was designed for each participant to bring this activity and run through with their own teams at the home office.
Cultivating Creativity: The Power of Novelty and Diversity
As innovation and creativity emerges as crucial skills for success at companies, Workbreaker program's approach checks all the boxes in training for the future. The fusion of immersive experiences and diverse viewpoints within the program serves as a catalyst for new perspectives and solutions. In a world where innovation is synonymous with survival, this is invaluable.
Accenture Song's partnership with the Workbreaker program has not only set the stage for organizational transformation but has also left an unforgettable mark on individual participants. Here are what participants shared about their learning takeaways:
Embracing perspectives beyond immediate teams fostered collaboration and innovation.
Revitalized Enthusiasm: In-person interactions breathed life into remote employees, highlighting the profound impact of face-to-face connections.
Intentional Leadership: Leadership was redefined as a proactive endeavor, requiring intent and exploration.
Glimpses of Insight and Growth: Exposure to European retail innovation and consumer experience underlined the importance of novel experiences for personal and professional growth.
Structured Transformation: A delicate balance of structured activities and open exploration enriched the program's outcomes.
"I feel so recharged post-event - I'm excited to work each day and find ways to work together with the team members I met last week." - Participant
**Cultivating Innovation and Empowerment**
In an era where connectivity is predominantly digital, Accenture Song's partnership with the Workbreaker program shines a spotlight on the profound importance of real-world experiences. Deviating from routine and embracing diverse environments not only sparks innovation but also rejuvenates an organization's spirit. The potent lesson: breaking away from familiarity and venturing into the unknown drives transformation.