Neuroplasticity, Human Experience and Wonder in the Workplace: A Roundtable Breakfast with Monica Parker

We had the pleasure of hosting Wall Street Journal best selling author & future of work expert Monica Parker for a roundtable breakfast in Belfast with a small group of HR leaders. An in-person, real life event hosted by our very own Chris Johnston and Aislin Cathcart.

Over a light breakfast, Monica shared her radical new approach to engaging employees by focusing on employee emotions such as trust & enabling ‘Wonder‘ to create more authentic & effective leadership as well as flexibility, openness and more effective learning.

One of the key benefits of cultivating wonder is its ability to enhance pro-social behaviours such as empathy, compassion, and gratitude. Monica shared how these behaviours are critical for building trust within teams and between leaders and their employees, improving employee engagement, employee experience and innovation within a company.

Maria Mcallister, Head of UK CEO office, Bank of Ireland | Monica Parker | Chris Johnston, CEO, Adoreboard

Not only that, but a state of wonder and awe has been shown to enhance neuroplasticity (gotta love that word!), making leaders and team members more empathetic and compassionate. Neuroplasticity also facilitates enhanced and speedier learning through the absorb information more effectively.

Effective learning and absorption of new information has never been more important given the volume of processes, data and new ways of working that employees face every day. Even more so for new recruits.

And, it has positive implications for mental health, helping individuals overcome conditions such as depression and anxiety and foster a more compassionate working environment.

She even brought us all presents!🎁


Monica went on to offer practical advice on how organizations can introduce wonder into their cultures. Simple exercises like wonder walks, nostalgia activities, and expressing gratitude can significantly impact employees’ engagement and well-being.

“A wonder walk is a 20-minute walk in nature where you are primed to find something that elicits a sense of wonder. This simple exercise has been shown to reduce stress and increase well-being for an entire week following the walk.” â€”Monica Parker

She also emphasised the importance of listening to others and being curious, especially towards those who are different to yourself.

Speaking of being curious, curiosity got the better of our very own Jonny McCarrte aka “Mr Insights” and over he popped to say hello…

Aislin Cathcart, Director of Customer Success and Jonny McCarrte, Technical Engineer & Insight Analyst

It was a fantastic start to the day, a true human experience filled with inspiration and networking for culture and employee experience enthusiasts.

We’re very grateful to all who attended and to have had the opportunity to meet you in person. 🙏

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