One of the best practice examples of employee engagement at this week's Employee Benefits Connect conference was Rio Tinto's use of champions to drive engagement with their employee share schemes.

The use of champions in workplace communications is well documented and with great success. Often site CEOs, brand managers, workstream leaders and line managers are used by businesses to ensure key messages reach their people and that people truly engage. There is also something of the "leading by example" and "I believed in it so much I did it too" concept.

One of the most interesting insights though from this is the method of communication used. These champions did not post a video on You Tube; they didn't employ an App; they didn't nudge people by targeted emails. What they did was good old fashioned face to face engagement; they sat down with colleagues and talked to them about the value and importance of (in this case) share benefits in helping to improve personal financial wellbeing. This type of engagement is personal and real. It allows people to "see the whites of the eyes" of the person delivering that message and so to gauge sincerity and belief.  

In a world of technology, where often suppliers are pushing a digital solution, it is worth considering the power of face to face communication; it is tried, tested and trusted and for some messages it just cannot be replaced.