6 Reasons why The Watercooler 2023 is a must-attend event for all employers


Have you booked your free ticket yet for our sister event, The Watercooler? In case you still need convincing, I’ve outlined six compelling reasons why The Watercooler is a must-attend this year.

The Watercooler conference and exhibition – named in recognition of those crucial moments of connection between employees – is the ground-breaking event drawing the roadmap for shifting workplace culture. Run in association with the London Evening Standard and Make A Difference Media, it’s taking place on 25th and 26th April 2023, at ExCel in London.

The free to attend conference and exhibition is for professionals who focus on workplace and wellbeing, HR, mental health, and employee culture, from all sizes of organisation—coming together to discover ideas, solutions and practical takeaways, that enable you to deliver healthy workplace culture and effective wellbeing programmes, for your employees to thrive.

As Dame Carol Black, the doyenne of workplace wellbeing explains:

“The workplace post-Covid needs to be different. It must, in a joined up holistic way, meet the mental, physical, financial, social and environmental needs of the workers, as well as the purposes of the organisation”.

The Watercooler explores best practice in supporting employees’ wellbeing across all of these pillars.

David Skinner, Managing Director at PIB Employee Benefits, says:

We are delighted to be the Headline Sponsor at The Watercooler 2023 which shares our vision of improving the wellbeing of employees globally. We look forward to April and being part of the change that The Watercooler is facilitating”.

In addition to PIB Employee Benefits, who are the event’s Headline Sponsor, The Watercooler’s Content Partners are AXA Health, GoodShape, Qured and Nuffield Health. 

Here are my six reasons why it’s a must attend if you care about your people and you care about your business:

1. FREE content across 3 main stages

Our Conference Producer for this year’s The Watercooler main-stage content has done an outstanding job putting together an exceptionally high quality agenda of premium content. With 100+ senior speakers from across sectors sharing their perspectives in the Mental & Physical Wellbeing theatre, the Social & Inclusive Wellbeing theatre and the Financial & Environmental Wellbeing theatre.

Covering a wide range of topics from creating a neurodiversity-smart workplace to the role of employers in enhancing and levelling up the health of the nation. The event features 100+ hours of free learning from a diverse and inspiring lineup of speakers over 2 days. Including 9 keynotes, 30 live case studies and 2 author spotlights.

There really is something for everyone. Wherever you are on your workplace wellbeing journey, this is a rare opportunity to get ahead of the curve with expert insights from recognised thought leaders such as Dame Carol BlackPeter Cheese, Chief Executive, CIPD; Lord James Bethell, Former Health Minister; Ryan Hopkins, Future of Wellbeing Lead, Deloitte; Dr Monika Misra, Global Head of Employee Health & Wellbeing, GSK; Barbara Jeffery, Partner, McKinsey and Affiliate partner with McKinsey Health Institute; and Advisor to Mind Forward Alliance and former Deputy Director General (Commercial) at the CBI, Henrietta Jowitt,

Join our growing network of employers
Receive Make A Difference News straight to your inbox

It’s also a chance to hear fresh employers’ voices such as: Steve Iley, Chief Medical Officer & Global Head of Health, Jaguar Land Rover; Nasrin Oskui, Global Wellbeing Specialist, Deutsche Bank; Devi Verdi, Group Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Centrica; Lucy Vallis, Head of Health, Safety & Wellbeing, Save the Children; Janet Leighton, Director of Happiness, Timpson; and Oluyomi Okunowo, SVP Total Reward and People Operations, Wella.

Other speakers include senior representatives from Eon, BAM UK&I, Tesco, Ericsson, BBC, EY, dentsu, Allen & Overy and many more. You can view the full programme here.

2. Get answers to your questions at the workshops

Running parallel to the keynote sessions each day will be ten workshops. These will give attendees the opportunity to dive deeper into key topics and find answers to your specific Workplace Wellbeing questions.

Topics to be covered range from “5 must-have features of an exceptional financial wellbeing programme” to “Embedding a culture of wellbeing”.

Places at the workshops are limited but you will be able to reserve your place using the event app which you can access once you’ve registered.

You can find the full list of workshops here

3. Overcome siloes and bring teams together around wellbeing

Workplace wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility. A collaborative cross-organisational approach pays dividends when implementing initiatives. With free premium content running in parallel streams, it makes sense to bring a group to the event, representing different departments.

The Watercooler content is as relevant to C-suite, finance, facilities and next generation leaders as it is to HR, Talent, benefits and rewards specialists.

It’s also an ideal opportunity to gather and thank your network of Wellbeing Champions, Ambassadors or Allies. They can attend different sessions and feed back key insights across your employee networks.

4. Cut through the noise

Employers frequently tell me that they’re bombarded with information about the different solutions available to them. The challenge is finding their way through the maze of offerings.

With a vibrant exhibition of specialist suppliers and wellbeing providers, The Watercooler Event is the ideal opportunity to compare a range of solutions in one place. Even better if you bring a group of decision makers from across the business who can outline your organisation’s unique wellbeing challenges.

5. Benchmark best practice and join the celebration

New for this year we are also running the Make A Difference Awards at The Watercooler Event at the end of Day 1, 25th April. The Make A Difference Awards, in association with the London Evening Standard and The Watercooler Event, are an opportunity for us to stop, think and thank the colleagues and employers who have really made a difference over the past year to workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing. Those who are leading the way and inspiring others to follow their example.

The Awards also showcase the organisations that are setting a new benchmark for workplace cultures, where every individual can thrive.

You can find out more about the Awards and who has been shortlisted here. Sign up for a ticket to join the celebration at the bottom of the page.

6. Nothing beats networking in person

Even though we’ve all become reliant on digital meeting platforms, nothing beats networking in person.

As Simon Berger, Co-founder of The Watercooler says:

“There has never been a more important time for us all to meet in person to discuss, network and learn the best practice on implementing wellbeing solutions”

With 1000s of professionals expected across the two days of the event, The Watercooler will be an ideal opportunity to share knowledge in real-time with peers from across sectors and departments. Find out what is and isn’t working for them and learn from their experiences and recommendations.

To provide senior representatives with the chance to share ideas, tips and experiences in a closed-door , no-sales setting, we will also be running the inaugural Make A Difference Leaders’ Lunch at The Watercooler on Day 2, 26th April.

If you’re a wellbeing leader working for an employer (that doesn’t provide workplace wellbeing products or services) and you’d like to join this lunch, contact me at [email protected] and I’ll let you know if there is space.

In a world where change is the only constant, one thing is certain. Whether you’re trying to reduce costs, reduce risks or retain staff, it’s never been more important to prioritise workplace culture and employee health and wellbeing. The Watercooler is a great place to benchmark best practice, learn from the leaders and ensure your approach achieves real impact.

I look forward to seeing you there.

You can find full details, the conference and workshop agenda, and register FREE here.

About the author

Claire Farrow is the Global Director of Content and Programming for www.makeadifference.media the annual MAD World Summit and The Watercooler. She’s on a mission to help every employer – large, medium and small – get the insight, inspiration and contacts they need to make real impact on workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing in their organisation. She has been freelance for more than 15 years. During that time, she has had the honour of working with many leading publishers, including the New York Times.


Sign up to receive Make A Difference's fortnightly round up of features, news, reports, case studies, practical tools and more for employers who want to make a difference to work culture, mental health and wellbeing.