EXCLUSIVE: Michelin star chef Michael Caines MBE (pictured) will share his experience of using leadership to drive employee engagement and motivation, during his keynote address at Employee Benefits Connect 2019.The session, titled ‘The secret sauce of winning leadership’, will close the five-stream conference programme on Wednesday 27 February 2019.Caines will begin by sharing his own personal story, explaining his background and early working life, and exploring how challenges around diversity have impacted his outlook, ambitions and career path, culminating in the opening of his flagship country house hotel in Devon, Lympstone Manor.For Caines, vision, leadership and communications are vital, as is perseverance. He will explain to delegates the importance of leaders when it comes to inspiring employee engagement, and how this can affect business success, using real-life examples from his own role as an employer.“Employee engagement is one of the biggest subject matters right now within all sectors because of the challenges that we’ve got with recruitment,” he said. “It’s not necessarily about how much [employers] pay somebody. It’s whether or not [employees] feel listened to, valued or that their actual contribution to the business is being measured in return. An unengaged workforce, regardless of [resources], will not be as productive as a smaller team that is engaged and well trained.”To harness the power of communication, Caines will discuss how leaders should create a space in which employees can express themselves, asking questions that lead to debates and new suggestions. “It’s important that [individuals], even within a team, express ideas. Even if those ideas aren’t taken forward, they are there to create debate or bring a different perspective,” he explained. “It’s healthy to ask the questions.”Caines will also deliver his top tips for leadership, such as ensuring that new staff are mentored and have a work buddy, as well as regular progress reports and appraisals.He said: “It’s making sure that our leaders understand the importance of engagement. That’s a tool which goes both ways. It’s not just about telling people how they’re doing, it’s about listening to how they think they’re doing and where they feel they need to improve, and then marrying their expectations with [the leader’s].“It’s making sure they feel appraised but also praised, because if [employers] just simply ask constantly for more without thanking them for what they’ve done, then that’s a demotivating factor. Give them the forums to be able to express that passion so they feel more engaged, but also give them the ability to teach and nurture that passion into the rest of the team.”Strong leadership is the springboard for business success, and can influence engagement and motivation, as Caines will demonstrate through his personal story, detailing how he has built his own team.He said: “I’ve persevered and become a leader within my sector, but also somebody that is showing a positive leadership through a very inspiring story, which engages my team, and with it creates the success and culture that we have within our business.”Employee Benefits Connect 2019, for senior in-house HR professionals, will take place on Wednesday 27 February 2019 at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London.Click here for more information or to book your place.