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Explore Edmonton, People & Culture Case Study

Transforming Explore Edmonton’s Approach to Internal Culture and Engagement

In the wake of unprecedented challenges stemming from the pandemic, Explore Edmonton embarked on a transformative journey with Incite to revamp its approach to how it defined and approached team culture and engagement. This multi-phased initiative was critical as the organization underwent considerable transformation first as it transitioned from as Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) into Explore Edmonton Corporation, assumed management of K-Days and Farmfair International from the now dissolved Northlands and acquired the Edmonton EXPO Centre and Edmonton Convention Centre, adding two major venues and teams to its operation.


Explore Edmonton, known for its vibrant contribution to Edmonton tourism as the City’s Destination Management and Marketing Organization (DMMO), faced an extraordinary challenge along with an ongoing tourism-industry, crippling global pandemic. With a new CEO in place, Explore identified that this period of significant change and challenge required a strategic approach to not only aid in maintaining employee engagement, but assist with adapting to a new organizational mandate, building a new cultural identity, and navigating the uncertainties posed by the pandemic.

Incite-led Deliverables

Incite focused on three primary projects to address Explore Edmonton’s needs:

  1. People and Culture Talent Strategy: Incite launched a comprehensive strategy to enhance Explore Edmonton’s appeal as an employer, streamline its recruitment marketing, and ensure a consistent brand experience both internally and externally. This involved deep market research, impacted party interviews, and the development of a people and culture strategy and implementation plan.
  2. Culture and Engagement Strategy: To dig deeper into the internal culture at Explore Edmonton, Incite and Explore Edmonton worked more thoroughly together to craft an engagement strategy that aligned employee perceptions with organizational objectives. Through information gained from interviews with senior leadership and employee engagement interviews, our work included defining key messages around culture and engagement and establishing a strategic plan for employee engagement over the next 2-3 years.
  3. Culture & Engagement Strategy Advisory: Incite provided ongoing support through advisory services, content creation, and the creation and facilitation of a Culture & Engagement Committee. Our work also included redesigning the annual employee engagement survey. Key roles in the Culture & Engagement Committee work included:
    • Incite facilitated the establishment of the committee, providing a comprehensive Terms of Reference to guide its operations.
    • Presented the culture and engagement strategy to the committee for alignment and integration into organizational practices.
    • Led brainstorming sessions with the committee to identify high-impact activities for culture and engagement enhancement.
    • Conducted monthly committee meetings to oversee culture and engagement initiatives, share project updates, foster sub-committee development, and facilitate collaborative brainstorming.

Right from the start, the Incite team got what it takes to build a lively culture and meaningful connections within Explore Edmonton. They've given us the tools and mindset for long-term cultural growth. It's not just about quick wins for them; they're setting up a system that'll keep improving and supporting our mission as we go. That kind of forward thinking is what makes Incite stand out, ensuring our teamwork leaves a lasting positive impact on Explore Edmonton.

Valerie GilbertDirector, People & Culture, Explore Edmonton


The collaboration between Incite and Explore Edmonton redefined the organization’s approach to internal messaging, culture, and employee engagement with impactful and positive results. Through a strategic partnership, we focused on several key areas to drive positive change within the organization, directly reflecting the goals and initiatives outlined in the project details.

  1. Enhanced Employer Value Proposition: The People and Culture Talent Strategy initiative led to a marked increase in awareness and understanding of Explore Edmonton’s value as an employer. By ensuring a consistent and powerful brand experience externally and internally, Explore Edmonton strengthened its position in the market for talent attraction and retention.
  2. Alignment of Employee Perceptions with Organizational Goals: Through strategic engagement and research, including employee interviews and survey findings, Incite helped Explore Edmonton to define key messages that resonate with employees, ensuring a unified and clear understanding of the organization’s recruitment and talent strategy as well as the culture and engagement strategy. This alignment was crucial in addressing the needs and pains of employees, providing a roadmap for continuous improvement.
  3. Culture and Engagement Strategy Implementation: The establishment of the Culture and Engagement Committee and the advisory services provided by Incite, including content writing, material design, and facilitating committee meetings, played a pivotal role in reshaping the organization’s culture. Activities were chosen under five categories of the employee experience:
    1. Rewards, Benefits and Recognition
    2. Environmental and Social Impact
    3. Wellness
    4. Workplace Experience
    5. Learning and Development, offering a holistic approach to enhancing the workplace environment.

Understanding that employees have different needs when it comes to culture and engagement, another big step forward for Explore Edmonton is the Incite-led creation of organizational-wide activities and team specific activities where people leaders can choose one activity under each of the five categories of the employee experience that they believe will be most beneficial to their team. These team plans will be rolled out in 2024 and will help employees feel more engaged in a way that is more suitable for them.


The collaboration between Explore Edmonton and Incite illustrates the power of strategic consultancy in fostering organizational resilience and adaptability. By focusing on internal messaging, culture, and engagement, Explore Edmonton is now better positioned to thrive in a post-pandemic world, with a renewed commitment to its employees and the community it serves.