employee engagement Tag

Formulating an employee communications plan for a return to the office? Watch episode #7 of OFC SHORTCUTS to learn how an animated video can help drive behavior change by translating new health and safety rules into new habits.According to a Wharton Research Center Study, video boosts message memory retention by 50% compared to only 22% for text. So, consider creating a captivating animated video that informs and entertains BEFORE you hit “send” on a 20-page return-to-office handbook!It’s all about earning attention and inspiring action to reinforce a culture committed to workplace safety.Watch the video below, or continue scrolling to read the full transcript:[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FApjGkVaE1I&feature=youtu.be[/embed]Short Cuts Episode 7: Returning to the Office"While debate rages on about sheltering in place versus opening up the country, one thing is clear: Business leaders are now preparing plans for the eventual re-entry to company campuses and skyscrapers across the U.S. One major challenge is how best to communicate new ways of navigating these office environments when everything has changed.Now before you hit “send” on a 20-page return-to-office handbook, consider creating an animated video to engage employees. According to a Wharton Research Center Study, video boosts message memory retention by 50% compared to only 22% for text. If a successful return to office is predicated on driving significant behavior change, it’s imperative that employees remember new health and safety rules and turn them into new habits.That means wearing masks in buildings, using hand sanitizer, limiting the number of people in elevators, staggering seats in conference rooms, wiping down shared equipment, and avoiding handshakes. The growing list of new policies is staggering.Don’t even get me started on the prohibition against leftover donuts!Animated explainer videos are the perfect vehicle for delivering detailed information in an exciting and visually captivating way. From creative characters to immersive environments and kinetic text, animated videos can entertain employees while informing them of guidelines they need to know, and put into practice.Get in touch with OFC to find out how our expert animation team can help your company make a safe, smooth and productive return to work!"...

 In episode #4 of OFC SHORTCUTS, it's all about Podcasts. Podcasts have become incredibly popular, entertaining commuters and coffee breakers alike with true crime, comedy, and more. But there's another hot genre on the rise: Corporate Communications. Watch and learn how to use Podcasts for engaging your employees and connecting them with executives.Watch the video below, or continue scrolling to read the full transcript:[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X6Two6u5Qg&feature=youtu.be[/embed]Short Cuts Episode 5: PodcastsThe moment for podcasts has arrived! More than half of the US population has listened to a podcast and an estimated 62 million Americans listen to podcasts on a weekly basis. While true crime, comedy and pop culture make up hot genres, the category of corporate communications is on the rise.Beyond the large audience, podcasting as an internal communications medium is growing because it offers a convenient tool for connecting employees with company leaders.Nearly every smartphone comes pre-loaded with a podcast app, enabling colleagues to listen during their commute or coffee break. Plus, podcasts are quick to download because audio files require little bandwidth to stream.Podcasts are especially conducive to capturing intimate conversations among executives, which helps to humanize leadership. Just be sure not to overly script dialogue, as podcast listeners love this format’s off-the-cuff sensibility.The key to a great company podcast is developing an episodic format that informs, entertains and inspires. So, collaborate with a great creative team in branding the podcast series, identifying fun features, recording a relaxed group of speakers, and assembling the best dialogue in an edit.You’re then ready to promote your podcast to employees and delight ears in every department!  ...

 Episode #3 of OFC Shortcuts provides 3 key tips for having a successful work-from-home experience. While it's tempting to stay in your pajamas and work from bed, it's important to get up and treat your home like the workplace that has now become. Undoubtedly, it can be tricky to separate your personal life from your work life while they coexist under the same roof. Watch on to learn how to get the most out of your remote work environment. Watch the video below, or continue scrolling to read the full transcript:[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSMF_V4uzW4&feature=youtu.be[/embed]The temptation to work from bed in PJs is something the OFC team ALWAYS avoids. We know it’s not easy to jumpstart your day while working from home. So, here are OFC’s top 3 tips for seizing the workday while working remote.Get up for work. Jump in the shower, get dressed, and stick to a schedule while working in an area designated for your job.Be Active. Make the switch from roaming office hallways to taking conference call walks around your neighborhood. You can also pause to play ping pong with your kids or pump out pushups and planks between emails.Take breaks. Mental health is just as important as physical health, So, be sure to unplug for quick coffee breaks or check-ins with the kids to break up the day.Striking the perfect balance when working from home isn’t easy. The key is trying new things and getting creative. Carpe Diem!...

 The face of conference call catastrophes might just be Professor Robert Kelly, whose remote video interview  with BBC News was ambushed by his dancing toddler, curious baby, and horrified wife. Over the last 3 years, Kelly’s hilarious video has generated over 36 million views on YouTube. Kelly has also spawned numerous parodies, including this gem showing how an overachieving mom might handle the same situation, which has racked-up 22 millions views. Conference call interruptions in the Berman household are a little less cuddly, typically involving 2 teenage boys barging into my home office to bicker about whose turn it is to play Fortnite on the Xbox. With that as context, here are 5 field-tested tips for combatting conference call calamities while working from home: Location For those without a home office, it’s time to get creative. A helpful guideline is to identify a space with internet access, plenty of light, electrical outlets, room for a small desk+chair, and a door that can be barricaded! Got kids? Try to avoid the kitchen or living room, given these are often the busiest and noisiest spaces in a home with children. It’s also a smart move to stay out of your bedroom if possible, given the importance of preserving that space as a soothing sanctuary for sleep and other nocturnal activity. With that said, it may not be a bad idea to retreat into a walk-in closet for critical conference calls. Just be aware that your colleagues might get distracted by your colorful holiday sweater collection. Schedules & Rules The best way to pre-empt a conference call catastrophe may be to solidify structured schedules with your spouse and children. While outlining activities for kids will maintain a sense of school-like order, it will also help ensure that your children are busy precisely when you’re on a call. Nothing quite freezes frenetic kids like a replay of Frozen…for the 100th time. It’s also a smart thing to switch off with your spouse in keeping an eye on the kids. That allows each adult to break away for calls as needed. You might also take a cue from radio broadcasters by creating a simple “On the Air” sign that can be posted to your home office door, signaling to spouse and spawn alike that you shouldn’t be bothered. Look the Part It’s hard for family members to take your protestations for privacy seriously when you’re still dressed in PJs. So, take direction from the denizens of remote work gurus who advise home workers to wake-up, shower, and dress for a regular day at the office. That guidance not only helps you feel professional and productive, but it signals to roommates that you actually mean business. Of course, there may come a day (or two) when you decide not to shower. In that case, put on a company logo shirt and ballcap to hide your lack of hygiene while simultaneously showing your team spirit. Tech Up I happen to share a home office with my wife, Elizabeth, who previously preferred the echoing joys of speaker phones. Of course, that meant a nuclear arms race of me strapping on noise-cancelling Bose headphones. I soon introduced Elizabeth to the beauty of Apple AirPods, which she now swears by. Peace and quiet have since reigned throughout the kingdom of Bermania. So, indulge in a pair of high-quality headsets. I happen to be a fan of the Apple AirPods Pro, which include noise cancelling technology that is pretty solid. You should also ensure you’re visible on video calls by shining a light on your face be it from a window or lamp. That’s especially important if there’s a strong light source behind you, like a window, that will cast a shadow on your face worthy of Darth Sidious from Star Wars. In addition, raise your monitor and camera up so that they’re level with the height of your face. Otherwise, you may be inadvertently creating a Blair Witch effect from a low camera filming up at you, thereby showcasing your nasal passages to video call participants. You’re welcome : ) Video vs. Audio It’s easy to default to audio-only calls when you’re setting-up a virtual meeting with colleagues or clients. I certainly understand plenty of people don’t like to look at themselves on camera or are embarrassed by their home surroundings in the background of a Zoom frame. However, there are a number of reasons to avoid the temptation of audio-only. First, a significant amount of successful communication comes from the non-verbal cues of facial expressions and body language. Afterall, a colleague calling your suggestion “interesting” while smiling, nodding and leaning in, is quite different than the same colleague saying “interesting” while tightening their lips, shaking their head, crossing their arms, and leaning back in their chair…especially if they fly the bird at you : ) Second, the knowledge of being on camera during a call acts to curtail colleagues from multi-tasking, given how easy it is to spot distracted colleagues. Third, seeing your colleagues on camera helps solidify team cohesiveness and camaraderie at a time when many co-workers may feel isolated and lonely. So, there you have it - 5 tips to transform your home office communications and avoid conference call calamities. Yes, I will be scouring YouTube to confirm those desk jockeys not heeding this advice. The good news is home office door deadbolt locks are now on discount at Home Depot for the rest of the week! About the AuthorJordan Berman is the Founder & CEO of OFC (ofc.tv), a creative agency and video production studio that injects storytelling into employee communications and training to earn attention and inspire action. OFC lives by the words, TYPICAL IS INVISIBLE™, and resides at the intersection of pop culture and office culture to build multimedia campaigns that create buzz, drive engagement and maximize results one cubicle at a time. Clients include PepsiCo, AT&T, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Motorola Solutions. Jordan previously held senior marketing positions at MTV, Showtime, AT&T, Black & Decker, and the DDB agency. He has a BS in Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell and an MBA from NYU....

 OFC is excited to launch Shortcuts: Smart Storytelling Solutions, a new video series for corporate communicators that showcases creative ways to earn employee attention and inspire action. Episode #1 explores how to create a virtual video studio by taking a note from YouTube and leveraging the power of user generated content (UGC) to capture executive and employee stories. It’s all about leveling-up the authenticity of leader communications and propelling peer-to-peer learning by unleashing your inner Spielberg with a smartphone! Nothing matches the ability of video to win employee hearts and minds. So, get going and get creative![embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cg6bnMLRrY8&feature=youtu.be[/embed]Watch episode #1 “Virtual Studio For The Virtual Office”  above, or read the episode transcript below.Video TranscriptIn this era of remote work, out of sight can mean out of mind. It’s therefore imperative that companies inform and inspire their isolated employees with new approaches to video communication. While Zoom and Skype are great for LIVE video conferencing, OFC recommends 3 approaches for creating ON DEMAND video content.Video User-Generated Content ("UGC" in graphic) invites colleagues to film clips on their smartphones and web cams, for submission to OFC, which edits clips into compelling content with b-roll footage, motion graphics and music. Follow the 3Ls for capturing great clips: hold the phone in landscape mode, shine light on your face, and listen to ensure you film in a quiet location. Cute babies are optional. Audio User Generated Content asks colleagues to record improvised or scripted voice memos on their mobile devices, which OFC will combine with kinetic text, motion graphics, animation and music. You got a voice? You got a video!Animated Explainer Videos offer unlimited options to elevate executive communications and bring clarity to new ways of working. OFC provides professionally written scripts, voiceovers and music to really bring leadership messaging to life.Your virtual office requires a virtual studio, where OFC can collect employee clips and assemble them into compelling videos that earn colleague attention and inspire action. From company leaders to frontline employees, it’s all about surfacing staff stories that supercharge performance with purpose. About the AuthorJordan Berman is the Founder & CEO of OFC (ofc.tv), a creative agency and video production studio that injects storytelling into employee communications and training to earn attention and inspire action. OFC lives by the words, TYPICAL IS INVISIBLE™, and resides at the intersection of pop culture and office culture to build multimedia campaigns that create buzz, drive engagement and maximize results one cubicle at a time. Clients include PepsiCo, AT&T, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Motorola Solutions. Jordan previously held senior marketing positions at MTV, Showtime, AT&T, Black & Decker, and the DDB agency. He has a BS in Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell and an MBA from NYU....

 Kate Winslet steps up onto the rail of the Titanic as Leonardo DiCaprio steadies her from behind. Wind coursing through her hair, Winslet exclaims, “I’m flying!” Had Winslet worked in modern day corporate communications, she might be flying without a net in readying her company colleagues to work remotely. That’s because a majority of leaders appear to be relying solely on technology to prepare their workforces to perform from home offices. Read on to learn why tech is just the tip of the remote work iceberg, and how smart teams are navigating around the obstacles to success by mastering culture and communications. AN APP FOR EVERYTHINGAs you’d expect, tech firms have offered-up software as THE solution to your remote work challenges. In fact, many of these offerings are quite good. Solutions span a spectrum of use cases, from that old stalwart of email to apps that can tame nearly any task on your to-do list:Communicating with employees (Dynamic Signal, Speakap, Yammer, Jive) Distributing video (Kaltura, Brightcove, Ooyala) Call forwarding/answering (Talkroute.com) Scheduling meetings (Calendly.com) Voice conferencing (FreeConferenceCalling.com) Video conferencing (Google Hangouts, Zoom, Bluejeans, GoToMeeting) Messaging (Slack, Google Hangouts, Teams, FB Messenger, Whatsapp, WeChat, Speakap, Skype Business) Collaborating (Google G-Suite) Managing projects & workflow (Clubhouse, Trello, Zoho, Basecamp) Shelly Palmer wrote an excellent article on his experience with many of these apps. TOO MUCH TECHWith that said, too much of a good tech thing can be overwhelming. And that’s most certainly true of workplace productivity apps. A recent Ring Central study of 2,000+ knowledge workers uncovered 3 eye-opening findings:Employees use at least four business productivity apps on average, and 20% are using six or more. 68% of employees toggle between apps up to 10 times an hour. 69% of employees waste an hour a day or the equivalent of 32 days each year navigating between apps. So, be sure to match the right apps with the unique ways people work and communicate best in your organization. It’s then up to your communications team to articulate how and when employees should use those apps, with a focus on getting things done in a remote world. After all, the apps are merely tools to aid effectiveness, whether your company sells soda, produces prescription medication, or creates cybersecurity software. CULTURE TO COMPLEMENT TECHLike an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object, the unspoken workplace rules of old school managers are clashing with the newfound flexibility enabled by apps. It used to be that “hard work” equated to sitting at your desk for long hours. “Commitment” meant arriving early and leaving late…as long as you walked by the boss’ office for that all-important visual verification. The culture clash between command-and-control supervision and modern management is underway, like fisticuffs between Billy Zane and Leonardo DiCaprio.This rift between remote tech and traditional ways of working gives rise to one of the most important opportunities for communication leaders. That opportunity is rewriting the rules of office culture for a remote world. It’s about embracing clear expectations, measuring meaningful outcomes, and verifying deliverables with hard data instead of applauding workplace theatrics. This will require a new level of rigor in identifying goals and objectives, along with coaching team members via continuous and constructive conversations. COMMUNICATION BEYOND THE BREAKROOM FLYERAt its simplest, communication involves 2 variables: content and channels. The rules behind compelling content are still intact, coronavirus be damned.Company messaging must earn employee attention for a chance to raise awareness, secure buy-in, and impact behavior around key business initiatives. That can be achieved in the following ways:Subject lines, headlines, layouts, video messages, and presentations must be interesting and unique to catch the eyes and ears of employees who are still earning their sea legs during the daily distractions of a home office environment. Content needs to inform with a level of clarity and concision to drive retention of important information Content must inspire action so that every individual can help move the company’s agenda by breaking organizational inertia to get things done. And how about the channels for delivering your content to employees? Say goodbye (for now) to in-person town halls, digital screens in hallways, posters and flyers on breakroom bulletin boards, and memos displayed above urinals and bathroom stall doors. Instead, look for new places to win share of mind with remote workers.Email may still be the cruiseliner of communications (large, traditional, reliable), but on-demand video is the speedboat of storytelling, powered by sight, sound and motion. That’s because the most effective messaging medium elicits both a rational and emotional response to win employee hearts and minds. Humans feel more connected when they see one another, especially given the importance of non-verbal communication and body language in remote communications. The channels by which to transmit that video include your email, intranet, and social messaging platform. VIRTUAL VIDEO STUDIO FOR A VIRTUAL OFFICEWhat to do when your internal video studio is closed? Create a virtual studio! Take a note from YouTube and ask executives and employees to record video clips that communicate culture and best practices. User-generated content (UGC) can be extremely powerful for peer-to-peer learning and leveling-up the authenticity of leader communications. While most team members may not be Spielberg or Scorsese with a smartphone, virtual studios like OFC can curate UGC videos (and pics) and then combine them with graphics, animation and music during the edit process to surface amazing stories. Employees can also submit voice memos that are brought to life with motion graphics and kinetic text to transform training and announcements into must-watch clips. Animated explainer videos are also exceptionally effective at conveying complex ideas when produced from professionally written scripts, voiceovers and music. Best of all, the above video approaches can be flawlessly executed in a virtual environment. The key is getting expert guidance on soliciting UGC from your executives & employees, curating/organizing the best content, and then transforming raw footage into high impact storytelling that earns attention and inspires action. With OFC as your crew-mate, you can become the James Cameron of corporate user-generated content : ) About the AuthorJordan Berman is the Founder & CEO of OFC (ofc.tv), a creative agency and video production studio that injects storytelling into employee communications and training to earn attention and inspire action. OFC lives by the words, TYPICAL IS INVISIBLE™, and resides at the intersection of pop culture and office culture to build multimedia campaigns that create buzz, drive engagement and maximize results one cubicle at a time. Clients include PepsiCo, AT&T, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Motorola Solutions. Jordan previously held senior marketing positions at MTV, Showtime, AT&T, Black & Decker, and the DDB agency. He has a BS in Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell and an MBA from NYU....

“She’s coming on boys. She’s coming on real strong.” Those foreboding words were delivered by George Clooney in the 2000 biographical disaster film, The Perfect Storm . The Hollywood heartthrob and Casamigos tequila pitchman could very well have been talking about the convergence of 3 workplace trends propelling the popularity of remote work years before the current spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Dive in for more detail on the benefits of remote work that have transformed it from an employee perk to a business imperative. WORKPLACE TRENDS Trend #1: Open Floor Plans The first workplace trend is anchored by the proliferation of open office plans. Approximately 70% of offices now feature some sort of open floor plan. These workspaces have parted ways with high cubicle walls in favor of communal tables, open workstations, and “hoteling,” where employees can work at any available desk. Studies have shown such arrangements often lead to increases in employee sick days, along with questionable benefits to collaboration, productivity and morale, especially when office architects fail to provide noise cancelling solutions and activity-based spaces. This shouldn’t be a surprise, given cubicle partitions - the physical barriers shielding healthy employees from sick employees - have fallen like a beige fabric-covered Berlin Wall. Add in contagions clinging to keyboards, cabinets, coffee makers, and copy machines, and you’ve got a workplace petri dish. Don’t even get me started on the state of workplace bathrooms! Trend #2: Hustle Culture This leads to the second workplace trend of “hustle culture” promoted by evangelists like Gary Vaynerchuck, who preach their “rise & grind” ethos to millennials striving for career success. This single-minded focus on outworking others often results in increased stress and sleep deprivation, leading Reddit Co-Founder, Alexis Ohanian, to brand it as “hustle porn.” As an entrepreneur for 10-years, I’ve lived the hustle lifestyle and can attest it’s the fastest path to burnout and bad health. Trend #3: Freelancers The third trend deals with the rise of freelance workers and contractors, who receive limited or no paid sick days from their employers. More than 35% of Americans freelanced in 2018, which is an increase of 7% since 2013. By comparison, the percentage of non-freelancers only grew by 2%. As expected, the majority of freelancers (47%) are millennials, and these gig economy employees are often reticent to take sick days, knowing they’ll have to forego income. In fact, more than 25% of the American workforce doesn’t get any sick leave, which accounts for more than 50% of part-time workers and roughly 40% of service workers. Approximately 30% of private U.S. employees get no medical benefits via their employers, according to government data. The result is a flock of full-time and freelance workers grinding away in open offices where a hacking cough travels faster than word of free donuts in the conference room. REMOTE WORK ON THE RISE It’s no wonder remote work is starting to look “wicked good,” as Clooney’s fellow fisherman, Mark Wahlberg, might’ve said. A 2018 study from Upwork found 63% of companies now have remote workers, with a majority of surveyed hiring managers stating they believe offices will become temporary anchor points rather than daily travel destinations. Much to Marissa Mayer’s chagrin (the ex-Yahoo CEO banned remote work), a recent State of Remote Work Report showed 90% of remote workers plan to keep working remotely for the rest of their career. BENEFITS OF REMOTE WORK A Microsoft whitepaper, Work without Walls, ranked the top 10 benefits from an employee perspective: (1) Work/life balance: increased time at home improves overall quality of life. (2) Save gas: reduced mileage is associated with fewer commute days. (3) Avoid traffic: reduced driving during rush hour to urban and suburban offices. (4) More productivity: increased ability to deliver on work objectives. (5) Less distractions: reduced interruptions from co-workers and office chatter. (6) Eliminate long commutes: reduced trips from home to office where the average American commute is 27-minutes one way. (7) Quieter atmosphere: reduced noise in home vs. the clamor of open floor plans. (8) Less stressful environment: increased comfort of home surroundings vs. office. (9) More time with family: increased family time during mornings and evenings. (10) Environmentally friendly: decreased pollution from commute, dry cleaning, etc. It’s hard for management to argue with these benefits, especially when Gallup research cites employees are 43% less likely to experience burnout when provided a choice with regards to how, when and where they complete work tasks. It should also be noted that many employees increase their overall work hours when remote, in appreciation of their employer’s flexibility and in acknowledgement of the time they’ve saved without a commute. In addition, employers with remote or telework programs often find they can recruit from a larger talent pool and increase employee diversity while lowering overhead costs and improving productivity. What’s not to like?! OFFICE VS. HOME OFFICE As with nearly all things, the question of office vs remote work can best be answered by “and” instead of “or.” During the past 8-years, I’ve found my OFC team functions best in terms of creativity and productivity by splitting the week between office and home. Our in-office time is concentrated at the beginning of the week when we kick-off new projects, set strategy, and bond as a team over lunch, coffee breaks, ping pong, and walks with our office mascot (my dog, Kayla : ) Our remote time begins mid-week where the balance of work often shifts in favor of production activity requiring intense levels of concentration and independence. Through it all, we stay connected with a variety of communication and collaboration apps like Basecamp, Google’s G-Suite, and Zoom. Stay tuned for the second part of this remote work voyage next week, when I focus on the changes in culture, technology and communication required to mobilize a disbursed workforce. Until then, batten down the hatches as things are about to get very interesting.About the Author Jordan Berman is the Founder & CEO of OFC (ofc.tv), a creative agency and video production studio that injects storytelling into employee communications and training to earn attention and inspire action. OFC lives by the words, TYPICAL IS INVISIBLE™, and resides at the intersection of pop culture and office culture to build multimedia campaigns that create buzz, drive engagement and maximize results one cubicle at a time. Clients include PepsiCo, AT&T, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Motorola Solutions. Jordan previously held senior marketing positions at MTV, Showtime, AT&T, Black & Decker, and the DDB agency. He has a BS in Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell and an MBA from NYU....

I awoke to a jolt on the redeye flight from Phoenix as our wheels touched down on the frozen tarmac in Newark, NJ. I felt surprisingly energized for having logged only 2.5 hours of sleep. That’s because I had returned from the desert clutching my “Ten Commandments of Internal Communications.”The past two days were part of a pilgrimage to the 9th Annual Marcus Evans “Internal Communications & Situational Messaging” conference Feb 19-20, 2020. The event brought together 60 senior communication and HR executives working to elevate employee engagement at a who’s who of Fortune 500 companies: Bristol-Myers Squibb, IBM, Marriott, PetSmart, TD Bank, Uber, Banner Health, and beyond. Watch OFC's conference highlight video here. These are the faithful charged with informing and inspiring colleagues from cubicles to cash registers and everywhere in between. The folks I met in Phoenix are dedicated disciples of Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup Company, who said, “To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.” Sure, eighteen presentations over 2-days might seem to be the very definition of “Death by PowerPoint”, but to the internal communicators gathered inside the Marriott, the event was equal parts knowledge sharing and group therapy. Like Moses in the Sinai, or Jim Morrison in the Mojave, we searched the desert for internal communications inspiration….and found it! While this list is more likely to live on a digital tablet than one chiseled in stone, here are The 10 Commandments of Internal Communications:#1. DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (D&I) Sharon Dilling of BMS and I shared how diversity (traits and characteristics that make people unique) and inclusion (behaviors & norms that make people feel welcome) are no longer “nice-to-haves.” Communicators must thread the DNA of D&I within core business processes and across all company narratives. D&I can only supercharge collaboration and innovation if it evolves beyond the silo of ERG: Employee Resource Group heritage month celebrations, towards accountable business impact. #2. LEADERSHIP Jennifer Russo of Banner Health cited James Humes, author and Presidential speechwriter, who wrote, “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” If leadership is about mobilizing teams to get things done, effective communication is the active ingredient. Executives must be able to effectively articulate the why, what and how of the agenda they wish to move through the organization.#3. AUTHENTICITY Heather Hummelsheim of Marriott International hit on the importance of being real, especially with Marriott’s “Checking In” podcast. Teleprompter talks and pretentious press releases are as relevant to employees in 2020 as carbon paper and typewriter ribbon. Employees crave communication from their leaders that is real, relevant, and human. Show some vulnerability and personality. Don’t worry, you’ll retain authority while bolstering your credibility and creativity. #4. QUIET THE NOISE Jill Stracko of Uber talked about “quieting the noise” and simplifying the storytelling process, which was echoed by numerous speakers extolling the virtue of less clutter, especially in email. Jill added that you need to communicate as if writing to a friend, even if you’ve got 24k employee “friends.” And don’t be afraid to elevate internal communications to a place where employees get exclusive insider access to special content. You’ve simply got to avoid employees finding out something after your consumers/customers alert them.    #5. MULTI-GENERATION = MULTI-MEDIA While your email and Intranet are still the PB&J of employee messaging, the media consumption diet of Millennials, which now make-up 75% of the global workforce, is trending towards short videoclips, podcasts, messaging apps, and social media. Ignore these media platforms at your peril. Those were points reinforced by Becky Graebe of Dynamic Signal and Erwin Van Der Vlist of Speakap. With that said, not everyone is gorging on avocado toast in the company café. There are now 5 generations of employees in the workplace: Traditionalists (born 1900-1945), Boomers (born 1946-1964), Gen X (born 1965-1980), Millennial (born 1981-1996), and Gen Z (born after 1996). “And” is the operative word when it comes to publishing content across platforms, especially when non-desk bound frontline staff and remote employees are in the equation. BTW, Joel-Michael Martin of PoliteMail shared that the best day and time to send employee email is Tuesday between 7:30-9am. The guy wore a “Straight Outta Comms” t-shirt, so better take his advice or risk a not-so-PoliteMail from Joel-Michael. #6. EXTERNAL BRAND & INTERNAL BRAND Cynara Charles-Pierre of TD Bank shared a great point on shaping an organization’s EVP: Employer Value Proposition. In essence, the EVP defines your company on its best day. So, be aspirational, but keep it in reach. Otherwise, you’re risking a bait-and-switch. The veteran of MTV, HBO and jetBlue also drove home how critical it is for brand marketers and internal communicators to collaborate on creating a holistic and consistent brand story across all channels. And if you’re not having fun producing the content, your colleagues will likely not enjoy consuming it.#7. MEASUREMENT & IMPACT Wendy Sherwood of CBRE reinforced how critical it is to bring scientific rigor when testing hypotheses and moving beyond the measurement of activity to the measurement of outcomes. Want to influence your leadership team? Use data-driven decisions and connect internal communications programs with positive business changes to show impact. This is a message Tarek “Daughtry” Kamil from Cerkl evangelized as well.  #8. DIFFERENT INDUSTRY = SAME PROBLEMS Internal communicators tend to network within their organizations while external communicators are obviously more outwardly focused. This can result in internal folks feeling isolated, especially when compared to the larger departments of their marketing siblings. Stepping out of one’s company to interact with functional equivalents across other industries is the best way to see how universal our challenges and potential solutions are. While norms and culture may vary, the dynamics within different organizations are often remarkably similar. So, bankers and bakers unite. You likely have more in common than simply counting that bread!#9. ULTIMATE INCENTIVE Forget Krispy Kreme, Jessica Taylor of PetSmart revealed the most powerful way for encouraging employees to participate in an initiative is by rewarding them with a half-work day. Sign me up! She also demonstrated the power of a hashtag with #LifeAtPetSmart. In essence, employees post favorite moments/pics/stories on their personal LinkedIn accounts and tag it with #LifeAtPetSmart. These posts then form a wonderful mosaic of company life that can be re-shared by the company. Of course, puppy and kitten pics don’t hurt for virality : ) And hats off on a really solid acronym summarizing the PetSmart culture with AWE: Awesome Work Experience.#10. BE WHERE YOUR FEET ARE It may seem impossible to completely break away from the siren’s call of your iPhone, be it for email or conversations with colleagues back at the office. However, attendees that get the most out of their event experiences seem to be the ones that are present in the moment to make meaningful human connections. And isn’t that what internal communications is all about?  About the AuthorJordan Berman is the Founder & CEO of OFC (ofc.tv), a creative agency and video production studio that injects storytelling into employee communications and training to earn attention and inspire action. OFC lives at the intersection of pop culture and office culture to build multimedia campaigns that create buzz, drive engagement and maximize results one cubicle at a time. Clients include PepsiCo, AT&T, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Motorola Solutions. Jordan previously held senior marketing positions at MTV, Showtime, AT&T, Black & Decker, and the DDB agency. He has a BS in Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell and an MBA from NYU....

This past August 8-9, Internal Communications professionals flew to Chicago to join the 2nd Edition Marcus Evans Internal Branding & Employee Experience Conference produced by Marcus Evans. While sponsoring this conference, OFC had the privilege of meeting many of these culture & communications professionals and discussing their biggest challenges & learnings; specifically navigating change management while winning employee hearts and minds around new initiatives and corporate culture change.At the conference, we spoke to Patty Rowell, head of Employer Brand for Amazon Web Services.Watch this video, or read below to learn how Patty masters the art of communication to connect with Amazon employees.“The art of communication is really this ability to connect with other people.My name is Patty Rowell and I’m the Head of Employer Brand globally for Amazon Web Services. Amazon Web Services is the Cloud Computing division that’s part of Amazon.I’m really lucky because at Amazon you’re able to take on lots of different roles based on where your career goes.  I’ve worked on both the Amazon side, with our operations, and our fulfillment centers, and customer service, and I’ve also been able to work with our team on the Amazon Web Services side.  I love talking about what I do because I really feel that I have the best job in the company.  My favorite part of the job is that I get to work really closely with lots of employees from all kinds of different countries, roles, levels, and I talk to them about why they like working there.I find this great commonality with them that they are drawn to our culture and that they like to do it. I capture it, I package it all up into, hopefully compelling, content that makes other people want to join our company.Amazon is a really great place to work because you do have so many opportunities. We’re in so many different types of businesses, and we’re growing so fast. You have the opportunity to almost create your own role in some cases.We like to hire builders. And by builders I mean people that are really energized by solving customer problems and creating things that weren’t there before, and building on it.  Whether it’s together with the customer or together with their colleagues.  The art of communication is really this ability to connect with other people and get to a shared understanding.And when you can accomplish that, whether your audience is shareholders, or executives, or employees, or candidates, or the press, or IT analysts - I feel like communications can be an incredibly satisfying way to contribute to your organization, or your non-profit, or wherever you work, but also feel like you’re getting some gratification personally.”You can watch Patty Rowell’s full interview here.See other Rockstars of Culture & Communication videos here.   ...

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