Rockstars of Culture & Communications Tag

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.   ...

Internal Communications professionals flew to Chicago to join the Marcus Evans Internal Branding & Employee Experience Conference on August 8-9 2018. While sponsoring this conference, OFC had the privilege of meeting many of these culture & communications professionals where we discussed their biggest challenges & learnings. A big topic was how to navigate change management while winning employee hearts and minds around new initiatives and an evolving corporate culture.We spoke to Natasha Harvey, Samsung’s People Experience and Talent Branding Specialist, who shared her perspective.  Watch this video, or read below to hear how this recent grad plans on making Samsung an employer of choice in the tech industry.“Take advantage of all the new people that you're going to meet at any position and any opportunities that they can provide you.My name’s Natasha Harvey and I work for Samsung. I'm the People Experience and Talent Branding Specialist.I essentially do marketing for the HR department, so I'm trying to make Samsung an employer of choice within the tech industry.The Samsung employees are just so authentic and so willing to help each other out. We are a little more corporate because we are an Asian tech company overall, but we're an American subsidiary, so we also have a little bit more of the techy atmosphere. Our goal is to try to put ourselves at the forefront of employees and candidates minds in order to potentially get them to work for us.Trying to differentiate what the customers see of us and what potential future employees see about Samsung is a really new field for us. Trying to jump in there and give ourselves an employer brand that we can actually capitalize on and we can actually control a little bit more.We can say this is what our company culture is like, these are the amazing events we have, the amazing people that work for us- I think it’s a really cool initiative.My advice for somebody who is just starting out their career, is to not get too caught up and stuck in your career path and where you think you should be going. I was somebody who was a little bit stuck on that when I graduated college. I thought- I'm graduating college I have to start out doing what I want to be doing and what I'm destined to do. What I've learned is that, you can learn so many great things along the way.You can gain all the skills that you need to gain through a plethora of different positions. So it's not necessary to just start out in the exact industry you want to end up in or the exact role you want to end up in.Don't get too stressed out about where you should be going and just do what feels right. Capitalize on any opportunity that you have.”You can watch Natasha Harvey’s full interview here.See other Rockstars of Culture & Communication videos here.  ...

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 when navigating change management while winning employee hearts and minds around new initiatives and corporate culture change. At the conference, we spoke to Stacie Barrett, the Director of Internal Communications for Domino's. Watch this video, or read below to learn how Stacie develops a narrative that compels employees to embrace company values and drives the business forward:“Internal communications is a strategic part of any great and successful business. I’m Stacie Barrett, Director of Internal Communications with Domino’s.My job is to connect our franchisees and corporate team members with our brand’s mission and purpose.One of the amazing things about internal communications is that you get a chance to make an impact.Brands can’t achieve their success if everyone doesn't understand the why behind what they need to do. We started with a challenge and we decided to take ownership of what we could control and started to make change. Since we started, we’ve been on a roll- innovative and changing. We’re figuring out ways to make it easier for families to get pizza on the table for our franchisees to be more profitable.One of the most exciting ways that we get to tell a story is at Domino's worldwide rally, where we bring together thousands and thousands of franchisees and team members from all over the world. We have it translated into nine different languages.  We tell the story of the dream- which is something that we can deliver to people everyday. 93% of our franchisees started off as an entry level position. They can inspire the general managers that make up the bulk of that audience to achieve their own dreams.For young professionals out there, I would tell you to take a look at any company that you're interested in and look at the people. Everyone’s going to tell you that it’s about the people- but actually watch their interactions. That is one of the fun things that I love about Domino’s. We respect, we trust and we challenge each other. We grow together and we get better together.I’ve been with Domino’s for 11 years and I came for the pizza and I stayed for the excitement, it’s been a fantastic ride. A shout to my entire internal communications team, the larger communications team and all of those Dominoids out there! ”  You can watch Stacie Barrett's full interview here.See other Rockstars of Culture & Communication videos here.  ...

This past February 21-22, Internal Communications professionals flew to New Orleans to join the 7th Annual Internal Communications Communications & Situational Messaging 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 when navigating change management while winning employee hearts and minds around new initiatives and corporate culture change. At the conference, we spoke to Larry Galardi, the Director of Employee and Leadership Communications for Seimens Healthineers Laboratory Diagnostics Business. Watch this video, or read below to learn how Larry develops a narrative that compels employees to embrace company values and drives the business forward:“75% of any communications professional is passion. My name is Larry Galardi, and I’m the director of Employee and Leadership Communications for Seimens Healthineers Laboratory Diagnostics Business. This is about story telling, it’s about developing a narrative that compels our employees to embrace our company values and engages them to take those values to drive the business forward. My debate goes like this, yes it’s very important to do marketing communications so you can sell products. Yes, it’s very important to get into Wall Street Journal or New York Times for great strong PR so that you can build your reputational management. But guess what, none of that opinion making or opinion shaping can be done unless we buy the employees’ perspective and engagement first. So I’m trying to win hearts and minds. I realize I have a vast array of different media channels at my disposal. The one-and-done doesn’t work. If you can build a sustainable campaign of communications that shows the employees this is ABOUT them and BY them, the hearts and minds get quickly attached to that. You want the employees talking to each other, whether it’s online, face-to-face, through email channels, digital channels, social media..whatever it might be. We want to start a conversation. I think we’re starting to see incremental steps to that and I think the digital age has a lot to do with that. The millennials are embracing digital technology in a way we’ve never seen before. That digital technology gives new life to video platforms. And it’s even bringing to life a certain vibrancy with print technology. That excites me because it changes the media that we use and it changes the audience’s reaction to it. When you do that, you advance the company forward. You reshape the companies culture, hopefully you create more interest in the marketplace for the company’s products & services, and you grow your own repetitional management.”   You can watch Larry Galardi's full interview here.See other Rockstars of Culture & Communication videos here.  ...

This past February, OFC had the privilege of being a sponsor at the 7th Annual Internal Communications & Situational Messaging Conference produced by Marcus Evans. Culture & Communications professionals from global companies all flew to New Orleans to binge on sugary beignets and discuss their biggest challenges for fostering an empowered workforce while navigating change management and corporate communications. At the conference, we spoke to Joan Cronin, the Vice President of Strategic Communications at Citizens Bank. Read below to learn how Joan leverages strong relationships with colleagues to advance key communication initiatives."Hi I’m Joan Cronin. I’m a comms manager at citizens bank. I work with executives to help them get their messages out. I also help to communicate across our organization. Without question the biggest hurdle we have to overcome in communications is just the competition. Everybody wants to get their message out. They think that their program or project is the most important. It’s understanding that not every colleague needs to get that message. What has really helped me drive success with the partners I have & the projects I’ve lead is building strong relationships. As I’ve grown in my career and  grown to work with senior leaders, I really listen to them & share good solutions with them. I’ve built strong partnerships, and in turn, they see me as a strong parter, so they’ll head my recommendations. Most of them, I wish all of them, but most of them . I go to number of different sources for inspiration, for help, to ignite. We have a great team at Citizens. We meet for lunch a lot. We chat about personal stuff but we also do a lot of brainstorming and bring challenges that we have together. Then I think it’s about making sure that I’m seeking out diverse perspectives.  I don’t think I have the answer to everything and am always getting input from colleagues from all different levels & roles. Don’t ever think that you are confined to solutions. Always look for a new and different way to do it. Bring those ideas to the most senior leaders in the company because they’re open to them. Don’t ever feel like you don’t have a voice.” You can watch Joan Cronin's full interview here. See other Rockstars of Culture & Communication videos here....

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