TRACK 1: Employee Communications Solutions for Communicating Amazing Culture

Thursday, Nov. 2

7:45–8:45 a.m.
Bonus Breakfast Session

Drive company culture and communication success by earning a seat at the table

Culture isn’t just about happy hours and holiday parties. Mental health issues increase absenteeism and diminish productivity, talent acquisition and retention are more competitive than ever, and breaking through the noise for internal alignment feels nearly impossible. For today’s companies, creating a thriving culture of productive, mission-oriented, happy employees is essential.

Employee expectations have evolved, and technology has changed the way we reach and engage them. The tactics we once used are no longer effective, and there’s an urgent need for communication professionals to confidently usher in a new, analytics-driven approach.

Dynamic Signal’s CMO and organizational communication expert, Joelle Kaufman, will join her head of global communications, Robyn Hannah, for a conversation detailing how they work together for communication impact, what executives need to hear from their communication teams today, and how communication professionals can elevate their position in the company to effect change and secure resources.

Communication is a serious business function with a responsibility to drive a culture rooted in business impact, and executive alignment is key.

Over a great breakfast and interactive conversation, you’ll learn:

  • How to work with executives who will champion your work and voice your impact
  • How to build a business case for an investment in communication
  • Why measurement matters, and why it might look different from your preconceptions
  • How giving up control leads to a more aligned, empowered workforce
  • How internal and external communication teams can join forces to support the entire organization’s goals
Senior director of global communications
Dynamic Signal
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Dynamic Signal
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9–10 a.m.
Opening Keynote

Culture blueprint: The nine building blocks to designing a high-trust workplace

Building the right cultural and social architecture is paramount to an organization’s business success and long-term sustainability. Through focused and intentional effort, leaders can design an environment that maximizes human potential while consistently achieving desired business outcomes. By forming a strong alignment of leadership behaviors and business processes, organizations will be positioned to thrive today and well into the future.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Draw on more than a quarter century of employee feedback to create a high-trust environment
  • Understand how to move the employee experience from transactional to high trust
  • Identify ways to better meet business objectives through listening, speaking and inspiring
  • Enable employees to be their best through recognizing, developing and caring for individuals
  • Cultivate team spirit throughout the organization
Executive vice president and chief innovation officer
Great Place to Work®
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10:10–11 a.m.

Beyond town halls: Engaging a global community with live employee events

Corporate culture is a tough thing to manage, especially for a global organization with offices from Silver Spring, Maryland to Sydney, Australia. In this session, you’ll learn how Discovery Communications used internal social media and live meetings to engage the world in its live, 12-hour employee recognition event.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Engage a global workforce with live events, social media and more
  • Turn employees into superfans by changing how they experience your workplace
  • Choose the right medium for the message you want to communicate
  • Build a global village culture between remote offices with events that inspire
  • Bring together dispersed workforces with internal social media tactics

Discovery Communications is a certified Great Place to Work® and recent member of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for®.

Director of internal communications
Discovery Communications
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11:10 a.m.–Noon

Listening to employees and delivering on their needs in a challenging business environment

Between financial downturns, sector consolidation, tight market conditions and changes in leadership, DHL has learned a thing or two about staying on top during challenging times. By keeping a sharp eye on the needs of its 10,000-member workforce across the Americas, it’s managed to uncover innovative ways to keep its employees informed. In this session you’ll learn the clever tactics that DHL uses to keep its workforce motivated and engaged during times of change.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Gauge employee opinion with effective surveys and focus groups—and use the results to develop a targeted plan
  • Reconnect employees with the mission, vision and values of your organization using key internal tools and media
  • Use proven Six Sigma business techniques combined with preferred communications tools to better engage employees
  • Cross-fertilize channels to reach employees in ways they want to be reached
  • Connect corporate and regional news with local topics affecting employees to positively influence performance

DHL is a certified Great Place to Work® in countries throughout the Americas.

Director of corporate communications
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Noon–1 p.m.

Lunch Break

1–2 p.m.

Storytelling for all: Creating a bold new avenue for internal stories that drive meaning and engagement in the workplace

Genentech’s product development organization had a problem: Its mission to reach employees with a consistent internal message and engage them to take action had been hindered by firewalls, fragmentation and siloed channels. Seizing the opportunity to transform internal communications, Genentech launched a bold new plan for a centralized, mobile news hub and an internal content strategy that strengthened engagement, business literacy and the organizational culture. The result: A new outpouring of stories from all levels of the organization. In this session you’ll learn how to bolster your communication channels with more effective content strategies that bring out your best stories and encourage a culture of participation.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Build a user-focused, mobile, internal news magazine that compels executives and front-line staff to interact with content
  • Find stories that connect with employees and tell them in a way that enhances organizational culture
  • Encourage a culture in which narratives emerge organically and get shared enthusiastically by employees across the organization
  • Secure buy-in from legal, HR and leadership stakeholders to minimize risk while pushing the limits of creativity
  • Promote a new intranet with results that vindicate your hard work

Genentech is among the top 10 on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for®.

Senior leader, global communications for product development
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2:10–3 p.m.

Blue pill, or red pill? Helping employees write their own chapter in your company’s story

In “The Matrix,” Neo was right to choose the red pill: Even if it’s scary, we all want to see where the rabbit hole leads. None of us wants the story to end. Maybe your company isn’t in the business of solving all the world’s problems, but as an ambassador of culture, your job is to invite employees into a larger story—and help them see themselves as a part of the drama. Are you up for the challenge? In this session, Jody Wilkins will share how crafting, cultivating and celebrating your company’s narrative boils down to three primary things: authenticity, forming a human connection, and showing them how deep the rabbit hole goes.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Create an effective video storytelling series
  • Draw employees into causes that your company cares about
  • Use metrics to demonstrate that perception is reality (and sometimes that’s OK)
Employee experience designer
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3–3:15 p.m.
Lightning Talk

Driving diversity and inclusion in Yammer through the power of your outer loop

“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” – Verna Myers 

We all have a tendency to surround ourselves with like-minded people who confirm our beliefs. As a result, organizations often end up with monolithic teams, when instead the environment needed to generate new ideas is one where the ideas are coming from people with different backgrounds and interests. Inclusion is hard, though, and research indicates we often fail at it. In this lightning talk, we’ll discuss why “working out loud” is so valuable. Diversity of thought lives across your organization, within the outer loop. By working out loud and sharing your thoughts, ideas and work in progress, you practice inclusion of that diversity by default.

Head of product marketing
Microsoft's Yammer
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3:15–3:30 p.m.

Networking Break

3:30–4:20 p.m.

Real talk: Navigating hot-button world events in the workplace

How do you reassure a nervous workforce during challenging times? Maintaining a culture of openness and inclusion requires participation from all levels, whether the issue is negative press or a spontaneous protest at your headquarters. In this presentation and interactive discussion you’ll learn how to foster community in a diverse workforce amid political and social uncertainty.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Promote healthy dialogue within the organization with honest, open discussion at all levels
  • Encourage engagement between executives and internal communities
  • Help employees at all levels understand and implement your organization’s goals and values
  • Handle current events and crises thoughtfully and enable your employees to perform at their best

Google is among the top 5 employers on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for®.

Senior Manager, Internal Communications
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4:30–5:30 p.m.

Humor and humanity: Engaging employees in an environment of whirlwind change

In Silicon Valley, coping with whirlwind change is just part of doing business. A 35-year player in tech, Symantec is far from its startup roots, but it has as much employee churn as the next high-turnover tech firm—even the CEO has changed four times in the past five years. Despite it all, Symantec’s Consumer Business Unit has managed to lengthen the life cycle of employees and increase engagement by 16 percent, using such techniques as continuous employee polling, video communications and storytelling. This session will teach communicators to cultivate a sense of mission and purpose in any organization using easily accessible tools.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Create a palpable meaning and mission to employees’ work and inspire extra-mile effort from all employees
  • Use continuous or more frequent employee surveys to address concerns in a more timely and effective manner
  • Develop the kinds of low-budget video series that get views and show the authentic side of your organizational culture
  • Use humor and human stories to inspire belonging in an ever-changing workforce
  • Earn trust among leadership with tangible results that earn communicators decision-making influence

Symantec was recently ranked one of Business Insider and Payscale’s 50 best companies to work for in America

Senior manager, employee culture and experience
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Friday, Nov. 3

7:45–8:45 a.m.
Bonus Breakfast Session

The top 20 tips and strategies global organizations use to drive employee engagement

Employee engagement is essential to every organization’s success. According to a recent study by Ragan and RMG, 87 percent of employees worldwide are not engaged, costing organizations trillions of dollars each year. The solution requires going beyond traditional communications. Join Bob Michelson, CEO of RMG Networks, as he shares the most compelling engagement techniques his clients have deployed, gained from the experiences, solutions and results of many RMG clients (which include more than 50 of the 100 largest organizations in the United States). Michelson will share specific and actionable internal communications techniques and technologies that have had a meaningful impact on employee engagement, satisfaction, retention and productivity. Featured will be best practices on types of content that perform the best, the design/look of content that employees respond most favorably to, the ideal frequency of content updates and new sources of content authoring that drive content growth.

Enjoy a delicious complimentary breakfast with this special presentation. You’ll learn:

  • Why and how to deliver personalized communications to every member of your organization
  • Why and how to deliver a compelling mobile internal communications solution to all your employees, with special emphasis on reaching your nondesk workers
  • The characteristics of internal communication messages that perform the best
  • Strategies for boosting employee engagement, satisfaction, retention and productivity
President and chief executive officer
RMG Networks
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9–9:50 a.m.

Culture and brand from the inside out

No one can tell your organization’s story better than the people who love working for you. But how do you engage and activate them as loyal ambassadors who passionately share your culture, raise morale and help create a truly great place to work? Hear from Kim Jokisch, director of employment branding and experience at Red Hat, about how the organization built its employer brand from the inside out. Discover how Red Hat amplified its unique culture both internally and externally, reinforcing its values and mission and cultivating a workforce that feels a shared responsibility for expanding the organization. In this session you’ll learn practical tactics for breaking down the most important silo of all: the one between employees and their organization.

You’ll learn how to: 

  • Create opportunities for people to share ideas, influence business decisions and contribute to important conversations
  • Inspire participation that increases morale and engagement
  • Capture and share stories about your organization’s business and culture

Red Hat has been recognized as one of Glassdoor’s 50 best places to work in the United States.

Director of employment branding and experience
Red Hat
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10–10:50 a.m.

Say goodbye to robotic communications: Rev up your culture with authentic communicators

Employees don’t leave organizations, they leave people. Employees walk when they don’t feel connected, inspired and motivated by the people in their organization’s leadership positions. Communicators can help stop the employee exit and foster employee loyalty by developing leaders who act and sound like real people. SAS started in the C-suite, pushing executives to be more accessible, approachable and authentic. The result strengthened SAS’ reputation as one of the best places to work year after year. In this session you’ll learn grassroots methods for bringing out authentic communication in your leaders, helping them understand when a script and suit are needed and when they should be tossed. Discover how creating more human communications can drive success, earn employee buy-in and attract and retain talent.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Earn leadership buy-in and be seen as an advisor instead of an order taker
  • Build a people-driven culture that defies corporate jargon
  • Help leaders present and communicate their true selves to employees
  • Develop strategies for establishing relationships between employees and leaders when face-to-face communication isn’t an option
  • Distribute internal information to employees that integrates the best parts of external communications delivery methods

SAS is among the top 15 employers on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for®.

Senior associate communications specialist
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11 a.m.–Noon
Closing Keynote

Harness the humanity: Storytelling that brings meaning to employees’ lives and work

It’s time to put aside scripted CEO videos and jargon-filled internal emails. Your culture and workforce are starving for authenticity and empathy. At GoDaddy, work and life exist together, and the results are spectacular. Executives share life challenges and obstacles overcome, and new hires offer their toughest moments and greatest glories for all to see. This is not some workplace utopia. It’s the result of a replicable communications strategy that fosters a culture of trust and collaboration. Attendees will learn the secret sauce for converting employees of all stripes into brand advocates and hear how to use stories to build a culture of trust.

Learn how to:

  • Enlist internal brand advocates to volunteer their authentic selves and bust silos
  • Coax human stories out of engineers, executives and everyone in between
  • Introduce a deeper meaning to the daily grind and bring out the humanity in colleagues
  • Bust echo chambers and achieve true collaboration between departments and remote offices
  • Find and nurture the humanity in even the most buttoned-up organization

GoDaddy is a certified Great Place to Work® and recent member of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for®.

Director of internal communications
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For event information, contact Customer Service 800.878.5331, or