CDC juggles massive intranet with small staff

An inside look at communicators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention manage its award-winning intranet.

An inside look at how communicators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention manage its award-winning intranet

Imagine having 15,000 employees scattered around the world—and only three full-time and one part-time communicator to reach them all.

The employee communications staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lives this seemingly impossible reality. Kathleen Nellis, director of employee communications, says if she worked 24 hours per day she still wouldn’t get everything done.

But by sharing duties, recycling content, and gaining employee feedback, her team managed to win three 2010 Ragan Recognition Awards—Best Intranet, Social Media Strategy, and Blog.

“We’ve been working together for several years now and our enthusiasm goes a long way,” Nellis says. “We’re always going to be short on resources and we always aren’t going to have enough people or money to do what we want. But we really enjoy what we do and we enjoy working together.”

With such a small staff, juggling multiple duties is key.

“We learn what everyone else is doing,” Nellis says. “We have to have redundancies so people can take vacations and so everyone can pitch in to do everything.”

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