Forecasting the future of work at Ragan’s Employee Communications and Culture Conference

The first day of Ragan’s Employee Comms Conference kicked with a professional therapy session.

In a conference world still rife with social atrophy, Kristin Graham, founder and chief word nerd at Unlock the Brain, is a healer.

Graham kicked off the first day of Ragan’s Employee Communications Conference by conducting a ‘professional therapy’ session. “Don’t forget to leave with people,” she said. “Collect each other. We return to each other”

Graham’s opening riff on the power of people was a tee-up for her focus on tech, because, she said, it’s the people who make tech happen. When surveyed in real-time to learn if they’ve engaged with AI for work at all, 42% of attendees said, “I’ve tinkered a bit just for fun to see what all the buzz is about” while 36% said “Um, no, keep the bots away from my job.”

When asked how they feel about their crisis planning or playbook, 46% replied with a flat-faced emoji, while 18% shared a happy face, just 6% shared heart eyes and a despondent 17% shared an emoji that’s visually in pain.

Asked how their employer brand reflects ‘the new normal,’ a majority 50% said, “It’s a little dusty, but some changes are happening while 31% said it’s been updated and is inspiring and 15% said, “It still has a 2019 vibe.” A minority 4% said, “Is nonexistent a brand?’

Ultimately, Graham said, a strong employee brand is ultimately about facilitating connection, which came alive when she asked the crowd what they were looking forward to.  One attendee said that reaching the hard-to-reach is a large opportunity.

This was a function of email and outreach overload, explained Graham. “In the attention economy,” she said, “how are we ‘lather, rinse, repeating’?”

She saw a meme the other day that said, “I do my best proofreading after I hit ‘send’.”

Stay tuned for more coverage from Ragan’s Employee Communications Conference in the coming days!

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