How this nonprofit’s CEO is rethinking internal communications

Hear what Dorri McWhorter from YWCA Chicago has to say about engaging employees in today’s business world.

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We are rerunning the most-viewed articles of 2019. This was one of the top five most-popular internal communication articles of the year.

When Dorri McWhorter took over as CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago in 2013, the 140-year-old nonprofit organization had seen better days. Money was tight, morale was low, and McWhorter quickly realized she needed to make some changes.

By adopting the internal strategies used by today’s biggest tech startups, she was able to reinvent the culture of the nonprofit and encourage a spirit of innovation. We sat down with McWhorter to get her thoughts on what strong internal communications looks like in 2019 and beyond.

What role does internal communications play in the modern workplace? What are the new demands that need to be met?

McWhorter: We talk to consumers very differently than we talk to employees—and we need to start treating them similarly. Just like consumers, they have choices and they expect to be marketed to. Internal communications need to adopt that mindset in order to shape positive employee experiences.

What are the biggest obstacles to strong internal communications?

McWhorter: We set the bar too low, honestly. When we communicate, we look to inform, rather than inspire and excite. We must be able to do both.

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