Top takeaways from Ragan’s Employee Communications and Culture Conference

The conference took place April 25-27th at Chicago’s historic Intercontinental Hotel

Over 500 communicators gathered at the Chicago’s Intercontinental Hotel on the Magnificent Mile to learn, network and share best practices in what Ragan Consulting Group’s Kristin Graham cheekily called “professional therapy sessions”.

Over the course of three days, ranging from pre-conference to the closing session, new friendships were formed, new insights were gleaned and new ideas bloomed.

It’s impossible to capture everything from the conference — you had to be there. But from across both tracks, here are some of the most insightful takeaways we hope you can apply to your work.

  • Going slow to go fast when it comes to crisis comms is like cooking: you line up all your ingredients so when it’s time to add them to the dish, you have everything ready to go.
  • When introducing a new tool to employees, don’t just do a phased rollout but also a phased introduction of use cases. This can help avoid employee overload
  • Remember the tech is only as useful as the people behind it, says Kristin Graham.
  • AI can make your comms work smarter, not harder
  • Crisis reveals character
  • Tech Stacks: You can encourage leadership buy-in to your tech by templatizing types of posts and responses for them.
  • When customers are aware of a brand’s purpose, it’s actually the #1 factor that feeds into a company’s reputation.
  • -Gen X to Gen Y: Generations speak different languages, which we all knew. But it’s also the tools they prefer to use. For instance, Millennials prefer to use texts and email.
  • Gone are the days of the billboard. To get employees to your virtual watercooler, give them a WIIFM (what’s in it for me)
  • Bridge generational gaps by being curious and creating opportunities for connection.
  • Colleagues can try to get curious about what other generations are passionate about, co-create with them, connect and be intentional, build a culture of reverse-mentoring
  • Loyalty to a company is not a given for millennials, it’s contingent on support and upward movement
  • When building a purpose-driven strategy, touch the tensions—don’t shy away from contradictions. Leave freedom within the framework.
  • “Measure what you treasure.”
  • By allowing comms to have a chance to explain why employees liked working in their offices, you gain the ability to raise awareness for a new position opening and improve your employee brand.
  • The best intranet content usually centers around a person.
  • Use consistent questions for year over year comparisons
  • Show employees how you’re applying their feedback
  • AI is changing communications, but if we embrace it soon, and focus on collaborating with AI we will be better off and so will organizations.

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