SAP, Mastercard, Visa, Honda triumph at employee communication awards

Innovative approaches to internal messaging carry the day as Ragan honors campaigns and teams from Marsh & McClennan, Sony, Deloitte, Kroger, Bright Horizons and dozens of others.

Ragan Employee Luncheon Award winners

Teamwork and boldness were the watchwords for winners at Ragan’s Employee Communications Awards Luncheon Friday, Feb. 28 in New York City.

The awards luncheon covered the spectrum of responsibilities in the highly creative industry, recognizing winners in 42 categories, including three Grand Prize recipients.

In their acceptance remarks, multiple winners cited the theme of collaboration highlighted in the keynote address by best-selling author Carla Johnson.

“I’ve been fascinated with teams my whole career,” Johnson told the rapt audience. “I’ve studied high-performing teams and what makes them click during times of transformation. And I’ve found that it takes six different archetypes to make a team successful.”

She detailed how those archetypes—from strategists to provocateurs to collaborators—bring distinct assets (and trigger points) to developing projects and processes.

And the award goes to …

Coca-Cola North America’s took home top honors for ­­­­­­­­­­­­Outstanding Podcast—which is employee-focused yet also available to outside audiences. Katherine Cherry, manager of employee and leadership communications, said, “We knew that employee adoption would be limited if it was not seamless.” Again, the priority was cooperation at all levels.

It was a big day for three Grand Prize-winning comms teams—from Kroger, Marsh & McClennan and SAP.

Denise Ridenour of SAP’s global communications team said, “We wanted to go beyond being conformist, daring to be different.” She also lauded the top-down camaraderie underpinning the “HR punks” team efforts, including the CHRO’s spiking his hair to inspire bold ideas. SAP won for Employee Communications Team of the Year.

Some communications teams had to find extra space in their luggage, having won awards in multiple categories. Manulife Canada and Mastercard each notched three wins, and garnering two trophies each were Bright Horizons, Honda R&D Americas, SMUD and Visa.

Describing one of Manulife’s winning entries, Nicole Welbanks, AVP for communications, said: “‘Leaders in Loungers Drinking Lattes’ spun from a weekend of laying on the couch watching Netflix and having a brain wave of how we could actually take content and churn it out in a creative, compelling way.”  

She also offered a credo the team has adopted: “You have to be brave if you want to be anything.”

Kudos all around

We congratulate all the winners in this year’s Employee Communications Awards program. Every runner-up was awarded a trophy as an honorable mention. Learn more about all the winners and honorable mentions here.

Here is the complete list of victors and their entries:

Amazing Workplaces

  • Sony Interactive Entertainment — “Amazing Workplaces”

Annual Report

  • SMUD — “2018 Annual Report”

Article Series

  • United States Postal Service — “Heroes’ Corner”

Benefits Communication

  • NFL Player Benefits Office — “A Different Kind of Football Receiver”

Brand Ambassador Program

  • Mastercard — “SoPros”

Change Communication

  • GTE Financial — “New Card Experience Island”

Corporate Social Responsibility Program

  • Talcott Resolution — “Community Involvement”

Design (Intranet)

  • KFC — “TeamKFC”

Digital Signage

  • Mastercard — “Electronic Bulletin Boards”

Diversity and Inclusion

  • Capital One Technology Communications (Internal Team) — “100% HUMAN Video Series”

Employee Education Program

  • Gerdau — “Seminar Week”

Employee Engagement

  • Deloitte — “Thank It Forward”
  • SMUD — “SMUD Cares”

Employee Engagement (Intranet)

  • Trivallis with Unily — “Hive”

Employee Recognition (Intranet)

  • Countrywide with Interact Software — “High Fives”

Executive Communication

  • Manulife — “Walking the Talk with Our Canadian Leadership”
  • Whirlpool Corporation — “Marc’s Whirled Approach to Employee Comms”

Feature Article / Interview or Profile

  • Honda R&D Americas, Inc., Corporate & Technical Communication — “The Road to ROAV”

Humorous Video

  • Newell Brands — “Fishbowl – Leadership Video”

Informational Video

  • Manulife — “Extreme Makeover: Manulife Edition – Go Your Own Way”

Instructional or Educational Content (Intranet)

  • City of Redmond — “Communications Toolbox”

Interactive Content (Intranet)

  • Bayer with SPI Group — “Bayer Tell Us Your Tradition”

Internal Email Campaign

  • Honda R&D Americas, Inc., Corporate & Technical Communication — “CV-Retrofit Project”

Internal Event Strategy

  • Office of the Chief Information Officer, U.S. Department of Labor — “DOL Tech Day”
  • PayPal — “‘PayPal Connect’ Brings Unity to a Global Workforce”

Internal Social Network (Intranet)

  • Leidos — “Next-Gen Intranet, Prism”

Intranet Usability

  • Rubius Therapeutics with The Experience Design Studio — “Creating Connectedness: Launching Rubius Therapeutics Intranet”

Launch or Relaunch (Intranet)

  • Celanese with Unily — “ONE Social Intranet Launch”

Leadership Video

  • Manulife — “Leaders in Loungers Drinking Lattes”

Magazine (Print) (Digital)

  • Roche — “myroche”

Mobile App

  • American Cancer Society — “ACS2Go”
  • Fortune Brands Home & Security — “Fortune Brands Transforms Internal Communications with the Connect App”

Most Improved Design (Print) (Digital)

  • Sanofi— “Sanofi Field News Redesign”

Newsletter (Print) (Digital)

  • Bright Horizons Family Solutions — “The Weekly Buzz”
  • UC San Diego Health — “Medical Staff Update: Promoting Physician Engagement and Wellness”


  • Coca-Cola North America — “Total Refresh”

Rebranding Campaign

  • Mastercard — “Multi-Sensory Brand Evolution”

Recruitment Campaign

  • Visa, Inc. — “Employee Value Proposition U.S. Pilot Campaign”

Recruitment Video

  • Visa, Inc. — “Employee Value Proposition U.S. Pilot Campaign”

Use for Human Resources (Intranet)

  • Bright Horizons — “Bright Horizons Digitizes the Benefits Onboarding Experience”

Use of Social Media

  • Cisco — “@WeAreCisco Social Media with Employee-Generated Content”

Value to Employees (Intranet)

  • Lendlease — “How Lendlease Ensures No Employee Gets Left Behind”

Video (Intranet)

  • Fender Musical Instruments Corporation — “Women at Fender Making Rock Herstory Since 1946”

Wellness Program

  • Liberty Mutual Insurance — “Liberty Mutual well-being programs”

Grand Prize: Best Overall Intranet

  • The Kroger Co. — “FEED”

Grand Prize: Employee Communications Campaign of the Year

  • Marsh & McLennan Companies — “Go Boldly”

Grand Prize: Employee Communications Team of the Year

  • SAP — “SAP HR Punks”

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