Employee Communications & Culture Conference | April 16-18, 2024 Fairmont Hotel  Chicago, IL Employee Communications & Culture Conference | April 16-18, 2024 Fairmont Hotel  Chicago, IL

  • Create compelling communications
  • Lead a culture of transformation
  • Improve business fluency
  • Measure your success
  • Control crises
  • Build a great employee culture

Internal communicators are drivers of change. As their discipline has evolved, so too have the strategies and tactics required to create an authentic, powerful employee experience.

Join us April 16–18 in the heart of Chicago for Ragan’s Employee Communications & Culture Conference and come away with practical and innovative ideas to implement back in the office — or in home offices and hybrid workplaces. You’ll walk away with the tools you need to supersize your strategies and elevate your comms, while forging connections and sharing knowledge with industry peers and informed colleagues.

From change communications to interdepartmental collaboration to crafting content and thought leadership that keeps employees engaged, informed and wanting more, this conference will give you the blueprint to build a better work environment. Interactive sessions and engaging instruction from experts in the trade provide the ultimate peer-to-peer experience sprinkled with inspirational keynotes, interactive workshops, sessions, lively debates and plenty of networking so you can connect with industry colleagues and forge new friendships.


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Register today! Don’t miss this opportunity to:

  • Connect to C-suite communicators in your industry.
  • Access exclusive content and resources.
  • Get the tools you need to stay ahead in today’s rapidly changing world.



Pre-conference Workshops
Day 1: Tuesday, April 16
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
DEI Certificate Course

Separate ticket required.

DE&I is no longer nice-to-have; it’s imperative — and your communications initiatives need to be supported with a goals-oriented plan that drives measurable results. This four-hour interactive course, live with trainers and your peers, will revolutionize your approach to creating, contributing to and communicating effective Diversity, Equity and Inclusion communications, plans and programs. You’ll leave this 4-hour course with a DE&I Certificate from Ragan.

8-9 a.m. Foundations of DE&I Communications: Igniting Organizational Change

Your communications matter, and it’s crucial that your messaging resonates authentically and intentionally. Break free from the limitations of well-intentioned, siloed initiatives and embark on a transformative journey that will help you craft a plan to embed DE&I in every department of your organization. You’ll learn:

  • The FAQ: What is DE&I? We’ll start by busting common myths and misconceptions.
  • The “Why of DE&I:” Learn now to articulate your organization’s deeper DE&I purpose using communications.
  • The org chart: Who should own DE&I in the organization, plus how to optimize DE&I success by ensuring it’s cross functional, including smarter ways to work with HR, legal and other teams.
  • The communicator’s role: How to take more of a leadership role beyond just DE&I “messaging,” including how to  get buy-in from leadership.
  • Checking your biases: How unconscious bias derails DE&I communication efforts.
  • Allyship for communicators: Examples of inclusive language and visual representation.
  • Keys to cultivating inclusion: How microaggressions undermine an inclusive culture — and how to stop them.
  • Building trust through actions: The importance of aligning words with visible commitment and genuine initiatives.
  • Measuring outcomes: Gain funding for your program by linking business results to purpose.

9-9:15 a.m. Peer-to-Peer Workshop

There’s no better way to internalize what you’re learning than to share the experience with fellow workshop attendees. So come prepared to dig into:

  • Interactive review and discussion: Work together with fellow attendees to discuss the results of your pre-workshop homework, including action plans for improvement.
  • Homework includes:
    • Take the Implicit Bias Test.
    • Take the Check Your Privilege Quiz.
    • Select an internal communication used in your organization and rewrite it to be more inclusive.

9:15-9:30 a.m. Short Break

9:30-10:30 a.m. Amplifying Your Impact: Add a DE&I Lens to Your Communications

With the building blocks of DE&I at hand, we’ll dive into the crucial next steps: how and when to infuse a DE&I lens into your communications strategy. You’ll learn how you can leverage the power of effective communication to drive positive change and foster a more inclusive environment throughout your organization. You’ll learn:

  • Inclusive storytelling: Crafting narratives that celebrate diversity and promote equity.
  • Language and representation: Choosing inclusive words and visuals for maximum impact.
  • Substance, not performance: How to identify performative communication and refocus into an event that will have an impact on the organization.
  • Strategies to acknowledge and act: Identifying the decision tree of engagement around cultural moments and social justice issues.
  • Tapping DE&I champions: How to partner more effectively with HR, Employee Resource Groups and leadership to ensure your DE&I initiatives drive real change.
  • Dismantling barriers: Develop strategies to overcome communication barriers with those who identify as different or other.
  • Powerful inclusive messaging: Apply your knowledge of diversity, equity and inclusion to create more effective messaging for your audience.

10:30-10:45 a.m. Interactive Workshop

Although science is on the fence about whether you can raise your traditional IQ or not, there’s absolutely no debate that you can boost your DE&I smarts. See how far you’ve already come today when we pull out our pens/laptops together and:

  • Take the DE&I IQ short assessment.
  • Complete DE&I comms plan exercise.

10:45-11:00 a.m. Bio Break

11:00-11:45 a.m. Measure & Propel: Unleash the Potential of Your DE&I Plan

Transforming your organization into an inclusive powerhouse requires more than just good intentions. It demands measurable goals. A well-crafted DE&I plan will fuel an inclusive culture, attract top talent, drive productivity and enhance your bottom line – but only if it’s empowered to do so. In this invigorating, final module you’ll discover the tools to design and assess the progress of your DE&I communication plan. You’ll learn:

  • Crafting an effective DE&I plan: Strategies to create a tailor-made roadmap for your organization.
  • Stakeholder engagement: Learn how to engage key stakeholders across the organization, foster buy-in from leadership, and drive your company’s commitments.
  • Roadmap in action: We’ll review a sample plan step-by-step to help you jumpstart your journey.
  • Dollars behind DE&I: Unveiling the significance of budgeting as a reflection of values and commitment.
  • Data-driven progress: How to leverage quantitative and qualitative metrics to track and measure the impact of your results.
  • What’s next: Future-proof your strategy with this deep dive into emerging trends you will need to prepare for.

11:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m. What’s Next: Write Your Action Plan Today

So what do you do with all of the DE&I strategy, techniques and know-how you’ve gained so far? Rather than let it all gather dust after the conference, we’ll work together to draft a tailored action plan you can implement immediately, and actionable steps you can implement on your return. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to:

  • SWOT Analysis: Conduct a quick, honest assessment of your organization’s DE&I strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for improvement and threats.
  • 10-minute “Action Plan”: Draft up a simple, yet effective action plan for first steps to address the above issues upon your return — including, but not limited to issuing the Implicit Bias and Check Your Privilege Quiz organization-wide, benchmarking your org’s inclusive language usage, reevaluating your org’s recruiting strategies with HR, establishing DE&I ERGs, etc.
  • Follow up: Sign up for office hours with our trainers to evaluate and help improve your action plan before implementing it.
12:30 – 1:45 p.m.
Mastering AI-Powered Writing and Content Creation

You’ve heard plenty about generative AI and may even have experimented with it — now it’s time to delve deeper and get practical with the latest AI techniques to dramatically improve your internal comms copy, content and capacity. This workshop will teach you how to apply strategic prompts to generate powerful prose and pixel-worthy images that make your job easier while engaging your workforce with persuasive content. You’ll discover:

  • The AI toolbox: How to set up AI accounts and get the most out of ChatGPT, Bard, Dall•E, Midjourney and even Microsoft’s Copilot, plus a list of the top AI tools for communicators.
  • Strategy and segmentation: Work with AI to devise a data-driven content strategy by analyzing datasets to identity patterns so you can tailor content to employee segments.
  • Scaling production: How to use ChatGPT 4.0 Turbo to reduce the time and effort required to craft compelling internal comms content.
  • Writing and prompts: How AI can help edit and improve your writing, plus how to select and fine-tune prompts that elevate your prose — without sacrificing creativity and voice.
  • Continuous improvement: How to use AI to run A/B tests so you can adjust and optimize your content — from email headlines and CTAs to better posts and body copy.
  • Real-world AI use cases: Examples of AI applications for internal comms content — from email newsletters and intranet posts to executive speeches and more.
  • Compelling visuals: Simple ways to create compelling custom imagery, layouts and design elements that will reinforce your message — come ready to dig into Dall•E and Midjourney.
  • Measurement and feedback: How to use AI tools to measure, refine and enhance your content so it improves employee engagement, satisfaction and productivity — plus how AI can process and analyze feedback forms and surveys to improve your content.
  • What’s new: How the Biden Administration AI executive orders impact how to label AI-assisted content — plus how to integrate Microsoft 365 Copilot into your workflow.
  • Gaining buy-in to level up: How to encourage leadership in your organization to embrace a hands-on, test-and-learn mentality that helps them understand its capabilities and how it factors into success.
2:00 – 3:15 p.m.
Measurement from “Blah” to “Ta-Da”: Improve Your Internal Comms Strategy with Data

Say goodbye to “blah” results and hello to “ta-da!” by learning how to get more out of measurement data to transform your internal comms strategy. In this workshop, you’ll discover a better measurement framework, the latest tools and the essential KPIs you need to set up smart goals for your team, track the right outputs and share successes with execs in the language of ROI and revenue. Join if you want to boost your budget and elevate your comms from lackluster to spectacular. Together we’ll cover:

  • What the C-suite expects: Results from the latest HarrisX/Ragan CEO-Communicators survey outlining what execs want from communicators, including the outcomes they value most.
  • What’s wrong with traditional internal measurement: Why data and analytics based on pulse surveys and other traditional-yet-limited methods don’t tell the whole story.
  • A smarter measurement framework: How to launch a more robust measurement program based on both quantitative and qualitative inputs — so you can tie outputs to strategic goals and wider impacts, including shifting public perception.
  • Essential KPIs: Examples of how to track quantitative KPIs like page visits, email/CT rates and even intranet read receipts — plus how to correlate them to engagement, retention, satisfaction and productivity.
  • A custom KPI index: How to use these insights to craft a new KPI scorecard tailored to your organization’s sector, mission and business goals — plus how to translate your KPIs to ROI.
  • Sample dashboards: Case studies in what’s working and what’s not to present your results to teams and execs alike — including examples of successful measurement dashboards.
  • New tools and tech: A better toolbox to gather internal comms data, including how to run your data through AI to quickly analyze and act on top findings.
3:30 – 4:45 p.m.
More Effective Manager Comms: How to Align, Assure and Activate Your No.1 Asset

Effective manager communications are crucial for employee engagement — but the leadership style of individual managers makes up to 70% of the difference in employee motivations and productivity. Bring your biggest manager comms challenges to this interactive session and we’ll workshop solutions together. You’ll also discover how to arm your managers with the tools, templates and even talking points they need to convey comms initiatives. Together, we’ll dive deeply into:

  • Anatomy of an effective manager comms cascade: What successful information flows look like in orgs with dispersed workforces — from comms to VP people managers and frontliners alike.
  • Manager training: How to train managers in the tech, tactics and storytelling strategies they need to close the employee experience gaps across all your employee audiences.
  • Manager resources hubs: How to give managers the tools, templates and even talking points they need to convey comms initiatives — snapshots of effective resource libraries.
  • Top channels: How to engage with people leaders via text apps, email, intranets and town halls — examples of what’s working and what’s not.
  • The reverse cascade: The importance of feedback loops and how to ensure feedback travels both ways so your organization acts on the input, insights and intel you’re getting.
  • Going global: How to enhance your manager comms for greater global impact, including exercises for delivering precise, culturally informed and real-time comms internationally.
  • Surveys, feedback loops and more: How to monitor, measure and level up your manager comms efforts using online surveys and other tools (including AI).
General Sessions and Internal Comms
Day 2: Wednesday, April 17
8:00 a.m.
8:15 – 8:45 a.m.
Breakfast Session
8:45 – 8:50 a.m.
Welcome and Opening Remarks

Learn about the program, and discover trends from Ragan’s Benchmark Report.

8:50 – 9:15 a.m.
Keynote Address
9:15 – 9:25 a.m.
Guided Table Talk

In this informal discussion session, we'll dive into the morning's keynote topics. Connect with fellow attendees, exchange ideas and share your perspectives, all while unpacking the insights from the keynote in a relaxed and structured environment.

9:35 – 10:20 a.m.
Let’s Talk Manager Comms Solutions: Real-World Fixes to Top Challenges

Achieving clarity, consensus and collaboration is critical for successful manager comms — but it can be difficult in the era of remote work to get managers aligned as conduits for your employee comms strategy. This session cuts through it all by taking an honest look at the most common obstacles managers face when cascading your messages and initiatives. Our panelists will provide their hard-won solutions for handling top roadblocks—while opening the floor to your biggest pain points and remedies. Come ready to share the bad—and the good! We’ll cover:

  • Misinterpretation vs clarity: How others are providing managers with clear, concise guidance so they can convey complex info.
  • Silos vs collaboration: Innovative ways to collaborate with HR, line managersand other departments to communicate more effectively with a hybrid workforce.
  • Hi-tech vs hi-touch: How others are balancing email, videoconferencing, collaboration suites, IM, enterprise social media and intranets with town halls, in-person meetings and informal talks to combat information overload and break through to busy managers and their staff.
  • Cultural vs generational differences: How to help managers become more adaptable and sensitive to diverse workplaces.
  • Resistance to change vs adaptability: How others are empowering managers to assist with change communications—including providing managers with the reasons and benefits behind any change.
  • Process vs people: How others are working across the manager comms cascade to codify comms needs, initiatives and workflows that everyone can get behind.
10:30 – 10:50 a.m.
Navigating Change: Communication Essentials
10:50 – 11:10 a.m.
Networking Break
11:10 – 11:35 a.m.
Creative, Affordable Employer Branding Ideas That Woo and Wow Prospects

Stellar content has the power to bring your employer brand to life. From word choice and the stories you share to the photos you post, every element conveys your brand personality. But many of us can end up relying on the same uninspired Employee Value Proposition (EVP), job descriptions, landing pages and social posts when it comes to filling the employer brand content pipeline. Not anymore! Join this session to add a fresh spark of creativity to your employer branding mix. We’ll cover:

  • Case studies: DIY, affordable lessons from winning campaigns like Delta’s recent Tom Brady collab, which elevated the brand for 90,000 employees and prospects.
  • EVP revamp: How to draft or refresh your employer value proposition based on an employer brand audit so it’s a concise, compelling and shareable call to arms.
  • Job descriptions: How to make yours more colorful, inclusive and enticing.
  • Careers pages: Easy ways to punch yours up with staff photos, purpose-themed content—and even what makes you a “great place to work.”
  • Social content: Videos, photos, employee spotlights, ads and EGC (employer generated content) that stands out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other channels
11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Making AI Your Digital Doppelganger: New Ways to Supercharge Your Content Calendar

It’s time to move past “wow” into “now” when it comes to AI — and finally start infusing it into your content calendars and creation. This interactive session details how to harness AI as a diligent conductor ensuring all your trains are on schedule, running at full steam with high-quality content while avoiding legal, copyright and other AI third rails so your message arrives at its destination with impact. In the second half of this session, get prepared to pull out your computers to experiment with proper prompt building. Join us to discover:

  • Streamlined strategy: AI tools to help generate better content plans that align internal comms goals with employee preferences.
  • Enhanced scheduling: AI plug-ins to create or improve existing content calendars that deliver the right content at the right  time
  • Content generation: Best practices and winning prompts to help your team create compelling text and images faster — without the headaches.
  • Crafting guidelines: Strategies for setting internal guidelines that minimize legal, copyright and IT risks.
1:05 – 1:20 p.m.
Raising Your Presentation Skills to Boost Your Comms Impact — and Career

Sit back and prepare to take in a quick lightning session sure to prepare you for the Zoom screen or town hall podium. Though more than 70% of professionals consider presentation skills crucial for their success, communicators often prioritize training and preparing others over honing their own presentation style. This lightning session aims to change that by providing a cheat code to help you present like a pro. We’ll discuss:

  • Easy fixes and pre-speech routines: Hacks others use to eliminate jitters and boost confidence.
  • The five Ps of powerful presentations: How to harness planning, preparation, practice, performance and passion.
  • Tech recs: Tools to draft presentations faster — and make them more memorable (including cool tools for pulling and even generating compelling visuals).
  • Inspiring examples: How others are building deeper connections and trust by delivering compelling presentations.
1:30 – 2:15 p.m.
Crisis Comms Case Studies: Future-Proof Your Role and Protect Your Brand

Nothing strips the fear and uncertainty from crises like real-world examples of how others have successfully handled them. This tell-all panel provides an unvarnished look behind the scenes of some of the biggest crisis situations of the past year. Together, we’ll look at tried and true crisis comms responses and share crisis frameworks you can put in place to help your team speak to the most immediate needs of all your key stakeholders, no matter what bad news situations your organization may face in the months or years ahead. We’ll cover:

  • Crisis case studies: Successful strategies that defused recent high-stakes situations and safeguarded employees (not to mention reputation).
  • Crisis frameworks: Decision trees you can tailor to your organization, offering a crisis comms roadmap to leaders and managers alike.
  • Pivot tables: “If this/then that” grids others have used to outline the optimal course of action through unexpected twists and turns—so you can do the same when bad news strikes.
  • Messaging guidelines: Examples of robust hold statements, message maps and style directives to help your team set the right tone for leaders, spokespeople and first responders.
  • Crisis team breakdowns: Who to activate on your org chart in a crisis response—based on what worked and what didn’t for others.
2:25 – 2:45 p.m.
Measuring Internal Communication Impact
2:45 – 3:05 p.m.
Networking Break
3:05 – 3:30 p.m.
Driving Shared Success: Paving the Way Forward amid Employee Activism

Internal comms has faced unique challenges amid the rise of employee activism, including recent labor movements and strikes. As employees voice demands for higher compensation, increased job security and shorter work weeks, communicators are in the spotlight to steer their organizations through turbulent times. This session dives into the lessons learned by a comms team that successfully navigated recent employee activism with sophistication, nuance and empathy. You’ll hear:

  • The roadmap: Insights into how a busy internal comms team successfully managed recent labor actions, aligned messaging and maintained employee morale.
  • Meaningful dialogue: How strikes, conflict and controversy can present a surprising opportunity for internal comms to foster solidarity while supporting employee voices.
  • Employee engagement: How to address employee concerns, keep them informed and maintain a positive work environment during labor issues and other workplace issues.
  • Adaptable plans: Best practices for creating more flexible internal communication plans that can adjust to the ever-changing labor landscape — including how to leverage ERGs.
  • Critical allies: How to collaborate effectively with legal teams to ensure compliance during labor actions — without stripping your comms of authenticity and empathy.
3:40 – 4:05 p.m.
Navigating the Storm: Purposeful Thought Leadership in Times of Crisis

Nearly 90% of execs say thought leadership significantly shapes opinions of an organization — yet only 17% believe their leadership content is good or excellent. That’s a major disconnect — especially when brands face challenges ranging from earnings shortfalls and layoffs to reorgs. Learn how to craft clear, straightforward and earnest thought leadership that rings as a voice of reason in even the most challenging of moments. You’ll learn:

  • Speaking up: How leadership can connect purpose and values to words and action during crises, especially in today’s cultural climate and the pending 2024 election.
  • Sourcing talent: Strategies for finding the right execs and best subject matter experts (SMEs) to deliver thought leadership content.
  • Training experts: How to coach execs on messaging that aligns with corporate values and ethical principles.
  • Standing out: Tips for leveraging town halls, blogs and even LinkedIn to showcase your exec’s voice, vision and thought leadership.
4:15 – 4:55 p.m.
Town Hall Live Scripting Workshop: Elevating Your All-Hands Gatherings

Town halls are a critical tool for communicating organizational change in today’s hybrid, remote or in-office workplaces. But they can become uninspiring “check the box” exercises — especially when the news is disruptive. Join this interactive session to dive into the art of crafting more compelling town halls designed to calm, inform and even inspire worried employees. Together, we’ll critique two lackluster town hall scripts, one announcing a reorg and layoffs, and the other addressing a sensitive topic such as an international conflict. Then, we’ll break into workshop groups to elevate it based on a set of facts and organizational goals. We’ll cover:

  • Reorg essentials: Key elements to include in reorg announcements — from state of the company financials to talking points putting employees first.
  • Prioritizing transparency: How to infuse transparency into your all-hands meetings, fostering trust among employees navigating remote work challenges.
  • Capturing attention: Methods to grab and maintain employees' attention in a virtual environment saturated with distractions, ensuring your messages resonate.
  • Infusing culture: Strategies to ensure your culture and values shine through during virtual town halls — no matter the subject matter.
  • Flipping the script: Ideas for turning challenging times and difficult news into opportunities for organizational growth and employee empowerment.
  • Channels and tech: Helpful guidelines from your peers — including frequency, tech recs and smarter ways to drive attendance and engagement.
4:55 – 5:00 p.m.
Building Bridges: Mastering the Art of Networking

In this 5-minute lightning talk, you’ll walk away with some suggestions and strategies for successful networking. Leave prepared and empowered to create meaningful connections at the evening’s gathering.

5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Networking and Drinks
Day 3: Thursday, April 18
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.
Breakfast Session
8:30 – 8:50 a.m.
Keynote Panel
9:00 – 9:25 a.m.
Effective Change Communications in Uncertain Times

In the whirlwind of corporate reorganizations and restructuring, maintaining an engaged and high-performing workforce requires a steady hand at the wheel. Successful change comms hinge on a collaborative, cross functional approach, weaving a smart change narrative that not only steadies internal compasses but also crafts the external perception of the transition. Learn how to steer your organization through seas of change, fostering an environment of understanding, resilience and unified vision.

  • Framework formation: Learn how to synchronize your efforts with leadership, department heads, managers, HR, ERGs, and even legal, before making waves with PR and marketing.
  • Mastering messaging: How to chart the course for crafting clear, concise change messaging that delivers a storytelling narrative that bridges the gap between informing and inspiring.
  • Cultural currents: Explore the depths of your organization's culture and learn to power your communications with empathy, ensuring your messaging resonates with your organization.
  • Ally armada: Learn tactics to transform your employees, customers, and partners into a fleet of change ambassadors, championing your cause.
  • Digital dynamics: Focus on leveraging digital communications channels, from intranets to email newsletters and town halls, to make sure your message arrives at every workspace.
  • Feedback flotilla: Establish robust channels for feedback, including employee surveys and focus groups, to deliver insights that help navigate the course of change.
9:35 – 9:45 a.m.
Empowering Leadership through Communication
9:45 – 10:05 a.m.
Networking Break
10:05 – 10:20 a.m.
Professional Development Lightning Session
Business Fluency: Keys to a More Influential Career

Success at the highest organizational levels demands leadership skills and a strong grasp of business fundamentals — not just communication techniques. Join this session to hear how to navigate egos and ideas in the C-Suite while presenting yourself as a respected strategic business partner. We’ll discuss:

  • Strategic acumen: What leaders expect from you — and how to deliver the “big picture” perspectives they need most.
  • Financials: Essential business ratios and KPIs to understand — and how to show you’re moving the needle.
  • Feedback: Ways to advise execs based on data and feedback that you’re getting.
  • Forecasting: How to be your org’s periscope into the future by analyzing trends.
  • Storytelling: Strategies for tapping into your comms secret power to get your execs’ attention — while building bridges with HR, legal and others already at the table.
10:30 – 11:15 a.m.
Bootstrap Your Intranet: Cost-Efficient Commtech for Employee Connection

Intranets have often been overlooked or underutilized, trapped in a costly cycle of humdrum updates that are difficult to integrate into your existing tech stack — but this need not  be the norm. Join us to explore how you can transform your employee comms channels into engaging, dynamic hubs without the hefty price tag. We’ll cover:

  • Redesigning for impact: Budget friendly strategies to enhance user experience through powerful-yet-simple redesign principles.
  • Voice, vision, values: How to center your digital workspace content around your mission so it’s more shareable on platforms like SharePoint and Yammer.
  • People-first: Smart, low-cost ways to elevate your intranet content beyond transactions with short videos, authentic stories and engaging AMAs.
  • Data meets dialogue: How to harness data to create a more responsive digital environment via surveys and other feedback channels.
  • Tech stack use cases: How others are making the most out of Microsoft Office, Meta’s Workplace, Google Workspace and more.
11:25 – 11:50 a.m.
Beyond the Inbox: Elevating Email and Newsletters in Today’s Hybrid Workplace

Remote and deskless employees are the new norm — and surprisingly, emails and newsletters are becoming more than a traditional standby for reaching today’s hybrid workforce. They’re enjoying a renaissance — and are playing a resurgent role in fostering connectivity and disseminating information alongside tools like Slack, Teams, intranets and more. Join this session to see how these platforms are serving as lifelines and bridging gaps for every employee, regardless of location or work setup. You’ll learn:

  • Email innovations: The latest advancements in email technology, including AI-driven personalization, predictive content suggestions and interactive elements.
  • Newsletters revolutionized: Breakthroughs in email design and content structure for internal comms—from more visually appealing layouts to multimedia features.
  • Mix, match and integrate: How to integrate email and newsletters with digital apps and platforms like Slack and Teams to enhance real-time comms for hybrid teams.
  • Exemplary emails and newsletters: Creative ideas you can borrow — from attention-grabbing subject lines and compelling CTAs to employee spotlights, interactive quizzes, behind-the-scenes glimpses, embedded video and more.
  • Metrics and optimization: KPIs for emails and newsletters — and how to measure engagement, analyze feedback and drive improvements based on the data you pull.
12:00 – 12:20 p.m.
Fireside Chat
Keynote Session
12:20 p.m.
Baker’s Dozen and Giveaways!
12:45 – 2:30 p.m.
Employee Communications Awards Luncheon

Join us to celebrate the honorees of Ragan’s Employee Communications Awards Luncheon. Separate ticket required.

Employee Experience and Culture
Day 2: Wednesday, April 17
9:35 – 10:20 a.m.
Be a Trusted Strategic Advisor: Keys to Get (and Keep) Your Seat at the Table

In the wake of the pandemic, communicators have evolved from being just a messenger to a pivotal strategic advisor. However, securing and maintaining this influential position requires more than just being heard; it demands demonstrating undeniable value to the organization. Many high-profile comms initiatives such as DE&I, ESG and even wellness programs have been dialed back. In this panel, we’ll discuss how you can attain — and maintain — a secure seat by providing strategic value at the highest level while helping your organization respond to public issues, employee priorities and business imperatives that matter. You’ll learn:

  • Strategic thinking: Transition from being a mere conveyor of messages to an advisor who shapes them by aligning your communication strategies with the organization's goals – and learn how to craft DE&I messages that resonate with both leadership and the broader employee base.
  • Business fluency: The concepts and tools you need to understand, analyze and act on financial statements – plus how this knowledge can guide your communication strategies, and how to develop and manage your own budget.
  • Metrics and dashboards: How to quantify and showcase the impact of internal comms programs using engagement, retention, reputation and financial KPIs.
  • Safeguarding culture: Learn to embed quantifiable DE&I and ESG results into business reporting, annual reports and internal comms – plus case study examples of how companies like Coca-Cola have integrated the impact of their sustainability initiatives on their bottom line.
  • Issues management: How and when to advocate and communicate purpose-driven initiatives that matter most to employees — even amid political and online blowback.
  • Winning ways: How other comms departments are elevating their stature — and budgets — amid rollbacks and cuts.
10:30 – 10:50 a.m.
Building a Culture of Transparency
10:50 – 11:10 a.m.
Networking Break
11:10 – 11:35 a.m.
RX for a Successful Return to Office: Communication-Centric Strategies

As offices shift from working from home to hybrid and fully in office, communicators are relied on to deliver meaningful, strategic communications that excite employees while informing them. An effective return-to-office (RTO) strategy is not just about logistics; it's about meaningful, strategic communications that align with your Employee Value Proposition (EVP). In this case study, you’ll learn how one company successfully messaged a RTO plan, including the critical role of communication methods, messaging from the C-suite, and the company’s EVP. You’ll learn:

  • EVP alignment in RTO: How to ensure your RTO strategy effectively conveys the logistics of the RTO, reinforces the benefits and highlights the advantages of the office — all while keeping employees informed and engaged.
  • C-Suite messaging: Techniques for crafting impactful RTO messages from the C-suite, ensuring leadership communication is clear, inspiring, and aligned with company values.
  • Optimizing communications channels: How to tailor communications for all your platforms, including town halls for interactive discussions, intranets for centralized information and updates, and video calls for team-level comms.
  • Feedback loops and dialogue channels: Creating platforms for two-way communication, allowing employees to voice concerns and provide feedback — and how to use feedback to continuously refine communication strategies and the RTO plan.
  • Success metrics: Implementing methods to measure the impact of communication strategies on RTO success, employee engagement, and satisfaction.
  • Sustaining engagement post-RTO: Strategies to maintain high levels of engagement and morale once the return to office is complete, ensuring the long-term wellness of your organization.
11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Building and Refining ERGs to Foster Belonging in Times of Deep Division

In times when the world feels bitterly divided, employee resource groups offer a place for employees from under-represented backgrounds to come together — and foster a sense of belonging that can activate allies, drive business results and nurture a culture where employees choose to stay. In this session, we’ll look at how an interfaith ERG brought different cultures together to sow solidarity during a global conflict. In the second half, you’ll explore an interactive primer on how to get ERGs off the ground at your own organization. You’ll learn:

  • Doing the work: An interactive approach to forming inclusive ERGS — from defining membership and recruiting members to empowering them so they’re self-sustaining.
  • Safe spaces: Techniques for creating ERG environments that serve as safe spaces for the cohort while also making room for allies, especially during global conflicts and other contentious times.
  • Sharing the story: Tips for sharing ERG initiatives and socializing the work through personal storytelling within your organization and broader community.
  • Finding sponsors: Best practices for bridging the cultural gap between ERGs and execs — including methods for gaining leadership support for ERG initiatives.
  • Measuring impact: How to track ERG engagement, diversity and inclusion progress and other ERG goals—and how to leverage KPIs to improve your ERGs.


1:30 – 2:15 p.m.
Mapping the Employee Journey: Measuring, Refining and Revolutionizing Engagement

Embark on a comprehensive exploration of the employee experience journey, a path paved with crucial touchpoints and opportunities for insightful feedback. This panel discussion sheds light on the importance of tracking and mapping employee sentiment and satisfaction and how it can shape effective engagement strategies. Navigate along the employee journey, learning how to emphasize personalized communications, including a case study on how one company pivoted to a nontraditional digital user experience model. You'll hear about:

  • Anatomy of an employee journey: Dissect the key components of an employee journey, including critical phases and touchpoints such as onboarding, major announcements and company meetings. Learn how to identify and track the right employee sentiment metrics that will serve as key performance indicators (KPIs) for comms success.
  • Crafting employee personas: Understand how unique employee personas can help tailor your communication strategies to meet diverse needs and perspectives.
  • Storytelling through metrics: Tips on weaving various KPIs into compelling narratives that reflect employee productivity, satisfaction, and retention, plus strategies for adjusting and fine-tuning your approach based on continuous feedback and measurement.
  • AI augmentation: Explore how AI tools can enhance targeting and personalization in employee communications as well as help you interpret reports and data.
  • Case Study on UX for EX: Learn how one company of 14,000 largely deskless workers pivoted from a top-down communications model to an opt-in, digital user experience – and increased employee engagement across all channels.
2:25 – 2:45 p.m.
Innovative Tools for Employee Engagement
2:45 – 3:05 p.m.
Networking Break
3:05 – 3:30 p.m.
Purpose and Safety in Harmony: Cultivating Meaningful and Secure Workplaces

In today's complex and divided world, striking the right balance between providing purposeful, meaningful work and ensuring a safe space for employees requires careful consideration. When external messaging or corporate decisions will affect employee safety, including positions of support or opposition to social justice movements, international conflicts, LGBTQ+ rights, public health stances or COVID-19 policies and more, communicators must leap into action. In this session, we’ll explore how Maslow's hierarchy of needs can be thoughtfully integrated into organizational culture, fostering an environment where employees feel both fulfilled by their work and secure in their workplace.

  • Purpose-positive culture: Understand the critical role of purpose in fostering engagement and productivity, and how aligning individual goals with organizational objectives can create a more motivated and fulfilled workforce, leading to higher job satisfaction and better performance.
  • Purpose-driven leadership: How leaders can act as role models and mentors, inspiring employees through their commitment to the company’s mission – and how comms professionals can amplify their vision, ensure consistent messaging across the organization, foster employee engagement and aligning with team objectives.
  • Employee safety: How to prioritize workplace safety, using insights garnered from Target's 2023 PRIDE crisis, to learn effective crisis management while ensuring a secure and supportive environment for all employees, including retail and deskless workers.
  • Crisis management and communications: How to craft effective communication strategies for handling incidents that may challenge your organization, and how to make sure you are prepared for potential retaliation from online or in-person mobs.
  • Brand resilience: Strategies for building an employer brand that withstands societal pressures while staying true to their core values and purpose.
3:40 – 4:05 p.m.
Transforming Employees into Ambassadors and Advocates

Employee ambassadorship has emerged as a vital aspect of organizational success. In this session, we'll explore how to foster a culture where every employee feels valued and empowered to become an ambassador for your organization. You’ll learn how to identify, nurture and support potential employee ambassadors who embody your company's values and vision — plus, how you can support them to amplify your brand's narrative both internally and externally. Key takeaways will include:

  • Ambassador Identification: Techniques for discovering potential employee ambassador candidates who exemplify your organization’s spirit, culture and values — and how to make sure your engagement strategies appeal to a wide array of backgrounds, diverse voices and experiences.
  • Skill sharpening: The necessary training and development opportunities to offer to ensure your ambassadors are well-equipped and prepared to represent your organization — and how to work with them to craft a unified message that resonates with all employees.
  • Role of the ambassador: Where you can have the ambassador speak to promote your EVP, including professional networks, LinkedIn, employee resource groups and others.
  • Measuring impact: Tools and methodologies to assess the effectiveness of your ambassadorship program in terms of employee engagement and brand perception.
  • Real-life examples: Analyzing success stories from organizations that have effectively utilized employee ambassadorship to enhance their brand and culture.
Day 3: Thursday, April 18
9:00 – 9:25 a.m.
Ask Us Anything
How Comms, HR and Legal Can Meet in the Middle

Though comms and legal are both working to safeguard an organization’s reputation and shield it from risk, it can feel as though legal processes, practices and approvals create unnecessary obstacles to your initiatives, programs and content cascade. Join this panel of seasoned legal experts, HR representatives and comms professionals in an open-floor, ask-us-anything format. We’ll touch on:

  • Health and wellness: The latest considerations to keep employees physically and mentally healthy in the post-pandemic era—including how they impact your RTO comms.
  • Social media compliance: How to draft social media policies and processes with HR and legal’s input to protect employee ambassadors and your brand from legal risks.
  • AI governance: Where AI legislation stands now — and how to partner with your legal and HR teams to draft AI usage policies and protections.
  • DE&I guidelines: How best to address legal risk around diversity issues with your lawyers, instead of tiptoeing around gathering employee data, quota issues and more, and how to talk about concerns when employees seek help.
  • Path to partnership: How others are building alliances focused on problem-solving, partnership and prompt action (you’ll still hit your deadlines!).


9:35 – 9:45 a.m.
Fostering Inclusive Workplace Dialogues
9:45 – 10:05 a.m.
Networking Break
10:05 – 10:20 a.m.
Professional Development Lightning Session
How to Humblebrag: Internal Reviews, LinkedIn and Beyond

When your annual review arrives, it’s not enough to be armed with a list of your accomplishments. It’s also about presenting them strategically to plan for your career growth. Join this lightning session and  learn the essential bragging skills to empower your professional journey. Practical insights include:

  • Internal reviews that shine: Learn how to structure your self-evaluation effectively, quantify your achievements for maximum impact and aligning your performance with organizational goals and values.
  • LinkedIn personal branding mastery: Build a compelling LinkedIn profile that captures your professional essence and learn the secrets of crafting an attention-grabbing headline and summary, powerful endorsements, and more.
  • The art of humblebragging: There’s a fine line between self-promotion and humility; learn how to tastefully and effectively highlight your accomplishments in conversations and written communications.
10:30 – 11:15 a.m.
How to Communicate with Deskless and Dispersed Workforces

Cultivating a culture of collaboration and real-time communication requires understanding where the needs of employees and the business intersect — easier said than done when attempting to engage deskless, remote and global workers. In this panel, a trio of employee communications leaders will share how they engage dispersed workforces across great distances by customizing their strategies and tech to recognize and enhance each group’s employee experience. We’ll discuss:

  • Connectivity challenges: How to audit, assess and act on barriers to reaching employees with limited internet access, restricted email usage or who aren’t connected via mobile.
  • Traditional + tech toolbox: Innovative ways to integrate flyers, posters, bulletin boards and digital signage with mobile apps, IM platforms and intranets to close comms gaps.
  • Scheduling touchpoints: Engaging employees with town halls, weekly meetings and regularly scheduled check-ins to make sure information is being delivered.
  • Training for managers: How to give managers and site leads the tools and skills they need to ID and re-engage employees who are culturally disconnected or unplugged.
  • Communicating purpose: Strategies for educating dispersed employees on the importance of company-wide purpose commitments, including DE&I and ESG.
11:25-11:50 a.m.
Navigating Social Media: Leveraging Internal Communication Platforms

Culture exists wherever employees are, and in the age of digital connectivity, it lives in the emojis, reactions, and casual conversations on social media channels like Slack and Microsoft Teams. This session delves into the strategic use of these platforms, both as tools for internal communication and as windows into external perceptions of your organization. We'll explore the dynamics of creating and sustaining an employee culture that thrives both internally and externally — plus, how to effectively respond to employer feedback given on platforms like Glassdoor and Blind where direct communication might not be feasible. You'll learn:

  • Maximizing Slack and Teams for engagement: Techniques for using chat-based collaboration tools to enhance internal communications, build a community and foster a collaborative culture.
  • Channel dynamics: Understanding the role of channels in Slack and how to use them strategically to cater to diverse employee groups and interests.
  • LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Blind: Navigating the unique challenges and opportunities presented by anonymous feedback platforms like Blind and Glassdoor and public-facing sites like LinkedIn. Plus: strategies for leveraging these platforms to reflect and enhance your organization’s internal culture.
  • Responding to feedback: Best practices for responding to employer feedback, especially in scenarios where direct engagement is limited, and how to incorporate insights into your broader internal communication and HR strategies.
  • Legal and ethical considerations: Understanding the legal and ethical boundaries in monitoring and responding to employee communications.


Speakers will be announced soon.



Please reach out to Director of Conferences
Alyssa Smith.


  • Measure Trust and Impact: Learn the art of creating a communications measurement and evaluation strategy with advice from the brightest minds in Ragan’s network.
  • Manager Comms that Work: Master strategies that pair with tech, tools and shortcuts to boost efficiency and reduce burnout.
  • Conquering Change and Crisis Comms: Find out how to nurture an employee culture that adapts to change — and how to prepare for the unexpected.
  • A Better Employee Experience: Craft wellness strategies that address mental health and engage a dispersed and diverse workforce.
  • Create Strategic and Authentic Storytelling: Discover writing tactics for clear, concise, compelling and fun (!) content in your newsletters, on your intranet and on social.
  • Mixternal Communications: Unlock the possibilities of internal and PR partnerships.
  • Content Creation Strategy: Deliver more with less — without burning out or missing a deadline — by focusing on quality, marquis content.
  • Build Your Purpose: Develop a DEI&B framework that illuminates your organization’s mission, culture and values


Join us for the Employee Communications & Culture Conference:

Conference All-Access Passincludes the Pre-Conference Workshops
Standard $2,699 $2,799 $2,899 $2,999
Nonprofit/Gov $2,599 $2,699 $2,799 $2,899
Ragan Insider $2,549 $2,649 $2,749 $2,849
Conference Registration - Individual
Standard $2,299 $2,399 $2,499 $2,599
Nonprofit/Gov/Edu $2,199 $2,299 $2,399 $2,499
Ragan Insider $2,149 $2,249 $2,349 $2,449
Conference Recording On Demand
$999 $999 $999 $999

Add to your Employee Communication & Culture Conference registration!

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Certificate Course

Tuesday, April 16, from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

We’ve taken our popular virtual DE&I Certificate Course and made it an in- person event where you’ll get real-time instructor feedback and the ability to share ideas with your peers. This four-hour interactive course will revolutionize your approach to creating, contributing to and communicating effective Diversity, Equity and Inclusion communications, plans and programs. You’ll leave this 4-hour course with a DE&I Certificate from Ragan. Add the DEI Certificate Course to your registration for just $899.

>Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Certificate Workshop during Employee Communication & Culture Conference
On Demand
For those who can’t attend the conference live, an on-demand option is available during the registration process.
Get your tickets early and save. Discounts are also available for the following:

Group Discounts

Would you and your team like to attend? Group pricing is available when registering! Contact Shallon Blackburn for more information.


Membership includes free registration passes. Contact Shallon Blackburn for more information on becoming a member.
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Insiders save on all Ragan events. Not a Ragan Insider? You can become one during registration for this event!
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Fairmont Hotel Chicago
Conference Venue Information:
Fairmont Hotel
200 N Columbus Dr,
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 565-8000Visitor Info

We have secured a room block at the Fairmont Hotel for conference attendees. The hotel reservation link will be sent to you after you register for the conference.


  • 70+ museums including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum
  • 500+ monuments and memorials including the Millennium Monument and the Abraham Lincoln Monument
  • 600+ parks including the famous Lincoln Park
  • Grab a slice of the famous deep dish pizza or a Chicago-style hot dog at one of the 7,000+ restaurants
Chicago, IL Things to do
  • How to Include AI and ChatGPT in Your Comms Strategy
  • Guide to Building a Better Business Case For Internal Communications Software
  • Tools to Boost the Employee Experience
  • Guide to Change Communications During Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Presentation Skills for a Hybrid World


Want to become a sponsor? Get in touch with our team to discuss sponsorship opportunities.

Let's Partner!

A portion of proceeds from this event will be donated to Ronald McDonald House Austin, who work with local hospitals to allow families access to specialized medical treatment by providing a place to stay at little or sometimes no cost.
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You should attend if you spend at least a quarter of your time in any of these areas:

  • Human Resources
  • Employee Engagement
  • Corporate Communication
  • Employee Communications
  • Internal Communications
  • Executive Communications
  • Culture
  • Total Rewards
  • Public Relations
  • Change Management
  • Employee Experience
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


Employee Communications & Culture Conference Certificate

Each registration comes with a personalized "Employee Communications & Culture Conference" Certificate of Completion for attending.



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For questions related to event registrations, please contact:
Shallon Blackburn
Customer Service & Sales Manager



If you’re interested in sponsoring this event, please contact:
Hannah Lavelle



For information on programming and speakers, please contact:
Alyssa Smith