Tuesday, July 30

9–10 a.m.  
Opening keynote

As internal communications gets its due, are you on board for what’s next?

For years, internal communicators have groused about their place in communications landscape, for good reason: no seat at the table, order taking instead of strategic thinking, horrible newsletters, “grip-and-grin” photos and incredibly boring content. No longer. After years of playing second fiddle (or third) to PR and marketing, organizations are finally discovering why employee communications matters.

Internal communications and employee engagement can reveal how to recruit talented people—and keep them.  a culture where employees feel they belong, embrace the mission, relish their part in it and participate in the “how” of the business, not just the “what.” In this opening keynote, Mark Ragan and Jim Ylisela will kick the conference off with a reminder of where we’ve been, how far we’ve come and where we are surely going.

Jim Ylisela
Co-owner and managing partner
Ragan Consulting Group
Read bio
Mark Ragan
CEO
Ragan Communications
Read bio
10:10–11 a.m.

Raise employee engagement and your organization’s profile through storytelling

Increasing readership and interaction with internal stakeholders can seem like an uphill battle, especially when employees’ attention pulled in many directions. For internal content that captures attention and inspires action, adopt a newsroom approach. Leanora Minai, editor and executive director of communications for the Office of Communication Services at Duke University, and her team approach employee communications like journalists, offering “news you can use” to more than 38,000 employees across the “Working@Duke” print and digital platforms. In return, storytelling helps boost retention and job satisfaction. Take a page from the Duke team’s playbook on how to successfully tell stories and frame narratives in a way that ultimately underscores your organization’s best attributes and opportunities.

You’ll learn:

  • How to build a successful storytelling structure, grounded in data
  • How to frame stories to convey your organization’s priorities
  • Tips for tailoring and sharing content across platforms, including social media
  • Secrets for interviews that provide captivating details for both long- and short-form stories
  • Why it’s important to survey employees about your internal communications
Leanora Minai
Executive director, communications
Duke University
Read bio
11:10 a.m.–noon

Communicating in times of change: Effectively gather and implement employee feedback

It can be hard to communicate internally while organizational structures shift and leadership changes abound, but if you measure employee sentiment only during times of stability and high morale, you’ll miss out on great insights that can lead to even greater action and communications. Jessica Kimball, head of employee engagement, diversity and inclusion for Mattel, has helped employees through a time of transformation—four CEOs in four years—while also better connecting Mattel’s workforce to the brand’s vision and mission. She’ll share how she helped overhaul the organization’s survey strategy to become more agile in gathering employee feedback, along with how you can empower your leaders to take responsibility and lead the charge in making widespread, positive change within your workforce.

You’ll learn:

  • The business case for being agile with employee engagement and sentiment
  • How surveys can help you connect your workforce to your organization’s purpose and brand
  • Ways an employee-centric engagement model can increase input and collaboration
  • Strategies for measuring engagement across the employee lifecycle
  • How to increase accountability and empower your organization’s leaders to take action
Head of employee engagement, diversity and inclusion
Mattel
Read bio
Noon–1:10 p.m.

Networking lunch

(provided onsite)

1:10–2 p.m.

Strengthen your internal communications through diversity and inclusion

A diverse workforce and an inclusive organizational culture are no longer just nice things to have. Internal and employee communications pros must make integrating these elements into their strategies a top business priority. Doing so can boost employee productivity, inspire innovation, attract outstanding talent and increase both employee retention and your organization’s bottom line. However, the right person must lead the charge—and that’s you. In this interactive session, Kim Clark, affiliate consultant for Ragan Consulting Group, will show you how to build an inclusive culture that welcomes employees from all backgrounds.

You’ll learn:

  • How to build an effective diversity and inclusion strategy that challenges assumptions and overcomes stumbling blocks
  • Innovative ideas for crafting a welcoming work culture
  • Tips for using peer-to-peer discussions to develop plans that get executives on board with your diversity and inclusion efforts—and ways to be accountable for your goals
  • How you can test the effectiveness of your solutions
Affiliate consultant
Ragan Consulting Group
Read bio
2:10-3 p.m.

Connect and inspire a dispersed workforce through an integrated communications strategy

There are thousands of tools designed to help you engage with employees and build collaborative internal communities. You probably know most of them, including e-mail, virtual meetings, intranet, videos, town halls, social media and text. Yet, how do you choose the right ones—or do you use them all? The answer requires customizing communications to your specific internal audiences and equipping employees with the tools and knowledge necessary to deliver their best work. Christine Kitson, manager of internal communications at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, will share tactics, case studies and insights which demonstrate how an integrated communications strategy can elevate staff engagement and empower even the most dispersed workforce to become enthusiastic brand ambassadors who collaborate more effectively across departments, locations, and project-specific groups.

You'll learn:

  • How to identify the best communications channels for specific audiences in your workforce
  • Ways to empower employees to become brand ambassadors and leverage social media champions across your organization, boosting engagement and driving your mission
  • The secrets that motivate employees to share and engage with organizational content
  • Steps for building a culture of trust and transparency using bottom-up communications, recognition and encouragement
  • How to secure buy-in by demonstrating ROI to executive stakeholders
Manager of internal communications
ASPCA
Read bio
3–3:30 p.m.

Networking break

3:30-4:20 p.m.

Does your organization’s culture help or hinder your ability to creatively engage employees and customers?

With 66% of the US workforce disengaged, organizations must connect with their employees and customers in new and meaningful ways. Cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset that’s committed to experimentation as well as your organizational culture and values are essential to unlocking the creative genius of your employees and customers. Darrin Caldwell, marketing and communications creative manager at Zappos, will reveal how the company’s unique culture and commitment to self-organization helped to create an internal full-service communications, marketing and design agency, along with takeaways for harnessing the power of collaboration and the entrepreneurial spirit.

You’ll learn:

  • How to leverage self-organization and self-management to sense and respond to new opportunities and current challenges within your organization and industry
  • Ways that your company culture can help protect new ideas and foster the growth of experimental teams or initiatives
  • The types of organizational culture and structure that was crucial to Zappos using the power of “intrapreneurs” within the company
  • How Zappos’ unique culture helps to continually “WOW” and engage employees and customers
Marketing and communications creative manager
Zappos
Read bio
4:30–5:30 p.m.
Special keynote

How employee communications powers innovation at Facebook

It’s no secret that Facebook employees bring bold, fearless creativity to work each day. However, you might be surprised to discover the driving force behind workforce innovation: a communication approach that’s just as audacious and creative as Facebook’s employees.

In this special keynote presentation, you’ll see firsthand how internal communications constantly connects employees to senior leaders’ vision for the future of the company. You’ll also learn how internal communications can provoke bold curiosity among employees and encourage them to shape the future quicker than they thought they ever could.

5:30–7:30 p.m.

Networking cocktail party

Hosted by Facebook

Wednesday, July 31

8:45–9:45 a.m.
Opening keynote

9:55-10:45 a.m.

Support your organization’s transformation through a thriving workplace culture

Preparing and positioning an organization and its brand for the future starts from the inside. Organizations around the world are looking for ways to attract new and different customers, shift their business models and attract and retain the best talent. When Weight Watchers began its journey to expand beyond being the world's leading weight management program to become WW, the world's partner in wellness, the company started on the inside, galvanizing its team around the larger vision.Leah Truitt, senior manager of internal communications for WW, will share the company’s story and lessons learned along its path to grow.

You’ll learn: 

  • How to create an internal culture that accelerates and embraces transformation
  • Ways to give all employees a voice
  • Takeaways for communicating your business strategy to employees, along with their roles for carrying it out
  • How to foster an inspiring community where employees feel they are part of something much larger
Senior manager of internal communications
WW (formerly Weight Watchers)
Read bio
10:55–11:45 a.m.
Panel

Working across departments for employee engagement

Effective employee engagement and internal communications strategies require both the feedback and assistance of stakeholders throughout your organization, but all too often these individuals are siloed and prevented from combining their efforts to reach maximum efficiency and solve systemic challenges. In this interactive panel, you’ll get a chance to ask questions and glean insights as internal and employee communications experts discuss how to bridge the gap between departments and get everyone on board with your next campaign or project.

You’ll learn:

  • Why you must work together with leaders from different departments to accomplish your goals
  • How harnessing data can grab you a seat at the decision-making table
  • Ways to cut through politics and silos to work together and slash redundancy
  • Secrets for finding solutions for common pain points, whether you’re in HR, employee engagement, executive communications or something else
Senior vice president of communications
PVH (over Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein)
Read bio
Head of associate communications and engagement
Kroger
Read bio
Head of employee engagement, diversity and inclusion
Mattel
Read bio
11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m.

Networking lunch

(provided on-site)

12:45–1:35 p.m.

Create a great place to work by honing leadership communications

Reaching employees and connecting them to your organization’s brand, goals and mission is crucial to fostering an outstanding workforce culture and internal brand advocates. Doing so requires that your executives and managers take an active role in nurturing that culture and employee engagement. To do so, these leaders must be connected and engaged themselves. In this fast-paced, interactive session, Bryant Hilton, affiliate consultant at Ragan Consulting Group, will lead you in crafting an effective management and executive communications program that ultimately amplifies your internal messages and efforts.

You’ll learn:

  • How to anticipate leaders’ needs and encourage them to be active communicators
  • Steps for building an efficient and effective management communications and engagement program
  • Ways you can create and distribute content to keep interactions moving
  • A plan to maintain your manager communications and engagement program so your efforts don’t fall flat due to neglect
Bryant Hilton
Affiliate Consultant
Ragan Consulting Group
Read bio
1:45–2:35 p.m.

Drive engagement with an intranet that puts your employees front and center

For far too many internal communicators, “intranet” is just another channel vying for employees’ attention and competing in a digital workspace crowded with organizational messages and goals. However, when created with your end users in mind, an intranet can bridge multiple departments and objectives, effectively provide crucial information, greatly increase internal interaction and collect data that can transform your employee communications. Erin Lickliter, head of associate communications and engagement at Kroger, will share takeaways and lessons learned from building an intranet with a new employee brand at its center, which has grown to more than 3 million users and grabbed more than 9 million page views.

You’ll learn:

  • Why measurement should be at the forefront of your intranet and employee communications efforts—and how to use data to your advantage
  • How to merge sites and efforts across your organization, making a central and mobile-friendly hub
  • Ways an employee-centric intranet backed by culture can better connect your workforce
  • Secrets of effective internal content and messages employees want to read and act on
  • How to transform your internal strategies from reactive messages to proactive employee communications
Head of associate communications and engagement
Kroger
Read bio
2:35–3 p.m.

Networking break

Turn your conference learnings and insights into action with these in-depth, hands-on workshops. *Extra fee to attend

August 1, 2019

9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

The newsroom inside: Turn your comms department into a hub for creative storytelling and compelling video

PR and marketing shouldn’t have all the fun. Some of the best stories are internal, and as an employee communicator, it’s your job to find them, tell them and publish them for multiple audiences. How do you deliver the best content, in multiple formats, to your employee audience? Learn how to do it in real time at this fast-paced, hands-on workshop that combines reporting, writing, photography and publishing on Facebook’s WorkPlace platform.

Come prepared to plan, write, snap, edit and post, all between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Jim Ylisela, veteran journalist and communications consultant, will put you through your paces, joined by longtime Chicago photographer Eileen Ryan.

In the boot camp, we’ll treat the conference you just attended as our own internal comms event.

Working in teams, you will:

  • Run your news desk to plan and coordinate your coverage
  • Assign stories and photos for posting to our conference WorkPlace platform
  • Work with the boot camp instructors to review and fine-tune your work
  • Write compelling headlines, teasers and captions for your stories
  • Publish content on the conference WorkPlace platform

Required technology: Participants should bring smartphones with the ability to take photos and video recordings.


Workshop agenda

9–9:30 a.m.
Let’s get organized
Do you have days where you feel like you’re behind before you even begin? That may be the prevailing view as we attempt to produce stories and images about the conference.  In our opening session, Jim Ylisela will give you a quick overview of the day and hand out team assignments.

9:30-10:30 a.m.
Photo mini-workshop
We all can take photos with our phones, right? That doesn’t mean they’re any good. In this mini-workshop, Eileen Ryan will give you some practical tips to improve your smartphone photos. She’ll talk about framing, lighting and how to match the photo to the story you want to tell. She’ll also remind you of all those bells and whistles that come with your phone. Have an actual camera? Bring it.

10:45–11:30 a.m.
News desk
Grab a snack, gather with your team and get ready to head out on assignment. The news desk, with one of your own as managing editor, will coordinate the day’s reporting, writing and photography.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Words and pictures
Location, location, location. Move out—throughout the hotel, outside or any other place that suits you—to interview each other and take some good photos.

12:30–1:30 p.m.
Lunch and time to crank
Come back to our newsroom, grab a sandwich and start writing copy and downloading photos for your story packages. Don’t forget about those headlines and captions. Jim and Eileen will be ready to review, edit and, perhaps, ask you to revise before we publish.

1:30–2:15 p.m.
Copy due
Your deadline looms. By now you will have reviewed your copy with Jim and selected your photos with help from Eileen. Time to upload your packages to the WorkPlace platform.

2:15-3:00 p.m.
The great reveal
Get a cold drink and gather in the newsroom for our review of the story packages and official awards ceremony. (Hey, it’s internal comms. Where would we be without an awards ceremony?)

3 p.m.
Your shift is over

 

Affiliate consultant
Ragan Consulting Group
Read bio
Jim Ylisela
Co-owner and managing partner
Ragan Consulting Group
Read bio

Tuesday, July 30

9–10 a.m.   Pacific time
Opening keynote

As internal communications gets its due, are you on board for what’s next?

For years, internal communicators have groused about their place in communications landscape, for good reason: no seat at the table, order taking instead of strategic thinking, horrible newsletters, “grip-and-grin” photos and incredibly boring content. No longer. After years of playing second fiddle (or third) to PR and marketing, organizations are finally discovering why employee communications matters.

Internal communications and employee engagement can reveal how to recruit talented people—and keep them.  a culture where employees feel they belong, embrace the mission, relish their part in it and participate in the “how” of the business, not just the “what.” In this opening keynote, Mark Ragan and Jim Ylisela will kick the conference off with a reminder of where we’ve been, how far we’ve come and where we are surely going.

Jim Ylisela
Co-owner and managing partner
Ragan Consulting Group
Read bio
Mark Ragan
CEO
Ragan Communications
Read bio
10:10–11 a.m. Pacific time

Raise employee engagement and your organization’s profile through storytelling

Increasing readership and interaction with internal stakeholders can seem like an uphill battle, especially when employees’ attention pulled in many directions. For internal content that captures attention and inspires action, adopt a newsroom approach. Leanora Minai, editor and executive director of communications for the Office of Communication Services at Duke University, and her team approach employee communications like journalists, offering “news you can use” to more than 38,000 employees across the “Working@Duke” print and digital platforms. In return, storytelling helps boost retention and job satisfaction. Take a page from the Duke team’s playbook on how to successfully tell stories and frame narratives in a way that ultimately underscores your organization’s best attributes and opportunities.

You’ll learn:

  • How to build a successful storytelling structure, grounded in data
  • How to frame stories to convey your organization’s priorities
  • Tips for tailoring and sharing content across platforms, including social media
  • Secrets for interviews that provide captivating details for both long- and short-form stories
  • Why it’s important to survey employees about your internal communications
Leanora Minai
Executive director, communications
Duke University
Read bio
11:10 a.m.–noon Pacific time

Communicating in times of change: Effectively gather and implement employee feedback

It can be hard to communicate internally while organizational structures shift and leadership changes abound, but if you measure employee sentiment only during times of stability and high morale, you’ll miss out on great insights that can lead to even greater action and communications. Jessica Kimball, head of employee engagement, diversity and inclusion for Mattel, has helped employees through a time of transformation—four CEOs in four years—while also better connecting Mattel’s workforce to the brand’s vision and mission. She’ll share how she helped overhaul the organization’s survey strategy to become more agile in gathering employee feedback, along with how you can empower your leaders to take responsibility and lead the charge in making widespread, positive change within your workforce.

You’ll learn:

  • The business case for being agile with employee engagement and sentiment
  • How surveys can help you connect your workforce to your organization’s purpose and brand
  • Ways an employee-centric engagement model can increase input and collaboration
  • Strategies for measuring engagement across the employee lifecycle
  • How to increase accountability and empower your organization’s leaders to take action
Head of employee engagement, diversity and inclusion
Mattel
Read bio
1:10–2 p.m. Pacific time

Strengthen your internal communications through diversity and inclusion

A diverse workforce and an inclusive organizational culture are no longer just nice things to have. Internal and employee communications pros must make integrating these elements into their strategies a top business priority. Doing so can boost employee productivity, inspire innovation, attract outstanding talent and increase both employee retention and your organization’s bottom line. However, the right person must lead the charge—and that’s you. In this interactive session, Kim Clark, affiliate consultant for Ragan Consulting Group, will show you how to build an inclusive culture that welcomes employees from all backgrounds.

You’ll learn:

  • How to build an effective diversity and inclusion strategy that challenges assumptions and overcomes stumbling blocks
  • Innovative ideas for crafting a welcoming work culture
  • Tips for using peer-to-peer discussions to develop plans that get executives on board with your diversity and inclusion efforts—and ways to be accountable for your goals
  • How you can test the effectiveness of your solutions
Affiliate consultant
Ragan Consulting Group
Read bio
2:10-3 p.m. Pacific time

Connect and inspire a dispersed workforce through an integrated communications strategy

There are thousands of tools designed to help you engage with employees and build collaborative internal communities. You probably know most of them, including e-mail, virtual meetings, intranet, videos, town halls, social media and text. Yet, how do you choose the right ones—or do you use them all? The answer requires customizing communications to your specific internal audiences and equipping employees with the tools and knowledge necessary to deliver their best work. Christine Kitson, manager of internal communications at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, will share tactics, case studies and insights which demonstrate how an integrated communications strategy can elevate staff engagement and empower even the most dispersed workforce to become enthusiastic brand ambassadors who collaborate more effectively across departments, locations, and project-specific groups.

You'll learn:

  • How to identify the best communications channels for specific audiences in your workforce
  • Ways to empower employees to become brand ambassadors and leverage social media champions across your organization, boosting engagement and driving your mission
  • The secrets that motivate employees to share and engage with organizational content
  • Steps for building a culture of trust and transparency using bottom-up communications, recognition and encouragement
  • How to secure buy-in by demonstrating ROI to executive stakeholders
Manager of internal communications
ASPCA
Read bio
4:30–5:30 p.m. Pacific time
Special keynote

How employee communications powers innovation at Facebook

It’s no secret that Facebook employees bring bold, fearless creativity to work each day. However, you might be surprised to discover the driving force behind workforce innovation: a communication approach that’s just as audacious and creative as Facebook’s employees.

In this special keynote presentation, you’ll see firsthand how internal communications constantly connects employees to senior leaders’ vision for the future of the company. You’ll also learn how internal communications can provoke bold curiosity among employees and encourage them to shape the future quicker than they thought they ever could.

Wednesday, July 31

8:45–9:45 a.m. Pacific time
Opening keynote

9:55-10:45 a.m. Pacific time

Support your organization’s transformation through a thriving workplace culture

Preparing and positioning an organization and its brand for the future starts from the inside. Organizations around the world are looking for ways to attract new and different customers, shift their business models and attract and retain the best talent. When Weight Watchers began its journey to expand beyond being the world's leading weight management program to become WW, the world's partner in wellness, the company started on the inside, galvanizing its team around the larger vision.Leah Truitt, senior manager of internal communications for WW, will share the company’s story and lessons learned along its path to grow.

You’ll learn: 

  • How to create an internal culture that accelerates and embraces transformation
  • Ways to give all employees a voice
  • Takeaways for communicating your business strategy to employees, along with their roles for carrying it out
  • How to foster an inspiring community where employees feel they are part of something much larger
Senior manager of internal communications
WW (formerly Weight Watchers)
Read bio
10:55–11:45 a.m. Pacific time
Panel

Working across departments for employee engagement

Effective employee engagement and internal communications strategies require both the feedback and assistance of stakeholders throughout your organization, but all too often these individuals are siloed and prevented from combining their efforts to reach maximum efficiency and solve systemic challenges. In this interactive panel, you’ll get a chance to ask questions and glean insights as internal and employee communications experts discuss how to bridge the gap between departments and get everyone on board with your next campaign or project.

You’ll learn:

  • Why you must work together with leaders from different departments to accomplish your goals
  • How harnessing data can grab you a seat at the decision-making table
  • Ways to cut through politics and silos to work together and slash redundancy
  • Secrets for finding solutions for common pain points, whether you’re in HR, employee engagement, executive communications or something else
Senior vice president of communications
PVH (over Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein)
Read bio
Head of associate communications and engagement
Kroger
Read bio
Head of employee engagement, diversity and inclusion
Mattel
Read bio
12:45–1:35 p.m. Pacific time

Create a great place to work by honing leadership communications

Reaching employees and connecting them to your organization’s brand, goals and mission is crucial to fostering an outstanding workforce culture and internal brand advocates. Doing so requires that your executives and managers take an active role in nurturing that culture and employee engagement. To do so, these leaders must be connected and engaged themselves. In this fast-paced, interactive session, Bryant Hilton, affiliate consultant at Ragan Consulting Group, will lead you in crafting an effective management and executive communications program that ultimately amplifies your internal messages and efforts.

You’ll learn:

  • How to anticipate leaders’ needs and encourage them to be active communicators
  • Steps for building an efficient and effective management communications and engagement program
  • Ways you can create and distribute content to keep interactions moving
  • A plan to maintain your manager communications and engagement program so your efforts don’t fall flat due to neglect
Bryant Hilton
Affiliate Consultant
Ragan Consulting Group
Read bio
1:45–2:35 p.m. Pacific time

Drive engagement with an intranet that puts your employees front and center

For far too many internal communicators, “intranet” is just another channel vying for employees’ attention and competing in a digital workspace crowded with organizational messages and goals. However, when created with your end users in mind, an intranet can bridge multiple departments and objectives, effectively provide crucial information, greatly increase internal interaction and collect data that can transform your employee communications. Erin Lickliter, head of associate communications and engagement at Kroger, will share takeaways and lessons learned from building an intranet with a new employee brand at its center, which has grown to more than 3 million users and grabbed more than 9 million page views.

You’ll learn:

  • Why measurement should be at the forefront of your intranet and employee communications efforts—and how to use data to your advantage
  • How to merge sites and efforts across your organization, making a central and mobile-friendly hub
  • Ways an employee-centric intranet backed by culture can better connect your workforce
  • Secrets of effective internal content and messages employees want to read and act on
  • How to transform your internal strategies from reactive messages to proactive employee communications
Head of associate communications and engagement
Kroger
Read bio