Wednesday, March 20

9–11 a.m.

Confidence in change management: Taking initiative and creative risk

In a business environment marked by constant change, internal communicators must be prepared to think on their feet, respond quickly and be bold with their strategies and tactics. During this workshop led by professional improvisers, you’ll learn how to use creative techniques to improve productivity, creativity and collaboration when planning your team’s content and programs. Discover how to create a safe environment for taking initiative, see creative inspiration differently and understand that being a leader and taking initiative works in a dynamic way that is always changing.

11:15 a.m. –12:45 p.m.

Adopting a newsroom mentality: How to develop an editorial process that works for online, multimedia, print and social

So many channels to fill, so little time. That’s the constant lament of digital communicators who want to publish stories for their audiences on many channels. How do you deliver the best content to the right channels? What’s the best way to adapt your writing to multiple formats? The answer is the “News Desk,” an editorial process that assembles communicators across disciplines (PR, marketing and internal comms) to plan, execute and deliver great content. In this session, veteran journalist, teacher and communications consultant Jim Ylisela will show you how to apply the news desk concept to the content needs of your organization, regardless of your industry, the size of your staff or the level of their skills.

In this 90-minute session, you’ll learn how to:

  • Create a news desk to identify the best stories to tell—and the best way to tell them
  • Find the best channels for your stories and decide where they should be published first
  • Adapt your storytelling for print, online, multimedia and social media
  • Master a welcoming, conversational writing style across formats
  • Create distinctive content for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Apply great writing to visual communications, including video, photos and infographics
  • Establish an editorial process that eliminates random posting, content chaos and an uneven publishing schedule
Jim Ylisela

Co-founder and managing partner
Ragan Consulting Group
Read bio
12:45–2 p.m.

Lunch on your own

2–4 p.m.

Digital Communications Boot Camp: Create a game plan for using intranets, social media and mobile apps to engage employees

Beware of the shiny objects—the latest and greatest technology toys that are “guaranteed” to excite employees into a frenzy. It’s a trap—because the internal communications landscape is littered with cutting-edge and hot tech tools that didn’t work. The reason: There was never a plan for using these tools in the first place. That’s what’s this workshop is all about: showing you how to draw up a content strategy for all of this cool stuff. Through short lectures and group activities, you’ll learn how to build a plan for an intranet, along with company apps and internal social media channels that will communicate key messages so they get read and acted upon by employees. When this happens, this stuff truly becomes cool.

You’ll learn:

  • How to create a communication plan that plays to social media’s No. 1 superpower: the online community
  • How to tap into the power to make a mobile app a key driver of messages to employees
  • How to develop a visual communication plan that will transform your unpopular intranet and internal social media channels and mobile apps into beautiful, must-see “eye candy” for your employees
  • Ways to use photos, video and infographics across all online communications platforms to convey key business goals so employees understand them and know their roles in executing them
  • How to add a bit of disruption to your plan by giving employees some level of control over posting content to the intranet and social media channels
  • Ways to identify and draw out your organization’s No. 1 source of digital content: stories from employees
Digital and video content director
Ragan Consulting Group
Read bio

Thursday, March 21

9–10 a.m.
Opening keynote

Internal communications for the modern workplace: How to run your department like a startup

When Dorri McWhorter took over as CEO of YWCA Chicago, she quickly disrupted the way the 140-year-old organization did business. By adopting the mentality and strategies of today’s biggest tech startups, she created a culture of fearless innovation at the nonprofit. During this session, you’ll discover how you can copy her success within your own team and organization.

Learn how to:

  • Rethink the structure of your team to meet the demands of today’s volatile business world
  • Work as partners with senior leaders to align your communications objectives to business goals
  • Create a culture of disruption by encouraging employees to think creatively and bravely
CEO
YWCA Chicago
Read bio
10:10–11:00 a.m.

Rethinking employee engagement: Storytelling as a tool for empowerment

How do you keep geographically and culturally diverse employees on the same page with your organization’s mission while also encouraging them to disrupt traditional ways of thinking? It requires an integrated communications approach that is solidly aligned with your priorities. Discover how BASF is using internal communications to empower employees.

Learn how you can:

  • Use compelling storytelling techniques—such as the hero’s journey—to inspire and motivate employees to innovate and break the status quo
  • Craft a meaningful, easy-to-understand call to action and communicate it through various channels
  • Provide leaders with the tools they need to be more relatable and effective in reinforcing your corporate culture
  • Understand how to measure success by carefully analyzing employee acceptance, retention and action
Director of corporate communications, North America
BASF Corporation
Read bio
11:10 a.m.–12 p.m.

Stand out! Proven tips to create a compelling brand campaign that keeps employees engaged with your organization’s culture

In a fast-paced environment where employees are inundated with information, creating an effective “stand out” communications campaign takes a special knack. Ensuring that you're meeting the needs of employees and your organization's goals is the key to success. Discover how Nationwide created a “Stand Out” campaign that built a culture of learning and growth in the organization.

Learn firsthand how to:

  • Identify effective tactics for interacting and collaborating with employees
  • Inspire employees to adopt the mindsets and behaviors that align with your corporate culture, vision and mission
  • Amplify your message across channels in a consistent and accurate manner
  • Coordinate activities across different teams to build a simple, effective, low-budget campaign
  • Motivate employees to seek out opportunities to enhance their skills and grow with your organization
Communications consultant
Nationwide Insurance
Read bio
12–1 p.m.

Lunch

1:40–2:30 p.m.
Panel

What you need to do to attract and retain Gen Z employees

Generation Z grew up in a world marked by disruption. Now it’s arrived in the job market. Internal communicators must understand what makes this group different from its predecessors and what its members want from their workplaces. During this panel, you’ll hear how innovative organizations are getting to know this demographic and how they’re adapting their strategies to meet Gen Z’s unique needs.

Panel participants coming soon.

3:20–3:45 p.m.

Networking break

3:45–4 p.m.
Learning Hackathon

Capture your top takeaways for building a work culture of fearless innovation

In this first Learning Hackathon, you and your peers seize control of the conference. Through group activities, you’ll capture the different communications approaches you’ve heard today that will help you achieve a work culture of fearless innovation.

5:30-7 p.m.

Tour and cocktail reception at McDonald's headquarters

Friday, March 22

9–9:50 a.m.

Is it time for a culture upgrade? Driving behavior change and company culture through powerful internal communications

You can have an exciting, innovative product or service and a great strategy, but without a culture that matches, your business won’t thrive. The first steps to creating a lasting culture of innovation? Identifying the behaviors that will truly motivate employees to fulfill your organization’s mission, and engaging senior leaders in the culture-building process by making sure your culture meets the strategic needs of the business. Learn how to get senior leaders on board with your efforts and create truly powerful culture change within your organization.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Determine what behaviors will drive a culture of innovation
  • Partner with senior leaders to ensure your culture change endures
  • Effectively communicate your new culture to all employees
  • Make culture change powerful and measurable.
  • Share your new culture externally to promote your employer brand
Executive communication and employee engagement manager
Crayola
Read bio
10–10:50 a.m.

Data is king: How to apply analytics to improve the employee experience

Employees are consumers, and they now expect their experience at work to mirror their everyday life—digital, mobile and convenient. Consumerism can be applied internally at organizations to allow for the same thing, thus improving the employee experience, which is just as important as the customer—or patient—experience.

In this session, you’ll learn how to:

  • Best use all available analytics resources
  • Use data to tell a story about your workforce
  • Connect the dots to make strategic decisions when communicating and engaging with your workforce
  • Apply the right technologies to prevent miscommunications
  • Segment employee audiences so they receive the right information the right way—at the right time
Manager, internal communications
Ochsner Health System
Read bio
11–11:15 a.m.
Learning Hackathon

Create an action plan for inspiring employees to be fearless innovators

Before the conference ends, you and your peers will put together a plan of action for building a work culture of fearless innovation when you return to the office.

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Closing Keynote

Lessons from Fitbit: Use humor and humanity to drive a culture of innovation at your organization

In a high-pressure business world, employees need their workplaces to offer a space where their unique talents are appreciated and where taking creative risks is encouraged. Discover how Fitbit inspires its workforce to go above and beyond every day.

Learn how to:

  • Deepen your understanding of the wants and needs of your workforce
  • Use storytelling to create a sense of belonging for employees from all backgrounds
  • Place authenticity at the forefront of all your communications efforts
  • Show tangible results that earn the trust of organization leaders
Director, Internal Communications
Fitbit
Read bio

Thursday, March 21

9–10 a.m. Central time
Opening keynote

Internal communications for the modern workplace: How to run your department like a startup

When Dorri McWhorter took over as CEO of YWCA Chicago, she quickly disrupted the way the 140-year-old organization did business. By adopting the mentality and strategies of today’s biggest tech startups, she created a culture of fearless innovation at the nonprofit. During this session, you’ll discover how you can copy her success within your own team and organization.

Learn how to:

  • Rethink the structure of your team to meet the demands of today’s volatile business world
  • Work as partners with senior leaders to align your communications objectives to business goals
  • Create a culture of disruption by encouraging employees to think creatively and bravely
CEO
YWCA Chicago
Read bio
10:10–11:00 a.m. Central time

Rethinking employee engagement: Storytelling as a tool for empowerment

How do you keep geographically and culturally diverse employees on the same page with your organization’s mission while also encouraging them to disrupt traditional ways of thinking? It requires an integrated communications approach that is solidly aligned with your priorities. Discover how BASF is using internal communications to empower employees.

Learn how you can:

  • Use compelling storytelling techniques—such as the hero’s journey—to inspire and motivate employees to innovate and break the status quo
  • Craft a meaningful, easy-to-understand call to action and communicate it through various channels
  • Provide leaders with the tools they need to be more relatable and effective in reinforcing your corporate culture
  • Understand how to measure success by carefully analyzing employee acceptance, retention and action
Director of corporate communications, North America
BASF Corporation
Read bio
11:10 a.m.–12 p.m. Central time

Stand out! Proven tips to create a compelling brand campaign that keeps employees engaged with your organization’s culture

In a fast-paced environment where employees are inundated with information, creating an effective “stand out” communications campaign takes a special knack. Ensuring that you're meeting the needs of employees and your organization's goals is the key to success. Discover how Nationwide created a “Stand Out” campaign that built a culture of learning and growth in the organization.

Learn firsthand how to:

  • Identify effective tactics for interacting and collaborating with employees
  • Inspire employees to adopt the mindsets and behaviors that align with your corporate culture, vision and mission
  • Amplify your message across channels in a consistent and accurate manner
  • Coordinate activities across different teams to build a simple, effective, low-budget campaign
  • Motivate employees to seek out opportunities to enhance their skills and grow with your organization
Communications consultant
Nationwide Insurance
Read bio
1:40–2:30 p.m. Central time
Panel

What you need to do to attract and retain Gen Z employees

Generation Z grew up in a world marked by disruption. Now it’s arrived in the job market. Internal communicators must understand what makes this group different from its predecessors and what its members want from their workplaces. During this panel, you’ll hear how innovative organizations are getting to know this demographic and how they’re adapting their strategies to meet Gen Z’s unique needs.

Panel participants coming soon.

3:45–4 p.m. Central time
Learning Hackathon

Capture your top takeaways for building a work culture of fearless innovation

In this first Learning Hackathon, you and your peers seize control of the conference. Through group activities, you’ll capture the different communications approaches you’ve heard today that will help you achieve a work culture of fearless innovation.

Friday, March 22

9–9:50 a.m. Central time

Is it time for a culture upgrade? Driving behavior change and company culture through powerful internal communications

You can have an exciting, innovative product or service and a great strategy, but without a culture that matches, your business won’t thrive. The first steps to creating a lasting culture of innovation? Identifying the behaviors that will truly motivate employees to fulfill your organization’s mission, and engaging senior leaders in the culture-building process by making sure your culture meets the strategic needs of the business. Learn how to get senior leaders on board with your efforts and create truly powerful culture change within your organization.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Determine what behaviors will drive a culture of innovation
  • Partner with senior leaders to ensure your culture change endures
  • Effectively communicate your new culture to all employees
  • Make culture change powerful and measurable.
  • Share your new culture externally to promote your employer brand
Executive communication and employee engagement manager
Crayola
Read bio
10–10:50 a.m. Central time

Data is king: How to apply analytics to improve the employee experience

Employees are consumers, and they now expect their experience at work to mirror their everyday life—digital, mobile and convenient. Consumerism can be applied internally at organizations to allow for the same thing, thus improving the employee experience, which is just as important as the customer—or patient—experience.

In this session, you’ll learn how to:

  • Best use all available analytics resources
  • Use data to tell a story about your workforce
  • Connect the dots to make strategic decisions when communicating and engaging with your workforce
  • Apply the right technologies to prevent miscommunications
  • Segment employee audiences so they receive the right information the right way—at the right time
Manager, internal communications
Ochsner Health System
Read bio
11–11:15 a.m. Central time
Learning Hackathon

Create an action plan for inspiring employees to be fearless innovators

Before the conference ends, you and your peers will put together a plan of action for building a work culture of fearless innovation when you return to the office.

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Central time
Closing Keynote

Lessons from Fitbit: Use humor and humanity to drive a culture of innovation at your organization

In a high-pressure business world, employees need their workplaces to offer a space where their unique talents are appreciated and where taking creative risks is encouraged. Discover how Fitbit inspires its workforce to go above and beyond every day.

Learn how to:

  • Deepen your understanding of the wants and needs of your workforce
  • Use storytelling to create a sense of belonging for employees from all backgrounds
  • Place authenticity at the forefront of all your communications efforts
  • Show tangible results that earn the trust of organization leaders
Director, Internal Communications
Fitbit
Read bio