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agenda - Day 1: Tuesday, March 15, 2011

8:00 a.m.
Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m.
Chairperson's Welcome & Opening Remarks

Gary Grates, President and Global Managing Director


8:45 a.m.
Implementing Employee Engagement To Drive The Bottom Line: Why Engaged Human Capital Is A Precious Asset For Your Organization

2010 was the tipping point when Boomers were replaced by Millennials as the leading members of the United States workforce. In 2011, we will see women replace men as the majority workforce gender. These transitions are powerful changes.

Many polls state that less than half of the workforce is engaged. Large employee turnover rates are anticipated after the economic recovery. Why? How can communication tools be effectively used to align and entangle the workforce?

In this session, you will hear how a 40-year serial entrepreneur who has started 28 companies, acquired three and currently is the President/CEO of seven organizations, has facilitated his engaged staff to launch five companies in the past four years. Tasty Catering, the most recognized brand in the mix, was named in the top 5 Best Place to Work in Illinois the past four years, taking #1 in 2008 and 2009, Wall Street Journal’s/Winning Workplaces Top 35 Small Companies in 2008 & 2009 and Inc Magazine’s Top 20 Workplaces in 2010.

Specifically, you will learn valuable lessons on how the role of communications has played in sustaining successful business models and how you can apply these practices to your organization, by:

  • Recognizing the damage caused by unengaged staff
  • Understanding why the basic need to “know” impacts results
  • Learning proven methods of engagement used by several award-winning companies
  • Creating communication instruments that speak from staff to staff
  • Changing staff doubt to profit

Thomas J. Walter, CEO & Founding Partner


9:30 a.m.
Three Highly-Effective (And Under-Utilized) Ways To Engage Your Employees And Drive Change

Most strategic change initiatives fail, or at least hit some major bumps along the road, because of poor employee engagement.

When Kaiser Permanente, the 60 year old $30B healthcare behemoth headquartered in Oakland, CA, decided to strategically reposition its brand in 2003, the company’s executive leadership understood the importance of employee engagement for long-term success. Since the start of this process, great progress has been made at Kaiser Permanente since its brand repositioning and employee engagement effort began.

If your team is struggling to engage your employees around a new strategy, learn from the experience of Kaiser Permanente and try these three things to help get your team back on track:

  1. Giving your staff the power to create their own fate: if people are told to act differently, they feel like "doers" with little control or power. Let people make choices about how they will contribute to the new strategy.
  2. Asking your staff what they think — and listen: when facing a challenge, ask for input first before making final decisions. If your people are stuck, ask them to suggest ways to remove the barriers that are holding them back.
  3. Sharing success and credit: no one wants to change if they don't think the new strategy will succeed. Or, if it does, the boss gets all the credit. Whenever you make progress, no matter how small, share it with your team as evidence that the new strategy works and employee engagement matters.

Scott Power, Senior Brand Strategist


10:15 a.m.
Break-Out Blitz! Network And Discuss Strategic Internal Communication Challenges With Your Fellow Conference Attendees

This session will open the conversation by connecting you with other conference participants and gain greater understanding into many similar issues, concerns, and challenges that your peers are also facing. Become acquainted with your fellow conference attendees in this fun and fast-paced forum!

10:45 a.m.
Morning Refreshment & Networking Break

11:15 a.m.
Connecting To Your Employees Near And Far: How To Integrate Social Media Into Your Internal Communications Plans

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District’s communications goal is to communicate as effectively with their internal audience as they do with their external audience. Realizing that internal communication needs to be dynamic in order to keep employees engaged, the Charleston District saw an opportunity for integrating social media into their internal communications. As an agency whose mission is to support Overseas Contingency Operations, civilian employees often volunteer to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq. The Charleston District turned to blogging to keep up with deployed employees.

Internal blogs have been set up for many deployed employees to stay engaged with their stateside colleagues. Blogging is a way for them to continuously share their experiences while they are away and allow people to comment and share the experience with them, making overseas travel seem much more like home. It is also a unique way for employees that have not deployed, but have considered it, to get an up close and personal look at what their life would be like if they did decide to go, making their decision much less stressful.

Learning from their experiences, you will be able to take back to your organization advice and lessons on:

  • How to reach your employees through blogging
  • Deciding if social media is right for your internal communications strategy
  • Honing in on the best ways to effectively communicate the internal missions of your organization to your employees
  • The best ways to showcase the use of internal social media as a necessary function for your organization
  • Other unique ways to involve your whole organization in your internal communication efforts

Sean McBride, Public Affairs Specialist


12:00 p.m.
Sticking The Landing: The Keys To Successful Internal Communications That Drive Bottom-Line Business Results

Internal communications is a critical component to a company's long-term success. It aligns employees around a vision, creates greater efficiency and understanding across an organization, and ultimately manifests itself externally through marketplace results.

The success of internal communications depends on generating genuine employee "engagement." The goal is to make all employees part of the communications process, create evangelism among the formal and informal leaders within an organization, capture hearts and minds across the workforce, and ultimately, create the kind of behavioral changes that will drive the company's intended business results.

In this session, you will learn how Dean Foods has incorporated several key elements in planning and executing an internal communications campaign for maximum results. You will take back practical lessons to your organization, such as:

  • Identifying critical business "inflection points" before a moment of opportunity, to enhance, evolve or completely redefine your organization
  • Understanding the cultural implications and mitigating issues before they happen
  • Realizing the shift in employee influence from the CEO, to the supervisor,
    to peers and "people like me"
  • Creating engaged, empowered and believable "storytellers"
    throughout the organization
  • Translating the brand effort into bottom-line business benefits – from recruiting, to retention, to revenue

Marguerite Copel, Vice President, Corporate Communications


12:45 p.m.
Lunch On Your Own -- But Not Alone!

Join a group of your colleagues for lunch with an informal discussion facilitated by one of our expert speakers. Take this opportunity to join others in a small, interactive group setting to network and brainstorm solutions to your most pressing internal communications concerns.


2:15 p.m.
Igniting Internal Communications With Effective Social Media Strategies: How To Improve Communication And Drive Engagement Among Employees

While most companies have begun to successfully incorporate social media into external communication programs, many are still struggling to effectively implement these technologies internally. By neglecting social media as a channel for internal communication, companies are missing out on an incredible opportunity to improve the effectiveness of their efforts. Social media is also one of the most immediate and cost-effective modes of communication, helping resource-strapped employee communications departments be more productive and responsive.

This session will highlight case studies on how Affect Strategies, as well as some of their clients, have leveraged social media internally to improve communication and drive engagement among employees.

You will be provided with specific social media tools and technologies that are most useful for your internal communication efforts and strategies, while learning how to:
  • Integrate social media with traditional communication efforts in order to maximize the success of your company’s internal communication program
  • Determine which social media platforms are most effective for internal communication programs based on the your company’s goals and culture
  • Review specific tools and technologies companies can use to efficiently execute social media for an internal audience
  • Create customized social networks or communities dedicated for employees only
  • Leverage social media platforms to highlight company/employee accomplishments, allowing them to deliver key messages and boost company morale
  • Empower employees to become social media ambassadors for your organization
Sample platforms and technologies that will be discussed include:
  • Social Networks (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn)
  • Video Communications (i.e. Youtube & Vimeo)
  • Blogging (i.e. Wordpress & Tumblr)
  • Short-form blogging platforms (i.e. Twitter & Yammer)
  • Custom Community Creations (i.e. Ning)

Sandra Fathi, President

3:00 p.m.
Afternoon Refreshment & Networking Break

3:20 p.m.
Heart At Work: Keeping Your Workforce Engaged, On Task And On Fire Through Transparent, Web 2.0 Dialogue And Employee Accountability

As an organization that does more than 90% of its work by mobilizing volunteers, the American Red Cross must constantly engage and inspire its workforce to show up. In their grassroots relief work in hundreds of chapters throughout the United States and around the world, they must be deeply accountable to the principles of people-centered leadership and workforce community building.

So how does the largest humanitarian effort in the world keep their workforce on task and focused in the midst of crisis? By learning from mistakes, fostering a rich and transparent dialogue, and encouraging people to bring their hearts to work.

Targeted for both not-for-profit and for-profit communicators, this presentation will explore how your organization can:

  • Mobilize your people in 2.0 world
  • Manage your workforce’s social media conversation
  • Encourage your employees to have a passion for volunteers
  • Further your volunteers and frontline “worker bees” to have the accountability of employees
  • Use stories to get results

Jackie Mitchell, Director, Marketing and Communications, Greater Chicago
Martha Carlos, Sr. Manager, Marketing and Communications, Greater Chicago


4:05 p.m.
From Internal Communications To Intentional Conversations: How And Why Your Organization Can Create More Opportunity For Intentional Conversations

Mars Chocolate North America (MCNA) produces some of America's favorite candy and snack foods, including M&M's, Snickers, Twix and Combos. With over 4,400 associates in 10 major locations in the U.S. and Canada, including a remote, mobile sales force, MCNA, like most companies its size and scope, faced challenges communicating internally. As the company responded to changes in the highly competitive, global marketplace, the internal communications team found that traditional communication models weren't producing the results they wanted. So, MCNA took a fresh approach to communications, with less emphasis on "internal communications" and more emphasis on "intentional conversations." This transition, still in its early stages, is helping to drive a fundamental shift in how the company communicates.

In this presentation, you’ll learn lessons on how your organization can also make the most of intentional conversations, and specifically:

  • How basic communications research uncovered the issues
  • Why it was important to switch to collaborative conversations
  • Which tools -- old and new -- were used to change the communications model
  • The roles both frontline supervisors and senior leaders play in creating conversations
  • The importance of explaining the "why" in addition to the "what, when, where and who"
Renee Kopkowski, Vice President, Corporate Affairs

Jason Anthoine, Senior Vice President


4:50 p.m.

End of Day One


5:00 p.m.
Networking Reception: Please Join Us!

We invite you to join us for a drink as you relax with your peers. All conference attendees and speakers are welcome to join us for this special opportunity to continue networking. Don't miss this chance to benchmark new ideas over complimentary drinks!

6:30 p.m.
Dine Around

Sign up during the day for dinner with a group. Take advantage of Chicago's fine dining while you continue to network with your colleagues.

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