Joining us at the 5th Annual Government Employee Engagement & Internal Communications Strategies training are over 10 leading internal communicators who will be leading interactive workshops and engaging sessions of the the 3-day event. A few of them sat down with us to answer some questions on why they are passionate about internal communications and what you can expect to learn at this training, Sept. 17-19 in Washington, D.C.
Here’s what they had to say…
Why is this conference important for internal communications professionals to attend?
Lori Croy, Director of Communications, Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance: A well-informed and engaged workforce is one of your most important communication assets. No matter what you say to your external audience, if your employees don’t know, understand, and support your message—you’re in trouble. Learn how to prepare your people to be your best ambassadors.
Leslie Krohn, Strategic Global Communications Chief, Argonne National Laboratory: Employees are an organization’s most valuable resource. The organization benefits when each employee understands how their work contributes to the organization’s success. Employees also benefit when they have clear direction, not only on their roles/responsibilities, but on the organization’s short and long-term vision, as they can then better steer their own career choices.
Michael Hughes, Communications Liaison, National Transportation Safety Board: Employees are the lifeblood of any organization or agency. Knowing what people need, so that they thrive and perform at their best, is vital. This conference brings some of the best minds together to discuss ways to accomplish that goal through internal comms.
What do you hope internal communications professionals will take away from this conference (or your session)?
Croy: As communication professionals we are all taught how to speak, write and deliver our message. But, I hope my internal communication peers will learn the importance of listening in order to be their most effective—starting with their own internal audience.
Krohn: I’d like those who attend to understand how important culture is, that culture can, in fact, be changed, and that today’s diverse workforce responds to innovative communications channels and tactics.
Hughes: Internal comms professionals should walk away with specific tools and resources they can implement at their companies or agencies, which will help keep their teams informed, feeling connected, and energized to accomplish their organization’s mission.
What drew you to internal communications and why are you passionate about this role?
Croy: This is one of the few times we can truthfully claim WE ARE THE AUDIENCE. Not only are we writing and delivering the messages, but as employees, we’re also receiving the message. Through personal experience, I learned that timely and accurate information was my most valuable tool. I could work more effectively, solve problems more quickly, and recognize potential issues before they became public with this type of information. I want all of my colleagues to benefit from that.
Krohn: Since the beginning of my career, it was clear that “everything internal is external,” and vice versa. So internal communications is always top of mind, whether an issue starts, stops, or stays internal. I also really enjoy the ownership communicators can have of their internal messaging; it’s one place where outside forces have less impact and you can control your destiny to a great extent.
Hughes: I love internal comms because I know that employees who feel connected to their organizations and their leaders are happier, and more productive. I also love working across teams and with individuals to make a difference in people’s lives.
What’s one thing you wish you could tell your past self?
Croy: Listen more, talk less, and be flexible.
Krohn: I have given up telling myself, my daughters, or my team members “It’ll be ok.” That can be an empty promise which reduces my credibility and suggests others have responsibility. What I say instead is “I/we can manage this.” That phrase has proven its value in building self-esteem, ownership and positive results time and again.
Hughes: Trust your gut.