My passion for communications in the workplace is fairly broad. From my first day of college I knew, without a doubt, that my career would be in a corporate communications department or PR agency somewhere. In fact, my communications interests ranged from media relations to investor relations and social media. I never really thought much about internal communications. Interesting that for the past four years that’s what my role has been. I was recently reminded why, after falling into it by chance, I’ve stuck with it.
Last week, the Sabre Internal Communications team attended the Ragan Communications Best Practices Summit at the Gleacher Center in Chicago, Ill. The summit included:
- Several case study examples from companies willing to share their proven internal communications strategies
- A number of pre-conference workshops that helped provide a whole new approach to engage employees
- A comprehensive list of top-notch keynote speakers
In just two days, I gained access to leading communicators – including Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications – industry best practices and rich networking opportunities with fellow practitioners. All of which reignited my passion for internal communications.
“Trust is the defining principle of a great workplace … and we have a crisis of confidence when it comes to trust at work,” said William Amurgis, director of Global Communications, Netjets, and speaker at the conference.
That concept truly struck me. So often internal communicators are part of very small teams, and are tasked with providing meaningful messaging to thousands (in my case about 10,000 employees). To know our messaging is the key contributor to building a workplace worthy of its employee’s trust is really very humbling and clued me into why I’ve stuck with it. I’m honored to have that sort of responsibility.
Another clue was the concept of “emotionally engaging your stakeholders and employees.” At the conference, I had the chance to hear what this can truly mean from Tiffany Payette, communications director, Cancer Treatment Centers of America. She shared stories and videos of cancer patients learning for the first time that they might have a shot at seeing their next birthday. I had to fight back a few tears!
While not every industry can touch the heart like healthcare can, I was reminded that we can all dig for the stories that speak to our employees and stakeholders at a more human level. Our companies are more than just financial numbers and stock prices – and sometimes we forget that.
In Sabre’s case, our technology enables people to connect through travel. We make it possible for a mother to see her child graduate college across the country or for a father to walk his daughter down the aisle at her destination wedding. As an internal communicator, I need to find those stories and make sure the world knows about them! If not for attending this conference and hearing what my peers from other organizations are doing, I might have let myself get lost in the monotony of day-to-day business.
So now I know why – after letting an internal communications role “pick me” right out of college – I have chosen to remain in the field. Building trust in the workplace and reminding people why they go to work every day – that’s why I work in internal communications.