Key Takeaways from Our Chicago ThinkTank Roadshow

Last month, we launched our first ever ThinkTank Road Show to create an opportunity for communication professionals to connect with the best of their peers and talk about their increasingly critical roles. On October 17, we made a stop in Chicago to speak with communication leaders from Ryder Systems, Inc. and Sutter Health. Robyn Hannah, Senior Director of Global Communications at Dynamic Signal, kicked off the group conversation that covered everything from unique challenges each of them experience, the philosophy they use to approach communication strategies, and other helpful advice.

We want to extend a special thank you to all who attended. Like you, we’re committed to improving workforce communication and creating awareness for the important work you’re doing. The night would not have been as exciting without the fantastic communication leaders from Sutter Health and Ryder Systems, Inc. who joined to share their insights and their journeys. We know Chicago isn’t accessible to everyone, but we didn’t want you to miss out. So for those who couldn’t make this exclusive event, we wanted to share some highlights.

Chicago ThinkTank Discussion

Now is the time for us to evolve!

“From an internal perspective, we have a great chance to change the way that internal communication has been seen in the corporate world for the past 10, 15, or 20 years- or even longer than that. I think right now is a great time,” said Claudia Lima, Head of Global Internal Corporate Communications at Ryder System, Inc.

Communication teams are connected to every department from Legal to Social Media and are uniquely positioned to move entire organizations forward from both a technology and business perspective. Although marketing has been at the forefront of technological advancements within the last decade, now is the time for communication teams to advance their infrastructure and implement a new way of thinking when it comes to connecting with their employees.

Keep your internal and external teams on the same page.

In today’s fast, mobile-obsessed world, alignment between internal and external teams is more important than ever. “My philosophy is all news is good news, and all tools are good tools, it’s just how you use them,” said Michelle Grant, Internal Communications Coordinator, Sutter Health. Although she admits, it may not be the most popular approach to communication, as someone focused on internal communications, maintaining transparency with employees is a top priority. Michelle continued, “We never want employees to read about company news externally before they hear it from us.”

Approach Legal and HR conversations with confidence.

Most often, HR and legal teams are not sitting directly with your employees, which means they don’t always have the context to make the best decisions for them. This is where you come in. Internal and external communication teams need to be that connection and approach conversations with those teams with a growth mindset. Create opportunities to educate your legal team. Help them understand why you need technology and why it’s going to create benefits.

Leverage video for a more authentic connection.

Carey Peterson, Internal Communications Director at Sutter Health, mentioned how their multimedia manager encourages the executive team to embrace less formal videos. Instead of getting the perfect lighting and staging everything, they shoot video on an iPhone and send it out to employees. This makes it more authentic and real which has resonated with their employees (engagement is over 3x higher this way).

Keep it personal.

And let’s not forget to keep it personal. “You expect that the information being brought to you, is relevant to you,” said Claudia Panfil, Group Director of Marketing at Ryder System, Inc. We can’t overlook how important it is for deskless and global employees to engage in personal content driven by those in headquarters. Technology allows us to personalize content, so leverage it to create a new opportunity to connect.

After such great conversations at our first ThinkTank in Chicago, we’re sure we’ll be back! In the meantime, stay tuned to see if we’re coming to a city near you.

Post Author

G.I. Sanders

G.I. Sanders is Senior Director, Creative Services at Dynamic Signal. He specializes in entrepreneurship, digital and social media, design, and marketing. G.I. is based in Dallas, TX with his wife and two sons. Passions include technology, startups, music, fitness and sports.