Employee engagement in turbulent times… part two

As promised, here is the second part of my write-up on the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ Internal Communications conference last week.

The remainder of the day was split into two sessions. The first was hosted by Lindsay Uitenbogaard, Comms Manager, Shell Global Accountant, T-Systems, Nederland, who wrote a short play about a fictional company. The company related to a job advert for a Director of Comms that was published in a special conference newspaper which had been sent to all CIPR members before the event.

Over the next 20 minutes Big Wheel theatre company performed Lindsay’s play. It outlined the problems facing a large corporation. We were asked to put ourselves into the shoes of being the new Communications Director of a global pest control company. Through the play we had the opportunity to watch their operations team at work and the session showed how Internal Communications can play out where it counts – at the team level.

It featured fairly painful conversations centred around HR’s perspective and Comms’ perspective. There were lots of grimaces around the room as the professional communicators related to and recognised some of the situations. For example hearing the HR manager trying to communicate ‘strategic levers’ and how this landed with the audience = badly.

Once the play was over, we were all challenged to discuss what we would do if we were the Comms Director stepping into that organisation and the actions that we would take. I liked the approach of having a short play and the conversations it generated demonstrated that the audience had found it thought-provoking. It certainly created a lively debate on the table I was sat at.

Back to the future
The final session of the day was from Rohit Talwar, CEO of Fast Future.  Rohit spoke for an hour about the future, providing a glimpse into the world in 2016 including the role genetics will play, nanotechnology, business intelligence, energy, business models, virtual assistants, 3D printing and technology.

Rohit challenged the comms professionals in the room to “think about how you are going to communicate with someone in a virtual world”.

Here are some of Rohit’s thoughts from his presentation…

Sustainability isn’t a nice to have, it’s a licence to operate

Service from partners is the killer app

You need to learn how younger people communicate

We will see at least three recessions in the next seven years

Thinking is back in fashion

Over the next decade firms will pay increased attention to a candidate’s social media influencing ranks when recruiting

This presentation captured my imagination, regular readers to my blog will know I’ve written about augmented reality in the past and I love the idea of having glimpses into the future and thinking through ways to communicate effectively to keep up with the possibilities of the world and technology around us.

Have you been to a good conference or training course on Comms lately? If so and you’d like to share your perspective with readers of Diary of an internal communicator by writing a guest article, do get in touch with me: rach@rachmiller.com.

Post author: Rachel


  1. Sean Trainor says:

    Thanks for capturing the key points of the day Rachel. There has been excellent feedback from delegates. The social media panel scored 81% so thanks for your input. (Torbay were top of the class with 87%)
    P.S. From a quick on-line poll, IC pros who think they belong to a profession has gone up to 2/3. The minority see it as a management discipline or shared service.

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