Melcrum’s “What Does the Future Hold for Internal Communication?”

May 10, 2011…IABC-LA held an exclusive event “What Does the Future Hold for Internal Communication?” for 25 participants presented by Melcrum’s Strategic Communication Research Forum.  Melcrum is an internal communications company dedicated to offering domestic and global clients comprehensive body of knowledge of best practices, toolkits and research on every level of internal communication.  Jeff Hostler, Melcrum Vice President Research and Content, presented some eye-opening research such as “people don’t leave companies, people leave managers of companies.”  Jeff was accompanied by Melcrum’s Key Accounts Executive, Mike Dombo. Mike briefly described  Melcrum’s Black Belt Program which sets the standard for internal comms globally and the basis for research data presented during the evening.

IABC-LA Social Media Chair dynamo, Rebecca Mikkelsen, introduced Jeff Hostler who led us through a discussion starting with the post-recessional environment. Companies must rebuild trust and re-engineer respective employee value propositions.  Later, Jeff covered corporate structure and management style, roles and responsibilities, partnerships, technology, research and measurement and more with an emphasis on outcomes, not just outputs.
 
• Companies must take into account how four cross-generational groups of employees must interact and communicate with each other…and then think globally, culturally as well.

• The great challenge of evolving internal communications, no longer just a function “sitting on the side of the desk.”  Developing processes to support trust and transparency as well as sustainability is a key factor.

•  Building 10% more trust equates to 36% more pay increases for employees.  Now that’s positive!

Jeff also discussed partnerships and the importance of ensuring consistency across channels and stakeholders, as well how execs can foster trust without just pushing info out. 

On the topic of technology, Jeff purposely did not discuss social media in-depth, yet stressed connecting with local IT to collaborate on defined goals.  Too many internal comms departments put the FaceBook horse before the business strategies cart, without first evaluating whether specific social media is applicable.  Business priorities must lead over choosing tech methods. That said, too many companies also negated employees’ social media use by banning use during work hours, only to discover employees have smart phones in their purses and pockets to access social media anyway. 

Jeff also covered research and measurement and again, emphasized how important it was to measure outcomes not output.  It is internal comms responsibility to prove the value of a specific suggested strategy, which does require extra work time.  It’s not enough to know that 4,000 employees actually read an email (output)…how did they act on it (outcome)?   Company internal comms mistake survey answers from employees who state they understand a company’s business goals, yet that’s not a measurement…how do the actions of the employees support the business goals?

There were some excellent feedback and suggestions from our savvy participants providing terrific takeaways for everyone.  Chris Cabrera of Southern California Edison described a truly innovative employee resource group at SCE supporting SCE’s employee value proposition.
 
Big Thanks to the incomparable Gail Herring and Toyota for hosting the event.  Gail also serves on the chapter board as Treasurer.  Participants were also very appreciative to meet and hear experts Jeff Hostler and Mike Dombo of Melcrum, and to partner with Melcrum on senior internal communications events.

Please see video posted on YouTube at http://youtu.be/b54ZNZ9X5cI

Murder Mystery Holiday Luncheon 2010

 

IABC-LA’s annual holiday teas have been truly lovely and held in beautiful tearooms over the last few years…however, there was a chalk mark drawn around the still body of the tea concept this year in favor of something entirely newand unique: A Holiday Murder Mystery Luncheon! 

How well does a Murder Mystery go with the holidays? Only ZorroClaus, a wisecracking “LAPD detective” and crime-solving IABC members them-elves could participate in such twists and turns at The Porterhouse Bistro in Beverly Hills on December 11, 2010.  And yes, the demise of some “victims” was brought on by our own members (see video attached).  Who was involved and why?  Besides inspired event coordination by Myra Jolivet (who brought up the idea originally), with assistance by Christie Ly and Christopher Cabrera, a secret source supplied information about some chapter members to the host of the interactive Murder Mystery to create intrigue, heavy laughs, red herrings and fun.

The L.A. Chapter maintained its commitment and passion to communications as bodies fell from being “shot”, “stabbed” or “poisoned.”  Chapter member Bill Spaniel donned his baseball caps in Sherlock Holmes style and used his delightful wit as one of the crime-solvers. Bill also reminded us of the upcoming judging opportunities for The Gold Quill Awards.  Rebecca Mikkelsen and chapter President, Paula Cassin, reiterated how much we learn from the entries in participating as a Gold Quill Judge…with terrific networking opportunities professionally and personally. (Rebecca and I have become wonderful friends since pairing up as Gold Quill judging partners last January.  I later joined Rebecca’s social media team for the chapter this year.)  Rebecca and Stephen Cassin also participated kindly as our mystery host threw questions at us about what we know about these two possible suspects. 

We enjoyed our four-course luncheon of gourmet food and wine while catching up with members. Later, Julie Fornaro, our new website’s mastermind, read from a suspiciously-dropped business card “Hits-R-Us” while a wisecracking “LAPD detective” threaded the mounting clues throughout the interactive plot… including a Santa hat with a sword poked through a note from “ZorroClaus.”  Otherwise hard-working Chapter President Paula Cassin revealed herself as “ZorroClaus” …and Keeping Up with the Kardashians..well, sort of…having much fun distributing “stolen” cash and presents.  Kerry Bonner sported her bright and cheery red jacket during the event’s pre-luncheon cocktails…only to “wear a knife” and create some great laughs during her “death scene.” Bill Spaniel, David Schmidt, Gail Herring, Chris Cabrera and Stephen Cassin were terrific sports against the detective’s banter. Chapter crime-solvers also included Mauria McPoland, Marsha Webster, Louvenia Austin, Elodie Khavarani , Susan Delgadillo and Pamela Corante-Hansen…all suspects until proven innocent. Cheryl Farrell had some serious explaining to do…which led to some hilarious communications and “battle scene” antics between the detective and Cheryl.  

Congrats to Ariela Iringan and Briana Sharp who were the closest in figuring out the details, motives and storyline when everyone paired up to solve the crimes.  Our host proclaimed the rest of us as not-yet-detective-ready in our “pathetic” attempts to solve the motives behind the secrets.  We enjoy solving communications issues…or bad puns like “Nobody Does It Deader.”

Chris Cabrera of Southern California Edison and Paula Cassin, presented a $500 donation check to our chapter’s guest, Gina Quesenberry, Librarian at the El Monte Library in support of the El Monte Library’s programs that reach children, teens and adults.  We were delighted to have Gina take part in our mystery while being a gracious and good-humored recipient toward our chapter’s commitment to supporting our communities.  Chris Cabrera also stated that Southern California Edison is making a donation of 85 books to enhance the library’s materials towards further support.

Warm thanks to Myra Jolivet, Christie Ly, and Chris Cabrera for putting their distinct and creative fingerprints all over this memorable event.  Acting nods to Paula, Kerry and Cheryl…for hilarious comedic “drama” and our thanks again to The Porterhouse Bistro actors and staff who put some holiday crackle into our tongue-in-cheek event.