In response to feedback from 2023’s Festival Goers and the ever-changing world of internal communication, we have revised both the zones and themes for 2024.
The Festival hosts a variety of zones, so you can choose the content most relevant to you:
Inspiration - here you'll listen to keynote speeches, topical panels and fireside chats
Practical - this will be the place to go to hear thought-provoking case studies, lively debates and ‘how to’ advice
Learning* – this new zone is where you’ll take part in workshops and interactive learning
Conversation* - this area will be all about co-creation, sharing ideas with fellow practitioners and listening to others’ career journeys/advice
Coaching - you can pick up practical tips on your development here with both individual and group sessions
Connect* - Meet our sponsors to engage in some interesting practical demonstrations of what they can offer to support you, as well as taking the time to chat with other Festival Goers, speakers and the IoIC team
*new for 2024
Within each zone, we will be featuring a variety of themes and topics that you've told us are important in the world of internal communication, now and in the future.
As internal communicators our fundamental purpose is to ensure we are reaching our audiences, however that looks in our organisation. Traditional methods still have their place but how are we evolving internal communication content and enabling conversation and connection through our channels?
Conversation, Dialogue and Listening – Internal communication professionals need to enable two-way communication. With true dialogue that really makes a difference and ensures employees feel heard, valued and involved, that they matter at work. How can we build collaboration and shared meaning and understanding, especially when the conversations are around challenging topics? How can we utilise our channels and internal communication activities to bring everyone together against a backdrop of ever-changing working practices and individual communication preferences in this now hybrid world. How can we ensure continuous listening and feedback loops are embedded into our IC strategies?
Change and Transformation - Change is inevitable and transformation is continually ongoing, so how can we balance the continued change communication that our organisations require to meet their objectives, and deliver communication strategies that ensure their success, and what role does internal communication play in helping transform an organisation?
Employee Experience - With the fight to attract and retain talent, internal communication professionals need to be part of engendering and designing positive working experiences. How can we consider the needs and motivations of everyone and build employee-centred communications that meet their needs - can we address a drop off in engagement and satisfaction? What role can we play in creating and communicating a strong Employee Value Proposition, that is lived and felt by everyone to differentiating the organisation in a challenging recruitment and retention market?
Regardless of employment type, hours or location of work, people sit at the heart of the potential, productivity, performance and purpose of organisations.
The world of work continues to change, and we are experiencing significant cultural shifts, against a backdrop of varying needs and preferences. To really make an impact, internal communication practitioners need to understand people and cultures. With continued cultural complexity and uncertainty, how can we ensure we know our audiences and be part of engendering a positive working environment which considers the needs and motivations of everyone
Sustainability – Healthy human relationships underpin all sustainability endeavours. How is internal communication assisting the organisation to become sustainable? This covers all aspects of sustainability from reducing carbon emissions to promoting personal wellbeing. More than ever employees need to believe in the organisation they work for and want to align themselves with an organisation that shares their values and purpose, so organisations must successfully communicate vision, commitments and progress; to embed sustainability into culture and create the opportunity to thrive. As the climate emergency escalates and environmental pressures become more extreme, all organisations will be forced to reduce carbon emissions and deliver products, services and solutions in a way that is less damaging for future generations. How can internal communication be at the forefront of sustainability communication and behaviour change? And how can we communicate the wellbeing initiatives in our organisations, and ensure the everyday communication supports our people’s wellbeing and take care of ourselves too. How do we ensure what is said and done are mirrored externally and internally?
Leadership and Line Manager - Our leaders and line managers are crucial when it comes to delivering effective messages and setting the tone and culture of the organisations. So how do we ensure we are effectively advising our leaders and supporting line managers to be effective communicators? How can we encourage leadership to be authentic? How do we ensure internal communication is part of strategic and organisational decision making? Can we bring leaders and the employees closer together to create a more human centred-organisation? Do our line managers communicate effectively, how can IC support them in their role?
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) - IC must play a role in creating more equal, diverse and inclusive organisations. By shaping and driving EDI through conversation, behaviour change, and campaigns which create real change and demonstrable outcomes . We must also ensure the internal comms profession is itself diverse and inclusive. How can we help shape inclusive organisations of the future?
AI is creating opportunities for internal communication but also risks. How do we leverage the benefits of AI while upholding professional integrity and consider the moral & ethical implications?
Whilst it is clear that AI can create efficiencies that allow internal communication professionals the space to focus on human connection, there are unanswered questions that need deeper thought – how can we ensure internal communicators are at the forefront of the AI changes in their organisation?
Alongside this healthy adoption of new technology into our workplaces requires thoughtful consideration and open conversation. How can internal communication lead the dialogue around technology changes and its safe adoption and upskilling amongst the workforce?
AI is a driving force but is there other technology we should be leveraging? How do we ensure we continually improve the digital experiences for employees and use these to enhance our understanding and build those personalised experiences?
Demonstrating our impact through demonstrable outcomes that drive our organisations success is fundamental to our strategic role. As the challenges for organisations increase, we need to be able to look ahead, be prepared for the trends shaping the future of work whilst being able to advise and respond with agility in this constantly changing and uncertain commercial environment. Being a bridge between leadership and employees provides us with the information, insight, and skills to advise.
What are the key challenges facing organisations in which IC plays a pivotal role?
How are we using data, insight, and our expert knowledge to make recommendations and demonstrate our outcomes?
How are we working with our colleagues across functions from people and external communications to ensure strategic alignment, so our voices are heard and acted upon?
Do you have any examples of IC work that has made a direct impact on core organisational objectives from retention, behaviour change to transformation?
What trends are you monitoring? How can we ensure we’re planning for the future.
What are we looking for?
As part of all these themes, we would be looking for:
Inspiring stories, creative thinking and case studies
Evidence of your IC impact
Innovative approaches to your IC tactics
What you learned that you think others would benefit from too.
Please do include these in your submission.
We will of course be agile in our sessions and will also cover topical issues that are relevant in June.
We also have an ‘other/not sure’ category, so if you have something to share but you aren’t sure of the theme or it doesn’t fall into the themes.
We would also like to hear from people outside the profession – perhaps you have an amazing CEO that puts employees at the heart of the organisation or department manager who is championing a particular issue and doing amazing things?. If you think an audience of internal communicators would be interested then please do answer our call for contributions – you have until Friday 19 January.
We are actively seeking 2024 Festival speakers. This is your chance to showcase success, present new insight and discuss them with fellow IC professionals. You have until Friday 19 January.