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Workshop 1 (half day)

Communicating Organizational Strategy to Employees: Building Buy-In and Fostering Involvement

Presenters: Heidi Keller-Glaze, ICF International 
  Courtney Partlow, ICF International
  Suzanne Masterson, Sun Microsystems
Coordinator: Margaret Barton, U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Now, more than ever, organizations are realizing that even modest investments in improved internal communications can return significant rewards. By making an effort to ensure that employees understand, buy into, can clearly articulate, and work toward an organization’s overarching goals, organizations can realize improved efficiencies in terms of working relationships and performance. Communications can be a powerful tool in keeping an organization forward focused and operating smoothly, while simultaneously opening an important dialogue that can bring potential liabilities as well as valuable recommendations to light more quickly.

In some cases, communications alone about an organization’s goals can lead to noticeable improvements in employee performance. In other cases, taking the added steps of linking the organization’s goals to employees’ performance evaluations, incorporating details in employee orientation, and building a focus on organizational priorities into hiring practices are required. Thus, communications experts are partnering with human resource professionals to achieve desired ends through a wide variety of communication strategies and methods. This workshop will focus on proven communications strategies and tactics and highlight opportunities to leverage the power of integration with human resources.

This workshop is designed to help participants:
• Develop methods for linking organizational goals to individual goals
• Link human resource initiatives that affect employees at the individual level to strategic organizational goals
• Develop and leverage the communication plan to bring about change
• Identify key steps required to effectively implement communication plans
• Formulate ways to evaluate plan results and HR initiatives

Heidi Keller-Glaze is a senior manager in the Applied Organizational Research Group at ICF International.  In her current role, she manages leadership research projects and also engages in leader development consulting, primarily for government agencies such as the Army.  Her work involves designing and implementing initiatives and research, as well as extensive consulting with clients about how to position and communicate initiatives to lead to increased participation in programs and research efforts.  Most recently, she has been working with the Army to translate leadership strategy into development programs at the individual level.  In addition, she has presented at a variety of professional conferences on the topics of organizational assessments, retention, and competency modeling.  She received a PhD in I-O psychology from Central Michigan University.

Courtney Partlow is a principal in the Strategic Communications Group at ICF International.  Ms. Partlow has more than 10 years of experience developing and implementing strategic internal communications campaigns for private-sector clients such as GlaxoSmithKline and public-sector clients including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Postal Service.  Her expertise includes developing actionable and measurable communications plans based on organizational insight and best practices that define communications objectives as well as the steps that must be taken to reach each objective. Ms. Partlow has successfully implemented a wide range of internal communications tactics from traditional brochures to online newsletters and SharePoint sites.  In addition to her work in internal communications, Ms. Partlow has also implemented external communications campaigns for clients such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program, Office of Children’s Health Protection, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Infrastructure Protection. 

Suzanne Masterson is director of Sun Microsystems’ enterprise and business group communications.  Since joining Sun Microsystems in 2004, Ms. Masterson has led communication efforts for large-scale change initiatives at the company including a multi-process, multi-year HR outsourcing project and the implementation of a new ERP system.

Ms. Masterson leads a team responsible for Sun-wide communication as well as communicators who manage communication in the lines of business.  This organization structure helps bring alignment to internal communication across the company and promotes the sharing of best practices.  Prior to joining Sun, Ms. Masterson was a communication consultant working with clients in a variety of industries - key engagements included Avery Dennison, Boeing, GlobalSantaFe, SBC Communications, U.S. Bank, Vivendi Universal Entertainment, and The Walt Disney Company . Her educational credentials include a dual bachelor of arts degree in communication studies/cultural anthropology and a juris doctor degree — a combination that fuses knowledge of fundamental communication principles with analytical thinking.  Suzanne is based in Southern California working virtually with team members globally across Sun.

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