Last week I felt really adventurous and flew from Kyiv to Berlin to attend my first professional offline conference in 2 years! My courage paid off and there were a great 2.5 days to spend among inspiring communications and IT professions from all over the Europe. 

It was also my first conference where average participating company was either 100+ year old, or operated in 100+ countries or, at least, had 100+ employees and customers 🙂

No surprise, this environment has led me to some uncommon conclusions.

Humans connection first, technology second

The idea was stated clear by Nils Haupt during one of round-table sessions and backed by the fact that his company, Hapag-Lloyd AG, has won the Intra.NET Reloaded Berlin Award 2021 🙂 My feeling is that almost any attendee would agree on this statement as well, and especially,  Stefanie Rander, Sandra Dondenne, Doreen Wilken, Peter Freiherr von Bredow and Simon Kenyon with whom we’ve touched the topic during various conference activities.

Showing empathy to employees in hard times, sharing their stories, being human leaders, – all  this  goes even before digital employee experience, digital workplace or even digital transformation

What am I saying here, when I make money from software ?)))

Prepare for crisis in good times

The whole pandemic situation has surely taught us this valuable lesson. But Olga Andreolli has also pointed to it from communications perspective: it looks really frightening and suspicious to employees when executive team radically increasing communication effort only in hard times. In contrary, it’s a wise strategy for C-level team to invest their time in communications activity on a regular basis.

Changes take years

Changes and transformations seem a central topic to every established business right now. The larger and the older an organization, the more time and effort is required for changes. On Intra.NET Reloaded Berlin 2021 I was impressed with energetic and humble attitude of people who lead communications side of digital transformation in their companies. Hannah Klose from Deutsche Bundesbank was not only energetic, but humorous, sharing her best practices of сultural change through social intranet. 

It was both fun and inspiration to listen to Tobias Kißmer sharing his approach for fighting old processes in MediaMarktSaturn. For example, desktop phones, whose usage caused great debates within the company, were flawlessly removed from desks when everybody was home-officing during the pandemic 🙂 

Covid-19 has been a great accelerating force for businesses and still is. But anyway, real changes take years and we should prepare ourselves to be enduring and persistent on the way to new tomorrow.

Executives + Communications = should-be Love 🙂

Engaging executives to communicate with employees openly and effectively is oftentimes a great percentage of communicators’ job. In the final presentation of the conference Ann Halvorsen from Trivium Packaging has shared really useful tips which help to ease communications effort for C-suite executives: 

  • start with communications strategy;
  • get trained;
  • be authentic and comfortable;
  • allocate specific time slots for communications in your calendar.

Intranet will die

I was striked by this message of Gilda Cavazza during her talk on organizational mindset transformation. Yep, sooner or later ANROM Social Business will be focusing on something fancier while “Intra.NET” conference will have to be not only Reloaded but Renamed. 

So what should come after intrAnets & digital workplaces? Virtual reality enchanced by artificial intelligence, secured by blockchain and running on quantum computers? 🙂 We’ve discussed this topic a bit with Erwan Guiziou and Simon Kolb and came up with idea that future communications technology will cover smart knowledge management, talent & expertise location and new media for learning. But that’s of course, a topic for a broad discussion, so please share your ideas in comments below.

Comms + Tech = should be Friends

Often I describe my job as being a translator from IT-ish to Business-ish and vice versa. And sometimes I notice that the gap between tech people and IC/HR folks or executives is not as wide as it seems for the parties. Mutual respect and being open to a new perspective helps to build an effective cross-functional team capable of great changes for the better 🙂

Great proof was a tendem talk (and project) of Media Markt Saturn’s Tobias Kißmer (IT) and Melanie Grauvogl (Change and Transformation). When IT and communications work together in concert it’s a clear predictor of success. 

“So, [comms people], make tech work for you!”, – a quote by Monika Heaton. “Make friends with IT”, – my addition here.

Anna Kravets

Author Anna Kravets

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