Slovenian IC conference: directing communication flow towards a common goal

Proving that internal communication is a force of good was the mission of this year’s KIK2022 Internal Communication Conference, which was organized by Mediade on April 21st in cooperation with partners and supporters. The half-day event, which this time took place both live in Ljubljana, Slovenia and virtually, gathered more than 140 participants who listened to 10 inspiring key-note speakers and their communication insights and practices.

In the opening lecture, Edita Krajnović, CEO of Mediade and FEIEA’s first IC Personality of the Year, presented trends in internal communication and organisational relations. “We are aware that we manage the employee experience through communication. However, they do not want to be seen only as employees, but as people with real feelings and ambitions,” Krajnović emphasized. She explained why all of us who work in the field of internal communications must act as a force of good: “By communicating, we direct the flow of forces towards a common goal.”

Stories of distancing and re-connecting
In the Business Section of the conference we have heard the following inspirational thoughts:
– Tanja Subotić Levanič, Corporate Affairs Director at Pivovarna Laško Union, part of the Heineken Company, summed up the story ‘We are PLUS and we brew the joy of true togetherness to inspire a better world’: “Our story is a story of love. With all the ups and downs, world and brewing wars. At times, it was also about survival. These were critical times when the love was barely perceptible. But it was present all the time, because this love is people – the brewers. Successful business and people’s well-being is the condition for the long run.”
– Jure Knez, DSc, co-founder and majority owner of Dewesoft, described the challenges of a growing company: “In 2016, I found myself at a turning point – the company suddenly grew to a large scale and I realized that I didn’t know it anymore. By that, I mean ‘control’ has slipped out of my hands. The new employees, whom we needed very much, did not live our culture as it was when the company was smaller. Due to personal interests, errors in communication began to occur. We learned something from this. Today, therefore, we emphasize the importance of internal communication. We share openly how company operates with the employees, they have access to information.”
– Eva Boštjančič, PhD, professor of psychology of work and organizations at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, on the challenges of hybrid work revealed by the research on the quality of communication of Slovenian employers in the epidemic: “The hybrid way of working has brought us a large number of workshops at the same time. At one point employees also said: ‘Stop. We would just like to work’.”

Bright communications and innovative approaches that connect employees
The second part, the Professional Section, presented the participants with concrete communication practices. Here are some of the highlights:
– Nadja Kerkhofs, Manager of the Internal Communication Department at Belgium’s KBC Group, talked about the case study that won them the 2021 FEIEA Grand Prix 2021 award for Best Internal Campaign. Working Apart Together (WAT) brought together 14,000 employees in Belgium during the second lockdown in October 2020: “While working from home, we had a special WAT bus that visited our employees at various locations, greeted and connected them. We hung out, talked and met in it – in accordance with covid restrictions. “
– Vesna Stojanović, corporate communications at Telekom Slovenija, on their Brih(t)ne communications: “Employees are those who have ideas, know their environment and know best how to change it for the better. When we found out that employees actually want to communicate in both directions, we achieved our biggest win. We consider it an honor for our employees to wear #connected T-shirts also in their free time.”
– owner and CEO of MG ROHR Matej Natlačen and Janja Pavlič Razgoršek, who is responsible of finances and personnel, about their innovation – communicating lockers 4.0: “With lockers we offer every employee access and insight into the company’s operations. Through them, we arrange everything – when we have our days off, the arrivals of trucks with materials, ordering snacks or new working clothes etc.”
– Anamari Kastner Orehek, a member of the Potential Management Team – HR in Big Bang, about tearing down silos and building up potential within the company: “Our golden rule is: Until everyone in the company knows what is going to happen, information should not be public. But the platinum rule is: Every employee needs to know how their work affects the company as a whole.”
– Irena Logar, procurator, Head of Finance, Marketing and Human Resources Development at Epiloge, on hybrid work and re-connecting the employees who work remote: “We started with the basics. We provided financial compensation to employees for home workplace equipment. We have established new communication channels. We brought together employees not only by areas of work, but also by their personal interests – e.g. hikers. It is important to document everything so that the recordings are also available to employees who cannot join at a certain time, and at the same time we obtain material for new employees.”

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