2014 PR News Agency Elite Awards: Internal Communications

Winner: Waggener Edstrom Ignites Employee Engagement and Communication

On the heels of an explosive period of growth that took the agency to four new markets in three years and swelled the staff to 865 employees in 19 offices, the teams at Waggener Edstrom desperately needed to reconnect. WE’s corporate communications team, using employee feedback, designed the program WE Ignite specifically to bring back the focus, connectivity, inspiration and engagement in their brand that employees seemed to have lost. The CC team set the success metrics up front: that 80% of employees would understand the company’s vision, feel connected and inspired, and know how they can contribute.

The outdated agency-wide meetings which had been thrown out due to the company’s rapid expansion were slightly re-imagined for WE Ignite: a series of nine TED-like events paced throughout the year that sought to inform, inspire and connect employees in a fast-paced and dynamic way. Creative sessions from employees and leadership such as “On Words (and Upwards),” “5 Damn minutes” and “Can a Corporation Behave Like a Presidential Candidate?” engaged on topics important to their office and the agency as a whole using interactive Q&A and video interludes. To maintain momentum, the team created two supplementary programs: a prescribed schedule of “all-hands” meetings for each global office to deliver a regular measure of news for its workers, and a WE Ignite intranet channel to share the best talks and photos from WE Ignite events—providing a source for employees to seek out when they wanted to enhance their connection to the company’s forward momentum.

Over the course of WE Ignite, Waggener Edstrom surpassed every  80% goal for its employees’ engagement. Nine out of 19 offices hosted WE Ignite events, the WE Ignite intranet channel garnered 3,568 views, and 100% of employees reported after the program that they better understood the company’s vision.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Havas PR North America