VOICES 2024 marked a major success in the world of internal comms. A record-breaking 2,700 communications professionals signed up for the virtual event which hosted speakers such as Adam Grant, Chaunte Lowe, and David Plouffe. 

By hosting VOICES 2024 virtually this year, internal communicators from not only North America but also from other regions like Europe, Asia, and Australia were able to join all the amazing sessions without leaving the comfort of their homes or offices.

Let’s take a look at some of the many aspects of VOICES 2024 that made it an event to remember.

Looking Back on VOICES 2024

After Staffbase enjoyed a wildly successful in-person VOICES event in Berlin, VOICES 2024 allowed internal communicators to hear from some of the greatest minds in the industry. This virtual event featured dozens of inspiring and innovative sessions from some of the top minds in communications.

VOICES Virtual 2024 by Staffbase screenshot of Adam Grant recording with cohost Athena
VOICES 2024 co-host Athena Koutsonikolas, VP of Marketing & Communications, Staffbase in conversation with Adam Grant, Organizational Psychologist & NYT Bestselling Author.

VOICES was so much more than your average comms conference. It was an event designed to acknowledge, recognize, and celebrate the role of internal communicators. Putting the spotlight on communications heroes has grown increasingly pertinent in a world that faces mounting global challenges that comms must effectively address. And as today’s communicators are responsible for creating a culture of inspiration and productivity, the theme of VOICES this year was “Aspire to Inspire.” (This is also the name of a new Staffbase podcast.)

Inspired employees are more likely to be involved in their companies and feel like part of a team. In turn, inspiration boosts both productivity and engagement. Therefore, each session was carefully aligned with our theme of “Aspire to Inspire.” Our amazing roster of speakers offered lessons and insights for attendees to bring back to their teams in order to convert inspiration into action.

image of VOICES Virtual hosts Athena and Zeke
VOICES Virtual 2024 cohosts Athena Koutsonikolas and Zeke Egbo lead the event.

Serving as co-hosts were Athena Koutsonikolas, VP of Marketing & Communications, and Zeke Egbo, Channel Product Manager. Athena and Zeke introduced an extraordinary lineup of speakers.

Headliners this year were Organizational Psychologist & Bestselling Author Adam Grant; 4-time Olympian, Author, TEDx Speaker, and Breast Cancer Thriver Chaunte Lowe; Former SVP of Culture & Communications at Southwest Airlines Ginger Hardage; and Obama Campaign Manager and White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe.

Industry Experts & Guest Speakers — Here are the Highlights

VOICES Virtual 2024 by Staffbase speakers.
VOICES boasted a stellar lineup of speakers.

Adam Grant provided insightful recommendations in his delivery of “Uncovering Hidden Potential: Communicating to Inspire Tomorrow’s Workforce.” He provided great tips on how to be a better communicator who connects with others — someone who both listens and is heard. Here’s a quick insight to consider: Do you approach conversations as a scientist would? “Scientists” look to others with curiosity as opposed to prejudice or defensiveness.

Chaunte Lowe also delivered a powerful talk during her session, “Harnessing the Champion’s Mindset to Foster Employee Trust and Inclusivity.” She provided insight into what she dubs the champion’s mindset.

Some tips include:

  • Practice perfection to make perfect. 
  • Don’t lose sight of your dreams despite the odds. 
  • Step in for your teammates (or co-workers) when needed. 
  • Remember you are stronger together than as an individual
  • Take control of your own story and reclaim your narrative.

Ginger Hardage offered inspiration during her session, “Why Company Culture Is the Secret Sauce to Business Impact.” She urged communicators to embrace culture building as their main job. Ginger advocated for boosting the visibility of leadership, involving employees in decision-making, and using storytelling to bring visions to life. She shared that successful companies show the stories of their people to build trust and engagement.

David Plouffe delved into plenty of actionable insight during his session, “Inspiring Change Through Effective Leadership Communications.” He took his experience from working alongside former President Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign. David offered advice on delivering difficult news as a communicator.

  • Deliver bad news as early as possible. 
  • Never downplay when something goes wrong. 
  • Trust that people can handle hearing you out. 
  • Never blame anyone else for issues.
  • Tell people what you do and don’t know and what you’re doing about it.

Eager to accelerate your career in Internal Comms?

Additionally, the CCO Panel boasted industry heavy hitters like Jeff Shafer (CCO and VP, Corporate Marketing Group at Lenovo); Kathy Krenger (former CCO at The Kraft Heinz Company, former Hyatt SVP); Jerilan Greene (former SVP, Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer, Yum! Brands); and Ben Boyd (CCO at Chobani, former CCO at Peloton, Lowe’s).

This session was all about the panelists’ perspectives on career-defining moments and campaigns that mattered. The CCO Panel turned out to be very popular thanks to the moderator David Hamilton. David serves as a TV host and Communications Lead at Lenovo in North America.

Insights from Experts at Staffbase

The sessions for #VOICES24 covered many diverse aspects of the communications landscape. Experts from Staffbase also delivered some inspiring sessions. They touched upon topics like AI in comms, narratives and business success, company culture, building trust, and earning employee engagement.

Here are some of the sessions that are available online.

Inspiration in a Polarized World

CEO Martin Böhringer kicked things off with a captivating session, offering valuable insights on inspiring employees in our polarized world in. His presentation “Unlocking Business Potential in a Polarized World” turned out to be one of the most attended sessions.

Creating Narratives for Business Impact

Staffbase cofounder and Chief Strategy Officer Frank Wolf also had a popular session. He shared some of his key findings on how creating a successful narrative impacts business success in “The Narrative Age Is Now.

Foster Mass Employee Engagement

Janine Langlotz, Global Head of IC at DHL Express, provided critical insights into how DHL managed to engage 120K employees worldwide in “Engaging 120K Employee Worldwide DHL Express’ Success Story.

Comms Trends 2024: The Breakdown

Lara Dobson (VP of Product Marketing at Staffbase), along with Frank Wolf, Gene Phifer (President & CEO at TACLE Advisory), and Sharn Kleiss (Employee Experience & Insights Strategy Partner at Gallagher) provided their expert insights during CommsTech and Trends in 2024.

Becoming a Standalone Company

GE HealthCare Colleague Engagement expert Holly Roloff, GE Vernova Leader & Internal Channels and Operations expert Sarah Sampson, GE Aerospace Editorial Channels and Content Manager Taylor Sullivan, and Principal Strategic Advisor at Staffbase Jeff Corbin discussed change communications and how GE successfully and smoothly separated into three industry-leading, global public companies.

Innovations at Staffbase

Staffbase’s Chief Product Officer Patrick Rudolph, along with Lara Dobson and Senior Director of Product/Comms Management Sarah Manes also discussed how innovation at Staffbase is changing the future of CommsTech.

VOICES Awards 2024 — Recognizing the Best in the Industry

VOICES 2024 also featured an awards ceremony where we recognized some of our customers and their amazing contributions to the world of internal comms. Here’s a quick recap of the winners: 

  • Best Launch Strategy Award Goes to Henry Schein — Only a few weeks after launching their custom Intranet, MySchein, the team at Henry Schein has already seen 18% of their 25,000 workforce register. They cleverly integrated direct emails and internal newsletters with captivating videos and utilized local champions in key areas across 33 countries.
  • Best Content Formats Award Goes to Bacardi — Bacardi’s custom App and Intranet, ONE B, achieved a registration rate of over 15% within the first eight hours of launch. With a sleek and stylish design, how-to section, feedback portal, benefits and wellness, learning and development center, and more, ONE B is truly a one-stop shop for their entire workforce.
  • Best Inspiration Project Goes to GE To celebrate International Women’s Day, the GE Healthcare team launched the “Dear Younger Me” campaign. The campaign asked an important question: “What would you tell your younger self about who you grew up to be?” GE was flooded with amazing submissions from women all around the world. They used these to create 10-minute videos which were shared internally. What a great way to inspire inclusion and highlight inspirational women around the world!
  • Better Business Impact Goes to Alaska Airlines With the launch of Alaska Airlines’ Staffbase App & Intranet, Team AAG, there was a drastic increase in employee efficiency and improved engagement and morale. The team has forever changed the way Alaska Airlines communicates with its employees, making a lasting impact on the business. 

Stay Tuned — There’s More In Store for Next Year!

VOICES Virtual 2024 by Staffbase featuring team members
Some of the team behind VOICES Virtual 2024 by Staffbase.

We couldn’t be more pleased with the energy and excitement that radiated from the internal communications community at VOICES Virtual 2024. 

We’re already in the process of curating the ultimate internal comms experience for our attendees in 2025 while reflecting on the valuable feedback from this year’s attendees.

Sign up to receive more information about next year’s event.

We can’t wait to share what we’ll have in store with you for VOICES 2025. See you soon!