On April 22, 2015 the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic (AmCham) organized a panel discussion on the value of internal communications for companies and its strategic role in employee engagement. As work-life balance is becoming more and more work-life integration, the AmCham guest speakers emphasized the tools and means Czech companies have to turn internal communications into a strategic instrument for healthy, sustainable development.
Among the guest speakers of the AmCham panel were Biljana Weber, country general manager with Microsoft Czech Republic, Stanisláv Gálik, CEO of the innovation center Unifer, Tomáš Novotný, head of internal communications with Škoda Auto, Petra Lávičková, head of corporate marketing & PR with CBRE Czech Republic and Petr Sedláček, member of the board of the Czech Institute of Internal Communication (IIK).
The panel was moderated by Cristina Muntean, a strategic communications consultant, founder of the PR agency Media Education CEE and chairwoman of the AmCham Marketing Committee.
“Things are moving forward in internal communications. However, progress is slow and we still have a lot to do in order to transform companies’ perception of internal communications from something nice to have into a strategic tool for improved economic performance,” said Petr Sedláček.
“It’s all about leadership. Every leader should be able to create a message that is authentic and engages people around a common vision,” said Biljana Weber, who has been implementing the “Work from anywhere” vision in the Microsoft Czech subsidiary. As part of it Microsoft is moving to new premises that fully reflect the flexible and mobile work style enabled by modern technologies. The move is planned for October 2015.
“We are delighted to see companies such as Microsoft setting up the tone for innovations in terms of company environment and internal communications. We can only encourage such an attitude and follow in its steps,” said Stanisláv Gálik, whose initiative UNIFER connects experienced business mentors with young students into unique, innovative projects.
Tomáš Novotný of Škoda Auto and Petra Lávičková of CBRE Czech Republic both spoke on the specifics, the vital role and strategic value of internal communications in their companies.
Moreover, the same day Tomáš and Petra went to pick up their awards for exceptional work in internal communications as rewarded by the 13th edition of the Golden Semicolon Award organized by the Czech PR Klub. CBRE Czech Republic is also the organizer of the competition The Meeting Room of the Year, whose 2014 winners were Google, IN-SPIRO and AirBank.
The American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic had around 400 members at the beginning of 2015. Approximately two fifths are small and medium-sized companies. AmCham is operating seven professional working groups: the HR, Marketing, Finance, Real Estate, CSR, Legal and IT Committees. AmCham’s events are vastly free of charge for its members.
The Chamber organizes a variety of events, from panel discussions to complex training sessions and to business development and networking. It is also organizing the traditional Thanksgiving Ball, where it raises funds for its charity project One World, Many Voices. AmCham is involved in several civic initiatives such as the Czech Innovation Award. Once a year it publishes the Best Office journal, a summary of best practices in the field of strategic people and business management. The publication is distributed in cooperation with different business and public organizations free of charge to small businesses and public institutions across the Czech Republic. The topic of the Best Office 2015 is Engagement.