Jodi Heard, Polyconcept
Last updated on May 12, 2022 at 05:58 pm
The Power of Executive Leadership Communication
Senior Manager, HR, Culture & Communication
Polyconcept North America
It’s all about employee engagement. If employees don’t understand the goals and priorities, and where they fit within those goals, then the work they are doing is meaningless to them, and their commitment wanes.
Jodi joined the Trimark Sportswear promotional apparel team in 2013 and was responsible for understanding, defining, and supporting a broad spectrum of HR strategic business activities. In 2017, Jodi took on the added responsibility of internal communication for Trimark’s parent company, Polyconcept North America. She champions a transparent and inclusive company culture while managing a strong understanding of the business, objectives, challenges, and opportunities. Promoted to Senior Manager, Human Resources Culture & Communications in 2018, Jodi is accountable for driving a single, unified culture across all PCNA locations through specific initiatives and programs. Over the past decade, Jodi’s passion and unwavering commitment has been to create an environment and culture that is inclusive and encourages all employees to reach their full potential.
Get to know Jodi
What is your communication high and low?
The highs: When the communication reaches the audience it’s meant to and provides them with a sense of belonging and a better understanding of the role they play within the company.
The lows: When the communication is lost in its delivery.
Before we introduced the employee app, the onus was on the Managers, and Line Supervisors to share any communication. Many times, due to busy work schedules, and other commitments, the communication didn’t reach the intended audience. Many of our employees are deskless workers, who speak English as a second language. Thankfully, theEMPLOYEEapp has played a tremendous role in connecting these teams directly to communication firsthand.
What got you started in HR and comms?
When I began my career 30 years ago, I was an Executive Assistant for a VP at a utility company. I was in that role for 17 years. During that time I learned a great deal about personalities, what drives people, and what engages or disengages a team. And I learned how one person’s behavior can have a drastic effect on internal team success. I knew that whatever path I was going to embark on, it was going to involve helping both employees and executives understand what each other needed to be successful and feel engaged.
How does being an HR professional inform your comms strategy?
It’s all about employee engagement. If employees don’t understand the goals and priorities, and where they fit within those goals, then the work they are doing is meaningless to them, and their commitment wanes, resulting in a disconnect and a lack of engagement. Building connections vertically and horizontally across our company is our communication strategy.
What are your tips or best practices for other companies going through a merger or acquisition?
Over-communicate and make sure you are reaching all levels in the organization. Rebrand together and make your employees part of the story. They need to feel a sense of belonging to the new business so they still feel like part of its future success. During COVID-19, we introduced a virtual Coffee & Conversation series for our employees, led by our CEO. Small groups at a time from all of our locations were able to have two-way communication with him in a comfortable setting. He shared business updates but mostly spent the time answering their questions. As he is new to our company it was an excellent way for them to get to know each other. Having this type of dialogue through a M&A would be very valuable.
Why do you think leadership communication is important to success as a business? Can you share some examples of what you’re doing?
It is paramount in connecting the dots between business goals and the people who support the priorities to achieve them. At PCNA we are connecting with our teammates in the following ways:
- CEO Connect: We started this weekly video series with our CEO at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our CEO wanted to be able to reach our employees at the same time and share updates in real-time. We’re pivoting these stories away from crisis updates. Now we include stories about:
- Our community outreach
- Teammate recognition related to our core values
- Accolades from customers
- Employee spotlights across multiple departments.
- PCNA Connect: These bimonthly video calls are led by Polyconcept’s president. The goal is to connect employees with business leaders. We do this by sharing company updates and initiatives and acknowledging what we’re doing well and what could be better. But follow-up is also important to help connect teams to your larger purpose. We share the deck with each leader. They then meet with their team and connect the state of the business to their roles.
- Trimark Connect: These bimonthly video meetings are led by the VP and GM of our apparel division (Trimark) to give them a sense of belonging and understand how their roles fit into the bigger picture at Polyconcept North America. Each call, we recognize employees through peer nominations (Cheers for Peers) and highlight a specific department. That department leader highlights a day in the life of their employees. This gives other teams perspective on what they do and they shout out every member of the team.