It is no secret that Columbus State University is a staple of the Columbus community. They are an active provider of volunteer manpower, and the Communication department is a major contributor to their community service hours. This year, the second annual Tacky Sweater Walk will be hosted downtown on December 6. It will be an all-day event to showcase the department’s very own Non-Profit and Civic Engagement Center and their partners in the community, including Ride on Bikes and Big Dog Running Company. The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the mile-long walk, followed by the post-walk party and the best part: the tacky sweater contest! Wear your tackiest, and be prepared to walk with your head high in victory! We’ll see you there!
So this is my last post as a part of the internship program. I have to say, it’s been killing me trying to get these posts to work. It’s been a long time working on these projects with Aflac, and a lot of the things I worked on specifically as PR-ish type projects turned into real, fleshed out assignments from my manager and I will wind up working on them well after this internship is over. I have learned a lot about “technical PR” and “corporate PR” through some of my classes and especially seeing the impact of PR where the P stands for “Peveryone but us” Relations. Some of the work revolves around the public and Aflac’s customer base, but a huge portion of what I have done was just finding ways to make sure that my department was presentable and looked good to all the other departments at Aflac. Personally, I still feel like that is a completely valid form of Public Relations.
A while back, I started emailing the woman in charge of Aflac Children’s Cancer Center of Atlanta, and asked if I could help with any fundraisers or anything else. She mentioned that they typically “sponsor” one fundraiser each year, and that if I could pitch a good enough idea, that I could potentially get a sponsorship for my philanthropy and get a plaque on the wall at the Center. I pitched an idea to my brothers in Tau Kappa Epsilon for a pool tournament called Give the Kids a Shot. I am talking to Players’ Pool Hall on Airport Thruway and Veterans and trying to get them to let us use a few of the tables for it for free and let all of the proceeds go to the Cancer Center. I am currently developing a poster for it, and will hopefully be able to put it on in March or April of 2014! I am really excited about this and it just goes to show that even if you don’t get a career in PR, you can still use PR to better your career, your life, and the lives of those around you!
On Thursday when I met with Tomeika, we decided to wipe the website and start [basically] from scratch. Because this site broadcasts our department, we needed to make sure that everyone who saw it could a. easily maneuver it, b. be able to find what they need, c. understand what our team does, and d. the team could improve functionality and efficiency using it. Holy cow. We talked for probably 2 hours on just the things we needed to update. That didn’t include remove or add, just update. Today I met with her again and we sat down with our main coding specialist, Nehi, and discussed which things we wanted to add and remove. I won’t even try to explain all the changes we are making, but I feel like I’m suffocating. Today alone, before that meeting (at 2pm), I did:
Initial steps for the NNU home site and requested approval
Finished my Power Weeks database access requests
Stood outside the cafeteria selling fundraiser raffle tickets for an hour with Denise
Produced a sitemap for every page of our website
Updated the EFM site to reflect the insights from October
And I still have more to do. I don’t know how I’m going to handle this workload if I am going to be trying to keep up this pace with finals. I will probably die from exhaustion or have an anxiety attack or something.
Today, while I was discussing the views and inputs of the department managers with my divisional head, Tammy, she asked me to talk to Tomeika (my manager) about our department’s site. When the manager who hired me switched divisions, there was a MAJOR overhaul in New Business, which is my department. Basically, it used to be divided into 3 chunks. Now, however, one of the chunks went to another division, and the other two merged under one manager, Tomeika. So our website still has all the information for all 3 departments, with pictures and descriptions. Plus, since my old manager Jeff was the one constructing the site conceptually, now that he is gone a lot of the links don’t even work. Tammy wanted me to meet with Tomeika and discuss how she wanted things to change and what she wanted on the website. I have a meeting with Tomeika on Thursday to discuss things.
Next Monday is the start of the Fourth Quarter Power Weeks here at Aflac. Power Weeks is what Aflac calls their end of quarter and end of year three week periods. Power Weeks is when the employees do their best to get as much information in as possible, to get as many policies and claims filed and sorted and squared away for our quarterly metrics. To help with that, Aflac actually makes it a special occasion, through the use of special food days, “Blue Jeans Week” where employees who bring in the right numbers get to wear blue jeans all week instead of just on Friday, and many other fun ways to make sure the employees are happy and can do their best work. For me, Power Weeks means a huge spike in surveys. When I do the EFM site to analyze the survey responses, it usually takes me about 3 days to create the new page to update for each month. This includes adding all the coding, reading and sorting each response into the correct category, and then analyzing the categories for insights about the month and Aflac’s processes as a whole.
During Power Weeks, it will probably take me closer to 5 days, as the last Power Weeks we had an increase in surveys from 300, the average number each month, to almost 1,500. I’m a fast reader, but reading 1,500 people say what they did or did not like about Aflac takes a LONG time. On top of all of that, I still have my other duties within my department, like doing web access codes for other departments and business process improvement and redesign methodologies. I think the worst part about Power Weeks is that they are the middle 2 weeks in November for the end of quarter, and then the middle 2 weeks in December for the end of year. This means that I will have Power Weeks responsibilities during three of my finals for CSU. That’s really gonna put a hurting on my time.
In my work at Aflac this semester, I have been in charge of maintaining the sites that govern our survey responses from our customers. This has involved designing our SharePoint site for EFM (Enterprise Feedback Management) as well as updating it and creating new ways to get the information across the board to the employees and management in our division. The managers of my department use my website and my results every week in the meetings with their managers. The head of the division saw what I had done with the SharePoint site and asked me for a meeting. I was so nervous, I had no idea why she wanted to meet with me and started panicking thinking I had some something wrong!
When I met with her, she told me that she really liked the work I had done on the EFM site, and she asked me if I would be willing to design, implement, and maintain the “home site” for our entire department. I was blown away! This assignment means that anytime someone needs access to the SharePoint site for any of the departments in our division, they would visit my home site to find the page they needed. I’m still super nervous about it! Last Friday, I held a meeting with all of the department heads to get their input on what they wanted to be on the home site, since it would be easily accessible to higher-level management. The goal was to decide which information should just be on the division home site (important metrics, the dashboard with our goals and insights for the year, etc.) for each department. This is a huge honor, but also a huge risk because if it’s terrible, I will be the one in trouble. That’s one of the reasons I put together the meeting with the department heads, I feel like their input was invaluable for putting together a website that broadcasts our department in a positive light.
In December, my department will be hosting a fundraiser called “Christmas is for Kids” which will help the children of the Atlanta Cancer Center. When I heard about the event, I quickly went around and found out who was in charge of it and offered to help. We came up with some posters to match the T-shirts that had been selected from the drawing for designs. Aflac allows children from 6 years old and older to submit their ideas for the T-shirts. I helped my coworker Denise put together a poster, and organized the actual fundraiser: a raffle where you can win a handful of cool items like a 60” TV, an iPad, or even just paid time off and the tickets were 1 for $5, 3 for $10, or 8 for $20. Personally, I have no idea why Aflac chose those prices and those gifts (I spent $20, and have 8 chances to win an iPad when I’m the only person from my department who bought any, I imagine the other departments are very similar), but the fundraiser ends on December 6th, and we are already at well over $500 raised just out of our building (Paul S. Amos building, one of 5 in Columbus). I have posted the fliers in all of the break rooms, restrooms, the cafeteria, outside each building division (A-F), and have them plastered all over my cubicle. I want to meet with the header of fundraising at the Aflac Children’s Cancer Center of Atlanta and see how else I can help them with things like this.