Internal Communications Manager Sean Langston, Jr. Keeps Employees Focused at Reddit
What can you do with an NC State degree in communication? Ask Sean Langston, Jr., manager of global internal communications at Reddit.
“I am responsible for developing, delivering and optimizing the flow of information across our global workforce, so they can effectively further our mission,” says Langston, whose studies focused on public relations and organizational communication.
His job requires him to keep a pulse on what’s happening at his organization, react quickly without sacrificing quality, and become an informational jack-of-all-trades.
During a typical workday at the social news website and forum, Langston works with engineers, marketers, researchers, designers, psychologists and operations and finance professionals. At one point, he may hold an advisory session among corporate executives or serve as point person on employee information matters. At another, he may craft internal communications for the CEO and executive team to share with employees around the world.
While Langston’s responsibilities at the San Francisco-based company are varied, his goal is consistent: develop strategy and execute global employee communications to keep Reddit’s employees informed, inspired and empowered.
“Every day presents a new challenge, and thus, a new opportunity to experiment,” he says. “I deal with people every day, and people change, which is difficult to navigate at times, but rewarding, nonetheless.”
Every day presents a new challenge, and thus, a new opportunity to experiment.
Langston can handle the challenge. He has more than 10 years of experience building organizational communications programs at large public companies, including Autodesk, Glassdoor, PayPal and Maersk.
“I jumped into the internal communication profession and haven’t looked back,” he says, adding that as a relatively new field, opportunities for innovation are high. “That keeps me interested.”
Langston is a people person. He discovered his gregarious side and his passion for inspiring people and understanding their behavior while a freshman at NC State. That’s when he switched his major from engineering to communication.
“I found myself digging deeper into the passions, ideas and challenges of my engineering classmates and sharing stories among them,” he says. “I was sitting in Melissa Johnson’s Communications Case Studies class … and I envisioned myself in a high-stakes environment advising executives on how to drive substantial change in thoughts and behavior.
“At that moment, I kinda guess, Sean the internal communicator was born.”
Langston says that along with providing a career path, his college experience gave him the skills to succeed. He says he learned to be an effective communicator and listener, a strong relationship builder and a fervent information gatherer. He also points to three communication internships as key to his securing a full-time employment offer before he graduated.
Langston adds that his days at NC State taught him such life lessons as how to navigate different cultures, interact with people of varied backgrounds, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. He says he also recognized the benefits of lifelong learning.
What he values most, however, are the lasting friendships he built and the memories he created. Additionally, he says he is grateful that his professors encouraged him to dream big.
To aspiring internal communicators Langston offers these tips: Apply for internships, network and become an expert listener.
“I jokingly say that the field should be called internal listening,” he adds. “You can only be as effective as your ability to take in information and separate the message from the noise.”