TRIBE TRIVIA: Offline Workers and the Company Vision

Q: True or False: Non-desk employees, such as those on the manufacturing line or in the retail stores, see a direct link between their work and the success of the company vision.

A: False, for 78 percent of them, according to Tribe’s national research with non-desk employees. Only 22 percent of respondents said they feel their job is important to the company vision. Only 10% feel strongly connected to the company itself at all, with almost half, at 47 percent, saying they feel connected only to their immediate work group.

For more information about this study, see Tribe’s white papers and other resources on the expertise page of tribeinc.com, or contact Steve Baskin, President and Chief of Strategy at Tribe. 

Some non-desk employees come with PhDs

Non-desk employees are a hard-to-reach audience for internal communications, because they’re moving targets. Rather than sitting in front of computers all day, they’re generally up on their feet.

These non-desk employees are often frustrated by their lack of communication from corporate. In Tribe’s national research with non-desk employees, we’ve found that this is frequently interpreted as a lack of respect for their contributions to the success of the company.

The non-desk audience in most companies is predominantly made up of hourly workers. The employees out on the manufacturing line, in retail stores, behind fast food counters and out in delivery trucks sometimes feel corporate is out of touch with the realities of their work.

But the non-desk audience also includes people with advanced degrees pulling down major salaries. The nurses and physicians in hospital settings are generally interacting with patients more than they’re sitting behind desks. Engineers out on oil rigs or in heavy industrial settings fall into this group as well.

As with any non-desk audience, Tribe recommends looking for unique touchpoints. What are the physical realities of that particular non-desk employee’s day? Those working the ER will have a dramatically different physical environment than an engineer in a paper mill.

The point is that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to non-desk communications. That’s why a period of discovery is so important a the beginning of strategic development.

We recommend approaching this with a sense of curiousity about how non-desk employees spend their days. Only when you understand what it’s like to walk a day in their shoes can you being to develop new solutions. Don’t let the hourly workers be right about corporate being out of touch with the realities of their work.

Interested in new touchpoints for reaching your non-desk employees? Tribe can help.

 

 

 

Breaking through creative roadblocks with collaboration

Paul Simon shares an unfinished version of “Still Crazy”

Before you start reading this, watch the above clip of Paul Simon on the Dick Cavett show. Cool, right? Now, think about how hard it is to share ideas with others. How often have you wanted to voice your opinion, but couldn’t collect your thoughts perfectly so you didn’t? Listen to how Simon completely, almost nonchalantly, surrenders his incomplete work, his sketched thoughts, to a national TV audience. That is bravery, you say.

But imagine if he hadn’t shared. Without his transparent process, we might never have gotten that brilliant key change into one of the most phenomenal bridges in songwriting history. Am I exaggerating? Maybe. But there are some big lessons that you and your team can take from his boldness.

Collaboration is imperative to finding answers that work for everyone. When you put an unfinished idea out into the room, you allow others to have input early on. You can shape a solution that will work for everyone. You also get the benefit of alternate perspectives, and this can really only improve your original thoughts.

Stop Editing. Start Creating. As songwriter Darrell Brown so eloquently wrote, “The ego of perfectionism will cut you off from the very cup you long to drink from.” Editing should occur well after ideation takes place. Separate these two processes as much as possible. Editing in your head to get a thought “more complete” is one of the biggest detriments to your idea flow. You’re stunting your own creative growth, firing down your own ideas, and undermining your methods.

Don’t let yourself get stuck. If you start to think you have a mental block, you’ll begin believe it’s there, and it will manifest itself in a matter of seconds. In writing workshops, instructors always tell you “There is no such thing as writer’s block.” So, if you can’t think of anything, just starting moving your pen. Try an collaboration exercise to clear the cobwebs. As Bukowski said best, “Even writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.”

Give yourself time. Don’t come to a brainstorm cold. The longer you start thinking about a concept, the more you can bring to the table when the time comes to meet with your team. This allows your Eureka moments to happen, and it lets you develop ideas on your own to feel more comfortable speaking up with your team.