Three ways managers can crush collaboration

If you want employees to collaborate, you’ve got to start with management. In Tribe’s recent national study on functional silos in large companies, employees cited their managers as one of the chief hurdles to collaboration. There are three ways this plays out:

1. Managers actively discourage collaboration: Some employees reported that their managers nix efforts to share information across silos or to ask for input from subject matter experts in other disciplines. Most speculate that this is due to their managers’ fear of losing control. One employee said, “My boss’s boss discourages collaboration in some areas and would rather have the upper hand with some groups.”

2. Managers don’t model collaborative behavior: When employees don’t see their managers collaborating across silos or even within their own teams, they’re less likely to do the same. One respondent suggested, “They have to team up, let us see their teaming, and let us see that their career is not as important to them as the success of the whole corporation, versus their silo.”

3. Managers don’t make collaboration a priority. Collaboration often slows things down, and most managers prefer projects to move quickly. It takes employees more time to reach out to colleagues across silos. According to one employee, some managers “discourage (or at least don’t encourage) personnel to expend the time required for collaboration.”

“I don’t know how to change the culture,” said one employee, “but I know it starts with the leaders.” As with most business behaviors, employees take their cue from the top. Embedding collaboration into the culture requires commitment from the C-level, and promoting cross-silo interaction all the way through the ranks.

Interested in promoting collaboration in your organization? Tribe can help. For a copy of Tribe’s white paper on employee recommendations for connecting across functional silos, contact Steve Baskin ( or 404-256-5858, extension 2).

Find Out How Employees Really Feel with TINYpulse

Have you ever wondered how employees feel about a new company initiative? Of course you have. Almost all of Tribe’s clients share a common problem: they want to know what their employees are thinking, but they don’t know how to ask and get honest responses. Conversely, employees want to give their opinions to the company, but don’t know how to submit their feedback or they feel their responses could be traced back to them.

Knowing the general employee consensus allows companies to make more effective decisions. And surveys are a great way to do this. They provide a channel for employees to submit feedback, and with services from companies like SurveyMonkey, they can provide in-depth analytics and data. But writing and distributing surveys requires a lot of leg work, communication and precision.

Another big issue with surveys is the amount of time they take out of employees’ day. Employees have a lot to do during their day, and most don’t want to spend half their day filling out a 50-question survey. But in order to get meaningful results, it’s necessary to go further than the top line. It’s a tough balance to strike.

Startup TINYhr might have found a solution to the problem. Their first major project, TINYpulse is a weekly, a one-question survey, sent out to employees’ computers to “assess how workers feel about anything from compensation to the condition of the bathrooms.” TINYhr is fighting the war against employee unhappiness with better and more precise data.  It’s also completely anonymous, so employees can say what they really think without fearing repercussions.

Some major players are already starting to catch on. David Niu, founder of TINYhr, boasts over 500 clients including HubSpot, AAA, GlaxoSmithKline, and PayPal. Should your company consider TINYpulse? It could be a viable option. At Tribe, we believe with the right implementation and communications support that TINYpulse could become a major asset to your company and your employees.


4 Reasons to Communicate with Frontline Employees, Even When It’s Hard

Many companies with great internal communications have trouble reaching frontline employees. Why? Because communicating with employees who are hard to reach is difficult. Whether it’s your sales force, retail team, physicians, manufacturing line or delivery drivers, frontline employees are often those who need to hear from corporate the most.

1. Communication builds engagement. Many companies leave all internal communications with frontline employees to their immediate supervisors. Tribe’s recent research with the non-desk employee population indicates this is a missed opportunity to build engagement. What’s more, those employees who never hear from top management interpret that as a lack of respect for them and their contributions to the company’s success.

2. They often crave visibility from corporate. Field visits from top brass can make a world of difference in non-desk employee engagement –it also can boost their trust in management. Many employees in our research mentioned the desire for corporate to have a better understanding of the realities of frontline jobs. If your manufacturing facility runs 24 hours, think what it would mean to employees for someone on the leadership team to drop by during the graveyard shift.

3. Non-desk workers can have a tremendous impact on the customer experience. Whether the customer is an individual consumer or business, they’re interacting with those non-desk workers. It is up to these employees to deliver on your brand promise.

4. You can’t expect employees to be aligned with the vision if they don’t know what it is. It’s no secret that many companies overlook communicating with non-desk employees. But it’s a huge mistake not to engage your frontline employees in the vision of the company to make them feel part of something bigger. In fact, Tribe’s research on non-desk workers underlines the importance of communicating the company’s vision and values to this employee population.

Ready to communicate with your non-desk employees? Tribe can help.