Increase Collaboration By Raising Awareness of Siloed Expertise

Employees say they’d be more likely to collaborate if they knew about the expertise in other silos. In Tribe’s recent national research with employees of companies with workforces of 5,000 and more, many respondents reported that they have low awareness of the work going on in other silos.

When they’re not able to meet face-to-face, they want their companies’ help in connecting with each other. Over a third recommended the solution of communications that offer news about the areas of expertise and new projects happening in other business units, divisions and locations.

Intranet forums were the most highly recommended solution for connecting across silos. Over 40 percent of respondents suggested online forums for sharing news about other silos, as well as a place to share ideas and best practices.

Responses included:

“Give us their specific mission and specialty areas so we know they even exist.”

“Every new project at implementation should have a company-wide announcement kick-off.”

“(Want the) ability to find people and find people’s work.”

“Stop making it so difficult. Provide information on other parts of the organization so we can make informed decisions on who we need to reach out to.”

An employee directory was suggested by 36 percent of respondents. They reported that one of the most challenging hurdles to collaboration is simply knowing how to find the contact information for appropriate collaboration partners.

This is one of several blogs highlighting the key insights of Tribe’s upcoming white paper, “Employee  Recommendations for Connecting Across Silos.” The white paper will be posted on Tribe’s website and available for download in late October.

3 Ways to Make Leadership More Visible

In Tribe’s latest research and client work, we’ve found that more employees are feeling disconnected with leadership due to lack of visibility. Your CEO’s name is out there. It’s on company memos, letters, and most outward facing messaging. You employees might know the name, but could they point him or her out in a crowd?

Putting a face to a name should be more than an amenity. It’s a proven cognitive function that helps people empathize and respond to a someone’s message. Faceless communication is cold and distant, there’s no denying that, and that could be hurting your internal communications. Here are a few little things that could help employees put a face to a name and make your leadership’s messaging stick.

1)  Pictures in email signatures. This solution may come across as a bit goofy or outdated, but it comes directly from a survey respondent, and it’s really a simple solution for a major problem. It seems that at this particular employee’s company, there was a change in leadership. The employee immediately felt a disconnect from the new team, and regarded their messaging as distant and disengaging. The previous executive team had included pictures in their email signatures, and the new one did not. To this particular employee, that was the only major difference in the two’s communication tactics, but it made a huge impact on her impression of the new executive team.

2) Executive Blogs. Of course you’ll have to include a picture on here to get the full effect, but this goes a long way in adding another dimension to your executive team. It gives leadership a chance to talk about the company and be informative but in a more informal way. A more conversational voice and tone helps to reveal the person behind the position, and when it comes to communicating big company changes, employees can feel like they’re getting their information right from the source. It’s a win-win.

3) Video addresses or conferences. This is certainly the most expensive of the three tips, but it can go a long way in engaging employees. Instead of sending out a companywide memo, send a video with a member of the executive team talking about the topic. Hearing that leader’s voice, seeing their face and their mannerisms elicits empathy from employees and has a more emotional appeal than static text ever could. If employees feel engaged and connected to leadership, the messaging will undoubtedly be more effective.

Save Time and Build Relationships with Meaningful Communications

Technology has changed the landscape of communications. This digital age of smartphones, ultra fast Internet and texting has created more conversations at the tips of people’s fingers rather than the tips of their tongues. This is mostly true with younger generations who have grown up emailing, texting, streaming and surfing the web. 

Have you ever thought about how much time employees could save by just picking up the phone? While compiling results for our upcoming White Paper on employee silos, phone and email were among the most preferred channels of communication. This is no surprise though. Phone and email are two of the easiest forms of communication, especially when communicating internally.

We’ve all seen emails go awry when someone didn’t receive it, understand it or misunderstood your tone. The possibilities are endless. So now, it’s two hours later after you’ve already spent 30 minutes writing an email that you’re now going to probably have to re-explain, when all the while you could have just picked up the phone and taken care of everything in one fell swoop.

Employees are more receptive when you attempt to communicate with them in engaging ways. For example, when asked what channels of communication they would prefer one respondent said,

“WebEx, video conf, teleconf – sometimes just picking up the phone helps (vs. the more common email approach)”

There are other benefits to communicating via phone besides saving time. When you personally reach out to someone there’s is just a level of connection there that doesn’t exist in email or other text communications. You actually hear a person’s voice and tone while other things like grammar and punctuation become less relevant. Once you are on the same page as someone in a conversation, the flow of information, collaboration and overall process becomes much easier.

Using the phone can also cut down on the amount of emails your employees are receiving. This is another internal challenge we have found. For more information on email overload check out our one-sheet on alleviating email overload.

This is not to say emails serve no purpose. When communicating with more than one person, or relaying a simple message, email is great and can be a huge time saver in this case. It’s when messages get complex and unacquainted employees have to communicate that problems can arise.

Having trouble engaging and connecting your employees? Tribe can fix that!